Sex and Psychology Podcast: The Truth About Porn

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Dr. Justin Lehmiller interviews Dr. Emily Rothman for the Sex and Psychology Podcast.

In the eyes of many, pornography is inherently problematic. In fact, some have gone as far as to dub it a “public health crisis” because they see it as addictive and as one of the root causes of sexual violence. But is porn really such a major threat to individuals and to society?

It turns out that science has a complex and nuanced story to tell about the effects of porn. It’s not inherently good or bad. It can have different effects on different people, and it’s important for us to understand when and for whom porn is potentially problematic, as well as for whom it has positive effects.

In this episode of the podcast, I explore the science of porn with Dr. Emily Rothman, a Professor of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is the co-creator of a curriculum for high school students about pornography that is used by sex educators and health teachers from around the world. She also has a forthcoming book titled “Pornography and Public Health.”

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including:

  • What is the link between porn and sexual violence? And what accounts for the fact that different studies have come to wildly different conclusions?

  • How does porn affect teenagers? What are the potential positive and negative effects?

  • Is pornography addictive?

  • What do we need to be teaching adolescents about porn? What do parents need to know? And why is “porn literacy” so important?

  • What is it like to be a porn researcher? And how do you communicate effectively about the science of porn to the public?

  • What do we need to do to improve porn research going forward?

To learn more about Dr. Rothman’s work, check out her university website here. You can also watch her TED Talk on how porn changes the way that teens think about sex here.

To listen to the podcast, stream/download via the player underneath or find it on your favorite podcast platform. Happy listening!

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Credits:

Music – 123RF/timtaj

Photo: Emily Rothman



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