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Exposure to pornography and attitudes about women and rape: A correlational study

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Abstract

In 1970, the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography presented considerable evidence that exposure to sexually explicit stimuli produced no adverse, antisocial effects on people. More recently, however, a number of writers have begun to question this assertion. One line of criticism has come from those who argue that by depicting women in subordinate roles and as sexual objects, pornography, especially the violent kind, may affect people's attitudes toward women in a way that promotes a sexist ideaolgy and perpetuates the traditional double standard (Brownmiller, 1975; Kostach, 1978; Johnson & Goodchilds, 1973). Surprisingly, not many studies have tested this hypothesis. One relevant study (Zillman & Bryant, 1982) found that subjects who were experimentally exposed to nonviolent pornography expressed less support for the women's liberation movement and more sexual callousness toward women. However, a more comprehensive test of the hypothesis is needed since 'attitudes toward women' encompasses more than sexual callousness and the women's liberation movement and also because only nonviolent pornography was used. The primary purpose of this study, then, was to test the relationship between exposure to different types of sexual material and attitudes toward women in a variety of areas. It was predicted that greater exposure to pornographic materials would be associated with more traditional attitudes about women in a variety of domains (e.g., marital relations, independence, etc.). The Commission's report has also been critisized for failing to distinguish between mere sexually explicit material and depictions of violent and/or coercive sexual acts (Malamuth, Heim, & Feshbach, 1980). According to these authors, eliciting sexual arousal in a violent context may, as a result of conditioning, lead people to respond sexually to violence. This question has received much more empirical attention. In their review of the literature, Malamuth and Donnerstein (1982) reported that exposure to violent sexual material (a) is related to self-reported proclivity toward rape, (b) stimulates rape fantasies, and (c) leads people to percieve rape victims as experiencing less trauma. Because most of these studies were conducted in the laboratory, Malamuth and check (1981) admitted that the generalizability of these findings may be limited. In consequence, they conducted a field study in which subjects were shown in a campus theater, a film that contained sexually violent scenes. Within a week these subjects were administered the dependent measures. 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. Thus, the data from this field study seem to not be as supportive of the hypothesis as the experimental data. The present study sought to investigate the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit material and attitudes toward rape by a correlation method. Although a correlation study has its limitations, one advantage is that the subjects are naturally exposed to the sexual materials. Based on the previous studies, it was predicted that there would be a positive correlation between exposure to violent pornography and attitudes that could be classified as pro-rape.

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... On the one hand, both experimental-and survey-based studies find pornography use runs parallel to hostile masculinity, producing antiwoman sexual aggression (Demar e, Briere, and Lips 1988;Hald and Malamuth 2008;Hald, Malamuth, and Carlin 2010;Hald, Malamuth, and Lange 2013;Kingston et al. 2009;Malamuth 2018;Malamuth et al. 1995;Malamuth et al. 2000;Murnen, Wright, and Kaluzny 2002;Wright and Tokunaga 2015;Wright, Tokunaga, and Kraus 2016). This builds on early experimental studies on exposure to pornography that found decreased support for the women's liberation movement (Zillmann andBryant 1982, 1984) or correlations dependent on the coerciveness or violence in the porn media (Demar e et al. 1988;Demar e et al. 1993;Garcia 1986;Hald et al. 2013). Both Hald et al. (2013) and Garcia (1986) used the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (Buckner 2010) which measures attitudes toward women in women's vocational roles, freedom and independence, and marital relationships. ...
... This builds on early experimental studies on exposure to pornography that found decreased support for the women's liberation movement (Zillmann andBryant 1982, 1984) or correlations dependent on the coerciveness or violence in the porn media (Demar e et al. 1988;Demar e et al. 1993;Garcia 1986;Hald et al. 2013). Both Hald et al. (2013) and Garcia (1986) used the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (Buckner 2010) which measures attitudes toward women in women's vocational roles, freedom and independence, and marital relationships. In a longitudinal study, Brown and L'Engle (2009) found exposure to pornography in early adolescence predicted less progressive gender-role attitudes (e.g., that girls should not play competitive sports such as football and hockey) in follow-up surveys two years later. ...
... Past research looking at gendered attitudes rely on convenience or volunteer samples among adolescents or college students (Hald et al. 2013;Brown and L'Engle 2009;Garcia 1986;Garos et al. 2004). Some research has examined data from existing datasets, most significantly the GSS (Wright and Bae 2015; Kohut et al. 2016). ...
Article
Much contemporary debate about pornography centers on its role in portraying and perpetuating gender inequality. This article compares traditional gendered attitudes between cisgender men attending the Adult Entertainment Expo (n = 294) and a random sample of male respondents from the 2016 General Social Survey (GSS), a U.S. representative survey of general attitudes and beliefs collected every two years (n = 863). Our survey borrowed questions from the GSS to measure attitudes about gender equality across four dimensions: (1) working mothers, (2) women in politics, (3) traditional gender roles in the family, and (4) affirmative action for women in the workplace. Through bivariate analyses, we found that “porn superfans” are no more sexist or misogynistic than the general U.S. public on two of the four measures (women in politics and women in the general workplace) and held more progressive gender‐role attitudes than the general public on the other two measures. We conducted binary logistic regressions for those two measures to determine if the relationship remained significant when controlling for other factors. For one dimension, working mothers, it did (p < .001). Our results call into question some of the claims that porn consumption fosters de facto negative and hostile attitudes toward women.
... One study which did discriminate between types of sexually explicit material, however, correlated university males' exposure to violent and nonviolent pornography with their attitudes toward women and rape (Garcia, 1986). The author found that although consumption of nonviolent pornography did not correlate with such attitudes, there was a small association between violent pornography use and both traditional attitudes regarding women and greater "pro rape" beliefs. ...
... In the presence of a significant association between these two variables (e.g., Briere. Corne, Runtz, & Malamuth, 1984;Garcia, 1986), it is unclear whether a pornography effect may, in actuality, constitute a preexisting attitudes effect. For example, the current literature cannot rule out the possibility that sexually violent attitudes and beliefs might create interest both in pornography and in sexually violent behavior, such that any relationship found between pornography use and sexual violence wouid be spurious. ...
... In the absence of a causal analysis, however, the current data do not directly support or disconfirm the assertion of the Malamuth and Briere model that rape-supportive attitudes are partially the result of exposure to pornography and other social phenomena, although it should be noted that, unlike Garcia (1986) and Briere et al. (1984), simple correlation analysis in the present study did not reveal significant associations between attitudes and pornography per se. These findings are also constrained by the possibility that the youth and low sexual experience of the current sample may have decreased the overall amount of self-reported likelihood of sexual violence, relative to other university samples. ...
Article
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Two hundred twenty-two undergraduate males were administered an “attitudes survey” examining pornography use, attitudes, and self-reported likelihood of rape (LR) or using sexual force (LF). Nonviolent pornography was used by 81% of subjects within the last year, whereas 41 and 35% had used violent and sexually violent pornography, respectively. Twenty-seven percent of subjects indicated some hypothetical likelihood of raping or using sexual force against a woman. Discriminant function analysis revealed that use of sexually violent pornography and acceptance of interpersonal violence against women were uniquely associated with LF and LR. It is hypothesized that the specific fusion of sex and violence in some pornographic stimuli and in certain belief systems may produce a propensity to engage in sexually aggressive behavior. Results are interpreted in terms ofMalamuth and Briere's (1986, Journal of Social Issues, 42, 75–92) model of the effects of sexually violent media.
... Experimental studies involve artificial settings where subjects are shown sexually explicit material and then their behaviour is tested in some way (see for example Malamuth 1981). By contrast, surveys gather data from pre-existing populations to map behavior in naturalistic settings (see for example Garcia 1986). The results of all this research are profoundly contradictory (Fisher & Barak 1991). ...
... Why even seek a theory of causation, and why choose pornography? In her book, Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986, Carolyn Bronstein charts the rise of pornography as the central concern of radical feminist politics (Bronstein 2011). As she notes, Women Against Violence Against Women, one of the first groups to protest sexist and violent images of women in the media, campaigned against the Rolling Stones' album Black and Blue as well as against the X-rated film ...
Book
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Written for a broad audience and grounded in cutting-edge, contemporary scholarship, this volume addresses some of the key questions asked about pornography today. What is it? For whom is it produced? What sorts of sexualities does it help produce? Why should we study it, and what should be the most urgent issues when we do? What does it mean when we talk about pornography as violence? What could it mean if we discussed pornography through frameworks of consent, self-determination and performance? This book places the arguments from conservative and radical anti-porn activists against the challenges coming from a new generation of feminist and queer porn performers and educators. Combining sensitive and detailed discussion of case studies with careful attention to the voices of those working in pornography, it provides scholars, activists and those hoping to find new ways of understanding sexuality with the first overview of the histories and futures of pornography
... Men who use pornography heavily were less likely to convict or give harsh sentences to a rapist (Garcia, 1986). Heavy pornography use can also result in marital discord, principally, a reduction of sexual satisfaction and sexual attraction to one's partner on the part of the pornography user (Kenrick & Gutierres, 1989;. ...
... In general, proponents of the rape myth see the victim as more responsible for the crime than the rapist (Allen, Emmers, Geghardt, & Geiry, 1995). Garcia (1986) looked at the relationship between exposure to pornography and attitudes toward rape. One hundred-fifty male university students were assessed on their overall exposure to pornography, time viewing pornography, and level of explicitness of the pornography used. ...
... However, prior studies of sexual media use and relationship outcomes have failed to consider the specific content or type of sexual media used (e.g., Bergner & Bridges, 2002;Bridges et al., 2003;Daneback et al., 2009). Studies of sexually explicit media oftentimes distinguish between sexual media that portray violence and aggression or degradation and sexual media that portray men and women as equals and focus on mutual sexual pleasure (Garcia, 1986;Krafka, Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1997;Laan, Everaerd, van Bellen, & Hanewald, 1994;Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1988;Senn & Radtke, 1990). The former, often referred to as violent or degrading pornography, is associated with numerous adverse effects including higher endorsement of more traditional and restrictive gender roles (Garcia, 1986), decreased empathy for victims of sexual violence (Krafka et al., 1997;Linz et al., 1988), and increased aggressive behaviors toward women (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1994). ...
... Studies of sexually explicit media oftentimes distinguish between sexual media that portray violence and aggression or degradation and sexual media that portray men and women as equals and focus on mutual sexual pleasure (Garcia, 1986;Krafka, Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1997;Laan, Everaerd, van Bellen, & Hanewald, 1994;Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1988;Senn & Radtke, 1990). The former, often referred to as violent or degrading pornography, is associated with numerous adverse effects including higher endorsement of more traditional and restrictive gender roles (Garcia, 1986), decreased empathy for victims of sexual violence (Krafka et al., 1997;Linz et al., 1988), and increased aggressive behaviors toward women (Hall, Hirschman, & Oliver, 1994). Additional negative effects occur in the appraisal of current relationships and satisfaction: Participants who view violent/degrading pornography in the laboratory subsequently rate themselves as less in love with their romantic partners (Kenrick et al., 1989), less sexually satisfied with their partners (Zillmann & Bryant, 1988), and rate pictures of average women as less attractive (Kenrick et al., 1989) than participants who viewed neutral films. ...
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This study assessed how sexual media use by one or both members of a romantic dyad relates to relationship and sexual satisfaction. A total of 217 heterosexual couples completed an Internet survey that assessed sexual media use, relationship and sexual satisfaction, and demographic variables. Results revealed that a higher frequency of men's sexual media use related to negative satisfaction in men, while a higher frequency of women's sexual media use related to positive satisfaction in male partners. Reasons for sexual media use differed by gender: Men reported primarily using sexual media for masturbation, while women reported primarily using sexual media as part of lovemaking with their partners. Shared sexual media use was associated with higher relational satisfaction compared to solitary sexual media use.
... Then asked to respond to newspaper article about real rape and asked to give opinion on causes of rape. Garcia (1986). Research method: experiment. ...
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This overview was produced for Ofcom by Ellen Helsper, London School of Economics in response to a consultation regarding the desirability of making non-abusive explicit sex between consenting adults available on television (consultation on the proposed Ofcom Broadcasting Code, 14 July 2004). It presents the findings of the consultation and summaries of other related research.
... For instance, laboratory research has shown that experimental exposure to pornography can decrease support for the women's liberation movement (Zillmann & Bryant, 1982, 1984. Furthermore, early survey research examining self-selected exposure to pornography has found that men who consume more violent and degrading pornography hold more traditional nonegalitarian attitudes toward women (Garcia, 1986). More recently, research with adolescents has suggested that pornography use is associated with acceptance of less progressive gender roles (i.e., greater endorsement of rigid gender stereotypes) among women but not among men (Brown & L'Engle, 2009). ...
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According to radical feminist theory, pornography serves to further the subordination of women by training its users, males and females alike, to view women as little more than sex objects over whom men should have complete control. Composite variables from the General Social Survey were used to test the hypothesis that pornography users would hold attitudes that were more supportive of gender nonegalitarianism than nonusers of pornography. Results did not support hypotheses derived from radical feminist theory. Pornography users held more egalitarian attitudes-toward women in positions of power, toward women working outside the home, and toward abortion-than nonusers of pornography. Further, pornography users and pornography nonusers did not differ significantly in their attitudes toward the traditional family and in their self-identification as feminist. The results of this study suggest that pornography use may not be associated with gender nonegalitarian attitudes in a manner that is consistent with radical feminist theory.
... These double standards for sexuality are reflected in the Madonna-Whore dichotomy, in which women are generally categorized as good women who are sexually chaste women or as bad women who are sexually promiscuous. This dichotomy leads girls and young women to fear being perceived as sexually promiscuous (Tolman 2002) because sexually promiscuous young women are judged more harshly than are young women with limited sexual experiences (Garcia 1986). However, similar negative attributions are not made about sexually promiscuous males. ...
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Two studies of ethnically diverse US college students from northern California examined whether ingroup bias and gender norm violations influence acquaintance rape attributions (Study 1, N = 118; Study 2, N = 140). Participants read vignettes depicting acquaintance rape and completed questionnaires. Victims were part of participants’ ingroup or outgroup. Study 1 manipulated the victim’s sexual history (chaste or promiscuous). Study 2 manipulated the victim’s alcohol use (sober or intoxicated). Ingroup victims were perceived more positively than outgroup victims if the victims were promiscuous or intoxicated. More guilt was attributed to rapists of ingroup victims than outgroup victims if the victims were promiscuous or intoxicated. Findings are examined in relation to ingroup bias and gender norm violations.
... Although there has been a considerable amount of empirical research concerning effects of sexually explicit materials on men's atti-tudes toward women (see Allen, Emmers, Gebhardt, & Giery, 1995;Davis & Bauserman, 1994;Linz, 1989;Malamuth & Donnerstein, 1984;Zillman & Bryant, 1989), there is relatively little concensus regarding such effects. For example, research has generally failed to demonstrate that exposure to sexually explicit materials, in which women are shown as always sexually receptive or as actually enjoying sexual assault, has a negative impact on men's general attitudes toward women's rights and responsibilities in society (e.g., Demare, Briere, & Lips, 1988;Fisher & Grenier, 1994;Garcia, 1986;Padgett, Brislin-Slutz, & Neal, 1989;Reis, 1986). In fact, a portion of this research literature suggests an inverse relationship such that with increasing exposure to sexually explicit material, attitudes toward women become more positive (e.g., Padgett et al., 1989;Reis, 1986). ...
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The current research examined effects of exposure to Internet pornography on university men's attitudes toward women. Study 1 assessed effects of increasing amounts of Internet pornography on undergraduate men's (N = 24) attitudes toward women, self-reported likelihood of sexually harassing a woman, and rape myth acceptance, and no evidence of effects of Internet pornography was detected. Study 2 assessed relationships between individual difference factors (includ- ing sensation seeking, hypermasculinity, erotophobia-erotophilia, and past experience with sexually explicit material) and self-regulated ex- posure to Internet pornography in a free-choice situation, with the same dependent measures in a separate sample of undergraduate men (N = 31). While the individual difference factors were found to be related to self-regulated exposure to Internet pornography, as well as to the de- pendent measures, amount of exposure to Internet pornography per se had no detectable relationship with the dependent measures of misogy- nist attitudes. Discussion addresses future longitudinal research ex- amining whether individual difference factors and exposure to sexually
... Consistent with previous meta-analyses (Allen, D'Alessio, & Brezgel, 1995) and single studies (Baron & Straus, 1987;Fisher & Barak, 1991;Garcia, 1986;Gray, 1982;Gunther, 1995;Hui, 1986;Lottes, Weinberg, & Weller, 1993), the results of the present meta-analysis suggest that exposure to pornography produces a variety of substantial negative outcomes. Using the social learning theory and imitation model, it may be argued that themes of aggression, impulse gratification, sexual flexibility and gymnastics, and objectification in pornography may reinforce and/or justify similar attitudes and behaviours in everyday human-life contacts. ...
Article
Full-text available
A meta-analysis of 46 published studies was undertaken to determine the effects of pornography on sexual deviancy, sexual perpetration, attitudes regarding intimate relationships, and attitudes regarding the rape myth. Most of the studies were done in the United States (39; 85%) and ranged in date from 1962 to 1995, with 35% (n=16) published between 1990 and 1995, and 33% (n=15) between 1978 and 1983. A total sample size of 12,323 people comprised the present meta-analysis. Effect sizes (d) were computed on each of the dependent variables for studies which were published in an academic journal, had a total sample size of 12 or greater, and included a contrast or comparison group. Average unweighted and weighted d's for sexual deviancy (.68 and .65 ), sexual perpetration (.67 and .46), intimate relationships (.83 and .40), and the rape myth (.74 and .64) provide clear evidence confirming the link between increased risk for negative development when exposed to pornography. These results suggest that the research in this area can move beyond the question of whether pornography has an influence on violence and family functioning. Various potentially moderating variables such as gender, socioeconomic status (SES), number of incidents of exposure, relationship of person who introduced pornography to the participant, degree of explicitness, subject of pornography, pornographic medium, and definition of pornography were assessed for each of the studies. The results are discussed in terms of the quality of the pornography research available and the subsequent limitations inherent in the present meta-analysis. A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography The issue of exposure to pornography has received a great deal of attention over the years. An overwhelming majority of adults in our society, both men and women, report having been exposed to very explicit sexual materials. In fact, Wilson and Abelson (1973) found that 84% of men and 69% of women reported exposure to one or more of pictorial or textual modes of pornography, with the majority of the group first being exposed to explicit materials before the age of 21 years. Coupled with more opportunities for people to access materials via a greater variety of media (e.g., magazines, television, video, world wide web), it is becoming increasingly important to investigate whether exposure to pornography has an effect on human behaviour. While the list of psychological sequelae that researchers have shown to be statistically common in persons exposed to pornography is immense, controversy and doubt are prevalent. Though the ongoing academic debate has relevant and significant socio-political implications, it is apparent that the issue of pornography has frequently been approached from a philosophical and moral stance rather than an empirical position. The present meta-analytic investigation attempts to redirect the focus of the question of pornography's potential effects to an empirical platform. The aim is to determine whether exposure to pornographic stimuli over the lifespan has any effect on sexual deviancy, sexual offending, intimate relationships, and attitudes regarding the rape myth. The results are expected to provide information which may assist families, educators, mental health professionals, and social policy directors in making
... Moreover, a subsequent study reported in the same paper, which exposed 75 participants to either psychologyrelated or sexually explicit videos, failed to find that exposure to pornography had a reliable effect on attitudes toward women. Garcia (1986) found that exposure to sexually explicit material was associated with more liberal attitudes toward women in terms of sexual behavior. Davies (1997) examined the relationship between men's frequency of renting pornographic videos and their support for women's rights. ...
Article
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Empirical research has failed to provide a clear understanding of the relationship between pornography use and sexism. 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.
... A substantial number of experiments and surveys have been conducted to clarify the relationship between pornography exposure and aggressive attitudes, intention, and actual behaviors (e.g., Boeringer, 1994;Demar e, Briere, & Lips, 1988;Garcia, 1986;Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1988;Malamuth & Check, 1985). However, results from these studies do not support a consensus. ...
Article
Sexual objectification is a common pornographic theme. Research shows that sexual objectification leads to the expression of aggressive attitudes and behaviors toward women. Based on a survey study of 320 male participants, this study re-conceptualizes sexual objectification in terms of two forms of dehumanization. Evidence suggests men’s pornography use is positively associated with both forms, but mechanistic dehumanization of women is more associated with aggressive attitudes while animalistic dehumanization is more associated with aggressive behaviors. Findings indicate how objectifying pornography use may relate to aggressive attitudes and behaviors and inform the future education campaigns and interventions to reduce sexual aggression.
... Meta-analytic findings have shown that the consumption of pornography leads to a 31% increase in the risk of sexual deviancy, a 22% increase in the risk of perpetrating a sexual crime, and a 31% risk in the acceptance of the rape myth (i.e., that the rape victim is responsible for the crime because of behaviors or dress) (Oddone-Paolucci, Genuis, & Violato, 2000). Exposure to pornography has been linked to increased negative attitudes towards women (Garcia, 1986), and decreased empathy for rape victims (Linz & Penrod, 1988). Pornography consumption, especially violent pornography, is also correlated with subsequent behavioral aggression (Allen, D'Alessio, & Brezgel, 1995). ...
... Research has indicated that not only the rate of exposure but also the particular content of the pornography-such as violence or degradation-may have different associations with attitudes and behaviors (Donnerstein, Linz, & Penrod, 1987;Garcia, 1986;Linz, 1989; C. SUN ET AL. 19 Malamuth & Check, 1981;Malamuth & Donnerstein, 1984;Zillmann & Bryant, 1989). We thus investigated both the frequency of pornography use and the interest in viewing the more extreme types of pornographyfor instance, the act of ejaculating into a woman's mouth or onto her face. ...
Article
Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the connections between pornography use (both frequency and interest in extreme pornography) and dyadic sexual relationships. Methods: Six-hundred eighty-five heterosexual South Korean male college students participated in an online survey. Results: The majority (84.5%) of respondents had viewed pornography, and for those who were sexually active (470 respondents), we found that higher interest in degrading or extreme pornography was associated with the experience of role-playing sexual scenes from pornography with a partner, and a preference for using pornography to achieve and maintain sexual excitement over having sex with a partner. Conclusions: The findings were consistent but with differences from a U.S. study with the same methodology, suggesting that attention should be paid to cultural differences.
... Third, prior studies of naturalistic pornography viewing and attitudes toward women have primarily been crosssectional. Garcia (1986), for example, found that frequency of pornography exposure correlated with rape-supportive attitudes in a cross-sectional survey of male collegians in the United States. As another example, Peter and Valkenburg (2007) found that frequency of pornography exposure correlated with the belief that women are sex objects in a crosssectional survey of Dutch adolescents. ...
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... Moreover, a subsequent study reported in the same paper, which exposed 75 participants to either psychologyrelated or sexually explicit videos, failed to find that exposure to pornography had a reliable effect on attitudes toward women. Garcia (1986) found that exposure to sexually explicit material was associated with more liberal attitudes toward women in terms of sexual behavior. Davies (1997) examined the relationship between men's frequency of renting pornographic videos and their support for women's rights. ...
... Most previous research on pornography has focused on the effect of pornographic materials on viewers, especially adolescents and teenagers. Such investigations found exposure to SEM can exert a significant impact on viewers' sexual attitudes and behavior, including the internalization of media messages about sexuality and gender (e.g., Bauserman 1996;Brown and L'Engle 2009;Demare et al. 1988;Garcia 1986;Wei 2002, 2005;Wright 2013). Considering that audiences will learn sexual scripts from SEM, a number of previous content analyses have focused on the prevalence of depictions of individual sexual behaviors depicted across various types of SEM (e.g. ...
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s Free online sexually explicit materials have become the major way for pornography viewers to consume pornographic materials. Most previous content analytic studies have focused on aggression and degradation behaviors in sexually explicit materials. Fewer studies have focused on the prevalence of depictions of individual sexual behaviors, overlooking that pornographic materials not only show viewers individual sexual behaviors but also provide sexual scripts, which contain a series of co-occurring sexual behaviors. Using the network analysis method, the current study examined the co-occurrence patterns of a large number of sexual behaviors depicted in free online sexually explicit materials. The study has revealed the primary sexual script depicted in popular online sexually explicit materials and predicted the potential effects of such a script.
... Early research concerning these hypotheses could fill volumes of contested findings (Donnerstein, Linz, & Penrod, 1987;Fisher & Barak, 1991;Fisher & Grenier, 1994;Malamuth & Donnerstein, 1984). Notably for this discussion, some research indicates support for the notion that exposure to sexually violent pornography is more strongly associated with rape-supportive attitudes (Garcia, 1986;Hald, Malamuth, & Yuen, 2010) and self-reported sexual aggression (Ybarra et al., 2011;Ybarra & Thompson, 2018) than is exposure to nonviolent pornography, though causal direction is not always easy to infer from this literature. ...
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The federal sentencing guidelines for child pornography offenses are the subject of current debate among the leading institutions responsible for sentencing. During the last two decades, Congress has broadened the scope of child pornography laws and increased minimum and maximum statutory sentences. Congress has also uniquely intruded upon the United States Sentencing Commission’s normal institutional role by forcing higher sentencing ranges recommended by the sentencing guidelines. A divided federal judiciary has played another role in the debate. While many judges are using their recently awarded discretion to reduce child pornography sentences, often far below guidelines ranges, another group of judges adhere to the harsher guidelines in sentencing. The result of the foregoing has been significant disparities in sentencing, which undermine the foundational goals of proportionality and fairness.As a result of a moral panic about sexual abuse involving children, severe sentencing proponents fundamentally appear to use child pornography offenses as a proxy to punishing undetected child molestation. The theory underlying the proxy approach is that child pornography is a causative or correlative factor for contact sex offending against children. This paper addresses the debate with various analyses. It reviews Congress’ ongoing interventions into child pornography sentencing and summarizes recent developments in the trend toward rising guidelines ranges. Disparities in final sentences are observed in a comprehensive review of case law showing the division of opinion in the federal judiciary and deriving judicial rationales for either downward variances from or adhering to the strict child pornography guidelines ranges. The efficacy of the proxy approach is challenged through a substantive review of the empirical evidence concerning any nexus between child pornography and child sexual abuse. Overall, the studies fail to support any causative connection and generally find a relative few studies that show weak support for any direct correlation. Rather, the evidence generally indicates that child pornography offenders and child molesters are not synonymous groupings. This paper illustrates that sentencing policy would be better served if the interested parties rationally assessed the social science evidence indicating that most child pornography offenders fail to pose a substantial risk of contact offending against children and, thereby, substantively reconfigure the sentencing guidelines accordingly.
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This paper quantitatively summarizes the literature examining the association between acceptance of rape myths and exposure to pornography. In this meta-analysis, nonexperimental methodology shows almost no effect (exposure to pornography does not increase rape myth acceptance), while experimental studies show positive effect (exposure to pornography does increase rape myth acceptance). Although the experimental studies demonstrate that violent pornography has more effect than nonviolent pornography, nonviolent pornography still demonstrates an effect.
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Theories of sexual aggression and victimization have increasingly emphasized the role of rape myths in the perpetuation of sexual assault. Rape myths are attitudes and generally false beliefs about rape that are widely and persistently held, and that serve to deny and justify male sexual aggression against women. Acceptance of such myths has been assessed with a number of measures, and investigators have examined its relationship with numerous variables and interventions. Although there has been extensive research in this area, definitions, terminology, and measures of rape myth acceptance (RMA) continue to lack adequate theoretical and psychometric precision. Despite such criticisms, we emphasize that the significance of this type of research cannot be overstated because it has immense potential for the understanding of sexual assault. The present article offers a theory-based definition of rape myths, reviews and critiques the literature on rape myth acceptance, and suggests directions for future research. In particular we argue that such work must include the development and application of improved measures, with more concern for the theoretical and methodological issues unique to this field.
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It is a widespread belief that pornography causes negative attitudes toward women, but tests of this belief are contradictory. A large body of research has studied the effect of violent pornography on behavior, but the effects of erotica and violence have often been confounded. Thus, the relationship between pornography and attitudes toward women was assessed in two correlational studies, and the effect of (nonviolent) erotica on attitudes towards women was tested experimentally. The dependent measure was the score on a questionnaire measuring attitudes toward women and women's issues. The questionnaire possessed high reliability; factor analysis indicated a single general factor. Participants included 184 psychology students and 20 patrons at an “adult” theater. Multiple linear regressions indicated that hours of viewing pornography was not a reliable predictor of attitudes toward women in either sample. Patrons of the adult theater, who viewed more pornography, had more favorable attitudes toward women than male or female college students. In Study 3, 75 students were randomly assigned to watch four hours of erotica or four hours of psychology films over five consecutive days. Power analysis indicated a strong test. Manipulation checks showed a difference in students’ perception of the erotic nature of the videos, but attitudes toward women were not influenced by type of video.
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This study considered two models of the effects of sexually explicit materials: a liberal model that holds that erotica is beneficial and has few negative effects and a feminist social responsibility model that believes that use of sexually explicit materials contributes to negative beliefs about women. This study tested the contribution of reasons for using sexually explicit materials to beliefs in gender-role stereotypes about women and sexual conservatism, and acceptance of rape myths. Questionnaires were completed by 569 college students. Four motives for using erotica were identified: Sexual Enhancement, Diversion, Sexual Release, and Substitution. Sexual Enhancement was positively related to holding stereotyped and conservative beliefs about women and sex. Diversion and Sexual Enhancement were also indirectly related to greater acceptance of rape myths. Sexual Release was negatively linked and substitution was positively linked to acceptance of rape myths. The discussion highlights areas of support for the two models and points out the importance of future research to mitigate the effects of exposure.
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Ongoing concern about effects of sexually explicit materials includes the role of such material in sex offenses. Issues include sex offenders' experiences with pornography and the link between pornography and sex crime rates. Review of the literature shows that sex offenders typically do not have earlier or more unusual exposure to pornography in childhood or adolescence, compared to nonoffenders. However, a minority of offenders report current use of pornography in their offenses. Rape rates are not consistently associated with pornography circulation, and the relationships found are ambiguous. Findings are consistent with a social learning view of pornography, but not with the view that sexually explicit materials in general contribute directly to sex crimes. The effort to reduce sex offenses should focus on types of experiences and backgrounds applicable to a larger number of offenders.
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Previous macrolevel sociological analyses have yielded considerable empirical support for a model that hypothesizes a causal relation between pornography and rape. A particularly problematic issue is that these studies have depended on states as the units of analysis. In a similar analysis using Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the pornography model was not supported.
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Willingness to ban various forms of sexual, violent, and sexually violent media was assessed through a random digit dialing survey of adults in Seminole County, FL. Of 1,291 eligible adults contacted, 304 (23.5%) completed the interview. Substantial majorities (71–77%) supported censoring sexually violent media, about half (47–54%) supported censoring nonsexual violent media, and about one third supported censoring nonviolent sexually explicit movies (32%) and videotapes (28%). Principle components analysis of these items revealed two clear factors: support for banning sexual media and support for banning violent and sexually violent media. Sexual conservatism, sex role stereotyping, authoritarianism, age, gender, concern about pornography's effects, and support for a local anti‐pornography campaign were consistently more highly correlated with support for censoring sexual media than with support for censoring violent media. Regression analysis showed that support for banning sexual media and concern about pornography's effects both contributed to the prediction of support for anti‐pornography campaigns. Contrary to expectations, those low in sex role stereotyping showed low levels of support for censoring sexual media and low levels of concern about pornography's effects, relative both to fundamentalists and other respondents.
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http://journals.ual.pt/psique/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/PSIQUE-X-Miolo-FINAL.pdf
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This article examines the relation between men's exposure to pornography and their beliefs about men and women. Study 1 presents an individual difference measure for assessing exposure to pornography that was then used in six subsequent studies. In Study 2, high exposure scores predicted being male, having a sexual partner, and the reasons for viewing sexual materials. 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 to 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.
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Whether consuming pornography leads to gendered attitudes toward women has been debated extensively. Researchers have primarily studied pornography’s contribution to gendered sexual attitudes such as rape myth acceptance and sexual callousness toward women. 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. Gender-role attitudes at wave one were included in this analysis. Pornography consumption was therefore associated with interindividual over time change in older adults’ gendered attitudes toward women. Older adults’ attitudes toward nonsexual gender roles are generally more regressive than those of younger adults. Thus, this finding is consistent with Wright’s (Commun Yearb 35:343–386, 2011) script acquisition, activation, application model (3AM) of media socialization, which posits that attitude change following media exposure is more likely for viewers’ whose preexisting behavioral scripts are less incongruous with scripts for behavior presented in mass media depictions. Contrary to the perspective that selective exposure explains associations between pornography consumption and content-congruent attitudes, gender-role attitudes at wave one did not predict pornography consumption at wave two.
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Many consider same-sex marriage the civil rights issue of our time. Although support is on the rise, there are some Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. Heterosexual males are a demographic group particularly likely to oppose same-sex marriage. Mass media and education are often thought of as important agents of socialization in American culture. Pornography in particular is a platform often discussed in terms of its impact on males’ sexual attitudes. This study used nationally representative three-wave longitudinal data gathered from adult U.S. males to examine the over-time interplay between pornography consumption, education, and support for same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage did not prospectively predict pornography consumption, but pornography consumption did prospectively predict support for same-sex marriage. Education was also positively associated with support for same-sex marriage. Scientific and social implications of these findings are discussed.
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Chapter
There are several approaches to the study of the role of pornography in the etiology and maintenance of sexual crimes. One may (1) study the correlation between pornography consumption in the general population and the incidence of sexual crimes, (2) examine this relationship cross-culturally, (3) examine the effect of these materials on normals in the laboratory, (4) examine the effects of these materials on sex offenders, or (5) attempt a synthesis of this research through a comparative study of the similarities and differences between sex offenders and other males. The simple approach is to draw a sample of sex offenders and ask them about their pornography consumption. All of these approaches have basic flaws, but each contributes to the complete picture.
Book
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Violence against Women in Pornography illuminates the ways in which adult pornography hurts many women, both on and off screen. A growing body of social scientific knowledge shows that it is strongly associated with various types of violence against women in intimate relationships. Many women who try to leave abusive and/or patriarchal men also report that pornography plays a role in the abuse inflicted on them by their ex-partners. On top of these harms, male pornography consumption is strongly correlated with attitudes supporting violence against women. Many researchers, practitioners, and policy makers believe that adult pornography is a major problem and offer substantial evidence supporting this claim. Violence against Women in Pornography, unlike books written mainly for scholarly and general audiences, specifically targets students enrolled in undergraduate criminology, deviance, womens studies, masculinities studies, human sexuality, and media studies courses. Thoughtful discussion questions are placed at the end of each chapter, and appropriate PowerPoint slides and suggestions for classroom exercises will be available to aid student understanding. The main objective of this book is to motivate readers to think critically about adult pornography and to take progressive steps individually and collectively to curb the production and consumption of hurtful sexual media, including that from the “dark side of the Internet.”
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Mindfulness, more specifically acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) may be the most optimal form of therapy to be used in treating problematic pornography use—use that may qualify as addiction, which falls within the realm of sex addiction. ACT would be beneficial to apply in a clinical setting for 1-on-1 therapy, coaching and sexuality workshops using the ACT model. Though some ambiguity exists on whether pornography addiction falls within the realm of sex addiction, there is sufficient theoretical framework to apply addiction identifiers to problematic pornography use, which further has implications to the benefits of using ACT in treating perceived problematic or addictive pornography use.
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Dating violence (DV) and sexual violence (SV) are widespread problems among adolescents and emerging adults. A growing body of literature demonstrates that exposure to sexually explicit media (SEM) and sexually violent media (SVM) may be risk factors for DV and SV. The purpose of this article is to provide a systematic and comprehensive literature review on the impact of exposure to SEM and SVM on DV and SV attitudes and behaviors. A total of 43 studies utilizing adolescent and emerging adult samples were reviewed, and collectively the findings suggest that (1) exposure to SEM and SVM is positively related to DV and SV myths and more accepting attitudes toward DV and SV; (2) exposure to SEM and SVM is positively related to actual and anticipated DV and SV victimization, perpetration, and bystander nonintervention; (3) SEM and SVM more strongly impact men’s DV and SV attitudes and behaviors than women’s DV and SV attitudes and behaviors; and (4) preexisting attitudes related to DV and SV and media preferences moderate the relationship between SEM and SVM exposure and DV and SV attitudes and behaviors. Future studies should strive to employ longitudinal and experimental designs, more closely examine the mediators and moderators of SEM and SVM exposure on DV and SV outcomes, focus on the impacts of SEM and SVM that extend beyond men’s use of violence against women, and examine the extent to which media literacy programs could be used independently or in conjunction with existing DV and SV prevention programs to enhance effectiveness of these programming efforts.
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Using data provided by male university students, several structural equation models were developed and tested to assess the interrelationship of pornography use, anti-women attitudes, and propensity for sexual violence. The model best fitting the data is one in which use of Sexually Violent Pornography and Anti-Women Attitudes are exogenous latent variables predicting self-reported Likelihood of Rape and Likelihood of using Sexual Force, as well as self-reported history of having achieved sexual intercourse by use of Coercion and Force. A variation of this model which includes use of Nonviolent Pornography as an exogenous variable was also tested. Consistent with previous research, use of nonviolent pornography was not uniquely associated with potential or actual sexual aggression. The findings suggest the potential roles of both attitudes and sexually violent pornography in the occurrence of sexual aggression. Further, they support other research findings that suggest it is not merely exposure to sexually explicit materials, per se, but the combination of sex and violence in pornographic materials that encourages or facilitates sexual aggression.
Chapter
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Studying porn consumers as fans supports useful intellectual moves for arguments in both fan studies and porn studies. A problem for fan studies is that as its object of study has expanded to include a range of behaviors beyond the most obviously positive and productive the question has arisen “Who isn't a fan?”. A problem for studies of porn studies is that dominant academic approaches to studying pornography consumption have favored models of consumers as agentless, i.e., addicts or objects of media effects. Studying porn fans addresses both these problems by returning our attention to the agency of porn consumers. Fan studies is defined as the study of agentic cultural consumption, this is neither tautological nor unimportant, but continues to provide a robust and meaningful project for academic research. With this insight in place, this chapter considers some examples of porn fandom, including collecting practices, taxonomizing, evaluation practices, and community building.
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Using four separate national probability metasamples of adults in the United States, two measures of pornography consumption, two measures of sexual attitudes, and two measures of sexual behavior, this article pits two macrotheories on pornography and its behavioral effects against each other in competing, falsifiable hypothesis tests. Specifically, the article compares the libertarian theory of pornography’s hypothesis that sexual attitudes are a confound of the pornography consumption—sexual behavior relationship, with the sexual scripting theory of pornography’s hypothesis that sexual attitudes are a mediator of the pornography consumption—sexual behavior relationship. No evidence was found to support the argument that pornography consumption—sexual behavior relationships are spurious and due to preexisting sexual attitudes. Alternatively, analyses uniformly supported the conceptualization of sexual attitudes as a mediating link between pornography consumption and sexual behavior.
Article
The prevalence of rape myths, or false beliefs about rape that blame victims of sexual violence and excuse perpetrators of sexual violence, has been documented throughout a wide range of media content. However, previous meta-analyses of media consumption and rape myth acceptance (RMA) have focused on pornography, and these studies are over ten years old. This research addresses this gap with a meta-analysis studying the relationship between the consumption of all types of media and RMA. Thirty-two studies (N = 12,016) met inclusion criteria. The overall weighted mean effect size was r = 0.09 (p < .001), indicating a small but statistically significant relationship, where media consumption is correlated with greater RMA. Sub-analyses indicated that a few media types, especially violent pornography and general pornography, drove this relationship. Results are discussed in terms of cultivation theory, social cognitive theory, and sexual scripting theory. The results highlight needs for: research exploring the relationship between diverse types of media consumption and RMA, pornography research distinguishing between violent and nonviolent pornographic content, and rape myth-focused media literacy interventions that target adolescents and young adults.
Article
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Two hundred seventy-one male and female students served as subjects in an experiment on the effects of exposure to films that portray sexual violence as having positive consequences. Some of these subjects had signed up to participate in a study ostensibly focusing on movie ratings. They were randomly assigned to view, on two different evenings, either violent-sexual or control feature-length films. These movies were viewed in theaters on campus and two of the movies (i.e., one experimental and one control) were being shown as part of the regular campus film program. Members of the classes from which subjects had been recruited but who had not signed up for the experiment were also used as a comparison group. The dependent measures were scales assessing acceptance of interpersonal violence against women, acceptance of rape myths, and beliefs in adversarial sexual relations. These scales were embedded within many other items on a Sexual Attitude Survey administered to all students in classes several days after some of them (i.e., those who signed up for the experiment) had been exposed to the movies. Subjects were not aware that there was any relationship between this survey and the viewing of the movies. The results indicated that exposure to the films portraying violent sexuality increased male subjects' acceptance of interpersonal violence against women. A similar nonsignificant trend was found on acceptance of rape myths. For females, there were nonsignificant tendencies in the opposite direction, with women exposed to the violent-sexual films tending to be less accepting of interpersonal violence and of rape myths than control subjects. Explanation of the data on the basis of “attitude polarization” and “reactance” effects are discussed. Also discussed are the conditions of the present research in terms of the type of stimuli used, the “dosage levels” of exposure, and the duration of effects in relation to future research and a general social climate promoting a sexist ideology.
Article
Conducted 2 experiments with a total of 436 undergraduates to identify the specific dimensions in portrayals of sexual violence that inhibit or disinhibit the sexual responsiveness of male and female college students. Exp I replicated earlier findings that normals are less sexually aroused by portrayals of sexual assault than by depictions of mutually consenting sex. In Exp II, it was shown that portraying the rape victim as experiencing an involuntary orgasm disinhibited Ss' sexual responsiveness and resulted in levels of arousal comparable to those elicited by depictions of mutually consenting sex. Surprisingly, however, it was found that although female Ss were most aroused when the rape victim was portrayed as experiencing an orgasm and no pain, males were most aroused when the victim experienced an orgasm and pain. The relevance of these data to pornography and to the common belief among rapists that their victims derive pleasure from being assaulted is discussed. Misattribution, identification, and power explanations of the findings are also discussed. Finally, it is suggested that arousing stimuli that fuse sexuality and violence may have antisocial effects. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
This study was designed to (a) examine the dimensionality of rape attitudes; (b) explore the relationships between perceptions of rape and background characteristics of rapists, police, female rape crisis counselors, and citizens; and (c) determine how these groups might differ with regard to rape attitudes. Data were collected from 1,448 Ss from the aforementioned groups using measures of Ss' attitudes toward and knowledge of rape, the Attitudes Toward Women Scale, and a personal data form. Results show that the groups were similar in their structures of rape attitudes. As predicted, sex, race, and marital status were the most important characteristics for predicting rape attitudes; within the respondent groups, however, other characteristics were found to be important. Significant differences were also found among the groups in their perceptions of rape. The counselors differed from the police, citizens, and rapists in their views of rape, while citizens and police were most similar. No differences were found between the police and rapists on half of the attitudinal dimensions. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of attitudes toward rape. (82 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The effects of aggressive-pornographic mass media stimuli Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (pp. 104-136) Sexual responsiveness of college students to rape depictions: Inhibitory and disinhibitory effects
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MALAMUTH, N. M., & DONNERSTEIN, E. (1982). The effects of aggressive-pornographic mass media stimuli. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (pp. 104-136). New York: Academic Press. MALAMUTH, N. M., HEIM, M., & FESHBACH, S. (1980). Sexual responsiveness of college students to rape depictions: Inhibitory and disinhibitory effects. Journal of Per-sonality and Social Psychology, 38, 399-408.
Pornography: A feminist view. This Magazine
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KOSTACH, M. (1978, December). Pornography: A feminist view. This Magazine, 12, 4-7.