Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 111–123 | Cite as

The Influence of Pornography on Sexual Scripts and Hooking Up Among Emerging Adults in College

  • Scott R. BraithwaiteEmail author
  • Gwen Coulson
  • Krista Keddington
  • Frank D. Fincham
Original Paper


The explosive growth in access to the Internet has led to a commensurate increase in the availability, anonymity, and affordability of pornography. An emerging body of research has shown associations between pornography and certain behaviors and attitudes; yet, how pornography actually influences these outcomes has not been documented. In two studies (Study 1 N = 969; Study 2 N = 992) we examined the hypothesis that pornography influences potentially risky sexual behavior (hooking up) among emerging adults via sexual scripts. Our results demonstrate that more frequent viewing of pornography is associated with a higher incidence of hooking up and a higher number of unique hook up partners. We replicated these effects both cross-sectionally and longitudinally while accounting for the stability of hook ups over the course of an academic semester. We also demonstrated that more frequent viewing of pornography is associated with having had more previous sexual partners of all types, more one occasion sexual partners (“one night stands”), and plans to have a higher number of sexual partners in the future. Finally, we provided evidence that more permissive sexual scripts mediated the association between more frequent pornography viewing and hooking up. We discuss these findings with an eye toward mitigating potential personal and public health risks among emerging adults.


Pornography Hooking up Sexual scripts Emerging adults 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott R. Braithwaite
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gwen Coulson
    • 1
  • Krista Keddington
    • 1
  • Frank D. Fincham
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Family InstituteFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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