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More men think this is morally acceptable than women
A new poll by Gallup has found that there's a major gap in how men and women feel about pornography. - photo by JJ Feinauer
When it comes to what are appropriate morals in a relationship, men and women seem to agree on plenty.

For example, when it comes to having an affair, both men and women are roughly on the same page, agreeing that it is mostly morally unacceptable, according to a recent poll from Gallup.

On issues of fidelity, polygamy, pre-marital sex and having children out of wedlock (among other questions in the survey), both men and women are within 10 percentage points of how they feel.

But there is one key area where the gap is much wider. When asked whether or not pornography is "morally acceptable," 43 percent of men say it is, compared to only 23 percent of women.

"Consistently since 2011, men have been about twice as likely as women to say pornography is 'morally acceptable,'" Gallup's Andrew Dugan wrote in his explanation of the poll.

"Nonetheless," he continued, "a clear consensus exists among both genders on this issue, with regular majorities of men and women saying pornography is 'morally wrong.'"

Why there's such a stark difference in opinion isn't entirely clear. As PBS reported in its Frontline special "Why People Use Porn," many assume the divide simply comes down to "a biological basis." But this isn't always the case.

"In the end it seems that it is not one's bodily reactions but one's emotional liking or disliking of porn that will determine whether or not one wants to use it," PBS' Erick Janssen wrote. "Although it is possible that emotional responses to porn are influenced by biology, too, social and cultural factors clearly also play a role."

And social and cultural factors can be hard to pin down, especially when it comes to attitudes toward pornography. Everything from political leanings to personal religious convictions can have a major impact on how people feel about issues of sexuality, but even then it's not a universal correlation.

For example, research shows that women lean more liberal, yet they also tend to be more religious than men, despite the fact that nationally those two belief systems tend to conflict. So why do only 23 percent of women believe pornography is morally acceptable, compared to 43 percent of men?

According to Rashida Jones, producer of the recent documentary on the amateur porn industry "Hot Girls Wanted," women simply see the purposes of pornography as inherently male-centered and sexist.

"It's performative," Jones said in an interview with The Wrap. "It's fulfilling a male fantasy."
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