Originally Posted by QuantumIguana
Don't forget that readers have access to all to these things as well. If written erotica has the negative effects that some say, there should be some evidence of this. The addition of this allegedly harmful written erotica should make the problem worse, as illiterates would not be reading it, whole readers would be reading it addition to all these other forms or erotica.
Also, we don't have to go back very far at all before these other forms of erotica were not available, thus the natural experiment is still valid. The internet is young, widespread access to internet porn has only been around for about 15 years. Easy access to porn movies only came about with the VCR, so that puts us back a little over 30 years.
As we go back in time, and keep removing technology, all we are left with is the written word. If written erotica turned people into sex offenders, we would see that readers were more likely to be sex offenders than readers. But we don't see this, not now, and not in the past.
I want to make sure I understand your claim--you're claiming that some not-defined length of history, illiterate people have perpetuated the majority of sex crimes without being able to read books that, for instance, glorify incest. Because of this, we can conclude that books that glorify incest are not actually detrimental to the social/emotional development of the people who read them. Is that the gist of your argument?
I don't know if there is any statistical support for the claim that illiterate people perpetuate the majority of sex crimes. And even if there were, that still doesn't disprove the idea that pornographic content has the ability to negatively affect those who consume it.
As a side point, I reject the claim that "as we go back in time, and keep removing technology, all we are left with is the written word." This disregards widespread evidence of art forms that predate any known written works--for instance, statues, totems, cave paintings, dance, oral storytelling, song, etc.