Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1171–1188 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Escapist Uses of Sexually Explicit Internet Material: Results from a German Probability Sample

  • Mathias WeberEmail author
  • Stefan Aufenanger
  • Michael Dreier
  • Oliver Quiring
  • Leonard Reinecke
  • Klaus Wölfling
  • Kai W. Müller
  • Manfred E. Beutel
Original Paper


The intensity of using sexually explicit internet material (SEIM) is contingent on users’ gender. However, gender differences in the motivations for watching SEIM have not yet been comprehensively explored. Drawing on a representative survey of German internet users, we therefore analyze how women and men use SEIM to satisfy escapist needs. Lower life satisfaction, the lack of a committed relationship, and feelings of loneliness contribute to predicting the frequency of using SEIM among men. Loneliness likewise fosters the consumption of SEIM among women, yet the effect is less pronounced. For female internet users, consumption of SEIM even increases in committed relationships and rather indicates a comparably high level of life satisfaction than dissatisfaction with life circumstances. Gender hence substantially moderates the connection between need structures and the consumption of SEIM.


Escapism Pornography Sexually explicit content Gender Internet use 



This study was funded by the Research Center of Media convergence, University of Mainz.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias Weber
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Aufenanger
    • 2
  • Michael Dreier
    • 3
  • Oliver Quiring
    • 1
  • Leonard Reinecke
    • 1
  • Klaus Wölfling
    • 3
  • Kai W. Müller
    • 3
  • Manfred E. Beutel
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationJohannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of EducationJohannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  3. 3.University Medical CentreJohannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany

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