Just one eighth admit to viewing pornography

| Filed under: Social Issues

Most use pornography once a week or more

TORONTO JULY 19th, 2014 – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1624 Canadians 18 years of age and older, one eighth admit to having purchased or viewed pornography in the past year (16%), while a further one quarter preferred not to answer (26%), which may stand as a proxy for admission of use.  Admitted use is characteristic of the youngest (27%), males (26%), the wealthiest (22%), Atlantic Canada (21%) and BC (20%), Green Party supporters (23%), those with no religion (23%). Those with children are very slightly more likely to admit use (18%) than are those with no children in the house (15%).

One third of users view pornography once a week or more

The plurality of viewers say they view pornography about once a week or more often (35%). About one tenth claim to use it once a year or less often (11%). Frequent viewing is common to the youngest males in Atlantic Canada.

Two thirds view pornography alone

The majority, two thirds of viewers (62%) watch pornography alone, while about one seventh watch it with another person (14%). One tenth do both (12%). 

Majority watch straight pornography only

More than one half of pornography viewers use straight, or heterosexual pornography only (men and women only - 56%), whereas about one fifth watch lesbian pornography only (18%). One tenth claim to watch homosexual pornography only (8%). Interestingly, few claim to watch more than one category (5%).

One half believe pornography is harmful

One half of Canadian adults believe pornography is harmful to society (50%), while more than a third think it is not (36%). One seventh don't have an opinion (14%). Belief pornography harms society is common to the oldest (70%), females (63%), lower income groups ($20K to $40K - 60%), in Ontario (54%), among Conservative voters (56%), among Protestant (62%) and Evangelical Christians (84%), but not especially Catholics (51%), among non-Christians (66%) but not among the non-religious (31%), among mothers (56%) and among those who claim not to have viewed pornography (63%).

One half would favour online pornography restrictions

Just more than half our sample of Canadian voters would support a law requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict access to pornography online, so that only adults who "opted in" could view it (52%). One third oppose this idea (34%) and one seventh has no opinion (14%). Opposition to this idea is characteristic of the youngest (46%), males (48%), the wealthiest (44%), in BC (40%) but not in Alberta (28%), among Green Party voters (43%), the best educated (post grad - 40%), those who are not religious (48%) and those who have viewed pornography in the past year (71%) and think it is not harmful to society (59%).

"We pride ourselves as Canadians on our open-mindedness, but even with the anonymity guaranteed by the IVR survey method, it would appear there is substantial under-reporting of pornography use. While uncommon among females, certainly, it must be assumed that more than one quarter of Canadian males have encountered pornography in the past year. What is interesting though, is what those who claim to use pornography tell us about how they use it. Relatively frequently, so not a novelty item. Mostly alone, so probably not a sex aid, and always (or almost always) the same kind, so not a smorgasbord. Moreover, those who claim to use pornography resent any attempt by the state to interfere with their access. To users, this is an area where personal liberty trumps the concerns of the state," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.