The Culture Reframed Academic Library contains peer-reviewed journal articles and selected reports from the last twenty years.
The selected journal article abstracts below represent research on the harms of pornography use. Pornography harms children and young people in numerous ways, including:
- Poor mental health
- Sexism and objectification
- Sexual aggression and violence
- Child-on-child sexual abuse
- Shaping sexual behaviors
The literature varies in its ability to show if pornography directly causes mental health issues or instead conditions are correlational (existed prior to viewing); or a combination of both. However, the literature consistently links the viewing of violent pornography to increased tendencies for sexually aggressive behavior. These studies identify significant areas that require action to prevent harms in children and young people’s health, mental health, physical safety, and well being, and as part of a broader societal effort to prevent violence against women. Each abstract is #hashtagged with relevant areas explored by the research.
#MentalHealth #SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #CompulsiveBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
Early Adolescent Boys’ Exposure to Internet Pornography: Relationships to Pubertal Timing, Sensation Seeking, and Academic Performance
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #CompulsiveBehaviours
ABSTRACT: Research has demonstrated that adolescents regularly use Internet pornography. This two-wave panel study aimed to test an integrative model in early adolescent boys (Mage = 14.10; N = 325) that (a) explains their exposure to Internet pornography by looking at relationships with pubertal timing and sensation seeking, and (b) explores the potential consequence of their exposure to Internet pornography for their academic performance. An integrative path model indicated that pubertal timing and sensation seeking predicted the use of Internet pornography. Boys with an advanced pubertal stage and boys high in sensation seeking more frequently used Internet pornography. Moreover, an increased use of Internet pornography decreased boys’ academic performance 6 months later. The discussion focuses on the consequences of this integrative model for future research on Internet pornography.
Beyens, I., Vandenbosch, L., & Eggermont, S. (2014). Early Adolescent Boys’ exposure to Internet pornography: Relationships to pubertal timing, sensation seeking, and academic performance. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 35(8), 1045-1068. DOI: 10.1177/0272431614548069
Does Pornography Consumption Increase Participation in Friends with Benefits Relationships?
#SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours
ABSTRACT: Friends with benefits (FWB) relationships integrate two types of relationships—friendship and a relationship that includes sexual intimacy but without an expectation of commitment. These relationships are often seen as less risky than other casual sexual behaviors, but they still pose a high risk of contracting an STI. Pornography consumption has been connected to increases in risky sexual behavior in other types of casual sex. In two studies (Study 1 N = 850; Study 2 N = 992), we examined the hypothesis that pornography use influences FWB behaviors, specifically through the mechanism of sexual scripts. Our results demonstrate that more frequent viewing of pornography is associated with a higher incidence of FWB relationships, a higher number of unique FWB partners, and engagement in all types of risky sexual behaviors during FWB relationships. We did a direct replication of these effects in Study 2 with all point estimates falling within their respective confidence intervals. We also examined these effects while controlling for the stability of FWB behaviors over the course of a semester. Finally, we provided evidence that more permissive sexual scripts mediated the association between frequency of pornography use and FWB behaviors. We discuss our findings with an eye toward mitigating public health risks among emerging adults.
Braithwaite, S. R., Aaron, S. C., Dowdle, K. K., Spjut, K., & Fincham, F. D. (2015) Does Pornography Consumption Increase Participation in Friends with Benefits Relationships? Sexuality & Culture, 19: 513. DOI:10.1007/s12119-015-9275-4
The relationship between frequent pornography consumption, behaviours, and sexual preoccupancy among male adolescents in Sweden
#MentalHealth #SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #CompulsiveBehaviours #Abuse&Violence
Frequent users watched hard core pornography and violent pornography to a higher extent.
Frequent users were more likely to have engaged in a wider range of sexual activities.
Frequent users fantasised about trying sexual activities seen in hard core pornography.
Frequent users showed signs of sexual preoccupancy and problematic pornography use.
Donevan, M., & Mattebo, M. (2017). The Relationship between Frequent Pornography Consumption, Behaviors, and Sexual Preoccupancy among Male Adolescents in Sweden. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare. DOI: 10.1016/j.srhc.2017.03.002
Lower Psychological Well-Being and Excessive Sexual Interest Predict Symptoms of Compulsive Use of Sexually Explicit Internet Material Among Adolescent Boys
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #CompulsiveBehaviours
ABSTRACT: Although a growing body of literature addresses the effects of young people’s use of sexually explicit Internet material, research on the compulsive use of this type of online content among adolescents and its associated factors is largely lacking. This study investigated whether factors from three distinct psychosocial domains (i.e., psychological well-being, sexual interests/behaviors, and impulsive-psychopathic personality) predicted symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material among adolescent boys. Links between psychosocial factors and boys’ compulsive use symptoms were analyzed both cross-sectionally and longitudinally with compulsive use symptoms measured 6 months later (T2). Data were used from 331 Dutch boys (M age = 15.16 years, range 11-17) who indicated that they used sexually explicit Internet material. The results from negative binomial regression analyses indicated that lower levels of global self-esteem and higher levels of excessive sexual interest concurrently predicted boys’ symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material. Longitudinally, higher levels of depressive feelings and, again, excessive sexual interest predicted relative increases in compulsive use symptoms 6 months later. Impulsive and psychopathic personality traits were not uniquely related to boys’ symptoms of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material. Our findings, while preliminary, suggest that both psychological well-being factors and sexual interests/behaviors are involved in the development of compulsive use of sexually explicit Internet material among adolescent boys. Such knowledge is important for prevention and intervention efforts that target the needs of specific problematic users of sexually explicit Internet material.
Doornwaard, S. M., van den Eijnden R. J., Baams, L., Vanwesenbeeck, I., & ter Bogt T. F. (2016). Lower Psychological Well-Being and Excessive Sexual Interest Predict Symptoms of Compulsive Use of Sexually Explicit Internet Material Among Adolescent Boys; Journal of Youth Adolescence, 45(1):73-84. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-015-0326-9
“Basically… Porn is everywhere” – A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effects that access and exposure to pornography have on children and young people
This important literature review deepens our own and others’ understanding of the impact on children and young people of viewing pornography, including extreme and violent images.
Horvath, M. A. H., Alys, L., Massey, K., Pina, A., Scally, M., & Adler, J. R. (2013).”Basically… Porn is everywhere” – A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effects that access and exposure to pornography have on children and young people. UK Children’s Commissioner
Pornographic Picture Processing Interferes with Working Memory Performance
ABSTRACT: Some individuals report problems during and after Internet sex engagement, such as missing sleep and forgetting appointments, which are associated with negative life consequences. One mechanism potentially leading to these kinds of problems is that sexual arousal during Internet sex might interfere with working memory (WM) capacity, resulting in a neglect of relevant environmental information and therefore disadvantageous decision making. In this study, 28 healthy individuals performed 4 experimental manipulations of a pictorial 4-back WM task with neutral, negative, positive, or pornographic stimuli. Participants also rated 100 pornographic pictures with respect to sexual arousal and indicated masturbation urges previous to and following pornographic picture presentation. Results revealed worse WM performance in the pornographic picture condition of the 4-back task compared with the three remaining picture conditions. Furthermore, hierarchical regression analysis indicated an explanation of variance of the sensitivity in the pornographic picture condition by the subjective rating of the pornographic pictures as well as by a moderation effect of masturbation urges. Results contribute to the view that indicators of sexual arousal due to pornographic picture processing interfere with WM performance. Findings are discussed with respect to Internet sex addiction because WM interference by addiction-related cues is well known from substance dependencies.
Laier, C., Schulte, F. P., & Brand, M. (2013). Pornographic Picture Processing Interferes with Working Memory Performance. The Journal of Sex Research, 50(7), 642-652. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2012.716873
Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK
#SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Objective: To explore expectations, experiences and circumstances of anal sex among young people.
RESULTS: Anal heterosex often appeared to be painful, risky and coercive, particularly for women. Interviewees frequently cited pornography as the ‘explanation’ for anal sex, yet their accounts revealed a complex context with availability of pornography being only one element. Other key elements included competition between men; the claim that ‘people must like it if they do it’ (made alongside the seemingly contradictory expectation that it will be painful for women); and, crucially, normalisation of coercion and ‘accidental’ penetration. It seemed that men were expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners.
CONCLUSIONS: Young people’s narratives normalised coercive, painful and unsafe anal heterosex. This study suggests an urgent need for harm reduction efforts targeting anal sex to help encourage discussion about mutuality and consent, reduce risky and painful techniques and challenge views that normalise coercion.
Marston, C., & Lewis, R. (2014). Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK. BMJ Open 2014;4:e004996. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-004996
The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: The recent proliferation of Internet-enabled technology has significantly changed the way adolescents encounter and consume sexually explicit material. Once confined to a personal computer attached to a telephone line, the Internet is now available on laptops, mobile phones, video game consoles, and other electronic devices. With the growth of the Internet has come easier and more ubiquitous access to pornography. The purpose of this article was to review the recent (i.e., 2005 to present) literature regarding the impact of Internet pornography on adolescents. Specifically, this literature review examined the impact of Internet pornography on sexual attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and sexual aggression. The authors also discuss the literature related to the influence of sexually explicit Internet material on self-concept, body image, social development, as well as the expanding body of research on adolescent brain function and physical development. Finally, recommendations for future research were discussed, based on this literature review.
Owens EW; Behun RJ; Manning JC; Reid, RC. (2012); The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 19:1-2, 99-122, DOI: 10.1080/10720162.2012.660431
Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects
ABSTRACT: This study was designed to investigate whether adolescents’ exposure to a sexualized media environment is associated with stronger beliefs that women are sex objects. More specifically, we studied whether the association between notions of women as sex objects and exposure to sexual content of varied explicitness (i.e., sexually nonexplicit, semi-explicit, or explicit) and in different formats (i.e., visual and audio-visual) can be better described as cumulative or as hierarchical. Further, we investigated whether this association was contingent on gender. Based on data from an on-line survey of 745 Dutch adolescents aged 13 to 18, we found that the relationship between exposure to a sexualized media environment and notions of women as sex objects followed a hierarchical pattern: Starting with adolescents’ exposure to sexually semiexplicit content, the statistical significance of the relationship with notions of women as sex objects moved from semi-explicit to explicit sexual content and from visual to audio-visual formats. Exposure to sexually explicit material in on-line movies was the only exposure measure significantly related to beliefs that women are sex objects in the final regression model, in which exposure to other forms of sexual content was controlled. The relationship between exposure to a sexualized media environment and notions of women as sex objects did not differ for girls and boys.
Peter J; & Valkenburg PM. (2007) Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects; Sex Roles, 56:381–395; DOI 10.1007/s11199-006-9176-y
Adolescents and Pornography: A Review of 20 Years of Research
#SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: The goal of this review was to systematize empirical research that was published in peer-reviewed English-language journals between 1995 and 2015 on the prevalence, predictors, and implications of adolescents’ use of pornography. This research showed that adolescents use pornography, but prevalence rates varied greatly. Adolescents who used pornography more frequently were male, at a more advanced pubertal stage, sensation seekers, and had weak or troubled family relations. Pornography use was associated with more permissive sexual attitudes and tended to be linked with stronger gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs. It also seemed to be related to the occurrence of sexual intercourse, greater experience with casual sex behavior, and more sexual aggression, both in terms of perpetration and victimization. The findings of this review need to be seen against the background of various methodological and theoretical shortcomings, as well as several biases in the literature, which currently precludes internally valid causal conclusions about effects of pornography on adolescents.
Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2016) Adolescents and Pornography: A Review of 20 Years of Research, The Journal of Sex Research, 53(4-5): 509-31. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1143441
Adolescents and web porn: a new era of sexuality
BACKGROUND: Pornography can affect the lifestyles of adolescents, especially in terms of their sexual habits and porn consumption, and may have a significant influence on their sexual attitudes and behaviors.
RESULTS: All young people, on an almost daily basis, have access to Internet. Among those surveyed, 1163 (77.9%) of Internet users admit to the consumption of pornographic material, and of these, 93 (8%) access pornographic websites daily, 686 (59%) boys accessing these sites perceive the consumption of pornography as always stimulating, 255 (21.9%) define it as habitual, 116 (10%) report that it reduces sexual interest towards potential real-life partners, and the remaining 106 (9.1%) report a kind of addiction. In addition, 19% of overall pornography consumers report an abnormal sexual response, while the percentage rose to 25.1% among regular consumers.
CONCLUSION: It is necessary to educate web users, especially young users, to a safe and responsible use of the Internet and of its contents. Moreover, public education campaigns should be increased in number and frequency to help improve knowledge of Internet-related sexual issues both by adolescents and by parents.
Pizzol, D., Bertoldo, A., & Foresta, C. (2016) Adolescents and web porn: a new era of sexuality; International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 28(2):169–73, DOI: 10.1515/ijamh-2015-0003
Is sexual content in new media linked to sexual risk behaviour in young people? A systematic review and meta-analysis
#SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours
ABSTRACT (partial): Social networking and digital media increasingly have an impact on the lives of young people. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that examined the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit websites (SEWs) and ‘sexting’ (i.e. sending semi-nude or nude photos from a mobile phone) and the sexual attitudes and practices of young people. Meta-analyses found that SEW exposure was correlated with condomless sexual intercourse; sexting was correlated with ever having had sexual intercourse, recent sexual activity, alcohol and other drug use before sexual intercourse and multiple recent sexual partners. Most studies had limited adjustment for important potential confounders. Cross-sectional studies show a strong association between self-reported exposure to sexual content in new media and sexual behaviours in young people. Longitudinal studies would provide a greater opportunity to adjust for confounding, and better insight into the causal pathways underlying the observed associations.
Smith, L.W., Liu, B., Degenhardt, L., Richters, J., Patton, G., Wand, H., Cross, D., Hocking, J. S., Skinner, S. R., Cooper, S., Lumby, C., Kaldor, J.M., & Guy, R. (2016) Is sexual content in new media linked to sexual risk behaviour in young people? A systematic review and meta-analysis; Journal of Sexual Health, DOI: 10.1071/SH16037
Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Abuse and Sexting in Young People’s Intimate Relationships: A European Study
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: New technology has made pornography increasingly accessible to young people, and a growing evidence base has identified a relationship between viewing pornography and violent or abusive behavior in young men. This article reports findings from a large survey of 4,564 young people aged 14 to 17 in five European countries which illuminate the relationship between regular viewing of online pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and the sending and receiving of sexual images and messages, known as “sexting.” In addition to the survey, which was completed in schools, 91 interviews were undertaken with young people who had direct experience of interpersonal violence and abuse in their own relationships. Rates for regularly viewing online pornography were very much higher among boys and most had chosen to watch pornography. Boys’ perpetration of sexual coercion and abuse was significantly associated with regular viewing of online pornography. Viewing online pornography was also associated with a significantly increased probability of having sent sexual images/messages for boys in nearly all countries. In addition, boys who regularly watched online pornography were significantly more likely to hold negative gender attitudes. The qualitative interviews illustrated that, although sexting is normalized and perceived positively by most young people, it has the potential to reproduce sexist features of pornography such as control and humiliation. Sex and relationships education should aim to promote a critical understanding of pornography among young people that recognizes its abusive and gendered values.
Stanley, N., Barter, C., Wood, M., Aghtaie, N., Larkins, C., Lanau, A., & Överlien, C. (2016). Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Abuse and Sexting in Young People’s Intimate Relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-26. DOI: 10.1177/0886260516633204
Adolescents’ Sexual Media Use and Willingness to Engage in Casual Sex: Differential Relations and Underlying Processes
#SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours
ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relationship between different types of sexual media use (i.e., sexually explicit internet material, sexually oriented reality TV, and sexy self-presentations on social network sites) and adolescents’ willingness to engage in casual sex, as well as underlying sociocognitive processes of this relationship. Drawing on a longitudinal three-wave panel study among 1,467 adolescents (aged 13–17, 50% female), we found that exposure to sexually explicit Internet material directly predicted adolescents’ willingness to engage in casual sex. Exposure to sexy self-presentations of others on social network sites and sexually oriented reality TV predicted adolescents’ willingness to engage in casual sex indirectly through descriptive peer norms on casual sex.
van Oosten, J. M. F., Peter, J., & Vandenbosch, L. (2016) Adolescents’ Sexual Media Use and Willingness to Engage in Casual Sex: Differential Relations and Underlying Processes; Human Communication Research, 43(1): 127-147. DOI:10.1111/hcre.12098
X-rated material and perpetration of sexually aggressive behavior among children and adolescents: is there a link
ABSTRACT: Longitudinal linkages between intentional exposure to x-rated material and sexually aggressive behavior were examined among youth 10-15 year olds surveyed nationally in the United States. At Wave 1 in 2006, participants (n = 1,588) were queried about these exposures and outcomes in the preceding 12 months. Wave 2 data (n = 1,206) were collected approximately 12 months after Wave 1 and Wave 3 data (n = 1,159) were collected approximately 24 months after Wave 1. Thus, data for this project represent a 36-month time frame. A marginal model with generalized estimating equations was used to represent the population-average odds of sexually aggressive behavior over the 36 months as a function of exposure to x-rated material over the same time and to account for clustering in the data within person over time. An average of 5% of youth reported perpetrating sexually aggressive behavior and 23% of youth reported intentional exposure to x-rated material. After adjusting for other potentially influential proximal (i.e., sexual aggression victimization) and distal characteristics (e.g., substance use), we found that intentional exposure to violent x-rated material over time predicted an almost 6-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior, whereas exposure to nonviolent x-rated material was not statistically significantly related. Associations were similar for boys and girls.
Ybarra, M. L., Mitchell, K. J., Hamburger, M., Diener-West, M., & Leaf, P. J. (2011) X-rated material and perpetration of sexually aggressive behavior among children and adolescents: is there a link? Journal of Aggressive Behavior, 37(1):1-18. DOI: 10.1002/ab.20367
OTHER RELEVANT JOURNAL ARTICLES – PORNOGRAPHY CONTENT, ADULT OR YOUNG ADULT STUDIES
Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update
ABSTRACT: This current study analyzes the content of popular pornographic videos, with the objectives of updating depictions of aggression, degradation, and sexual practices and comparing the study’s results to previous content analysis studies. Findings indicate high levels of aggression in pornography in both verbal and physical forms. Of the 304 scenes analyzed, 88.2% contained physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, and slapping, while 48.7% of scenes contained verbal aggression, primarily name-calling. Perpetrators of aggression were usually male, whereas targets of aggression were overwhelmingly female. Targets most often showed pleasure or responded neutrally to the aggression.
Bridges, A., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update. Violence Against Women, 16(10): 1065-85. DOI: 10.1177/107780121038286
Predicting Bystander Efficacy and Willingness to Intervene in College Men and Women: The Role of Exposure to Varying Levels of Violence in Pornography
#SexualAttitudes #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Students from two research universities completed items measuring the frequency of their using different kinds of pornography, and measures of their willingness and intent to intervene to help a bystander who might be experiencing sexual violence. Hierarchical logistic regressions showed that for men, violent/degrading pornography use, but not explicit but non-degrading pornography use, was significantly associated with reduced bystander willingness to intervene, but not associated with bystander efficacy. Women did not show the same impact of violent/degrading pornography use on the two bystander intervention variables. Results suggest violence/degrading pornography may contribute to a culture of acceptance of violence against women.
Foubert, J; & Bridges, A. J. (2017) Predicting Bystander Efficacy and Willingness to Intervene in College Men and Women: The Role of Exposure to Varying Levels of Violence in Pornography; Violence Against Women, 23(6):692-706. DOI: 10.1177/1077801216648793
Experimental effects of exposure to pornography: the moderating effect of personality and mediating effect of sexual arousal
ABSTRACT: Using a randomly selected community sample of 200 Danish young adult men and women in a randomized experimental design, the study investigated the effects of a personality trait (agreeableness), past pornography consumption, and experimental exposure to non-violent pornography on attitudes supporting violence against women (ASV). We found that lower levels of agreeableness and higher levels of past pornography consumption significantly predicted ASV. In addition, experimental exposure to pornography increased ASV but only among men low in agreeableness. This relationship was found to be significantly mediated by sexual arousal with sexual arousal referring to the subjective assessment of feeling sexually excited, ready for sexual activities, and/or bodily sensations associated with being sexually aroused. In underscoring the importance of individual differences, the results supported the hierarchical confluence model of sexual aggression and the media literature on affective engagement and priming effects.
Hald, G. M., & Malamuth N. N. (2015). Experimental effects of exposure to pornography: The moderating effect of personality and mediating effect of sexual arousal. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(1):99-109. DOI:10.1007/s10508-014-0291-5
Pornography Values: Hierarchy and Hubris
#SexualAttitudes #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Although the radical feminist critique has been eclipsed by postmodern and liberal positions in the debate over pornography during the past two decades, that radical critique remains the best framework for understanding sexually explicit material.When combined with a critique of the assumptions and values of a hypermediated society, radical feminism helps sharpen our inquiry into what it means to be human at this point in history. The contemporary pornography industry is based on a patriarchal gender fundamentalism and pornographic/media fundamentalism that undermine our ability to achieve self-realization in stable, respectful communities. Public Health Significance Statement: The sexual exploitation of women in pornography and the hypermediated nature of life in the contemporary United States can undermine the ability of people, especially men, to build the relationships needed for stable, respectful human communities.
Jensen, R. (2016) Pornographic Values: Hierarchy and Hubris. Sexualization, Media, & Society, 1-5; DOI: 10.1177/2374623815627787
How much more XXX is Generation X consuming? Evidence of changing attitudes and behaviors related to pornography since 1973
ABSTRACT: We use data from the General Social Survey (GSS) over a 40-year period (1973–2012) to evaluate changes in attitudes about pornography and pornography consumption among American young adults. One of the major challenges in making comparisons across birth generations is separating the effect of birth cohort from age and period effects. We use an intrinsic estimator to separately identify the effects of age, birth cohort, and time period using 40 years of repeated cross-section data. We find that, relative to the general population, young people’s beliefs about whether pornography should be illegal have stayed relatively constant over this 40-year period and, if anything, have slightly increased. We also find that pornography consumption has been increasing across birth generations, though this increase has been smaller than would be inferred based on differences across generations at a single point in time, due to a strong age component in consumption patterns.
Price, J., Patterson, R., Regnerus, M., & Walley, J. (2016) How much more XXX is Generation X consuming? Evidence of changing attitudes and behaviors related to pornography since 1973, The Journal of Sex Research, 53(1):12-20. DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2014.1003773
The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #CompulsiveBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Although the objectification of women is widespread, there is relatively little research on objectification in romantic relationships. The purpose of our research was to explore how partner-objectification might be related to sexual pressure and coercion in heterosexual relationships. Two studies were conducted, one with heterosexual men and one with heterosexual women as participants. An online survey of 119 heterosexual men in the United States demonstrated that men who frequently survey their partners’ bodies are more likely to sexually pressure and coerce their partners—primarily because partner-surveillance is related to feelings of shame regarding one’s partner’s body, which in turn is related to increased sexual pressure and coercion. An online survey of 162 heterosexual women in the United States demonstrated feeling objectified by a partner is related to several (but not all) measures of sexual pressure and coercion. Furthermore, women who felt that their partners frequently surveyed their bodies were more likely to experience self-surveillance, which in turn predicted increased body shame and lowered sexual agency. Our research can inform interventions aimed at reducing sexual coercion and spark future research on the distinction between physical attraction and objectification in the context of romantic relationships.
Ramsey, L. R., & Hoyt, T. (2015) The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships; Psychology of Women, 39(2): 151-170. DOI: 10.1177/0361684314544679
Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations
#MentalHealth #SexualHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Pornography has become a primary source of sexual education. At the same time, mainstream commercial pornography has coalesced around a relatively homogenous script involving violence and female degradation. Yet, little work has been done exploring the associations between pornography and dyadic sexual encounters: What role does pornography play inside real world sexual encounters between a man and a woman? Cognitive script theory argues media scripts create a readily accessible heuristic model for decision-making. The more a user watches a particular media script, the more embedded those codes of behavior become in their worldview and the more likely they are to use those scripts to act upon real life experiences. We argue pornography creates a sexual script that then guides sexual experiences.To test this, we surveyed 487 college men (ages 18–29 years) in the United States to compare their rate of pornography use with sexual preferences and concerns. Results showed the more pornography a man watches, the more likely he was to use it during sex, request particular pornographic sex acts of his partner, deliberately conjure images of pornography during sex to maintain arousal, and have concerns over his own sexual performance and body image. Further, higher pornography use was negatively associated with enjoying sexually intimate behaviors with a partner. We conclude that pornography provides a powerful heuristic model which is implicated in men’s expectations and behaviors during sexual encounters.
Sun, C., Bridges, A., Johnson, J., & Ezzell, M. (2016). Pornography and the male sexual script: An analysis of consumption and sexual relations. Archives of sexual behavior, 1-12. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-014-0391-2
Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995–2015
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Sexually objectifying portrayals of women are a frequent occurrence in mainstream media, raising questions about the potential impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves. The goal of this review was to synthesize empirical investigations testing effects of media sexualization. The focus was on research published in peer-reviewed, English-language journals between 1995 and 2015. A total of 109 publications that contained 135 studies were reviewed. The findings provided consistent evidence that both laboratory exposure and regular, everyday exposure to this content are directly associated with a range of consequences, including higher levels of body dissatisfaction, greater self-objectification, greater support of sexist beliefs and of adversarial sexual beliefs, and greater tolerance of sexual violence toward women. Moreover, experimental exposure to this content leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity. Limitations with the existing research approaches and measures are discussed, and suggestions for future research directions are provided.
Ward, M. L. (2016) Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995–2015, The Journal of Sex Research, 53:4-5, 560-577, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1142496
Meta-Analyses of the Relationship Between Conformity to Masculine Norms and Mental Health-Related Outcomes
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #Sexism
ABSTRACT: Despite theoretical postulations that individuals’ conformity to masculine norms is differentially related to mental health-related outcomes depending on a variety of contexts, there has not been any systematic synthesis of the empirical research on this topic. Therefore, the authors of this study conducted meta-analyses of the relationships between conformity to masculine norms (as measured by the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-94 and other versions of this scale) and mental health-related outcomes using 78 samples and 19,453 participants. Conformity to masculine norms was modestly and unfavorably associated with mental health as well as moderately and unfavorably related to psychological help seeking. The authors also identified several moderation effects. Conformity to masculine norms was more strongly correlated with negative social functioning than with psychological indicators of negative mental health. Conformity to the specific masculine norms of self-reliance, power over women, and playboy were unfavorably, robustly, and consistently related to mental health-related outcomes, whereas conformity to the masculine norm of primacy of work was not significantly related to any mental health-related outcome. These findings highlight the need for researchers to disaggregate the generic construct of conformity to masculine norms and to focus instead on specific dimensions of masculine norms and their differential associations with other outcomes.
Public Significance Statement
This study synthesized findings from 19,453 participants across 78 samples regarding the relationships between conformity to masculine norms and mental health-related outcomes. In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although the results differed depending on specific types of masculine norms.
Wong Y. J., Ho, M. R., Wang, S. Y., & Miller, I.S. (2016) Meta-Analyses of the Relationship Between Conformity to Masculine Norms and Mental Health-Related Outcomes. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 64(1):80-93. DOI: 10.1037/cou0000176
A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies
#MentalHealth #SexualAttitudes #SexualBehaviours #Sexism #Abuse&Violence
ABSTRACT: Whether pornography consumption is a reliable correlate of sexually aggressive behavior continues to be debated. Meta-analyses of experimental studies have found effects on aggressive behavior and attitudes. That pornography consumption correlates with aggressive attitudes in naturalistic studies has also been found. Yet, no meta-analysis has addressed the question motivating this body of work: Is pornography consumption correlated with committing actual acts of sexual aggression? 22 studies from 7 different countries were analyzed. Consumption was associated with sexual aggression in the United States and internationally, among males and females, and in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Associations were stronger for verbal than physical sexual aggression, although both were significant.The general pattern of results suggested that violent content may be an exacerbating factor.