Porn can play a positive role in promoting safer sex by encouraging condom use among men, suggests new research.
Men who view more sexually explicit pornography where condoms were used were less likely to have anal sex without a condom themselves, the findings showed.
The findings, published online in the journal PLOS One, showed no evidence of a public health problem stemming from watching most internet-based sexually explicit media.
“Actually one type of pornography was associated with higher rates of condom use — men who viewed more pornography containing condom use engaged in fewer condomless anal sex encounters,” said one of the researchers Eric Schrimshaw, associate professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in the US.
“Even those who took part in compulsive pornography viewing were not more likely to engage in condomless anal sex,” Schrimshaw noted.
However, watching pornography containing condomless anal sex was associated with more condomless anal sex behaviour.
Results were based on an online survey of 265 men who have sex with men and who had viewed sexually explicit media in the past three months.
Participants were recruited via ads on Craigslist and Facebook and asked about the amount, compulsivity, and proportion of condomless anal sex and anal sex with condoms.
Eligible men for the survey were at least 18 years of age and resided within 50 miles of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington, D.C.
“Our finding that viewing pornography that contains condom use is associated with fewer condomless anal sex encounters suggests that pornography may have a potentially important protective function by encouraging men to use condoms,” the authors noted.