Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 89–97 | Cite as

Americans’ Attitudes Toward Premarital Sex and Pornography Consumption: A National Panel Analysis

  • Paul J. Wright
Original Paper


National panel data gathered in 2008 (T1) and 2010 (T2) from 420 Black and White US adults aged 18–89 years (M = 45.37, SD = 15.85) were employed to assess prospective associations between pornography consumption and premarital sex attitudes. Premarital sex attitudes were indexed via a composite measure of perceptions of the appropriateness of adults and teenagers having premarital sex. Wright’s (2011) sexual script acquisition, activation, application model (3AM) of media sexual socialization was used as the guiding theoretical framework. The 3AM maintains that sexual media may be used by consumers to inform their sexual scripts but that attitude change from exposure to sexual media is less likely when media scripts are incongruent with consumers’ preexisting scripts. Consistent with these postulates, the association between pornography consumption at T1 and more positive attitudes toward premarital sex at T2 was strongest for younger adults, who are less oppositional to premarital sex than older adults. Contrary to the position that associations between pornography consumption and premarital sex attitudes are due to individuals who already have positive attitudes toward premarital sex selecting content congruent with their attitudes, premarital sex attitudes at T1 did not predict pornography consumption at T2.


Pornography Premarital sex Sexual socialization Selective exposure 3AM 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Media SchoolIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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