Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 439-453

First online:

The relationship between nonenforcement of state pronography laws and rates of sex crime arrests

  • Charles WinickAffiliated withProgram in Sociology, City University of New York Graduate School
  • , John T. EvansAffiliated withLong Island University

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The nonoperation of antipornography statutes in four states (Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington) for varying periods between 1973 and 1986 provided an opportunity to examine the impact of such statutes and pornography availability on sex crimes because nonenforcement is associated with an increase in the availability of sexually explicit materials. Arrests for property offenses and for rape, prostitution, and other sex offenses during the period before the suspension of the laws, when compared with the period during suspension, reflected no significant changes. Findings are consistent with other foreign and American studies that have failed to find a link between exposure to sexually explicit media materials and rates of reports of rape and other sex offenses.

Key Words

rape pornography nexus effects sexually explicit media