Sexually Explicit Media Use by Sexual Identity: A Comparative Analysis of Gay, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men in the United States
- 819 Downloads
Advances in production and distribution of sexually explicit media (SEM) online have resulted in widespread use among men. Limited research has compared contexts of use and behaviors viewed in Internet SEM by sexual identity. The current study examined differences in recent SEM use (past 6 months) by sexual identity among an ethnically diverse sample of 821 men who completed an online survey in 2015. Both gay and bisexual men reported significantly more frequent use of Internet SEM compared to heterosexual men. Although most participants reported viewing SEM at home (on a computer, tablet, or smartphone), significantly more gay men reported SEM use at a sex party or commercial sex venue than either heterosexual or bisexual men. Sexual identity predicted viewing of high-risk and protective behaviors in separate logistic regression models. Specifically, compared to heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men had increased odds of viewing condomless anal sex (gay OR 5.20, 95 % CI 3.35–8.09; bisexual OR 3.99, 95 % CI 2.24–7.10) and anal sex with a condom (gay OR 3.93, 95 % CI 2.64–5.83; bisexual OR 4.59, 95 % CI 2.78–7.57). Compared to gay men, heterosexual and bisexual men had increased odds of viewing condomless vaginal sex (heterosexual OR 27.08, 95 % CI 15.25–48.07; bisexual OR 5.59, 95 % CI 3.81–8.21) and vaginal sex with a condom (heterosexual OR 7.90, 95 % CI 5.19–12.03; bisexual OR 4.97, 95 % CI 3.32–7.44). There was also evidence of identity discrepant SEM viewing as 20.7 % of heterosexual-identified men reported viewing male same-sex behavior and 55.0 % of gay-identified men reported viewing heterosexual behavior. Findings suggest the importance of assessing SEM use across media types and contexts and have implications for research to address the potential influence of SEM on sexual behavior (e.g., investigate associations between viewing condomless vaginal sex and engaging in high-risk encounters with female partners).
KeywordsSexually explicit media Pornography Internet Sexual identity Sexual orientation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
This research was supported by a grant from the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality to Martin J. Downing, Jr., Ph.D. (no award number provided). The authors declare that they have no other conflicts of interest.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Boies, S. C. (2002). University students’ uses of and reactions to online sexual information and entertainment: Links to online and offline sexual behaviour. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 11, 77–89.Google Scholar
- Dodge, B., Schnarrs, P. W., Reece, M., Martinez, O., Goncalves, G., Malebranche, D., … Fortenberry, J. D. (2012). Individual and social factors related to mental health concerns among bisexual men in the Midwestern United States. Journal of Bisexuality, 12, 223–245.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Escoffier, J. (2009). Bigger than life: The history of gay porn cinema from beefcake to hardcore. Philadephia: Running Press Book Publishers.Google Scholar
- Griffith, J. D., Adams, L. T., Hart, C. L., Mitchell, S., Kruger, A., Phares, B., … Finkenbinder, A. (2012). Pornography actors: A qualitative analysis of motivations and dislikes. North American Journal of Psychology, 14(2), 245–256.Google Scholar
- Kinser, J. (2014). Michael Lucas explains his controversial decision to make condom-free adult films. Retrieved June 8, 2014 from http://www.queerty.com/michael-lucas-explains-his-controversial-decision-to-make-condom-free-adult-films-20140331.
- Kuchment, A., & Springen, K. (2008). The tangled web of porn in the office. Newsweek, 152(23), 14.Google Scholar
- Nichols, J. S. (2011). Let’s talk about sex blog. Retrieved June 8, 2014 from http://ltasex.info/home/2011/4/25/paul-morris-treasure-island-medias-maverick-sets-the-record.html.
- Perrin, P. C., Madanat, H. N., Barnes, M. D., Carolan, A., Clark, R. B., Ivins, N., … Williams, P. N. (2008). Health education’s role in framing pornography as a public health issue: Local and national strategies with international implications. Promotion and Education, 15(1), 11–18.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rosser, B. R. S., Grey, J. A., Wilkerson, J. M., Iantaffi, A., Brady, S. S., Smolenski, D. J., & Horvath, K. J. (2012). A commentary on the role of sexually explicit media (SEM) in the transmission and prevention of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM). AIDS and Behavior, 16(6), 1373–1381.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Schnarrs, P. W., Dodge, B., Reece, M., Goncalves, G., Martinez, O., Pol, B. V., … Fortenberry, J. D. (2012). Subjective sexual experiences of behaviorally bisexual men in the midwestern United States: Sexual attraction, sexual behaviors and condom use. Journal of Bisexuality, 12, 246–282.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- TrafficJunky Media Kit. (2015). Retrieved May 10, 2016 from http://www.trafficjunky.net.
- Wilkerson, J. M., Iantaffi, A., Smolenski, D. J., Brady, S. S., Horvath, K. J., Grey, J. A., & Rosser, B. R. S. (2012). The SEM risk behavior (SRB) model: A new conceptual model of how pornography influences the sexual intentions and HIV risk behavior of MSM. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 27(3), 217–230.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar