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How Does Traditional Masculinity Relate to Men and Women’s Problematic Pornography Viewing?


Problematic pornography viewing (PPV) is a growing concern. Based on a masculine gender role strain framework, individuals endorsing traditional masculinity ideology (TMI) may be especially drawn to pornography. However, relatively few studies have explored how TMI is related to PPV. Furthermore, no known studies have explored how these connections differ in men and women. To address these gaps, we conducted a large survey of 310 men and 469 women in the United States assessing multiple PPV and TMI dimensions. A bifactor structural equation model was used to regress PPV domains onto global and specific TMI factors. Invariance testing further examined the moderating effects of participants’ gender in the model. Results indicated that global TMI was unrelated to men’s PPV. However, men’s dominance ideologies predicted greater functional problems and excessive pornography use. Men’s restrictive emotionality and heterosexist ideologies predicted control difficulties with pornography use and using pornography to escape negative emotions. Additionally, men’s avoidance of femininity ideology predicted excessive pornography use and control difficulties. For women, only global TMI was associated with functional problems. Invariance testing suggested the observed gender differences were not due to underlying discrepancies in the measurement of TMI or PPV. Clinical interventions for PPV that incorporate gender role themes are recommended.

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We thank two additional members of the Culture and Individual Differences (CID) research team within the undergraduate Psychology program at the University of South Alabama for their help collecting data: Katelyn Baker and Davidson Meador.

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Correspondence to Nicholas C. Borgogna.

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We declare no conflicts of interest.

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Borgogna, N.C., McDermott, R.C., Browning, B.R. et al. How Does Traditional Masculinity Relate to Men and Women’s Problematic Pornography Viewing?. Sex Roles 80, 693–706 (2019).

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  • Pornography
  • Masculinity
  • Gender roles
  • Sex addiction
  • Cybersex