Studies linking porn use to “un-egalitarian attitudes” toward women

This page collects findings that falsify the popular sexology claim that porn use promotes egalitarian attitudes toward women (page also contains a few studies linking porn use to un-egalitarian attitudes towards males).research_puzzle

Let’s begin with the 2016 study that inspired the creation of this page -“Is Pornography Really about “Making Hate to Women”? Pornography Users Hold More Gender Egalitarian Attitudes Than Nonusers in a Representative American Sample.” It has been heavily cited as strong evidence that porn use leads to greater egalitarianism and less sexist attitudes. Actually, this Taylor Kohut study (like a second 2016 Kohut paper) provides an instructive example of how to twist methodology to achieve a desired result.

The truth is that nearly every study assessing porn use and egalitarianism (sexual attitudes) has reported that porn use is associated with attitudes toward women that both liberals and conservatives regard as extremely problematic. (Please note that these studies all reported findings about attitude. Studies that did not report attitude correlations are not included, even if they did report a link between porn consumption and actual aggression.) The list begins with reviews of the literature and meta-analyses:

Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995–2015. (2016) A review of the literature. Excerpt:

Sexually objectifying portrayals of women are a frequent occurrence in mainstream media, raising questions about the potential impact of exposure to this content on others’ impressions of women and on women’s views of themselves. The goal of this review was to synthesize empirical investigations testing effects of media sexualization. The focus was on research published in peer-reviewed, English-language journals between 1995 and 2015. A total of 109 publications that contained 135 studies were reviewed. The findings provided consistent evidence that both laboratory exposure and regular, everyday exposure to this content are directly associated with a range of consequences, including higher levels of body dissatisfaction, greater self-objectification, greater support of sexist beliefs and of adversarial sexual beliefs, and greater tolerance of sexual violence toward women. Moreover, experimental exposure to this content leads both women and men to have a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity.

Contributions of Mainstream Sexual Media Exposure to Sexual Attitudes, Perceived Peer Norms, and Sexual Behavior: A Meta-Analysis (2019) – Excerpts:

Decades of research have examined the impact of exposure to nonexplicit portrayals of sexual content in media. There is only one meta-analysis on this topic, which suggests that exposure to “sexy media” has little to no effect on sexual behavior. There are a number of limitations to the existing meta-analysis, and the purpose of this updated meta-analysis was to examine associations between exposure to sexual media and users’ attitudes and sexual behavior.

A thorough literature search was conducted to find relevant articles. Each study was coded for associations between exposure to sexual media and one of six outcomes including sexual attitudes (permissive attitudes, peer norms, and rape myths) and sexual behaviors (general sexual behavior, age of sexual initiation, and risky sexual behavior).

Overall, this meta-analysis demonstrates consistent and robust relations between media exposure and sexual attitudes and behavior spanning multiple outcome measures and multiple media. Media portray sexual behavior as highly prevalent, recreational, and relatively risk-free [3], and our analyses suggest that a viewer’s own sexual decision-making may be shaped, in part, by viewing these types of portrayals. Our findings are in direct contrast with the previous meta-analysis, which suggested that media’s impact on sexual behavior was trivial or nonexistent [4]. The previous meta-analysis used 38 effect sizes and found that “sexy” media were weakly and trivially related with sexual behavior (r = .08), whereas the current metaanalysis used more than 10 times the amount of effect sizes (n = 394) and found an effect nearly double the size (r = .14).

First, we found positive associations between exposure to sexual media and teens’ and young adults’ permissive sexual attitudes and perceptions of their peers’ sexual experiences.

Second, exposure to sexual media content was associated with greater acceptance of common rape myths.

Finally, sexual media exposure was found to predict sexual behaviors including age of sexual initiation, overall sexual experience, and risky sexual behavior. These results converged across multiple methodologies and provide support for the assertion that media contribute to the sexual experiences of young viewers.

Although the meta-analysis demonstrated significant effects of sexual media exposure on sexual attitudes and behaviors across all variables of interest, these effects were moderated by a few variables. Most notably, significant effects for all ages were apparent; however, the effect was more than twice as large for adolescents as for emerging adults, perhaps reflecting the fact that older participants likely have more comparative, real-world experience to draw on than younger participants [36, 37]. In addition, the effect was stronger for males compared with females, perhaps because sexual experimentation fits the male sexual script [18] and because male characters are punished less often than female characters for sexual initiation [38].

These findings have significant implications for adolescent and emerging adult physical and mental health. Perceiving high levels of peer sexual activity and sexual permissiveness may increase feelings of internal pressure to experiment sexually [39]. In one study, exposure to sexual media content in early adolescence was seen to advance sexual initiation by 9e17 months [40]; in turn, early experimentation may increase mental and physical health risks [37].

The effect sizes found here are similar to those of other studied areas of media psychology such as media’s impact on violence [41], prosocial behavior [42], and body image [43]. In each of these cases, although media use accounts for only a portion of the total variance in the outcomes of interest, media do play an important role. These comparisons suggest that sexual media content is a small, but consequential factor in the development of sexual attitudes and behaviors in adolescents and emerging adults.

Comments: There’s some interesting background related to this paper. (See excerpt from its Conclusion below the Abstract). The Abstract states that only one other meta-analysis on this subject has been published. That other paper found that, “The impact of media on teen sexuality was minimal with effect sizes near to zero.” It was co-authored by Christopher J. Ferguson: Does Sexy Media Promote Teen Sex? A Meta-Analytic and Methodological Review (2017)

For years, Ferguson has been attacking the concept of internet addiction, while intensely campaigning to keep Internet Gaming Disorder out of the ICD-11. (He lost that one in 2018, but his campaign continues on many fronts.) In fact, Ferguson and Nicole Prause were co-authors on major paper attempting to discredit internet addictions. (Their assertions were debunked in a series of papers by experts, in this issue of Journal of Behavioral Addictions.) Here, the authors of the meta-analysis describe how Ferguson’s suspect choice of parameters produces his result.

Pornography and Attitudes Supporting Violence Against Women: Revisiting the Relationship in Nonexperimental Studies (2010)A review of the literature. An excerpt:

A meta-analysis was conducted to determine whether nonexperimental studies revealed an association between men’s pornography consumption and their attitudes supporting violence against women. The meta-analysis corrected problems with a previously published meta-analysis and added more recent findings. In contrast to the earlier meta-analysis, the current results showed an overall significant positive association between pornography use and attitudes supporting violence against women in nonexperimental studies. In addition, such attitudes were found to correlate significantly higher with the use of sexually violent pornography than with the use of nonviolent pornography, although the latter relationship was also found to be significant.

The remaining studies are listed in chronological order:

Pornography and Sexual Callousness and the Trivialization of Rape (1982) – Excerpt:

Explored the consequences of continued exposure to pornography on beliefs about sexuality in general and on dispositions toward women in particular. Found that massive exposure to pornography resulted in a loss of compassion toward women as rape victims and toward women in general.

Exposure to pornography and attitudes about women and rape: A correlational study (1986) – Excerpt:

Compared to a group that had watched a control film, male subjects who were shown the violent film agreed more with items endorsing interpersonal violence against women than did the control subjects. However, contrary to predictions, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in their acceptance of rape myths, although there was a trend in the predicted direction.

Seeing masculine men, sexy women, and gender differences: Exposure to pornography and cognitive constructions of gender (1997) – Excerpt:

In Studies 3 and 4, high exposure men were more likely than low exposure men to think that most men perform masculine behaviors. In Studies 5 and 6, high exposure men were also more likely lo generate sexual descriptions of women spontaneously. Finally, in Study 7, high exposure men perceived the most gender differences after viewing sexual or sexual/violent music videos; low exposure men perceived the most differences after viewing sexual or romantic ones. These studies suggest that exposure to pornography is related to broad and fundamental ways of understanding men, women, and gender relations.

Sexism and pornography use: Toward explaining past (null) results (2004) – This one is an outlier, but interesting. Excerpt:

Study 1 showed an inverse correlation between modern sexism and pornography use, such that participants who used pornography more frequently displayed less sexist attitudes. Study 2 found a positive correlation between pornography use and benevolent sexism, such that participants who used pornography more frequently displayed more benevolent sexism. Our studies provide insight into the largely inconclusive findings of previous research on pornography use and sexist attitudes toward women.

Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents (2005)

This cross-sectional study examined 804 adolescents, boys and girls, aged from 14 to 19 years, attending different types of high schools in the northwest of Italy. The main goals were: (i) to investigate the relationship between active and passive forms of sexual harassment and violence and the relationship between pornography (reading magazines and viewing films or videos) and unwanted sex among adolescents; (ii) to explore the differences in these relationships with respect to gender and age; and (iii) to investigate the factors (pornography, gender and age) that are most likely to promote unwanted sex. The findings showed that active and passive sexual violence and unwanted sex and pornography were correlated.

Relationships among cybersex addiction, gender egalitarianism, sexual attitude and the allowance of sexual violence in adolescents (2007)

This study was done to investigate cybersex addiction, gender egalitarianism, sexual attitude and the allowance of sexual violence in adolescents, and to identify the relationships among these variables. The participants were 690 students from two middle schools and three high schools in Seoul. Cybersex addiction, gender egalitarianism, sexual attitude and the allowance of sexual violence in adolescents were different according to general characteristics. Gender egalitarianism, sexual attitude and the allowance of sexual violence in adolescents were influenced by cybersex addiction.

Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects (2007) – Excerpt:

This study was designed to investigate whether adolescents’ exposure to a sexualized media environment is associated with stronger beliefs that women are sex objects [on-line survey of 745 Dutch adolescents aged 13 to 18]. More specifically, we studied whether the association between notions of women as sex objects and exposure to sexual content of varied explicitness (i.e., sexually non-explicit, semi-explicit, or explicit) and in different formats (i.e., visual and audio-visual) can be better described as cumulative or as hierarchical. Exposure to sexually explicit material in on-line movies was the only exposure measure significantly related to beliefs that women are sex objects in the final regression model, in which exposure to other forms of sexual content was controlled. The relationship between exposure to a sexualized media environment and notions of women as sex objects did not differ for girls and boys

The use of cyberpornography by young men in Hong Kong some psychosocial correlates (2007) – Excerpt:

This study examined the prevalence of online pornography viewing and its psychosocial correlates among a sample of young Chinese men in Hong Kong. Moreover, participants who reported to have more online pornography viewing were found to score higher on measures of premarital sexual permissiveness and proclivities toward sexual harassment.

X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media (2009) – Excerpt:

Correlates of use and subsequent sexual attitudes and behaviors predicted by exposure to sexually explicit content in adult magazines, X-rated movies, and the Internet were examined in a prospective survey of a diverse sample of early adolescents (average age at baseline = 13.6 years; N = 967).

Longitudinal analyses showed that early exposure for males predicted less progressive gender role attitudes, more permissive sexual norms, sexual harassment perpetration, and having oral sex and sexual intercourse two years later. Early exposure for females predicted subsequently less progressive gender role attitudes, and having oral sex and sexual intercourse.

Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Notions of Women as Sex Objects: Assessing Causality and Underlying Processes (2009) – Excerpt:

The aim of this study was to clarify causality in the previously established link between adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) and notions of women as sex objects. On the basis of data from a three-wave panel survey among 962 Dutch adolescents, structural equation modeling initially showed that exposure to SEIM and notions of women as sex objects had a reciprocal direct influence on each other. The direct impact of SEIM on notions of women as sex objects did not vary by gender. However, the direct influence of notions of women as sex objects on exposure to SEIM was only significant for male adolescents. Further analyses showed that, regardless of adolescents’ gender, liking of SEIM mediated the influence of exposure to SEIM on their beliefs that women are sex objects, as well as the impact of these beliefs on exposure to SEIM.

Japanese College Students’ Media Exposure to Sexually Explicit Materials, Perceptions of Women, and Sexually Permissive Attitudes (2011) – Excerpt:

The present study examined Japanese college students’ (N  = 476) use of sexually explicit material (SEM) and associations with perceptions of women as sex objects and sexually permissive attitudes. Results indicate that Japanese college students used print media most frequently as a source for SEM followed by the Internet and the television/video/DVD. Male participants used SEM significantly more than females. In addition, sexual preoccupancy mediated the relationship between exposure to SEM and perceptions of women as sex objects, whereas exposure to SEM in mass media had a direct association with Japanese participants’ sexually permissive attitudes.

The influence of sexually explicit Internet material and peers on stereotypical beliefs about women’s sexual roles: similarities and differences between adolescents and adults (2011) – Excerpt:

We used data from two nationally representative two-wave panel surveys among 1,445 Dutch adolescents and 833 Dutch adults, focusing on the stereotypical belief that women engage in token resistance to sex (i.e., the notion that women say “no” when they actually intend to have sex). Finally, adults, but not adolescents, were susceptible to the impact of SEIM on beliefs that women engage in token resistance to sex.

Pornography Viewing among Fraternity Men: Effects on Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance and Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault (2011) – Excerpt:

The present study surveyed 62% of the fraternity population at a Midwestern public university on their pornography viewing habits, bystander efficacy, and bystander willingness to help in potential rape situations. Results showed that men who view pornography are significantly less likely to intervene as a bystander, report an increased behavioral intent to rape, and are more likely to believe rape myths.

Pornography and Sexist Attitudes Among Heterosexuals (2013) – Excerpt:

Using a probability-based sample of young Danish adults and a randomized experimental design, this study investigated effects of past pornography consumption, experimental exposure to nonviolent pornography, perceived realism of pornography, and personality (i.e., agreeableness) on sexist attitudes (i.e., attitudes toward women, hostile and benevolent sexism). Further, sexual arousal mediation was assessed. Results showed that, among men, an increased past pornography consumption was significantly associated with less egalitarian attitudes toward women and more hostile sexism. Further, lower agreeableness was found to significantly predict higher sexist attitudes. Significant effects of experimental exposure to pornography were found for hostile sexism among low in agreeableness participants and for benevolent sexism among women.

Activating the Centerfold Syndrome: Recency of Exposure, Sexual Explicitness, Past Exposure to Objectifying Media (2013) – Excerpt:

This experimental study tested whether exposure to female centerfold images causes young adult males to believe more strongly in a set of beliefs clinical psychologist Gary Brooks terms “the centerfold syndrome.” The centerfold syndrome consists of five beliefs: voyeurism, sexual reductionism, masculinity validation, trophyism, and nonrelational sex. Past exposure to objectifying media was positively correlated with all five centerfold syndrome beliefs. Recent exposure to centerfolds had immediate strengthening effects on the sexual reductionism, masculinity validation, and nonrelational sex beliefs of males who view objectifying media less frequently. These effects persisted for approximately 48 hours.

Pornography Consumption and Opposition to Affirmative Action for Women: A Prospective Study (2013) – Excerpt:

Our study investigated a potential source of social influence that has often been hypothesized to reduce compassion and sympathy for women: pornography. National panel data were employed. Data were gathered in 2006, 2008, and 2010 from 190 adults ranging in age from 19 to 88 at baseline. Pornography viewing was indexed via reported consumption of pornographic movies. Attitudes toward affirmative action were indexed via opposition to hiring and promotion practices that favor women. Consistent with a social learning perspective on media effects, prior pornography viewing predicted subsequent opposition to affirmative action even after controlling for prior affirmative action attitudes and a number of other potential confounds. Gender did not moderate this association. Practically, these results suggest that pornography may be a social influence that undermines support for affirmative action programs for women.

Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Correlates of Pornography Use on Young Adult Heterosexual Men in Romantic Relationships (2014) – Excerpt:

The purpose of this study was to examine theorized antecedents (i.e., gender role conflict and attachment styles) and consequences (i.e., poorer relationship quality and sexual satisfaction) of men’s pornography use among 373 young adult heterosexual men. Findings revealed that both frequency of pornography use and problematic pornography use were related to greater gender role conflict, more avoidant and anxious attachment styles, poorer relationship quality, and less sexual satisfaction. In addition, the findings provided support for a theorized mediated model in which gender role conflict was linked to relational outcomes both directly and indirectly via attachment styles and pornography use.

Is pornography use associated with anti-woman sexual aggression? Re-examining the Confluence Model with third variable considerations (2015) – Excerpt:

The Confluence Model of sexual aggression (Malamuth, Addison, & Koss, 2000) states that pornography use, thought to promote sexual coercion of women through presentation of submissive female imagery, works in conjunction with sexual promiscuity (SP) and hostile masculinity (HM), proposed sexual aggression risk factors, to produce anti-woman sexual aggression. An Internet based survey (N = 183 adult males) replicated results of previous Confluence Model research, such that men who were high in HM and SP were more likely to report sexual coercion when they frequently, rather than infrequently, used pornography. Exploring new ground, this study also found that HM and SP together were strong predictors of consumption of violent sexual media, in comparison to non-violent sexual media, which suggests that men at high risk of sexual aggression consume different types of sexual material than men at low risk.

A National Prospective Study of Pornography Consumption and Gendered Attitudes Toward Women (2015) – Excerpt:

The present study explored associations between pornography consumption and nonsexual gender-role attitudes in a national, two-wave panel sample of US adults. Pornography consumption interacted with age to predict gender-role attitudes. Specifically, pornography consumption at wave one predicted more gendered attitudes at wave two for older—but not for younger—adults.

Antecedents of adolescents’ exposure to different types of sexually explicit Internet material: A longitudinal study (2015) – Shows correlation between violent porn use and assessment of hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine attitudes. An Excerpt:

The present two-wave panel survey among 1557 Dutch adolescents addressed these lacunae by studying exposure to affection-themed, dominance-themed and violence-themed SEIM. Younger adolescents were more often exposed to affection-themed SEIM, while older adolescents and adolescents with higher levels of academic achievement were more frequently exposed to dominance-themed SEIM. Hyper masculine boys and hyper feminine girls were more frequently exposed to violence-themed SEIM.

‘It’s always just there in your face’: young people’s views on porn (2015) – Excerpt:

Findings highlight that many young people are exposed to porn both intentionally and unintentionally. Furthermore, they are concerned about gendered norms that reinforce men’s power and subordination over women. A link between porn exposure, young men’s sexual expectations and young women’s pressure to conform to what is being viewed, has been exposed.

What Is the Attraction? Pornography Use Motives in Relation to Bystander Intervention (2015) – Excerpt:

We found that several motivations to view pornography were associated with suppression of willingness to intervene as a bystander, even after controlling for frequency of pornography use. This study joins others in suggesting an association between pornography use and callousness toward sexual violence.

Sexist Attitudes Among Emerging Adult Women Readers of Fifty Shades Fiction (2015) – Excerpt:

Stereotypical sexist representations of men and women in popular culture reinforce rigid views of masculinity (e.g., males as being strong, in control, masterful, and aggressive) and femininity (e.g., women as being fragile and weak, unassertive, peaceful, irrational, and driven by emotions). The present study examined associations between the fictional series Fifty Shades-one popular culture mechanism that includes pervasive traditional gender role representations-and underlying sexist beliefs among a sample of 715 women ages 18-24 years. Analyses revealed associations between Fifty Shades readership and sexism, as measured through the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory. Namely women who reported reading Fifty Shades had higher levels of ambivalent, benevolent, and hostile sexism. Further, those who interpreted Fifty Shades as “romantic” had higher levels of ambivalent and benevolent sexism.

An experimental analysis of young women’s attitude toward the male gaze following exposure to centerfold images of varying explicitness (2015) – Women exposed to explicit centerfolds had greater acceptance of men staring at them sexually.

This study measured young women’s attitude toward the male gaze following exposure to centerfolds of varying explicitness. Explicitness was operationalized as degree of undress. Women exposed to more explicit centerfolds expressed greater acceptance of the male gaze than women exposed to less explicit centerfolds immediately after exposure and at a 48 hour follow-up. These results support the view that the more media depictions of women display women’s bodies, the stronger the message they send that women are sights to be observed by others. They also suggest that even brief exposure to explicit centerfolds can have a nontransitory effect on women’s sociosexual attitudes.

Men’s Objectifying Media Consumption, Objectification of Women, and Attitudes Supportive of Violence Against Women (2016) – Excerpt:

Guided by the concepts of specific and abstract sexual scripting in Wright’s sexual script acquisition, activation, application model of sexual media socialization, this study proposed that the more men are exposed to objectifying depictions, the more they will think of women as entities that exist for men’s sexual gratification (specific sexual scripting), and that this dehumanized perspective on women may then be used to inform attitudes regarding sexual violence against women (abstract sexual scripting).

Data were gathered from collegiate men sexually attracted to women (N = 187). Consistent with expectations, associations between men’s exposure to objectifying media and attitudes supportive of violence against women were mediated by their notions of women as sex objects. Specifically, frequency of exposure to men’s lifestyle magazines that objectify women, reality TV programs that objectify women, and pornography predicted more objectified cognitions about women, which, in turn, predicted stronger attitudes supportive of violence against women.

Soft-core pornography viewers ‘unlikely to hold positive attitudes towards women’ (2016) – Excerpt:

Frequent viewers of soft-core pornography, such as photographs of naked and semi-naked female models, are unlikely to think positively about women and are likely to have become desensitised to soft-core pornography common in newspapers, advertising and the media. The results indicated that people who frequently viewed soft-core pornographic images were less likely to describe these as pornographic than people who had low levels of exposure to these images. People who were desensitised to these images were more likely than others to endorse rape myths. Furthermore, people who frequently viewed these images were less likely to have positive attitudes to women.

Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Abuse and Sexting in Young People’s Intimate Relationships: A European Study (2016) – Excerpt:

New technology has made pornography increasingly accessible to young people, and a growing evidence base has identified a relationship between viewing pornography and violent or abusive behavior in young men. This article reports findings from a large survey of 4,564 young people aged 14 to 17 in five European countries which illuminate the relationship between regular viewing of online pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and the sending and receiving of sexual images and messages, known as “sexting.” In addition to the survey, which was completed in schools, 91 interviews were undertaken with young people who had direct experience of interpersonal violence and abuse in their own relationships.

Rates for regularly viewing online pornography were very much higher among boys and most had chosen to watch pornography. Boys’ perpetration of sexual coercion and abuse was significantly associated with regular viewing of online pornography. In addition, boys who regularly watched online pornography were significantly more likely to hold negative gender attitudes. The qualitative interviews illustrated that, although sexting is normalized and perceived positively by most young people, it has the potential to reproduce sexist features of pornography such as control and humiliation.

Lifetime Video Game Consumption, Interpersonal Aggression, Hostile Sexism, and Rape Myth Acceptance: A Cultivation Perspective (2016) Not porn, but not far from it. Excerpt:

In this study, we conducted a survey (N = 351) of male and female adults and used structural equation modeling to analyze relationships among video game consumption, trait interpersonal aggression, ambivalent sexism, and first-order (percentage of false rape accusations) and second-order cultivation effects (RMA). We found support for the hypothesized cultivation model, indicating a relationship between video game consumption and RMA via interpersonal aggression and hostile sexism. Although these findings cannot be interpreted causally, we discuss the implications of these associations and future directions for research.

The Relationship Between Online Pornography and the Sexual Objectification of Women: The Attenuating Role of Porn Literacy Education (2017) – Excerpt:

n this longitudinal study among 1,947 13–25‐year‐olds, we started to address this lacuna by examining the potential of porn literacy education at schools to attenuate the longitudinal relationship between exposure to sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) and views of women as sex objects. A two‐way interaction effect emerged: The relationship between SEIM and sexist views became weaker, the more users had learned from porn literacy education. No gender or age differences occurred. This study thus provides some first evidence for the role of media education in reducing undesirable media effects.

Age of first exposure to pornography shapes men’s attitudes toward women (2017) – Excerpt:

Participants (N = 330) were undergraduate men at a large, Midwestern university, ranging in age from 17-54 years (M = 20.65, SD = 3.06). Participants predominantly identified as White (84.9%) and heterosexual (92.6). After providing informed consent, participants completed the study online.

Results indicated that lower age of first exposure to pornography predicted higher adherence to both the Power over Women and the Playboy masculine norms. Additionally, regardless of the nature of the men’s first exposure to pornography (i.e., intentional, accidental, or forced), participants adhered equally to the Power over Women and the Playboy masculine norm. Various explanations may exist to understand these relationships, but the results show the importance of discussing age of exposure in clinical settings with men.

More Than a Magazine: Exploring the Links Between Lads’ Mags, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Rape Proclivity (2017) – Excerpt:

Exposure to some magazines aimed at young male readers- lads’ mags-has recently been associated with behaviors and attitudes that are derogatory toward women, including sexual violence. In the present study, a group of Spanish adult men was exposed to the covers of a lads’ mag while a second group was exposed to the covers of a neutral magazine. Results showed that, compared with participants in the second group, participants who were exposed to covers of lads’ mags who also showed high rape myth acceptance and legitimized the consumption of such magazines reported higher rape proclivity in a hypothetical situation.

Prostitution Myth Endorsement: Assessing the Effects of Sexism, Sexual Victimization History, Pornography, and Self-Control (2018) – Porn use related to endorsing Prostution Myth (that it is empowering to women) – Excerpt:

Women in the sex trade have experienced victim blame from first responders and victimization from buyers and traffickers. Women’s ability to exit the sex trade may be negatively affected by bias from prostitution myth adherence that has normalized sexual exploitation and violence against women. Gender, increased sexist attitudes toward women, frequency of pornography consumption, and self-control deficits significantly predicted prostitution myth adherence.

How Does Traditional Masculinity Relate to Men and Women’s Problematic Pornography Viewing? (2018) – Excerpt:

Greater dominance and avoidance of femininity ideology were predictive of men’s excessive use of pornography. 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.

Experimental effects of degrading versus erotic pornography exposure in men on reactions toward women: objectification, sexism, discrimination (2018) – A rare experimental study where male undergrads were exposed to 2 types of porn: degrading pornography (i.e., nonviolent, debasing, dehumanizing), erotic pornography (i.e., non-degrading, nonviolent, consensual). I’m surprised the study actually found a difference considering its 2018, and the subjects were college-age guys (many probably watch degrading porn). Excerpts:

In the current study, 82 undergraduate men were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (degrading, erotica, or control); within each condition they were randomly assigned to watch one of two approximately 10-minute clips: degrading pornography (i.e., nonviolent, debasing, dehumanizing), erotic pornography (i.e., non-degrading, nonviolent, consensual), or a news clip as a control condition.

Exposure to erotica (vs. degrading) generated less objectification of the porn actress; exposure to erotica (vs. control) also generated the greatest discrimination toward the fictitious woman, although the omnibus for the latter was non-significant. Exposure to degrading pornography (vs. erotica or control) generated the strongest hostile sexist beliefs and the greatest amount of objectification of the woman in the clip.

Predictors of sexual minority men’s sexual objectification of other men (2019) – Excerpts:

Given the link between sexual objectification experiences and negative psychological and mental health outcomes for sexual minority men, it is important to explore which men are more likely to enact sexually objectifying behavior. We examined predictors of sexual minority men’s sexual objectification of other men (e.g., engaging in body evaluations, making unwanted sexual advances), including focusing on appearance, involvement in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, pornography use, and men’s gender role conflict among 450 gay and bisexual men. Our findings revealed that importance placed on appearance, involvement in the LGBTQ community, and pornography use and less restrictive affectionate behavior between men were uniquely related to sexually objectifying other men.

Masculinity and problematic pornography viewing: The moderating role of self-esteem (2019) – Problematic porn use was related to the desire to have power over women. Not very egalitarian. Excerpts:

Controlling for pornography viewing frequency, religious identity, and sexual orientation, structural equation modeling revealed power over women and playboy norms as associated with increased problematic pornography viewing, whereas emotional control and winning norms were negatively related to problematic pornography viewing. Of these associations, power over women norms produced consistent positive direct effects across all dimensions…

Interactions similarly evidenced positive relationships between conformity to playboy norms and problematic pornography viewing, with an exacerbation effect for those low in self-esteem. Findings suggest that men’s pornography viewing may be tied to their expressions of traditional masculinity.

The Association Between Exposure to Violent Pornography and Teen Dating Violence in Grade 10 High School Students (2019) – Study reported that greater exposure to violent pornography was related to acceptance of rape myths and less gender equitable attitudes. However, the study’s main finding was:

Violent pornography exposure was associated with all types of TDV, though patterns differed by gender. Boys exposed to violent pornography were 2–3 times more likely to report sexual TDV perpetration and victimization and physical TDV victimization, while girls exposed to violent pornography were over 1.5 times more likely to be perpetrate threatening TDV compared to their non-exposed counterparts.

#(Me)too much? The role of sexualizing online media in adolescents’ resistance towards the metoo-movement and acceptance of rape myths (2019) – Excerpts:

The current study addresses how sexualizing online media practices, i.e., exposure to sexually explicit internet material and receiving negative appearance feedback on social media, relate to the acceptance of sexist attitudes among adolescents. Specifically, it extends previous research on the acceptance of rape myths by exploring a construct related to these beliefs, i.e., resistance towards the metoo-movement.

The results showed that exposure to sexually explicit internet material, but not receiving negative appearance feedback on social media, was related to more resistance towards the metoo-movement and the acceptance of rape myths through notions of women as sex objects. Self-objectification did not function as a valid mediator in the examined relations. Gender and self-esteem did not moderate the proposed relations.

Female attitudes and attitude change toward males and females, following exposure to soft-core pornography, varying in levels of aggression (2019) – Excerpt:

This paper used a classic pre-post-test design to elucidate what effects this material has on female participants (N= 242). Through the use of the Attitudes towards Women Scale and the Attitudes toward Men scale it was found that females did not experience significant attitude changes towards other females, upon exposure. However, they do show changes in their hostile male beliefs for clips depicting sexual aggression, and benevolent beliefs for clips depicting a flirtatious interaction, a romantic erotic scene, and, for a scene depicting rape. These findings are reviewed and discussed in light of the Gender-Schema Theory, Sexual Objectification Theory and Empathetic Viewer Theory.

Pornography and the process of dehumanizing sexual partners (2020) – Mostly female subjects. Excerpt:

In a correlational study, 266 participants (78.2% women; MAge = 30.79, SD = 8.89) responded to demographics, whether or not they were in a relationship, whether or not they used online pornography and how much they attributed primary and secondary emotions to their sexual partners. The results showed that people who consume pornography dehumanize their sexual partners but only when they are not in a romantic relationship. These results are relevant because dehumanization has severe consequences such as discrimination, violence, harsher punishments and prosocial behavior inhibition. Once we know when it happens, we have the chance to create strategies to neutralize it.

Male peer support and sexual assault: the relation between high-Profile, high school sports participation and sexually predatory behaviour (2020) – Higher levels of porn use correlated positively with measures of: Likelihood to Rape, Sexual Assault Perpetration, Sexual Entitlement, and Hostility toward Women. Table with basic correlations. #8 is Pornography Consumption:


This research about objectification may be relevant:

When a ‘she’ becomes an ‘it’ (2019) (press release)

Assessing neural responses towards objectified human targets and objects to identify processes of sexual objectification that go beyond the metaphor (2019) (full study)

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