Gender Issues

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 58–67 | Cite as

Sexual violence in pornography: How prevalent is it?

  • Elizabeth Monk-Turner
  • H. Christine Purcell


We examine the treatment of female characters in videocassette pornography. Using a systematic sample, we analyze 209 vignettes in 40 x- to xxx- rated videos commercially available from a national chain in the local market. We found that most videos had sexually violent or dehumanizing/degrading themes; however, a significant number also had a theme of intimacy. As expected, we found little evidence (one case) of extreme sexual deviance. Extreme sexual deviance was the kind of sexual violence the 1986 Commission on Pornography assumed was commonly available in pornography today. We also examined how the race of the actor shapes pornographic violence. As hypothesized, we found that black women experienced more violence from both white and black men than was the case for white women. White women, in fact, experienced least violence when paired with a black man. Our work replicates that of others in that we found few intimacy themes in material where black actors were present.


White Woman Black Woman White Male White Female Racial Composition 
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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Monk-Turner
    • 1
  • H. Christine Purcell
    • 1
  1. 1.Old Dominion UniversityNorfoldUSA

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