Summary I

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
3

There is greater overall public tolerance for sexually explicit materials. However, public opinion on restrictiveness clearly differentiates among different media, content depictions, and public access to such materials. There is a preference for no public display of materials featuring nudity and nonviolent sexual activities whereas a majority favor banning materials that depict sexual violence. There is also a greater willingness to impose restrictions on theater showing and magazine publication of sexual activities than on home videos.

The most frequent exposure to pornography is reported by adolescents between twelve to seventeen, a finding reported by the Canadian as well as the 1970 Commission survey. While sexual knowledge appears to be acquired at younger ages, it remains unclear what role pornography plays in this "sex education" process.

Finally, the public perceives both beneficial as well as harmful effects from exposure to sexually explicit materials. Some maintain these materials help improve sex lives of some people, that they provide information about sex, and also provide entertainment. A significant number also feel they lead to a loss of respect for women, a breakdown of morals, and the commission of sexual violence. The changes between 1970 and 1985 are most apparent in the increase in the numbers who perceive that exposure to these materials lead to loss of respect for, and the commission of sexual violence against, women.