Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 577–585 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Pornography Consumption among Young Heterosexual Danish Adults

  • Gert Martin HaldEmail author
Original Paper


The aims of the study were (1) to investigate gender differences in pornography consumption among Danish adults aged 18–30 and (2) to examine gender differences in situational, interpersonal, and behavioral characteristics of pornography consumption. A national survey study was conducted using a representative sample of 688 young heterosexual Danish adult men and women. The study found large gender differences in prevalence rates of pornography consumption and consumption patterns. Compared to women, men were exposed to pornography at a younger age, consumed more pornography as measured by time and frequency, and used pornography more often during sexual activity on their own. Gender differences in the interpersonal context of use were also evident, with women using pornography more often with a regular sexual partner than men. In turn, men were found to use pornography more often on their own or with friends (non-sexual partners) than women. For both men and women, the usual place of use was home and no significant gender difference was found in this regard. Men and women were found to vary in their preferences in pornographic materials, with men both preferring a wider range of hardcore pornography and less softcore pornography than women. Gender differences in sexual behavioral factors were limited to masturbation patterns with men masturbating more than women. Male gender, higher frequency of masturbation, lower age at first exposure, and younger age were found to account for 48.8% of the total variance of pornography consumption. The results were discussed in relation to the sociocultural environment and evolutionary theory. It is argued that gender differences in social acceptability, adherence to gender stereotypes, traditions of gender sexuality, gender norms, and mating strategies are key factors in understanding gender differences in pornography consumption.


Pornography Sexual media Sexuality Gender differences Denmark 



The study was supported in part by grants from The Health Insurance Foundation and The Augustinus Foundation. In addition to the Editor and reviewers, special thanks is given to Christian Graugaard, Henrik Hoegh-Olesen, Mikkel Arendt, and Peter Hartmann for valuable comments to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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