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Opinion: Don’t worry, porn viewers, your habit probably doesn’t make you prone to violence

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To the editor: According to Zac Crippen, an “effective way to attack” sexual harassment and violence is for our nation to see the inherently intimacy-damaging, sexual-aggression driving, addictive-forming outcomes of viewing sexual imagery for pleasure, arousal and entertainment (also known as porn). (“Behind the harassment scandals, another dirty little secret: pornography,” Opinion, Nov. 26)

Crippen views the scientific studies linking smoking to cancer and human behavior to HIV transmission as on par with the sexual science linking sexual imagery and the risk of sexual violence.

Crippen engages in premature evaluation, a common malady that is treatable by learning from the hundreds of sexual scientists, educators and therapists who tirelessly study and attempt to apply sexual science to avoid sweeping morally biased positions.

Doug Braun-Harvey, San Diego

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The writer is a psychotherapist specializing in sexual health.

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To the editor: I was not surprised to learn that Crippen is a young man whose academic specialty is not social science but military science.

When I was a child in the 1950s, I was taught that pornography was destructive and that Hugh Hefner was the serpent of Eden. Now Crippen warns us that the proliferation of porn is a “public health crisis,” based on “the data” from new social science studies he neither identifies nor subjects to the slightest scientific professional skepticism.

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His call for response to the “crisis” appears to be for a return to something akin to the war on drugs. Despite the arguable excesses of porn, the political, social and legal changes that took the cops out of our bedrooms, books and theaters should be applauded, not bewailed.

Thomas Weiss, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Growing up in a small Wisconsin town, no adult told me anything about sexuality as a kid. That job was left to my slightly older cousin. Still, that town was teeming with gossip about who was sleeping with whom, among other scandals.

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Racy publications did not cause this sex to happen. What was going on in my town was undoubtedly happening in every town across America.

Using Crippen’s logic, now that internet pornography is hugely popular, one would think that the world is coming to an end, that rape and violence and unwanted pregnancies are skyrocketing. Rather, rates of violence and murder have dropped over the years, and young girls are getting pregnant at a much lower rate than when I was a boy.

What is different is that now women are starting to speak up about men who impose themselves on them. Violence against gay people is a crime, and same-sex couples are permitted to marry.

Could it be that watching internet porn somehow tames the raging animal urges of men?

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Sam Platts, Sylmar

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