Sexually Explicit Media on the Internet: A Content Analysis of Sexual Behaviors, Risk, and Media Characteristics in Gay Male Adult Videos
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Recent research suggests that viewing sexually explicit media (SEM), i.e., adult videos, may influence sexual risk taking among men who have sex with men. Despite this evidence, very little is known about the content of gay male SEM on the Internet, including the prevalence of sexual risk behaviors and their relation to video- and performer-characteristics, viewing frequency, and favorability. The current study content analyzed 302 sexually explicit videos featuring male same-sex performers that were posted to five highly trafficked adult-oriented websites. Findings revealed that gay male SEM on the Internet features a variety of conventional and nonconventional sexual behaviors. There was a substantial prevalence of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) (34 %) and was virtually the same as the prevalence of anal sex with a condom (36 %). The presence of UAI was not associated with video length, amateur production, number of video views, favorability, or website source. However, the presence of other potentially high-risk behaviors (e.g., ejaculation in the mouth, and ejaculation on/in/rubbed into the anus) was associated with longer videos, more views, and group sex videos (three or more performers). The findings of high levels of sexual risk behavior and the fact that there was virtually no difference in the prevalence of anal sex with and without a condom in gay male SEM have important implications for HIV prevention efforts, future research on the role of SEM on sexual risk taking, and public health policy.
KeywordsSexually explicit media Pornography Internet Content analysis Sexual risk behaviors MSM
Martin Downing’s writing and editorial efforts were supported by a postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research sponsored by Public Health Solutions and National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32-DA007233). Points of view, opinions, and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S. Government, Public Health Solutions or National Development and Research Institutes. An earlier version of this report was presented at the meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Tampa, FL, November 2012.
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