Researcher Finds Porn Exposure Good for Young Swedes

Dec 24, 2012 9:45 AM PST

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Watching porn and posting nude photos of oneself may be good for young people according to a Swedish researcher.

Pernilla Nigard, a doctoral candidate at Malmö University studied men and women 18-25 and  found that young people's online porn habits can enrich their lives. She even believes the practices may help shape their identities.

"A lot of it is about the need to be seen, to get affirmation, and to get attention," Nigard told The Local.

When asked why they posted “sexualized” images of themselves online, the women Nigard interviewed said that they "feel stronger" when they receive positive comments.

But it’s not all good news. If women receive negative comments, they’re likely to strike back at their critics.

Nigard found that it’s OK to be seen as sexy, but if women are labeled “sluts” or “whores” it can become problematic for those who post their photos — especially when they’re spread across the worldwide web.

"There is also a conflict between wanting to be seen as sexy and wanting to be seen as a person," Nigard explained.

Men on the other hand use porn "in the pursuit of independence." Nigard said, "It's sort of like uncomplicated sex. There aren't any demands like in a real relationship because there is a lack of intimacy.”

And although men get off on porn, they feel the pressure that they must also be critical of the inherent pitfalls of exposure.

Nigard also noted that young people are easily seduced by the instant gratification that comes from sexual exposure and watching porn even though it may only be for the moment.

"The individual is so important in society, everything is so geared to making the individual feel good about themselves, it's hard to avoid," Nigard said.

Nigard's research also indicated that it’s not really clear why young people feel good about exposing their sexuality online when it’s those who comment who have the real power. She said that perhaps it's the simple fact that our “image-heavy” culture helps shape young people’s identities regardless of the consequences.

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