- Buzzell, T. (2005). Demographic characteristics of persons using pornography in three technological contexts. Sexuality & Culture. 9, 28-48.
Significant attention is being given to the impact of the Internet on forms of "cybersex". Few studies of cybersex have provided cross-sectional analysis of pornography use. Moreover, no analysis has contrasted pornography on the Internet with other technological forms. This is problematic when attempting to evaluate the impact technology has had on pornography use. In an attempt to address the question posed by Stern and Handel (2001), "does technology matter?" to pornography use, this study reports descriptive findings from the General Social Survey since 1973. Specifically, three technological contexts were operationalized from items in the GSS to describe pornography use and the demographic characteristics of persons who use pornography in three technologies: film, theater or VCR, or websites. A greater proportion of people, who reported use of pornography were males, young persons, and persons who lived in urban areas. Variations in other demographic characteristics such as employment status and income, however, suggested that technology does make a difference in pornography access and, thus, use.
- Buzzell, T. (2005). The effects of sophistication, access, and monitoring on use of pornography in three technological contexts. Deviant Behavior. 26, 109-132.
Technology has changed the varieties and means of distribution of pornography. The emergence of "hyperpornography" on the Internet is the most notable example. Yet, little attention has been given to understanding what factors contribute to pornography use. Using data from the General Social Survey in 1973, 1994, and 2000–2002, this study tests the effects of sophistication, accessibility, and monitoring by others on the likelihood of using pornography in three technological contexts: film in theaters, film in theaters or VCRs, and websites. The results indicate that sex and age are important predictors of the likelihood of pornography use, regardless of technological context. Sophistication, accessibility, and monitoring also are significant, but this differs by technological context. Results are discussed in light of how pornography use can be explained by what Wilcox, Land, and Hunt, (2003) call dynamic multi-contextual opportunities for deviance.
- Carroll, Jason; Laura Padilla-Walker, Larry Nelson, Chad Olson, Carolyn McNamara Barry, and Stephanie Madsen (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults. Journal of Adolescent Research. 23; 6.
This study examines correlates of pornography acceptance and use within a normative (nonclinical) population of emerging adults (individuals aged 18–26). Participants included 813 university students (500 women; M age=20 years) recruited from six college sites across the United States. Participants completed online questionnaires regarding their acceptance and use of pornography, as well as their sexual values and activity, substance use, and family formation values. Results revealed that roughly two thirds (67%) of young men and one half (49%) of young women agree that viewing pornography is acceptable, whereas nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) young men and nearly one third (31%) of young women reported using pornography. Results also revealed associations between pornography acceptance and use and emerging adults risky sexual attitudes and behaviors, substance use patterns, and nonmarital cohabitation values. The discussion considers the implications of pornography use during the transition to adulthood.
- Chen, A., Leung, M., Chen, C., Yang, S. (2013). Exposure to Internet
Pornography Among Taiwanese Adolescents. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal.41(1): 157-164.
We examined the use of Internet pornography (IP) by Taiwanese adolescents, and analyzed activities involved in seeking IP, motivations and perceptions with regard to IP, and relationships among IP experience and background variables. The results revealed that 71% of respondents had been exposed to IP; of this group, 41.3% reported only unintentional exposure (UE) and 58.7% reported intentional exposure (IE). Most males exposed to IP were classified in the IE as opposed to the UE group. Compared with the female respondents, male respondents tended to report more intentional IP exposure, longer terms of IP exposure history, and greater identification with a positive value of IP. Respondents in more urbanized areas also reported more IE than those in less urbanized areas.
- Cooper, A., Delmonico, D.L., Griffin-Shelly, E., & Mathy, R. M. (2004). Online sexual activity: An examination of potentially problematic behaviors. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity. 11, 129-143.
This article focused on a selected random sample of over 7,000 individuals who responded to a survey regarding online sexual activity. Results helped identify potential problem areas for online sexual compulsives and at-risk users. These results provided descriptions of activities that could lead to problematic behavior in three areas: obsession, compulsion, and consequences. In addition, specific results were highlighted by gender differences, and types of cybersex users. As a descriptive article, the results of this study help us understand who online sexual activity users are and how they might experience problems related to their behaviors.
- Gunther, Albert (1995). Overrating the X-Rating: The Third-Person Perception and Support for Censorship of Pornography. Journal of Communication. 45(1), 27-38.
Research has produced plentiful evidence of the third-person perception—the tendency for people to think others are more influenced by mass media than they are themselves. But until now there has been scant evidence of the effects of that perceptual bias. Consistent with past third-person effect findings, the data in this study indicate that a substantial majority of U.S. adults see others as more adversely influenced by pornography than themselves. In addition, the results show that peoples support for pornography restrictions parallels the discrepancy they perceive between effect on self and effect on others.
S., Steelman, M., Coyne S., et al. (2013). Adolescent religiousness as a
protective factor against pornography use. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 34(3): 131-139.
This study examined mediators of relations between adolescent religiousness and pornography use. The sample consisted of 419 adolescents (ages 15–18 years; M age = 15.68, SD = 0.98; 56% male). It was hypothesized that religiousness (religious internalization and involvement) would protect adolescents from pornography use (accidental and intentional viewing) by increasing self-regulation, conservative attitudes towards pornography, and social control against pornography. Path analyses revealed religious internalization and involvement were indirectly linked to intentional viewing through all three mediators. For accidental viewing, the only indirect effects were from religious internalization through self-regulation and social control, and from religious involvement through social control. Thus, religiousness may protect adolescents from intentional and accidental exposure to pornography.
- Johnson, Timothy P., and Moore, Robert W. (1993) Gender Interactions Between Interviewer and Survey Respondents: Issues of Pornography and Community Standards. Sex Roles. 28(5/6); 243-261.
Several sociological perspectives, including social distance and social acquiescence theories, suggest that survey responses to threatening or sensitive questions may be influenced by interviewer gender. Most of the empirical work bearing on this issue has been conducted using face—to—face interviews. Research presented here examines interviewer gender effects in a telephone survey concerned with a sexually sensitive topic — the sale and consumption of pornographic materials. Subjects were mostly white middle-class adults living in a medium—sized metropolitan community. Approximately equal numbers of males (n=230) and females (n=219) were interviewed. Findings suggest that, although a weak trend indicative of an acquiescence effect was observed, interviewer gender effects may not in general be a serious source of nonsampling errors in telephone surveys.
- Mitchell, Kimberly J.; Finkelhor, David; and Wolak, Janis (2003) The Exposure of Youth to Unwanted Sexual Material on the Intenet: A National Survey of Risk, Impact, and Prevention. Youth Society. 34(3); 330-358.
This national survey of youth, ages 10 to 17, and their caretakers has several implications for the current debate about young people and Internet pornography. Twenty five percent of youth had unwanted exposure to sexual pictures on the Internet in the past year, challenging the prevalent assumption that the problem is primarily about young people motivated to actively seek out pornography. Most youth had no negative reactions to their unwanted exposure, but one quarter said they were very or extremely upset, suggesting a priority need for more research on and interventions directed toward such negative effects. The use of filtering and blocking software was associated with a modest reduction in unwanted exposure, suggesting that it may help but is far from fool proof. Various forms of parental supervision were not associated with any reduction in exposure. The authors urge that social scientific research be undertaken to inform this highly contentious public policy controversy.
- Peter, Jochen Peter, and Valkenburg, Patti M. (2006) Adolescents' Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet. Communication Research. 33; 178-204.
Drawing on a survey of 745 Dutch adolescents ages 13 to 18, the authors investigated (a) the occurrence and frequency of adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit material on the Internet and (b) the correlates of this exposure. Seventy-one percent of the male adolescents and 40% of the female adolescents had been exposed to some kind of online sexually explicit material in the 6 months prior to the interview. Adolescents were more likely to be exposed to sexually explicit material online if they were male, were high sensation seekers, were less satisfied with their lives, were more sexually interested, used sexual content in other media more often, had a fast Internet connection, and had friends that were predominantly younger. Among male adolescents, a more advanced pubertal status was also associated with more frequent exposure to online sexually explicit material. Among female adolescents, greater sexual experience decreased exposure to online sexually explicit material.
P., & Beltramini, L. (2011). Watching pornography: gender differences, violence and
victimization. An exploratory study in Italy. Violence
against women. 17(10): 1313-1326.
The aims of this article are to analyze exposure to pornography, its content, and the associations between victimization and pornography in a sample of 303 students (49.2% female). The questionnaire included questions on pornography exposure, psychological and physical family violence, and sexual violence. Almost all male students and 67% of female students had ever watched pornography; 42% and 32%, respectively, had watched violence against women. Female students exposed to family psychological violence and to sexual violence were significantly more likely to watch pornography, especially violent pornography than those who had not been exposed. No such association was found among male students.
- Shim, Jae Woongs; Lee, Seungwhan; and Paul Bryant (2007) Who Responds to Unsolicited Sexually Explicit Materials on the Internet?: The Role of Individual Differences. CyberPsychology and Behavior. 10, 71-79.
Many studies on the effects of sexually explicit materials have focused primarily on intentional exposure to such content. Recently, researchers have begun to address the issue of the unintentional exposure to pornography on the Internet. However, there is no research on the effects of individual differences on Internet users' responses to unsolicited sexually explicit materials. This study used the Sexual Opinion Survey scale and the Self-Report Psychopathy scale (SRP-III) to measure college students' sexual and antisocial dispositions. It found that samples of those high in sexual disposition were more likely to expose themselves, by clicking a message or link, to unsolicited Internet pornography when they happened to come across it while online. Further, those high in antisocial disposition were more likely to click images or links than those low in antisocial disposition. Finally, those who were high both in sexual and antisocial dispositions reported being more likely to expose themselves to unsolicited sexually explicit materials than all others.
- Stack, S., Wasserman, I., & Kern, R. (2004). Adult social bonds and use of Internet pornography. Social Science Quarterly. 85(1), 75–88.
Sociological theories of deviant behavior have not been systematically applied to the problem of who uses and who does not use cyberpornography on the Internet. The present study contributes to the literature by providing the first systematic application of selected sociological theories of deviance to the problem of explaining use of cyberpornography. It tests a blended theoretical perspective, which includes measures from social control and opportunity theories of deviance, as well as measures of broader deviant lifestyles, as possible predictors of use of cyberporn.
A key hypothesis is that persons with the strongest ties to conventional society will be less likely than others to use cyberporn. Complete data on 531 Internet users are taken from the General Social Surveys for 2000. Social bonds measures include religious, marital, and political ties. Measures of participation in sexual and drug-related deviant lifestyles, and demographic controls are included. The results of a logistic regression analysis found that among the strongest predictors of use of cyberporn were weak ties to religion and lack of a happy marriage. However, past sexual deviance (e.g., involvement in paid sex) was also a strong predictor of cyberporn use. Overall the model explained 40 percent of the variance in porn use on the Internet. Traditional theoretical perspectives on deviance are apparently applicable to this new form of deviant behavior.
- Wolak, Janis; Mitchell, Kimberly; and Finkelhor, David (2007) Unwanted and Wanted Exposure to Online Pornography in a National Sample of Youth Internet Users. Pediatrics 119; 247-257.
The goal was to assess the extent of unwanted and wanted exposure to online pornography among youth Internet users and associated risk factors. A telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 1500 youth Internet users aged 10 to 17 years was conducted between March and June 2005. Forty—two percent of youth Internet users had been exposed to online pornography in the past year. Of those, 66% reported only unwanted exposure. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to compare youth with unwantedexposure only or any wanted exposure with those with no exposure.
Unwanted exposure was related to only 1 Internet activity, namely, using filesharing programs to download images. Filtering and blocking software reduced the risk of unwanted exposure, as did attending an Internet safety presentation by law enforcement personnel. Unwanted exposure rates were higher for teens, youth who reported being harassed or sexually solicited online or interpersonally victimized offline, and youth who scored in the borderline or clinically significant range on the Child Behavior Checklist subscale for depression. Wanted exposure rates were higher for teens, boys, and youth who used file-sharing programs to download images, talked online to unknown persons about sex, used the Internet at friends' homes, or scored in the borderline or clinically significant range on the Child Behavior Checklist subscale for rule—breaking. Depression also could be a risk factor for some youth. Youth who used filtering and blocking software had lower odds of wanted exposure.
More research concerning the potential impact of Internet pornography on youth is warranted, given the high rate of exposure, the fact that much exposure is unwanted, and the fact that youth with certain vulnerabilities, such as depression, interpersonal victimization, and delinquent tendencies, have more exposure.
- Ybarra, Michele L. and Mitchell, Kimberly J. (2005) Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey. CyberPsychology and Behavior 8(5); 473-486.
Estimates suggest that up to 90% or more youth between 12 and 18 years have access to the Internet. Concern has been raised that this increased accessibility may lead to a rise in pornography seeking among children and adolescents, with potentially serious ramifications for child and adolescent sexual development. Using data from the Youth Internet Safety Survey, a nationally representative, cross—sectional telephone survey of 1501 children and adolescents (ages 10—17 years), characteristics associated with self-reported pornography seeking behavior, both on the Internet and using traditional methods (e.g., magazines), are identified. Seekers of pornography, both online and offline, are significantly more likely to be male, with only 5% of self-identified seekers being female. The vast majority (87%) of youth who report looking for sexual images online are 14 years of age or older, when it is developmentally appropriate to be sexually curious. Children under the age of 14 who have intentionally looked at pornography are more likely to report traditional exposures, such as magazines or movies. Concerns about a large group of young children exposing themselves to pornography on the Internet may be overstated. Those who report intentional exposure to pornography, irrespective of source, are significantly more likely to cross-sectionally report delinquent behavior and substance use in the previous year. Further, online seekers versus offline seekers are more likely to report clinical features associated with depression and lower levels of emotional bonding with their caregiver. Results of the current investigation raise important questions for further inquiry. Findings from these cross-sectional data provide justification for longitudinal studies aimed at parsing out temporal sequencing of psychosocial experiences.
Effects of Pornography
- Baron, Larry (1990). Pornography and Gender Equality: An Empirical Analysis. The Journal of Sex Research. 27, 363-380.
This paper examines the relationship between the circulation rates of soft-core pornographic magazines and gender equality in the 50 American states. Gender equality is measured with the Gender Equality Index (GEX) which combines 24 indicators of the status of women relative to men in the three institutional domains of politics, economics, and legal rights. Multiple regression analysis is used to test the hypothesis that the higher the circulation rate of soft-core pornographic magazines, the lower the level of gender equality. Several additional variables are included in the analysis to control for spurious relationships. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results show that gender equality is higher in states characterized by higher circulation rates of pornography. This relationship is interpreted as suggesting that pornography and gender equality both flourish in politically tolerant societies.
- Corne, Shawn; Briere, John; and Esses, Lillian (1992). Women's Attitudes and Fantasies about Rape as a Function of Early Exposure to Pornography. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 7, 454-461.
Although much has been learned about how social forces such as pornography can shape or direct men's sexual violence against women, few empirical data exist on how these forces impinge on women's attitudes and behavior. In the present study, 187 female university students responded to a questionnaire regarding childhood exposure to pornography, current sexual fantasies, and endorsement of rape-supportive attitudes. Early exposure to pornography was related to subsequent "rape fantasies" and attitudes supportive of sexual violence against women. Findings were interpreted in the context of women's socialization to accept sexual aggression as a sexual/romantic event.
- Demare, D.; Briere, J; and Lips, H. (1988). Violent pornography and self-reported likelihood of sexual aggression. Journal of Research in Personality. 22, 140-153.
222 undergraduate males were administered an attitudes survey examining pornography use, attitudes, and self-reported likelihood of rape or using sexual force. Nonviolent pornography was used by 81% of subjects within the previous year. Discriminant function analysis revealed that use of sexually violent pornography and acceptance of interpersonal violence against women were uniquely associated with likelihood of rape or using sexual force. It is hypothesized that the specific fusion of sex and violence in some pornographic stimuli and in certain belief systems may produce a propensity to engage in sexually aggressive behavior.
- Demare, D.; Briere, J; and Lips, H. (1993). Sexually violent pornography, anti-women attitudes, and sexual aggression: a structural equation model. Journal of Research in Personality. 27, 285-300.
Using data provided by 383 male university students, several structural equation models were developed and tested to asses the interrelationship of pornography use, anti-women attitudes, and propensity for sexual violence. The model best fitting the data is one in which use of Sexually Violent Pornography and Anti–Women Attitudes are exogenous latent variables predicting self–reported Likelihood of Rape and Likelihood of using Sexual Force, as well as self–reported history of having achieved sexual intercourse by use of Coercion and Force. A variation of this model that includes use of Nonviolent Pornography as an exogenous variable was also tested. Use of nonviolent pornography was not uniquely associated with potential or actual sexual aggression. The findings suggest the potential roles of both attitudes and sexually violent pornography in the occurrence of sexual aggression.
M., Jozifkova, E., & Weiss, P. (2011). Pornography and Sex Crimes in
the Czech Republic. Archives of
Sexual Behavior. 40(5): 1037-1043.
Pornography continues to be a contentious matter with those on the one side arguing it detrimental to society while others argue it is pleasurable to many and a feature of free speech. The advent of the Internet with the ready availability of sexually explicit materials thereon particularly has seemed to raise questions of its influence. Following the effects of a new law in the Czech Republic that allowed pornography to a society previously having forbidden it allowed us to monitor the change in sex related crime that followed the change. As found in all other countries in which the phenomenon has been studied, rape and other sex crimes did not increase. Of particular note is that this country, like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.
- Garcia, Luis (1986). Exposure to Pornography and Attitudes about Women and Rape: A Correlational Study. The Jornal of Sex Research. 22, 278-285.
Investigated the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit material and attitudes toward rape in 115 male undergraduates. Data provide mixed support for the hypothesis that exposure to pornographic material would be correlated with less liberal attitudes toward women: Only exposure to coercive or violent sexual themes was related to more traditional attitudes about women. Contrary to predictions, subjects having greater exposure to sexual materials were found to express more liberal attitudes toward women in the area of sexual behavior.
- Gentry, Cynthia (1991). Pornography and rape: An empirical analysis. Deviant Behavior. 12, 277-288.
Tests a model that hypothesizes a causal relation between pornography and rape through an analysis of data taken from the Uniform Crime Reports and circulation data from 3 sexually oriented magazines. Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas were used as units of analysis. The pornography model was not supported. Population size, the proportion of young adults, the percentage divorced, and population change were all significant predictors of rape.
- Kendall, Todd. (2006). Pornography, Rape, and the Internet. Clemson University, Working Paper.
The arrival of the internet caused a large decline in both the pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of accessing pornography. Using state-level panel data from 1998-2003, I find that the arrival of the internet was associated with a reduction in rape incidence. However, growth in internet usage had no apparent effect on other crimes. Moreover, when I disaggregate the rape data by offender age, I find that the effect of the internet on rape is concentrated among those for whom the internet-induced fall in the non-pecuniary price of pornography was the largest — men ages 15—19, who typically live with their parents. These results, which suggest that pornography and rape are substitutes, are in contrast with most previous literature. However, earlier population—level studies do not control adequately for many omitted variables, including the age distribution of the population, and most laboratory studies simply do not allow for potential substitutability between pornography and rape.
- Kimmel, M.S.; Linders, A. (1996). Does Censorship Make a Difference? An Aggregate Empirical Analysis of Pornography and Rape. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality.
The question of pornography and the relation of pornography consumption and sexual violence has been hotly debated. Following a critical review of previous literature, this article examines the relationship between pornography and sexual violence by developing an aggregate statistical analysis of pornography consumption and rape rates in six cities, matched on various SES (SocioEconomic Status) variables. The article tests the converse of ideological assertion argument that increased pornography consumption leads to increased rates of rape. Results reported here show a steady decline in consumption of printed pornography and a steady rise in rape rate. The article concludes that aggregate statistical data do not confirm hypotheses that decreased pornography consumption leads to a decrease in rape rates.
- Kingston, Drew; Fedoroff, Paul; Firestone, Phillip; Curry, Susan; and Bradford, John (2008). Pornography use and sexual aggression: the impact of frequency and type of pornography use on recidivism among sexual offenders. Agressive Behavior. 34, 341-351.
In this study, we examined the unique contribution of pornography consumption to the longitudinal prediction of criminal recidivism in a sample of 341 child molesters. We specifically tested the hypothesis, based on predictions informed by the confluence model of sexual aggression that pornography will be a risk factor for recidivism only for those individuals classified as relatively high risk for re-offending. Pornography use (frequency and type) was assessed through self-report and recidivism was measured using data from a national database from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Indices of recidivism, which were assessed up to 15 years after release, included an overall criminal recidivism index, as well as subcategories focusing on violent (including sexual) recidivism and sexual recidivism alone. Results for both frequency and type of pornography use were generally consistent with our predictions. Most importantly, after controlling for general and specific risk factors for sexual aggression, pornggraphy added significantly to the prediction of recidivism. Statistical interactions indicated that frequency of pornography use was primarily a risk factor for higher-risk offenders, when compared with lower-risk offenders, and that content of pornography (i.e., pornography containing deviant content) was a risk factor for all groups. The importance of conceptualizing particular risk factors (e.g., pornography), within the context of other individual characteristics is discussed.
- Kutchinsky, Berl (1991). Pornography and Rape: Theory and Practice? Evidence from Crime Data in Four Countries where Pornography is Easily Available. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 26, 47-64.
Uses data on the incidence of rape in 4 societies (Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the US) where pornography is widely available. Aggregate data on rape and other violent or sexual offenses in these 4 countries does not seem to have any detrimental effects in the form of increased sexual violence.
- Luder, M., Pittet, I., Berchtold, A., et al. (2011). Associations Between Online
Pornography and Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents: Myth or Reality? Archives of
Sexual Behavior. 40(5): 1027-1035.
This study aimed to compare the sexual behavior of adolescents who were or were not exposed to online pornography, to assess to what extent the willingness of exposure changed these possible associations, and to determine the profiles of youths who were exposed to online pornography. Data were drawn from the 2002 Swiss Multicenter Adolescent Survey on Health, a self-administered cross-sectional, paper and pencil questionnaire. From the 7529 adolescents aged 16–20 years, 6054 (3283 males) used the Internet during the previous month and were eligible for our study. Males were divided into three groups (wanted exposure, 29.2%; unwanted exposure, 46.7%; no exposure, 24.1%) whereas females were divided into two groups (exposure, 35.9%; no exposure, 64.1%). The principal outcome measures were demographic characteristics, Internet use parameters and risky sexual behaviors. Risky sexual behaviors were not associated with online pornography exposure in any of the groups, except that males who were exposed (deliberately or not) had higher odds of not having used a condom at last intercourse. Bi/homosexual orientation and Internet use parameters were not associated either. Additionally, males in the wanted exposure group were more likely to be sensation-seekers. On the other hand, exposed girls were more likely to be students, higher sensation-seekers, early maturers, and to have a highly educated father. We conclude that pornography exposure is not associated with risky sexual behaviors and that the willingness of exposure does not seem to have an impact on risky sexual behaviors among adolescents.
- Häggström-Nordin, E.; Hanson, U.; and Tydén, T. (2005). Associations between pornography consumption and sexual practices among adolescents in Sweden. International Journal of STD and AIDS. 16, 102-107.
Pornography consumption and sexual behaviour were studied, with an aim to investigate any associations. Participants were 718 students from 47 high school classes, mean age 18 years, in a medium-sized Swedish city. More men (98%) than women (72%) had ever consumed pornography. More male high consumers than low consumers or women got sexually aroused by, fantasized about, or tried to perform acts seen in a pornographic film. Intercourse with a friend was significantly associated with high consumption of pornography among men, while anal intercourse and group sex tended to be associated. A significant confounder was early age of sexual debut. New Studies to Add to related research, under possible outcomes.
- Jochen, Peter; Valkenburg, Patti (2006). Adolescents' Exposure to Sexually Explicit Online Material and Recreational Attitudes Toward Sex. Journal of Communication. 56 (4), 639-660.
Previous research has largely ignored the implications of adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit online material for their sexual attitude formation. To study whether adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit material on the Internet is related to recreational attitudes toward sex, we conducted an online survey among 471 Dutch adolescents aged 13–18. Male adolescents used sexually explicit online material more than female adolescents, which led to a greater perceived realism of such material. Perceived realism, in turn, mediated the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit online material and recreational attitudes toward sex . Exposure to sexually explicit online material, then, is related to more recreational attitudes toward sex, but this relationship is influenced by adolescents' gender and mediated by the extent to which they perceive online sexual material as realistic.
- Padgett, Vernon; Brislin-Slutz, Jo Ann; and Neal, James A. (1989). Pornography, Erotica, and Attitudes toward Women: The Effects of Repeated Exposure. The Journal of Sex Research . 26, 479-491.
Participants included 184 psychology students and 20 patrons at an "adult" theater. Multiple linear regressions indicated that hours of viewing pornography was not a reliable predictor of attitudes toward women in either sample. Patrons of the adult theater, who viewed more pornography, had more favorable attitudes toward women than male or female college students.
- Pazzani, L.M. (2007). The Factors Affecting Sexual Assaults Committed by Strangers and Acquaintances. Violence Against Women. 13, 717-749.
Research on the causes of sexual assault typically analyzes rape committed by acquaintances and strangers together, despite the fact that the characteristics of the assault in these two circumstances are very different. Thus, this work examines whether the causes of each type of sexual assault-stranger and acquaintance rape-differ. The results of the analyses reveal that variables that describe a culture of gender equality, prior child abuse, and prior sexual assaults are associated with acquaintance assaults. In contrast, a culture of "hypermasculinity" is associated with stranger rape. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Popovic, M. (2011). Pornography Use and Closeness with Others in Men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 40(2): 449-456.
The aim of the present study was to examine the association between pornography use and aspects of socioemotional closeness in a non-clinical sample of 164 males. Participants’ actual and ideal socioemotional closeness was measured by the Perceived Interpersonal Closeness Scale (PICS; Popovic et al., 2003) while their pornography use was examined by the Background and Pornography Use Information Questionnaire (Popovic, 2009). Potential effects of these variables on each other as well as various findings concerning pornography consumption and related attitudes are presented. The results showed that there was no significant difference between self-reported pornography users and non-users in terms of specific socioemotional closeness with the most significant adults in their lives (i.e., partners, closest friends, mothers, and fathers). However, pornography users had significantly higher total closeness scores than non-users, showing possibly a craving for intimacy among pornography users versus non-pornography users. This “intimacy motive” and relevant and controversial findings are discussed.
- Scott, Joseph; Schwalm, Loretta (1988). Rape Rates and the Circulation Rates of Adult Magazines. The Journal of Sex Research. 24, 241-250.
We found a statistically significant relationship between rape rates and adult magazine circulation rates by state. The relationship remains even when controlling for numerous other variables previously found to be related to rape. Moreover, this relationship does not appear to be simply an artifact of magazine readership inasmuch as two separate magazine circulation indices, outdoor and general, were introduced into the regression equation to control for magazine readership and neither significantly affected the relationship between rape rates and adult magazine circulation rates. In addition, when controlling for other violent crimes, the statistically significant relationship between rape rates and adult magazine circulation rates remains.
Seigfried-Spellar, K.C., & Rogers, M.K. (2013). Does deviant pornography use follow a Guttman-like progression?. Computers in Human Behavior. 29(5): 1997-2003.
Deviant pornography use may follow a Guttman-like progression. This study investigated whether deviant pornography use followed a Guttman-like progression in that a person transitions from being a nondeviant to deviant pornography user. In order to observe this progression, 630 respondents from Survey Sampling International’s (SSI) panel Internet sample completed an online survey assessing adult-only, bestiality, and child pornography consumption. Respondents’ “age of onset” for adult pornography use was measured to determine if desensitization occurred in that individuals who engaged in adult pornography at a younger age were more likely to transition into deviant pornography use. Two hundred and 54 respondents reported the use of nondeviant adult pornography, 54 reported using animal pornography, and 33 reported using child pornography. The child pornography users were more likely to consume both adult and animal pornography, rather than just solely consuming child pornography. Results suggested deviant pornography use followed a Guttman-like progression in that individuals with a younger “age of onset” for adult pornography use were more likely to engage in deviant pornography (bestiality or child) compared to those with a later “age of onset”. Limitations and future research suggestions are discussed.
Sinkovic, Matija; Stulhofer, Aleksandar; Bozi, Jasmina. (2012) Revisiting the Association between Pornography Use and Risky Sexual Behaviors: The Role of Early Exposure to Pornography and Sexual Sensation Seeking. Journal of Sex Research. 50(7): 633-641.
Among the suggested problems and harms associated with widespread pornography use among young people, risky sexual behaviors have been frequently mentioned. To further explore this public health concern, this article analyzed sexual sensation seeking (SSS) as a potential confounder of the association between pornography use and sexual risks using data collected in 2010 from a population-based sample of young Croatian adults aged 18 to 25 (n = 1,005). Significant, but small, correlations were found between the indicators of pornography use (age at first exposure, frequency of use in the past 12 months, and personal importance of pornography) and sexual risk taking. However, in a multivariate analysis, only age at first exposure to pornography remained a significant, albeit weak, predictor of sexual risk taking among both women and men. SSS, defined as the dispositional tendency toward the impulsive pursuit of sexual arousal and stimulation, neither confounded nor moderated this association. Overall, the findings do not support the notion that pornography use is substantially associated with sexual risk taking among young adults, but suggest that early exposure to sexually explicit material and high SSS are additive risk factors for sexual risk taking.
Stewart, D., & Szymanski, D. (2012). Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction. Sex Roles. 67(5): 257-271.
Pornography is both prevalent and normative in many cultures across the world, including United States’ culture; however, little is known about the psychological and relational effects that it can have on young adult women involved in heterosexual romantic relationships in which their male partners view pornography. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between men’s pornography use, both frequency and problematic use, on their heterosexual female partner’s psychological and relational well-being among 308 young adult college women. In addition, psychometric properties for the Perceived Partner’s Pornography Use Scale are provided. Participants were recruited at a large Southern public university in the United States and completed an online survey. Results revealed women’s reports of their male partner’s frequency of pornography use were negatively associated with their relationship quality. More perceptions of problematic use of pornography was negatively correlated with self-esteem, relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction. In addition, self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between perceptions of partner’s problematic pornography use and relationship quality. Finally, results revealed that relationship length moderated the relationship between perceptions of partner’s problematic pornography use and sexual satisfaction, with significant dissatisfaction being associated with longer relationship length.
Štulhofer, A., Buško, V., Landripet, I. (2010). Pornography, Sexual Socialization, and Satisfaction Among Young Men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 39(1): 168-178.
In spite of a growing presence of pornography in contemporary life, little is known about its potential effects on young people’s sexual socialization and sexual satisfaction. In this article, we present a theoretical model of the effects of sexually explicit materials (SEM) mediated by sexual scripting and moderated by the type of SEM used. An on-line survey dataset that included 650 young Croatian men aged 18–25 years was used to explore empirically the model. Descriptive findings pointed to significant differences between mainstream and paraphilic SEM users in frequency of SEM use at the age of 14, current SEM use, frequency of masturbation, sexual boredom, acceptance of sex myths, and sexual compulsiveness. In testing the model, a novel instrument was used, the Sexual Scripts Overlap Scale, designed to measure the influence of SEM on sexual socialization. Structural equation analyses suggested that negative effects of early exposure to SEM on young men’s sexual satisfaction, albeit small, could be stronger than positive effects. Both positive and negative effects—the latter being expressed through suppression of intimacy—were observed only among users of paraphilic SEM. No effect of early exposure to SEM was found among the mainstream SEM users. To counterbalance moral panic but also glamorization of pornography, sex education programs should incorporate contents that would increase media literacy and assist young people in critical interpretation of pornographic imagery.
Weinberg, M., Williams, C., Kleiner, S., et al. (2010). Pornography, Normalization, and Empowerment. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 39(6): 1389-1401.
Opponents and proponents of erotic representations (referred to hereafter as “pornography”) have described the effects of pornography from their perspective. Little, however, has been done in the way of research to investigate these claims from the consumer’s point of view. This especially has been so regarding the positive impact of such consumption on a person’s sex life. Using a study group of 245 college students, we examined this question in a framework of scripting theory. We wanted to see whether viewing pornography appeared to expand sexual horizons through normalization and facilitate a willingness to explore new sexual behaviors and sexual relationships through empowerment. The data supported this viewpoint and further showed the effects to be mediated by gender and sexual preference identity. They suggested, however, that established scripts were extended rather than abandoned. We conclude with connections between our findings and the widespread viewing of pornography in contemporary society.
- Winick, Charles; Evans, John (2006). The relationship between nonenforcement of state pronography laws and rates of sex crime arrests. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 25, 439-453.
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.
Wright, P.J., Randall, A.K. (2012). Internet pornography exposure and risky sexual behavior among adult males in the United States. Computers in Human Behavior. 28(4): 1410-1416.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to pose a threat to the public health in the United States. Many sexual behaviors increase an individual’s risk of STI contraction. Chief among these are having unprotected sex, having sex with multiple partners, and either paying for sex or having sex for pay. The present study used General Social Survey (GSS) data from 2000, 2002, and 2004 to explore the association between exposure to internet pornography and these STI risk behaviors among adult US males. After controlling for demographic and individual difference covariates, internet pornography consumption was positively associated with having sex with multiple partners, engaging in paid sex, and having had extramarital sex. Internet pornography consumption was unrelated to having unprotected sex. Subsequent GSSs have not asked participants about exposure to internet pornography. As the GSS is the only ongoing, full-probability, national survey assessing social beliefs and behaviors, the present report provides unique insight into the risky sexual behavior patterns of adult male internet pornography consumers in the United States.
- Wongsurawat, Winai. (2004) Pornography and Social Ills: Evidence from the Early 1990s. Journal of Applied Economics. 9 (1): 185-213
Beginning from the hypotheses that private post office boxes accommodate consumption of pornographic magazines by lowering some aspects of the cost (risk of social stigmatization) associated with the purchasing of such items, I demonstrate that a positive correlation between the abundance of such boxes and the subscription rate to Penthouse magazine across markets in the United States can be observed. I then proceed to estimate the effect of pornography on violent sex crimes and family instability, with and without using P.O. Box availability as an instrumental variable. Results suggest that unobservable population characteristics severaly bias upward the estimated harmfulness of adult magazines. My OLS estimates imply, like several previous studies, that consumption of pornography contributes to both higher frequencies of rapes and divorces. When instrumental variables are employed, however, the correlation between rapes and pornography turns negative while the statistical significance of the coefficient for pornography on the rate of divorces disappears.
Attitudes toward Pornography
- Goodson, P., McCormick, D., & Evans, A. (2000). Sex and the Internet: A Survey Instrument to Assess College Students' Behavior and Attitudes. CyberPsychology and Behavior. 3(2): 129-149.
Due to the paucity of empirical data on college students' perceptions and behavior when searching the Internet for sexuality-related information, the purpose of this article is to present the development, psychometric properties, and initial validation results of an instrument designed to measure these factors. The questionnaire, based on Social Cognitive Theory, contained three scales to measure attitudes of students toward use of the Internet for (a) obtaining sexuality-related information, (b) establishing personal connections, and (c) for sexual entertainment/arousal. Each of these three scales consisted of two subscales, measuring expectancies and expectations for the above functions. The subscales demonstrated a high degree of internal consistency (alphas ranging from .76 to .95) and appropriate temporal stability (rs = .69 to .78). A Principal Components analysis of the subscales yielded a factor structure of six factors, accounting for 68.8% of the total variance. Importance of the instrument for sexuality research as well as its limitations are also presented.
- Lo, Ven-hwei and Wei, Ran (2002) Third-Person Effect, Gender, and Pornography on the Internet. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 46:1, 13-33.
This study examined the role of gender in the third-person effect in the context of Internet pornography. The results indicate that most respondents believe Internet pornography has a greater negative influence on others than on themselves. Female respondents tend to perceive greater negative effects of Internet pornography on other males than on other females, and they are readier to support restrictions on Internet pornography. Finally, the magnitude of perceptual bias appears an unreliable predictor of support for media restriction, which may help explain mixed results in previous studies. This novel gender-differential approach strengthens the growing literature on the third-person effect.
Malamuth, N., Hald, G., & Koss, M. (2012).Pornography, Individual Differences in Risk and Men’s Acceptance of Violence Against Women in a Representative Sample. Sex Roles. 66(7-8): 427-439.
Based on the Confluence Model of Sexual Aggression, we hypothesized that individual differences in risk for sexual aggression moderate the association between pornography use and attitudes supporting violence against women. This hypothesis was in keeping with the findings of a recent meta-analysis which indicated such a positive association between porn use and attitudes. However, in this meta-analysis there was also a high degree of heterogeneity among studies, suggesting the existence of crucial moderating variables. Unfortunately, the available literature included in this meta-analysis did not enable identifying the basis for such moderation. To fully test our hypothesis of individual differences moderation and related hypotheses requires a representative sample. Fortunately, a unique nationally representative sample of U.S. men in any form of post-high school education that we obtained in 1984–85 enabled testing our predictions. Participants had anonymously completed questionnaires that included items pertaining to pornography use, attitudes about violence against women, and other measures assessing risk factors highlighted by the Confluence Model. As predicted, while we found an overall positive association between pornography consumption and attitudes, further examination showed that it was moderated by individual differences. More specifically, as predicted this association was found to be largely due to men at relatively high risk for sexually aggression who were relatively frequent pornography consumers. The findings help resolve inconsistencies in the literature and are in line not only with experimental research on attitudes but also with both experimental and non-experimental studies assessing the relationship between pornography consumption and sexually aggressive behavior.
Olmstead, S.B., Negash, S., Pasley, K., et al. (2013). Emerging adults' expectations for pornography use in the context of future committed romantic relationships: a qualitative study. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 42(4): 625-635.
Using qualitative content analysis from the written comments of 404 primarily heterosexual college students, we examined (1) their expectations for pornography use while married or in a committed long-term relationship and (2) variations by gender. Four prominent groups emerged. A majority of men (70.8 %) and almost half of women (45.5 %) reported circumstances (alone or with their partners) wherein pornography use was acceptable in a relationship and several conditions for, and consequences associated with, such use also emerged. Another group (22.3 % men; 26.2 % women) viewed pornography use as unacceptable because of being in a committed relationship whereas a third group (5.4 % men; 12.9 % women) reported that pornography use was unacceptable in any context or circumstance. A final group emerged of a few women (10.4 %) who stated that a partner's use of pornography was acceptable, but they did not expect to use it personally. Implications for relationship education among emerging adults and future research on pornography use within the context of romantic relationships are discussed.
- Thompson, Margaret E.; Chaffee, Steven H.; and Oshagan, Hayg H. (1990) Regulating Pornography: A Public Dilemma. Journal of Communication 40(3); 73-83.
In this article, we report findings from a small-scale public opinion survey about regulation of pornography, conducted in a community where feminist antipornograhic activism has recently been at least as prominent as the more usual thunder on the Right. We assumed that this issue is inherently problematic for many people because it does not break along conventional political or demographic lines. Liberals and conservatives alike tend to value First Amendment freedoms highly. At the same time, a traditional conservative would most likely disapprove of pornography (along with other forms of open sexual activity) as an affront to conventional, "family based" values, while the prevailing liberal view would focus more on pornography's detrimental effects on relationships between men and women and on its contribution to a "culture of violence" against women. The matter is thus fraught with the conflicting pressures of freedom and regulation, creating a large difference of opinions on the topic.
Review of Research
- Allen, M., D'Alessio, D., and Brezgel, K. (1995). A Meta-Analysis Summarizing the Effects of Pornography II Aggression After Exposure. Human Communication Research. 22 (2), 258-283.
This meta-analytic review examines the effect that exposure to pornography produces on aggressive behavior under laboratory conditions considering a variety of possible moderating conditions (level of sexual arousal, level of prior anger, type of pornography, gender of subject, gender of the target of aggression, and medium used to convey the material). The summary demonstrates a homogeneous set of results showing that pictorial nudity reduces subsequent aggressive behavior, that consumption of material depicting nonviolent sexual activity increases aggressive behavior, and that media depictions of violent sexual activity generates more aggression than those of nonviolent sexual activity. No other moderator variable produced homogeneous findings. The implications of the results for theoretical approaches to understanding the impact of pornography receives discussion, as do the limitations of such findings.
- Bauserman, R. (1996). Sexual aggression and pornography: A review of correlation research. Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 18 (4), 405-427.
Ongoing concern about effects of sexually explicit materials includes the role of such material in sex offenses. Issues include sex offenders' experiences with pornography and the link between pornography and sex crime rates. Review of the literature shows that sex offenders typically do not have earlier or more unusual exposure to pornography in childhood or adolescence, compared to nonoffenders. However, a minority of offenders report current use of pornography in their offenses. Rape rates are not consistently associated with pornography circulation, and the relationships found are ambiguous. Findings are consistent with a social learning view of pornography, but not with the view that sexually explicit materials in general contribute directly to sex crimes. The effort to reduce sex offenses should focus on types of experiences and backgrounds applicable to a larger number of offenders.
- Bensimon, Philipe (2007). The Role of Pornography in Sexual Offending. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. 14, 95-117.
This paper provides a review of the literature pertinent to the link between exposure to pornography and sexual offences. Research concerning the use of pornography as a precursor to sexual offending has yielded mixed results. Inconsistent findings can be attributed to differing research methodologies, including sampling strategies, measures, and genre(s) of pornography included. While the debate rages on regarding the potentially damaging effects of pornography, there is a consensus on one point: the availability and consumption of pornography does nothing to mitigate the likelihood that consumers will sexually offend. Very little research has been devoted to examining the impact of pornography consumption on incarcerated.
- Manning, Jill (2006). The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. 13 (2-3), 131-165.
Since the advent of the Internet, the sex industry has profited from an unprecedented proximity to the home environment. Consequently, couples, families, and individuals of all ages are being impacted by pornography in new ways. Examining the systemic impact of Internet pornography, however, is relatively uncharted territory and the body of systemically-focused research is limited. A review of the research that does exist was undertaken and many negative trends were revealed. While much remains unknown about the impact of Internet pornography on marriages and families, the available data provide an informed starting point for policy makers, educators, clinicians, and researchers.
- Russell, Diana (1988). Pornography and Rape: A Causal Model. Political Psychology. 9, 41-73.
The author theorizes that pornography predisposes some men to want to rape women or intensifies the predisposition in other men already so predisposed. It is further hypothesized that pornography undermines some men's internal and social inhibitions against acting out their rape desires. In discussing men's propensity to rape and sexually abused children, the author cites a study of male college students at universities in the United States and Canada which found that 25 to 30 percent reported the likelihood they would rape a woman if they could get away with it. A number of studies are presented and discussed to substantiate the author's theory that pornography causes rape and other sexual assault, and suggestions are made for further research.