Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 614-625

Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption

  • Gert Martin HaldAffiliated withThe Clinic of Sexology, Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet) Email author 
  • , Neil M. MalamuthAffiliated withDepartment of Communication Studies, University of California

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Abstract

The self-perceived effects of “hardcore” pornography consumption were studied in a large representative sample of young adult Danish men and women aged 18–30. Using a survey that included the newly developed Pornography Consumption Effect Scale, we assessed participants’ reports of how pornography has affected them personally in various areas, including their sexual knowledge, attitudes toward sex, attitudes toward and perception of the opposite sex, sex life, and general quality of life. Across all areas investigated, participants reported only small, if any, negative effects with men reporting slightly more negative effects than women. In contrast, moderate positive effects were generally reported by both men and women, with men reporting significantly more positive effects than women. For both sexes, sexual background factors were found to significantly predict both positive and negative effects of pornography consumption. Although the proportion of variance in positive effects accounted for by sexual background factors was substantial, it was small for negative effects. We discuss how the findings may be interpreted differently by supporters and opponents of pornography due to the reliance in this study on reported self-perceptions of effects. Nonetheless, we conclude that the overall findings suggest that many young Danish adults believe that pornography has had primarily a positive effect on various aspects of their lives.

Keywords

Pornography Sex differences Denmark Sexuality Sex