Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 614–625 | Cite as

Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption

Original Paper

Abstract

The self-perceived effects of “hardcore” pornography consumption were studied in a large representative sample of young adult Danish men and women aged 18–30. Using a survey that included the newly developed Pornography Consumption Effect Scale, we assessed participants’ reports of how pornography has affected them personally in various areas, including their sexual knowledge, attitudes toward sex, attitudes toward and perception of the opposite sex, sex life, and general quality of life. Across all areas investigated, participants reported only small, if any, negative effects with men reporting slightly more negative effects than women. In contrast, moderate positive effects were generally reported by both men and women, with men reporting significantly more positive effects than women. For both sexes, sexual background factors were found to significantly predict both positive and negative effects of pornography consumption. Although the proportion of variance in positive effects accounted for by sexual background factors was substantial, it was small for negative effects. We discuss how the findings may be interpreted differently by supporters and opponents of pornography due to the reliance in this study on reported self-perceptions of effects. Nonetheless, we conclude that the overall findings suggest that many young Danish adults believe that pornography has had primarily a positive effect on various aspects of their lives.

Keywords

Pornography Sex differences Denmark Sexuality Sex 

References

  1. Abramson, P. R., & Pinkerton, S. D. (1995). With pleasure: Thoughts on the nature of human sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, M., d’Alessio, D., & Brezgel, K. (1995). A meta-analysis summarizing the effects of pornography II: Aggression after exposure. Human Communication Research, 22, 258–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Athanasiou, R., & Shaver, P. (1971). Correlates of heterosexuals’ reactions to pornography. Journal of Sex Research, 7, 298–311.Google Scholar
  5. Barak, A., Fisher, W. A., Belfry, S., & Lashambe, D. R. (1999). Sex, guys, and cyberspace: Effects of internet pornography and individual differences on men’s attitudes toward women. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 11(1), 63–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauserman, R. (1996). Sexual aggression and pornography: A review of correlational research. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 18, 405–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen, J., Cohen, P. West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Coles, C. D., & Shamp, M. J. (1984). Some sexual, personality, and demographic characteristics of women readers of erotic romances. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 13, 187–209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davidson, W. P. (1983). The third-person effect in communication. Public Opinion Quarterly, 47, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31, 103–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1984). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1105–1117.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dutton, L. B., Straus, M. A., & Medeiros, R. A. (2006). Gender quality and gender hostility among university students: A multi-national analysis. Paper presented at 6th Biennial Convention of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Long Beach, CA.Google Scholar
  13. Field, A. (2003). Discovering statistics using SPSS. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Fisher, W. A., & Byrne, D. (1989). Sex differences in response to erotica? Love versus lust. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 117–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fordham, G. (2006). As of they were watching my body. Pornography and the development of attitudes towards sex and sexual behavior among Cambodian youth. Research report presented to World Vision Cambodia.Google Scholar
  16. Frable, D. E., Johnson A. E., & Kellman, H. (1997). Seeing masculine men, sexy women, and gender difference: Exposure to pornography and cognitive constructions of gender. Journal of Personality, 65, 311–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gardos, P. S., & Mosher, D. L. (1999). Gender differences in reactions to viewing pornography vignettes: Essential or interpretive? Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 11(2), 65–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gunther, A. C. (1995). Overrating the X-rating: The third-person perception and support for censorship of pornography. Journal of Communication, 45, 27–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haavio-Mannila, E., & Kontula, O. (2003). Sexual trends in the Baltic sea area. Helsinki: Publication of the Population Research Institute.Google Scholar
  20. Hald, G. M. (2006). Gender differences in pornography consumption among young heterosexual Danish adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35, 577–585.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., Pipitan, E., Yuen, C., & Koss, M. (2007). Pornography consumption and attitudes supporting violence: Revisiting the relationship. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  22. Herman, M. S., & Border, D. C. (1983). Attitudes toward pornography in a Southern Community. Criminology, 21, 349–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huesmann, L. R., Moise, J., Podolski, C. P., & Eron, L. D. (2003). Longitudinal relations between childhood exposure to media violence and adult aggression and violence: 1977–1992. Developmental Psychology, 39, 201–221.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Huesmann, L. R., & Eron, L. D. (1986). Television and the aggressive child: A cross national comparison. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Janghorbani, M., Lam, T. H., & The Youth Sexuality Study Task Force. (2003). Sexual media use by young adults in Hong Kong: Prevalence and associated factors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 545–553.Google Scholar
  26. Knack, S., & Keefer, P. (1997). Does social capital have an economic payoff? A cross-country investigation. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112, 1251–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kontula, O., & Haavio-Mannila, E. (1995). Sexual pleasures: Enhancement of sex life in Finland, 1971–1992. Aldershot, VT: Dartmouth Publishing Company. Google Scholar
  28. Lasorsa, D. L. (1989). Real and perceived effects of “America”. Journalism Quarterly, 66, 373–378.Google Scholar
  29. Lewin, B. (1997). Pornography: Attitudes and use. In B. Lewin (Ed.), Sex in Sweden: On the Swedish sexual life (pp. 252–263). Stockholm: The National Institute of Public Health.Google Scholar
  30. Lo, V., & Paddon, A. R. (2000). Third-person perception and support for pornography restrictions: Some methodological problems. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 12, 80–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Malamuth, N. M. (1996). Sexually explicit media, gender differences, and evolutionary theory. Journal of Communication, 46, 8–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Malamuth, N. M., Addison, T., & Koss, M. (2000). Pornography and sexual aggression: Are there reliable effects and can we understand them? Annual Review of Sex Research, 11, 26–91.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Malamuth, N. M., & Billings, V. (1986). The functions and effects of pornography: Sexual communication vs. the feminist models in light of research findings. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Perspectives on media effects (pp. 83–108). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Malamuth, N. M., & Huppin, M. (2005). Pornography and teenagers: The importance of individual differences. Adolescent Medicine, 16, 315–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Malamuth, N. M., & Pitpitan, E. V. (2007). The effects of pornography are moderated by men's sexual aggression risk. In David E. Guinn (Ed.), Pornography: Driving the demand in international sex trafficking (pp. 125–143). Los Angeles: Captive Daughters Media.Google Scholar
  36. Mosher, D. L., & MacIan, P. (1994). College men and women respond to X-rated videos intended for male or female audiences: Gender and sexual scripts. Journal of Sex Research, 31, 99–113.Google Scholar
  37. Paul, P. (2005). Pornified: How pornography is transforming our lives, our relationships, and our families. New York: Time Books.Google Scholar
  38. Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2006). Adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit online material and recreational attitudes toward sex. Journal of Communication 56, 639–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rojas, H., Shah, D. V., & Faber, R. J. (1996). For the good of others: Censorship and the third-person effect. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 8, 163–186.Google Scholar
  40. Stevens, J. P. (1992). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Tiedge, J. T., Silverblatt, A., Havice, M. J., & Rosenfeld, R. (1991). Discrepancy between perceived first-person and perceived third-person mass media effects. Journalism Quarterly, 68, 141–154.Google Scholar
  42. Træen, B. (1998). Seksuallivet i Oslo 1997. Noen resultater fra Folkehelsas undersøkelse av livsstil, seksualitet og helse i Oslo [On the sex-life in Oslo 1997. Some results from a survey on life-style, sexuality and health in Oslo]. Oslo, Norway: National Institute of Public Health.Google Scholar
  43. Træen, B., Sørheim-Nielsen, T., & Stigum, H. (2006). Use of pornography in traditional media and on the internet in Norway. Journal of Sex Research, 43, 245–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Træen, B., Spitznogle, K., & Beverfjord, A. (2004). Attitudes and use of pornography in the Norwegian population 2002. Journal of Sex Research, 41, 193–200.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Vega, V., & Malamuth, N. M. (2007). The role of pornography in the context of general and specific risk factors. Aggressive Behavior, 33, 104–117.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wallace, D. (1973). Obscenity and contemporary community standards: A survey. Journal of Social Issues, 29, 19–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Weinstein, N. D. (1989). Optimistic biases about personal risks. Science, 246, 1232–1233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson, W. C. (1978). Can pornography contribute to the prevention of sexual problems? New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  49. Zak, P. J., & Knack, S. (2001). Trust and growth. The Economic Journal, 111, 295–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Clinic of SexologyCopenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet)CopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Copenhagen S.Denmark

Personalised recommendations