Sex Roles

, Volume 29, Issue 1–2, pp 69–89 | Cite as

Reactions to pornography on a college campus: For or against?

  • Ilsa Lottes
  • Martin Weinberg
  • Inge Weller


In recent years pornography has become a controversial political/moral issue sparking intense debate among a variety of groups. The purpose of the research carried out in 1988 and reported here was to examine attitudes about and exposure to sexually explicit materials for a representative sample of predominantly Caucasian students at a state university in the Midwest. Results indicated that a majority defined pornography as media portraying explicit sexual activities, agreed that adults should have access to sexually explicit materials, and attributed both harmful and positive effects to such materials. Respondents tended to endorse either the views that sexually explicit materials are harmful, do not have positive effects, and should be restricted, or the opposite views that they are not harmful, do have positive effects, and should not be restricted. Women, more religious respondents, less sexually active respondents, and those who had never seen such materials endorsed the more negative evaluations. These students' views are compared with those of a representative sample of the county as a whole, as well as with residents of other locales in the United States. Results are also discussed with respect to four conceptually distinct positions on the pornography issue.


United States Social Psychology Representative Sample Sexual Activity Negative Evaluation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilsa Lottes
    • 1
  • Martin Weinberg
    • 2
  • Inge Weller
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimore
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityUSA
  3. 3.University of MannheimUSA

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