Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 48–62 | Cite as

Reasons for Pornography Consumption: Associations with Gender, Psychological and Physical Sexual Satisfaction, and Attitudinal Impacts

  • Tara M. Emmers-SommerEmail author
Original Paper


The purpose of this investigation is to examine the associations among gender and reasons for pornography consumption as well as attitudinal impacts. One hundred and forty-three participants, ranging in age from 18 to 48 (M = 21.22), participated in an online study at a large, southwestern university. Seventy-six of these participants identified as current consumers of pornography and are the primary focus of the analyses. Findings indicate that regardless of gender, pornography is preferably consumed in a solitary fashion for masturbatory purposes with a perceived positive physical, but not psychological, sexual satisfying impact for the self as well as for the consuming partner. Further, regarding attitudinal impacts, current male consumers of pornography report significantly higher adversarial sexual beliefs, rape myth acceptance and sexual conservatism than do current female consumers of pornography. Discussion and future directions follow.


Gender Pornography Reasons Attitudes 


Compliances with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author is not aware of any conflict of interest pertained to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Abelson, R. P. (1981). Psychological status of the script concept. American Psychologist, 36, 715–729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, M., Emmers, T. M., Gebhardt, L. J., & Giery, M. (1995). Exposure to pornography and acceptance of rape myths: A research summary using meta-analysis. Journal of Communication, 45(1), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). New York: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Byers, E. S. (1996). How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? review of a program of research. In E. S. Byers & L. F. Sullivan (Eds.), Sexual coercion in dating relationships (pp. 7–26). New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Corne, S., Briere, J., & Esses, L. (1992). Women’s attitudes and fantasies about rape as a function of early exposure to pornography. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7, 454–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emmers-Sommer, T. M. (2002). Sexual coercion and resistance in M. Allen, R. Preiss, Gayle, & N. Burrell (Eds.), Interpersonal communication: Advances in meta-analysis. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah (pp. 315–343).Google Scholar
  9. Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Farrell, J., Gentry, A., Stevens, S., Eckstein, J., Battocletti, J., et al. (2010). First date sexual expectations, sexual- and gender-related attitudes: The effects of who asked, who paid, date location, and gender. Communication Studies, 61, 339–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Hertlein, K., & Kennedy, M. A. (2013). Pornography use and attitudes: An examination of relational and sexual openness variables between and within gender. Marriage and Family Review, 49, 349–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Triplett, L., Pauley, P., Hanzal, A., & Rhea, D. (2005). The impact of film manipulation on men and women’s attitudes toward women and film editing. Sex Roles, 52(9–10), 683–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hammaren, N., & Johansson, T. (2007). Hegemonic masculinity and pornography: Young people’s attitudes toward and relations to pornography. Journal of Men’s Studies, 15, 57–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hynie, M., Lydon, J. E., Cote′, S., & Wiener, S. (1998). Relational sexual scripts and women’s condom use: The importance of internalized norms. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 370–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kohut, T., Baer, J. L., & Waits, B. (2016). Is pornography really about “making hate to women”? Pornography users hold more gender egalitarian attitudes than nonusers in a representative American sample. Journal of Sex Research, 53, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lambert, N. M., Negash, S., Stillman, T. F., Olmstead, S. B., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). A love that doesn’t last: Pornography consumption and weakened commitment to one’s romantic partner. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 31, 410–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liberatore, S. (2017). More women watch porn on smartphones than men: Pornhub reveals 80% of its female viewers use mobile devices. Accessed June 9, 2017.
  17. McKee, A. (2005). The objectification of women in mainstream pornographic videos in Australia. The Journal of Sex Research, 42, 277–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Metts, S., & Spitzberg, B. H. (1996). Sexual communication in interpersonal contexts: A script-based approach. In B. R. Burleson (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 19 (pp. 49–91). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Morris, C. (2015). Things are looking up in America’s porn industry. Accessed May 17, 2017.
  20. Poulsen, F. O., Busby, D. M., & Gallovan, A. M. (2013). Pornography use: Who uses it and how it is related to couple outcomes. Journal of Sex Research, 50, 72–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Romito, P., & Beltramini, L. (2011). Watching pornography: Gender differences, violence and victimization. An exploratory study in Italy. Violence Against Women, 17, 1313–1326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1984). Sexual scripts. Society, 22, 53–60.Google Scholar
  23. Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1987). Sexual scripts: Permanence and change. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15, 97–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (2003). Sexual scripts: Origins, influences and changes. Qualitative Sociology, 26, 491–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stack, S., Wasserman, I., & Kern, R. (2004). Adult social bonds and the use of Internet pornography. Social Science Quarterly, 85, 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Staley, C., & Prause, N. (2012). Erotica viewing effects on intimate relationships and self/partner evaluation. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-0034-4.Google Scholar
  27. Tiefer, L. (2006). Sex therapy as a humanistic enterprise. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 21, 360–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weinberg, M. S., Williams, C. J., Kleiner, S., & Irizarry, Y. (2010). Pornography, normalization and empowerment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1389–1401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wiederman, M. W. (2005). The gendered nature of sexual scripts. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 13, 496–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wright, P. J. (2013). Internet pornography exposure and women’s attitude towards extramarital sex: An exploratory study. Communication Studies, 64, 315–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zillmann, D., & Bryant, J. (1986). Shifting preferences in pornography consumption. Communication Research, 13, 560–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

Personalised recommendations