Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1131–1144

United States Women and Pornography Through Four Decades: Exposure, Attitudes, Behaviors, Individual Differences

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-013-0116-y

Cite this article as:
Wright, P.J., Bae, S. & Funk, M. Arch Sex Behav (2013) 42: 1131. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0116-y


Responding to a call for research on pornography and women’s sexuality made by Weinberg, Williams, Kleiner, and Irizarry (2010), this study assessed pornography consumption, predictors, and correlates using nationally representative data gathered from U.S. women between 1973 and 2010 (N = 18,225). Women who were younger, less religious, and non-White were more likely to consume pornography. Women who consumed pornography had more positive attitudes toward extramarital sex, adult premarital sex, and teenage sex. Women who consumed pornography also had more sexual partners in the prior year, prior 5 years, and were more likely to have engaged in extramarital sex and paid sex. Consistent with Wright’s (2011a) acquisition, activation, application model of mass media sexual socialization and the theorizing of Linz and Malamuth (1993), liberal–conservative ideology moderated the association between pornography exposure and sexual behavior. Specifically, the positive association between pornography exposure and women’s recent sexual behavior was strongest for the most liberal women and weakest for the most conservative women. Cultural commentators and some academics argue that technological advances have resulted in a steady increase in the percentage of individuals who consume pornography. Little support was found for this assertion among U.S. women.


Pornography Sexually explicit media Women Sexual socialization Permissive sex 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TelecommunicationsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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