Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Pornography Hooking up Sexual scripts Emerging adults 

References

  1. Agnew, C. R., & Loving, T. J. (1998). The role of social desirability in self-reported condom use attitudes and intentions. AIDS and Behavior, 2(3), 229–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bersamin, M. M., Zamboanga, B. L., Schwartz, S. J., Donnellan, M. B., Hudson, M., Weisskirch, R. S., … Caraway, S. J. (2014). Risky business: Is there an association between casual sex and mental health among emerging adults? Journal of Sex Research, 51(1), 43–51.Google Scholar
  4. Bogle, K. A. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Braithwaite, S. R., Delevi, R., & Fincham, F. D. (2010). Romantic relationships and the physical and mental health of college students. Personal Relationships, 17(1), 1–12. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01248.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Braithwaite, S. R., & Fincham, F. D. (2014). Computer-based prevention of intimate partner violence in marriage. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 54, 12–21. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2013.12.006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Braun-Courville, D., & Rojas, M. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(2), 156–162. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bridges, A. J., Bergner, R. M., & Hesson-McInnis, M. (2003). Romantic partners’ use of pornography: Its significance for women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 29(1), 1–14. doi: 10.1080/713847097.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bridges, A. J., Wosnitzer, R., Scharrer, E., Sun, C., & Liberman, R. (2010). Aggression and sexual behavior in best-selling pornography videos: A content analysis update. Violence Against Women, 16(10), 1065–1085. doi: 10.1177/1077801210382866.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Brosius, H., Weaver, J. B., & Staab, J. F. (1993). Exploring the social and sexual ‘reality’ of contemporary pornography. Journal of Sex Research, 30(2), 161–170. doi: 10.1080/00224499309551697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, J. D., & L’Engle, K. L. (2009). X-rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36(1), 129–151. doi: 10.1177/0093650208326465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carroll, J. S., Padilla-Walker, L., Nelson, L. J., Olson, C. D., Barry, C. M., & Madsen, S. D. (2008). Generation XXX: Pornography acceptance and use among emerging adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23(1), 6–30. doi: 10.1177/0743558407306348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1995). Youth risk behavior surveillance: National college health risk behavior survey. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  14. Collins, R. L., Elliott, M. N., Berry, S. H., Kanouse, D. E., Kunkel, D., Hunter, S. B., et al. (2004). Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 114(3), e280–e289. doi: 10.1542/peds.2003-1065-L.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Cooper, A. (1998). Sexuality and the Internet: Surfing into the new millennium. Cyber Psychology & Behavior, 1(2), 187–193. doi: 10.1089/cpb.1998.1.187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Edelman, B. (2009). Markets: Red light states: Who buys online adult entertainment? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 23(1), 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fielder, R. L., & Carey, M. P. (2010a). Predictors and consequences of sexual “hookups” among college students: A short-term prospective study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(5), 1105–1119.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Fielder, R. L., & Carey, M. P. (2010b). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual hookups among first-semester female college students. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 36(4), 346–359.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fisher, M. L., Worth, K., Garcia, J. R., & Meredith, T. (2012). Feelings of regret following uncommitted sexual encounters in Canadian university students. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 14(1), 45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foster, V., Clark, P. C., Holstad, M. M., & Burgess, E. (2012). Factors associated with risky sexual behaviors in older adults. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 23(6), 487–499. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2011.12.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 18(4), 212–231. doi: 10.1080/10720162.2011.625552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gagnon, J. H., & Simon, W. (2005). Sexual conduct: The social sources of human sexuality. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  23. Garcia, J. R., & Reiber, C. (2008). Hook-up behavior: A biopsychosocial perspective. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2(4), 192–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Garcia, J. R., Reiber, C., Massey, S. G., & Merriwether, A. M. (2012). Sexual hookup culture: A review. Review of General Psychology, 16(2), 161–176. doi: 10.1037/a0027911.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Gardner, M., & Steinberg, L. (2005). Peer influence on risk taking, risk preference, and risky decision making in adolescence and adulthood: An experimental study. Developmental Psychology, 41(4), 625–635. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.41.4.625.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Grello, C. M., Welsh, D. P., & Harper, M. S. (2006). No strings attached: The nature of casual sex in college students. Journal of Sex Research, 43(3), 255–267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hald, G. M. (2006). Gender differences in pornography consumption among young heterosexual Danish adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35(5), 577–585.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., & Yuen, C. (2010). Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: Revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 14–20. doi: 10.1002/ab.20328.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Halford, W. K., Markman, H. J., Kline, G. H., & Stanley, S. M. (2003). Best practice in couple relationship education. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 29(3), 385–406.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kazdin, A. E. (2007). Mediators and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy research. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3, 1–27. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.3.022806.091432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Krahé, B. (2011). Pornografiekonsum, sexuelle skripts und sexuelle aggression im jugendalter. Zeitschrift Für Entwicklungspsychologie Und Pädagogische Psychologie, 43(3), 133–141. doi: 10.1026/0049-8637/a000044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kuortti, M., & Kosunen, E. (2009). Risk-taking behaviour is more frequent in teenage girls with multiple sexual partners. Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, 27, 47–52. doi: 10.1080/02813430802691933.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Lambert, T. A., Kahn, A. S., & Apple, K. J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. Journal of Sex Research, 40(2), 129–133.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Lambert, N. M., Negash, S., Stillman, T. F., Olmstead, S. B., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). A love that doesn’t last: Pornography consumption and weakened commitment to one’s romantic partner. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31(4), 410–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Luder, M., Pittet, I., Berchtold, A., Akré, C., Michaud, P., & Surís, J. (2011). Associations between online pornography and sexual behavior among adolescents: Myth or reality? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(5), 1027–1035. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9714-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Maddox, A. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2011). Viewing sexually-explicit materials alone or together: Associations with relationship quality. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 441–448.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Malamuth, N. M. (1996). Sexually explicit media, gender differences, and evolutionary theory. Journal of Communication, 46(3), 8–31. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1996.tb01486.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Manning, J. C. (2006). The impact of internet pornography on marriage and the family: A review of the research. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13(2–3), 131–165. doi: 10.1080/10720160600870711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mansson, S. A., Daneback, K., Tikkanen, R., & Lofgren-Martenson, L. (2003). Karlek och sex pa Internet [Love and sex on the Internet]. Goteborg: Goteborg University and Malmo University (Rep. No. 2003:1).Google Scholar
  40. Mayaud, P., & Mabey, D. (2004). Approaches to the control of sexually transmitted infections in developing countries: Old problems and modern challenges. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 80(3), 174–182.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Morgan, E. M. (2011). Associations between young adults’ use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction. Journal of Sex Research, 48(6), 520–530. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2010.543960.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Nøttestad, J. A., Øverland, S., & Hald, G. M. (2010). Fremmer pornografi voldsunderstøttende holdninger og seksuell aggresjon mot kvinner? Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 47(12), 1112–1114.Google Scholar
  43. Olmstead, S. B., Negash, S., Pasley, K., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). Emerging adults’ expectations for pornography use in the context of future committed romantic relationships: A qualitative study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 625–635.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Owen, J., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Young adults’ emotional reactions after hooking up encounters. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 321–330.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Owen, J., Fincham, F. D., & Moore, J. (2011). Short-term prospective study of hooking up among college students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(2), 331–341.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Owen, J. J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2010). “Hooking up” among college students: Demographic and psychosocial correlates. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(3), 653–663. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9414-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Padilla-Walker, L. M., Nelson, L. J., Carroll, J. S., & Jensen, A. C. (2010). More than a just a game: Video game and internet use during emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(2), 103–113. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9390-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Paul, E. L., & Hayes, K. A. (2002). The causalities of ‘casual’ sex: A qualitative exploration of the phenomenology of college students’ hookups. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19(5), 639–661. doi: 10.1177/0265407502195006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, A. (2000). ‘Hookups’: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research, 37(1), 76–88. doi: 10.1080/00224490009552023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Penke, L., & Asendorpf, J. B. (2008). Beyond global sociosexual orientations: A more differentiated look at sociosexuality and its effects on courtship and romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1113–1135. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.95.5.1113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2010). Processes underlying the effects of adolescents’ use of sexually explicit internet material: The role of perceived realism. Communication Research, 37(3), 375–399. doi: 10.1177/0093650210362464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Poulsen, F. O., Busby, D. M., & Galovan, A. M. (2013). Pornography use: Who uses it and how it is associated with couple outcomes. Journal of Sex Research, 50(1), 72–83. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.648027.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Reiber, C., & Garcia, J. R. (2010). Hooking up: Gender differences, evolution, and pluralistic ignorance. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 390–404.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Romito, P., & Beltramini, L. (2011). Watching pornography: Gender differences, violence and victimization. An exploratory study in Italy. Violence Against Women, 17(10), 1313–1326. doi: 10.1177/1077801211424555.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7(4), 422.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Sliding versus deciding: Inertia and the premarital cohabitation effect. Family Relations, 55(4), 499–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00418.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thompson, J. C., Kao, T., & Thomas, R. J. (2004). The relationship between alcohol use and risk-taking sexual behaviors in a large behavioral study. Preventative Medicine, 41, 247–252. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.11.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Træen, B., Stigum, H., & Eskild, A. (2002). Contraception and STD protection among urban Norwegians. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 4, 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tydén, T., & Rogala, C. (2004). Sexual behaviour among young men in Sweden and the impact of pornography. International Journal of STD and AIDS, 15(9), 590–593. doi: 10.1258/0956462041724299.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. U. S. Bureau of the Census. (2009). Computer and Internet use in the United States: October 2009, Appendix Table A.Google Scholar
  61. Wang, B., & Davidson, P. (2006). Sex, lies, and videos in rural China: A qualitative study of women’s sexual debut and risky sexual behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 43(3), 227–235. doi: 10.1080/00224490609552321.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., Kleiner, S., & Irizarry, Y. (2010). Pornography, normalization, and empowerment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(6), 1389–1401.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Wright, P. J. (2011). Mass media effects on youth sexual behavior: Assessing the claim for causality. Communication Yearbook, 35, 343–386.Google Scholar
  64. Wright, P. J. (2012). A longitudinal analysis of U.S. adults’ pornography exposure. Journal of Media Psychology, 24(6), 67–79. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wright, P. J. (2013). U.S. males and pornography, 1973–2010: Consumption, predictors, correlates. Journal of Sex Research, 50(1), 60–71. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.628132.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Wright, P. J., & Randall, A. K. (2012). Internet pornography exposure and risky sexual behavior among adult males in the United States. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(4), 1410–1416. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.03.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yucel, D., & Gassanov, M. A. (2010). Exploring actor and partner correlates of sexual satisfaction among married couples. Social Science Research, 39(5), 725–738. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.09.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zillmann, D. D. (2000). Influence of unrestrained access to erotica on adolescents “and young adults” dispositions toward sexuality. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27, 41–44. doi: 10.1016/S1054-139X(00)00137-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Zillmann, D., & Bryant, J. (1982). Pornography, sexual callousness, and the trivialization of rape. Journal of Communication, 32(4), 10–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1982.tb02514.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Zillmann, D., & Bryant, J. (1988). Pornography’s impact on sexual satisfaction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18(5), 438–453. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00027.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations