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No Harm in Looking, Right? Men’s Pornography Consumption, Body Image, and Well-Being.

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Many scholars have recognized and studied the links between various sources of appearance-related pressure (e.g., media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic) and men's body image and well-being. Pornography is another medium of appearance-related pressure that is very rarely considered in this research. The present study incorporated pornography use into 2 models of men's body image and 1 model of men's interpersonal and emotional well-being. College men (N = 359) rated how often they viewed pornography and also completed measures of general media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic, internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, body monitoring, body image (i.e., muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction, body appreciation), anxiety and avoidance within romantic relationships, and emotional well-being (i.e., positive and negative affect). Path analyses revealed that men's frequency of pornography use was (a) positively linked to muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction indirectly through internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, (b) negatively linked to body appreciation directly and indirectly through body monitoring, (c) positively linked to negative affect indirectly through romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance, and (d) negatively linked to positive affect indirectly through relationship attachment anxiety and avoidance. General media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic also made unique contributions within the models. These findings highlight the need to more comprehensively examine men's pornography use and the implications of this use for their psychological health. Given these findings, counselors may want to examine how pornography use may be linked to their male clients' body-related, relational, and emotional well-being.
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Psychology of Men & Masculinity
No Harm in Looking, Right? Men’s Pornography
Consumption, Body Image, and Well-Being
Tracy L. Tylka
Online First Publication, February 10, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035774
CITATION
Tylka, T. L. (2014, February 10). No Harm in Looking, Right? Men’s Pornography
Consumption, Body Image, and Well-Being. Psychology of Men & Masculinity. Advance
online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035774
No Harm in Looking, Right? Men’s Pornography Consumption,
Body Image, and Well-Being
Tracy L. Tylka
The Ohio State University
Many scholars have recognized and studied the links between various sources of appearance-related pressure (e.g.,
media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic) and men’s body image and well-being. Pornography
is another medium of appearance-related pressure that is very rarely considered in this research. The
present study incorporated pornography use into 2 models of men’s body image and 1 model of men’s
interpersonal and emotional well-being. College men (N 359) rated how often they viewed pornog-
raphy and also completed measures of general media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic,
internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, body monitoring, body image (i.e., muscularity and body fat
dissatisfaction, body appreciation), anxiety and avoidance within romantic relationships, and emotional
well-being (i.e., positive and negative affect). Path analyses revealed that men’s frequency of pornog-
raphy use was (a) positively linked to muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction indirectly through
internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, (b) negatively linked to body appreciation directly and
indirectly through body monitoring, (c) positively linked to negative affect indirectly through romantic
attachment anxiety and avoidance, and (d) negatively linked to positive affect indirectly through
relationship attachment anxiety and avoidance. General media and interpersonal pressures to be meso-
morphic also made unique contributions within the models. These findings highlight the need to more
comprehensively examine men’s pornography use and the implications of this use for their psychological
health. Given these findings, counselors may want to examine how pornography use may be linked to
their male clients’ body-related, relational, and emotional well-being.
Keywords: pornography, media exposure, body image, well-being, relationship attachment
Visual media continuously disseminate images of bodies adher-
ing to inflexible and unrealistic appearance standards, and individ-
uals cannot escape these images due to their omnipresence (Buote,
Wilson, Strahan, Gazzola, & Papps, 2011). Although the media-
projected cultural appearance ideal is thin for women (i.e., ultra-
thin, athletic-thin, or curvaceously thin; Harrison, 2003; Tigge-
mann, 2011), it is characterized by lean muscularity or being
mesomorphic for men (i.e., a “large but not too large” muscular
build coupled with low body fat; Ridgeway & Tylka, 2005, p. 213;
Tiggemann, Martins, & Kirkbride, 2007). Media pair these
computer-modified thin and mesomorphic appearance ideals with
lifestyle symbols of happiness, desirability, and success (Tigge-
mann, 2011). This marketing strategy provides an illusion that
individuals can and should be able to achieve these looks and
lifestyles by purchasing products, exercising, and dieting, and men
and women are often left feeling inadequate when these imagined
scenarios do not occur (Tylka, 2011; Yamamiya, Cash, Melnyk,
Posavac, & Posavac, 2005). Consequently, researchers study vi-
sual media as sources of body-related and emotional distress
(Levine & Chapman, 2011).
Investigations into the connections between visual media, body
image, and affect began decades ago for girls and women. Find-
ings from these studies are conclusive: Meta-analyses have re-
vealed that viewing thin female media images increases body-
related distress and depression among girls and women (Grabe,
Ward, & Hyde, 2008; Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002). Although
studied less frequently, similar trends are found for men: They tend
to feel worse about their bodies and experience increased negative
affect after viewing mesomorphic male media images (Agliata &
Tantleff-Dunn, 2004; Arbour & Martin Ginis, 2006; Farquhar &
Wasylkiw, 2007; Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2009; Hobza & Roch-
len, 2009; Hobza, Walker, Yakushko, & Peugh, 2007; Leit, Gray,
& Pope, 2002). Interestingly, the cumulative effect of media ex-
posure on depressed affect may be especially detrimental for
males: Adolescents who were not initially depressed had signifi-
cantly greater odds of developing depression after 7 years if they
reported heavy media exposure, with this effect being stronger for
boys than girls (Primack, Swanier, Georgiopoulos, Land, & Fine,
2009). For boys and men, researchers have connected media
exposure, negative body image, and emotional distress to charac-
teristics of muscle dysmorphia, such as using anabolic steroids and
other performance-enhancing substances to build muscle (Oli-
vardia, Pope, Borowiecki, & Cohane, 2004; Smolak, Murnen, &
Thompson, 2005). These findings underscore the importance of
studying the intersection of media, body image, and physical and
emotional well-being among males and developing clinical inter-
ventions to prevent and treat their body image disturbance (Parent,
2013a).
Media images of mesomorphic men not only inform men how
they are supposed to look but also how they are supposed to
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tracy L.
Tylka, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1465 Mt.
Vernon Avenue, Marion, OH 43302. E-mail: tylka.2@osu.edu
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity © 2014 American Psychological Association
2014, Vol. 15, No. 2, 000 1524-9220/14/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0035774
1
be—strong, controlled, respected, able to deal with anything that
comes their way, dominant, successful, and predatory (Jhally,
2009). These characteristics mirror those associated with the mas-
culine gender role, such as being in control of emotions and
women, the “winner,” violent, dominant, a “playboy,” heterosex-
ual, and status-oriented (Mahalik et al., 2003). Thus, media present
mesomorphic images of men who act out the masculine gender
role, and this connection is often internalized by male viewers
(McCreary, Saucier, & Courtenay, 2005).
Internalization of the masculine gender role may prompt the centerfold
syndrome (Brooks, 1995) in men. This syndrome is composed of
highly dysfunctional sexual self-schemas: voyeurism (compulsion
to look at women and images of women), objectification (viewing
women as sexual bodies and body parts), need for validation
(affirmation of one’s masculine characteristics), trophyism (view-
ing attractive women as sexual conquests to be won and flaunted
in front of other men), eschewal of intimacy, and engulfment
(equating masculinity with independence, power, competition, and
emotional detachment). The centerfold syndrome is heavily rein-
forced in heterosexual pornography (Brooks, 1995). With few
exceptions, the pornography industry creates a fantasy world that
reflects hegemonic masculinity—the male body is portrayed as a
machine that functions with emotionless technical efficiency while
always being in control, although women are portrayed as wanting
sex, “in every possible way, and if at first they do not realize this,
they can be easily persuaded because it is in their nature” (Garlick,
2010, p. 607). Indeed, research shows that, when primed with
sexual imagery, men see a world full of masculine men, sexy
women, and gender differences (Frable, Johnson, & Kellman,
1997). Masculine iconography paired with the avoidance of fem-
ininity also is a ubiquitous theme within gay male pornography
(Morrison, 2004).
The centerfold syndrome was evidenced and elaborated upon in
a qualitative study of adult men, all of whom viewed pornography
(Elder, Brooks, & Morrow, 2012). Most participants lacked con-
fidence in the appearance of their own bodies, especially when
comparing their bodies with the bodies of male celebrities and men
depicted in pornography. In Elder et al.’s (2012) figural represen-
tation of men’s responses, sexualization of women’s bodies pre-
dicted men’s discomfort with disclosure and emotional intimacy,
which then predicted their body dissatisfaction and shame/negative
affect. Similarly, Swami and Voracek (2013) found that the more
men objectified and had both hostile and sexist attitudes toward
women, the greater their drive for muscularity.
Yet, studies exploring the connections between men, pornogra-
phy exposure, body image, and affect are extremely sparse. This
dearth of research is surprising, given that pornography has be-
come a media staple in many men’s lives. In fact, 87% of young
adult men report that they view pornography, with 50% viewing it
weekly and 20% viewing it daily or every other day (Carroll et al.,
2008). Pornography use among men has increased in the last two
decades due to the Internet, which provides unprecedented ano-
nymity (it can be watched from home computers, smart phones,
and wireless electronic tablets), accessibility (a vast array of por-
nographic Web sites available around the clock), and affordability
(many pornographic Web sites are free or priced extremely low;
Cooper, Delmonico, & Burg, 2000). Sex is reported as the most
frequently searched topic on the Internet, with pornography
amounting to 25% of all search-engine requests (Carroll et al.,
2008).
Of the few studies that have examined men’s pornography use,
body image, and affect, their findings are somewhat contradictory.
Despite these inconsistencies, a few tentative themes emerge. First,
temporary exposure to pornographic images of women may de-
crease men’s body satisfaction. Such exposure increased men’s
desire for a larger and muscular body (Lavine, Sweeney, & Wag-
ner, 1999). However, this effect was not replicated in another study
(Johnson, McCreary, & Mills, 2007). Second, studies have nar-
rowly and inconsistently defined pornography use, which may
account for the conflicting findings regarding the link between
pornography use and men’s body dissatisfaction. It appears from
this research that viewing and/or purchasing pornographic maga-
zines may have a negligible or slightly inverse association with
men’s body dissatisfaction (Duggan & McCreary, 2004; Schooler
& Ward, 2006), whereas viewing Internet pornography may have
a slightly positive relationship with men’s body dissatisfaction
(Morrison, Ellis, Morrison, Bearden, & Harriman, 2006). Third,
pornography may serve as a frame of reference for body ideals and
sexual performances for men, which was evident in Elder et al.’s
(2012) qualitative study. In another qualitative study, men indi-
cated that they were not affected by the physical ideals displayed
in pornography; however, the women interviewed disagreed—they
believed that men were affected but unwilling to admit it (Löfgren-
Mårtenson & Månsson, 2010). Gay men expressed divergent
views on whether exposure to appearance standards contained in
pornography affects their appearance perceptions, with many be-
lieving that pornography does not trigger a motive of emulation
but simply sexual release (Morrison, 2004). Fourth, evidence is
mounting that men who view pornography have increased negative
affect, reporting greater depressive symptoms, anxiety, and
poorer quality of life (Cooper, Boies, Maheu, & Greenfield,
1999; Johnson et al., 2007; Philaretou, Mahfouz, & Allen,
2005; Weaver et al., 2011).
The purpose of the present study was to advance this sparse and
conflicting research in five ways. First, to more comprehensively
assess the body image construct and its relevance to men, the
present study examines the links between pornography use and
three documented components of men’s body image: muscularity
dissatisfaction, body fat dissatisfaction, and body appreciation.
Second, it more comprehensively measures well-being by explor-
ing positive affect alongside negative affect. Third, it positions
men’s use of pornography as a specific form of media within three
existing models which predict men’s body dissatisfaction (Model
1), body appreciation (Model 2), and affect (Model 3). Fourth, it
examines mediators of the links between pornography use, body
image, and affect. Mediators answer how or why a predictor is
linked to a criterion; therefore, they account for or explain this link
(Karazsia, van Dulmen, Wong, & Crowther, 2013). Perhaps the
links from pornography use to body image and affect are better
understood through the examined mediators, such as internaliza-
tion of the mesomorphic ideal. Fifth, it does not narrowly define
pornography use for men. Studies that assess only one form of
pornography use (e.g., adult magazines) could result in a false
negative (i.e., men viewing other forms of pornography not in-
quired about).
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2TYLKA
Model 1
Tripartite Influence Model
The tripartite influence model (Thompson, Coovert, & Stormer,
1999) serves as the basis for the first model. The tripartite influ-
ence model asserts that media and interpersonal (e.g., peer, family)
pressures to fit culturally prescribed appearance ideals lead indi-
viduals to internalize or adopt these ideals as their own personal
standard and engage in appearance comparisons with these ideals.
Internalization and appearance comparisons, then, lead to body
dissatisfaction. Internalization and appearance comparison are be-
lieved to account for, or mediate, the link between media and
interpersonal pressures to fit culturally prescribed appearance stan-
dards and body dissatisfaction. This model has been empirically
supported among adolescent boys (Smolak et al., 2005) and col-
lege men (Tylka, 2011).
Hypotheses
Specific to men, the greater they perceived pressure by the
media and their family to be mesomorphic, the more likely they
were to internalize the mesomorphic ideal, a construct which
included engaging in appearance comparison (Tylka, 2011). Inter-
nalization of the mesomorphic ideal was found to predict men’s
muscularity dissatisfaction (Karazsia & Crowther, 2009, 2010;
Warren, 2008) and body fat dissatisfaction (Tylka, 2011), as well
as account for the links from pressures to be mesomorphic to
muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction (Tylka, 2011). Also, direct
paths from general media pressures to be mesomorphic to body fat
dissatisfaction and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic to
muscularity dissatisfaction were found (Tylka, 2011). Thus, these
paths were hypothesized in Model 1.
Because pornography is a specific medium that spotlights the
body and often utilizes actors that conform to cultural appearance
ideals, pornography use can be considered a potential source of
appearance-related pressure. Therefore, pornography use was in-
cluded in Model 1 alongside general media and interpersonal
pressures to be mesomorphic. Given that sources of appearance-
related pressures are expected to work through internalization of
sociocultural appearance standards to impact body image, as em-
phasized in the tripartite influence model (Thompson et al., 1999),
pornography use was hypothesized to be related to men’s muscu-
larity and body fat dissatisfaction through internalization of the
mesomorphic ideal.
Model 2
Model of Body Appreciation
A model of body appreciation (Avalos & Tylka, 2006) serves as
the basis for Model 2. Body appreciation reflects an ability to hold
favorable opinions of the body, accept the body despite weight/
shape or perceived imperfections, respect the body by attending to
its needs and engaging in healthy behaviors, and protect the body
by rejecting unrealistic media images. According to this model, an
environment which sends messages to individuals that their bodies
are acceptable as they are leads individuals to not place as much
time and focus on monitoring their appearance. Because they
perceive that their bodies are acceptable, they can turn their atten-
tion to developing other dimensions of themselves (e.g., academ-
ics, sports, hobbies, etc.). This decreased body monitoring then
leads to body appreciation, as individuals see their bodies and
themselves as more than their appearance. They view their bodies
from an internal perspective, which encourages them to accept,
appreciate, respect, and protect their bodies instead of trying to
mold them to fit cultural appearance ideals.
Hypotheses
Avalos and Tylka (2006) found that decreased body monitoring
(i.e., valuing body functionality over appearance) accounted for
the link from sources of body acceptance to body appreciation.
Therefore, the sources of appearance-related pressure (general
media and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic, pornogra-
phy use) were conceptualized as sources of body nonacceptance in
Model 2, given that these sources instruct men that being meso-
morphic is the ideal body type for men. Each source of nonaccep-
tance was hypothesized to predict men’s increased body monitor-
ing, which was then expected to inversely predict body
appreciation. Body monitoring was then hypothesized to be a
mediator of the inverse relationship from pornography use to body
appreciation.
Model 3
Model of Relational and Emotional Well-Being
Some scholars have asserted that pornography use is connected
to maladaptive intimacy patterns (Philaretou et al., 2005; Popovic,
2011; Zitzman & Butler, 2009). Maladaptive intimacy patterns can
be viewed through the lens of adult attachment theory (Hazan &
Shaver, 1994) in the forms of romantic attachment avoidance (fear
of intimacy and discomfort with closeness) and romantic attach-
ment anxiety (fear of rejection and abandonment; Mallinckrodt &
Wei, 2005). Even though attachment theory posits that attachment
styles are formed in early childhood and continue throughout
adulthood (Bowlby, 1979), researchers have found that the corre-
lation between childhood and adulthood attachment is only slight
to moderate in strength (Fraley, 2002; Steele, Waters, Crowell, &
Treboux, 1998). This finding suggests that socialization agents
other than caregivers may contribute to men’s adult attachment
styles (Fraley, 2002).
Specifically, scholars are beginning to consider pornography as
a potential socialization agent for how men position themselves
within romantic relationships (Zimbardo & Duncan, 2012; Zitz-
man & Butler, 2009). Pornographic scripts induce sexual arousal,
climax, and resolution without relationship attentiveness or com-
mitment. Often, these scripts “dwell on sexual engagement of
parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or com-
mitted to one another, and who will part shortly, never to meet
again” (Zillman & Bryant, 1988, p. 521).
Hypotheses
By consistently legitimizing and encouraging sex and relation-
ships without intimacy, pornography use may promote romantic
attachment avoidance. By characterizing sexual encounters as
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3
MEN’S PORNOGRAPHY USE
fleeting and relationships as noncommittal, pornography could
encourage viewers to worry about their partners leaving the rela-
tionship, which is representative of romantic attachment anxiety.
Thus, in Model 3, pornography use was hypothesized to predict
romantic attachment avoidance and romantic attachment anxiety.
To ensure that these links contributed unique variance to the model
beyond other sources of appearance-related pressure, general me-
dia and interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic were also
hypothesized to be predictors of romantic attachment anxiety and
avoidance.
Romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance have been linked to
decreased psychological well-being in college students (Mallinck-
rodt & Wei, 2005; Wei, Mallinckrodt, Russell, & Abraham, 2004).
Decreased psychological well-being often manifests as low levels
of positive affect accompanied by high levels of negative affect,
which are distinct constructs (Watson & Clark, 1994). In Model 3,
romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance each were hypothe-
sized to inversely predict positive affect and positively predict
negative affect. Pornography use also was hypothesized to be
inversely linked to positive affect and positively linked to negative
affect through attachment anxiety and avoidance; that is, the more
men view pornography, the more they would internalize maladap-
tive relationship attachment styles, which would then explain their
decreased well-being.
Method
Participants
The data set included 359 male undergraduate students enrolled
at a regional campus of a large Midwestern university. They
ranged in age from 18 to 47 (M20.49, SD 4.72) and identified
as White (82.2%), African American (5.6%), Asian American
(4.5%), Latino (0.8%), multiracial (3.6%), or other (3.3%). Most
were first-year students (79.4%), followed by sophomores
(14.2%), juniors (4.5%), or seniors (1.9%). They self-identified as
heterosexual (96.7%), gay (2.2%), or bisexual (1.1%) and reported
their current relationship status as single (60.4%), involved in a
long-term relationship (32.3%), engaged (2.2%), married (4.2%),
or divorced (0.8%).
Measures
Pornography use. A single-item indicator assessed the de-
gree to which participants viewed pornography: “I view pornog-
raphy (Internet pornographic sites, magazines, DVDs, videos,
etc.).” The response scale accompanying this item was: never
(scored as 1), rarely (2), sometimes (3), often (4), usually (5), and
always (also 5).
1
An additional response option was provided (i.e.,
This question is too sensitive for me to answer). Although
multiple-item measures are preferred because they reduce the
potential for random error variance, researchers support the use of
single-item measures when the construct being assessed is con-
crete (Bergkvist & Rossiter, 2007), unambiguous (Sackett & Lar-
son, 1990), and meant for an adult population (Robins, Hendin, &
Trzesniewski, 2001), which is the case for pornography use.
Pressures to be mesomorphic. The 8-item Perceived Socio-
cultural Pressures Scale (PSPS; Stice, Ziemba, Margolis, & Flick,
1996) estimated men’s perceived pressure to be mesomorphic
from general media (two items) and three interpersonal sources:
friends (two items), family (two items), and dating partners (two
items). The original PSPS has participants estimate the extent they
experience pressure to lose weight and notice strong messages to
have a thin body from these sources. In order to reflect gendered
body ideals for men, PSPS items were altered by replacing “lose
weight” with “to be more muscular and/or lean,” and “have a thin
body” with “have a muscular and/or lean body” (e.g., “I’ve felt
pressure from my friends to be more muscular and/or lean”). A
similar modified version was administrated to a sample of college
men, and its scores were internally consistent (␣⫽.86) and related
to internalization of the mesomorphic ideal (r.39), demonstrat-
ing evidence of internal consistency reliability and construct va-
lidity (Tylka, Bergeron, & Schwartz, 2005). Item responses ranged
from 1 (never)to5(always). To create subscale scores for general
media and interpersonal pressure to be mesomorphic, the two
general media items were averaged and the six interpersonal items
were averaged.
Internalization of the mesomorphic ideal. The 11-item In-
ternalization subscale of the men’s version of the Sociocultural
Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire–Revised (SATAQ-
I-R; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995) measures the extent
to which men have adopted the mesomorphic body ideal as their
own personal standard and engage in appearance comparison. Item
responses (e.g., “Photographs of physically fit men make me wish
that I had better muscle tone,” “I often find myself comparing my
physique with that of athletes pictured in magazines”) are rated
along a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (completely disagree)to5
(completely agree) and averaged. Higher scores reflect greater
internalization. Among college men, this subscale was found to
yield internally consistent scores (␣⫽.91) and was strongly
related to men’s dissatisfaction with their muscularity (r.56)
and body fat (r.47; Tylka, 2011).
Body dissatisfaction. The 10-item Muscularity Dissatisfac-
tion (MD) and 8-item Body Fat Dissatisfaction (BFD) subscales of
the Male Body Attitudes Scale (MBAS; Tylka et al., 2005) were
administered. MD items (e.g., “I think I have too little muscle on
my body”) and BFD items (e.g., “I think my body should be
leaner”) are rated along a scale ranging from 1 (never)to6
(always). Item responses are averaged; higher scores reflect greater
dissatisfaction. Estimates have upheld the MBAS’s factor struc-
ture, internal consistency reliability (s.90 for MD, .93 for
BFD), 2-week stability (rs.88 for MD, .94 for BFD), and
construct validity (r.82 between MD and drive for muscularity,
r⫽⫺.67 between BFD and physical condition body esteem)
among college men (Tylka et al., 2005).
Body monitoring. The 8-item Body Surveillance subscale of
the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS; McKinley &
Hyde, 1996) was used. Its items (e.g., “I often worry about whether
the clothes I am wearing make me look good”) are rated along a
7-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to7(strongly
agree). Item responses are averaged, and higher scores reflect
greater body monitoring. Among men, Body Surveillance demon-
1
It was realized after data were collected that it is impossible for men to
literally always view pornography. Therefore, always was assigned the
same numerical value as usually, given that usually is the highest frequency
response that could be possible.
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4TYLKA
strated internally consistent scores (␣⫽.83) and construct validity
via its relationship to drive for muscularity (r.49; Martins,
Tiggemann, & Kirkbride, 2007).
Body appreciation. The 13-item Body Appreciation Scale
(BAS; Avalos, Tylka, & Wood-Barcalow, 2005) assesses accep-
tance of, favorable opinions toward, and respect for the body. Its
items (e.g., “I feel good about my body”) are rated along a scale
from 1 (never)to5(always). Item responses are averaged, and
higher scores indicate greater body appreciation. Among college
men, its scores are internally consistent (␣⫽.92) and inversely
related to dissatisfaction with muscularity (r⫽⫺.38) and body fat
(r⫽⫺.64; Tylka, 2013).
Romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance. The Experi-
ences in Close Relationships Scale (ECRS; Brennan, Clark, &
Shaver, 1998) assesses romantic attachment anxiety (18-item
Anxiety subscale, e.g., “I need a lot of reassurance that I am
loved by my partner”) and avoidance (18-item Avoidance sub-
scale, e.g., “I am nervous when partners get too close to me”).
Items are rated on a scale ranging from 1 (disagree strongly)to
7(agree strongly) and averaged; higher scores reflect greater
romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance. Among college stu-
dents, its scores have demonstrated evidence of internal consis-
tency reliability (s.92 and .94; Mallinckrodt & Wei, 2005),
6-month stability (rs.68 and .71; Lopez & Gormley, 2002), and
construct validity via inverse relationships to social support
(rs⫽⫺.35 and .44; Mallinckrodt & Wei, 2005) for the Anxiety
and Avoidance subscales, respectively.
Positive and negative affect. The Positive and Negative Af-
fect Schedule-Expanded (PANAS-X; Watson & Clark, 1994; Wat-
son, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) contains two 10-item subscales:
positive affect (PA; e.g., “enthusiastic,” “determined”) and nega-
tive affect (NA; e.g., “irritable,” “upset”). Participants rated the
degree they experienced each emotion in general along a scale
ranging from 1 (very slightly or not at all)to5(extremely). Item
responses are averaged, with higher subscale levels corresponding
to greater PA and NA. Among college students, subscale scores
were found to be internally consistent (s.87 for PA, .85 for
NA), be stable over a 2-month period (rs.70 for PA, .71 for NA;
Watson & Clark, 1994), and demonstrate construct validity via
correlations with depressive symptoms (rs⫽⫺.36 for PA, .58 for
NA; Watson et al., 1988).
Procedure
After receiving IRB approval, this study was posted alongside
other studies on the psychology department’s research manage-
ment Web site. On the Web site invitation, men were told, “This
study explores relationship variables, body-related attitudes and
behaviors, and well-being among men.” No mention of pornogra-
phy was made. Interested students clicked a link to a Web page
that hosted the informed consent sheet. After providing consent,
they were directed to the survey Web page, completed the survey,
and were awarded class credit. Measures were counterbalanced to
control for order effects.
Of the 424 participants who began the survey, 21 participants
were deleted for failing at least one of the three embedded validity
questions (e.g., “To make sure you are paying attention, please
answer ‘never’ for this item”), 20 who exited the survey before
completion, 16 for significant missing data (not completing at least
80% of each measure), five because they reported being female,
and three who endorsed “This question is too sensitive for me to
answer”) in response to the item querying about their pornography
use. This screening reduced the data set to 359 participants whose
responses were analyzed.
Results
Preliminary Analyses
Twenty-three (6.41%) participants had at least one missing data
point. The count for item-level missingness ranged from 0% to
3.8% (M0.55%), which is considered low (Parent, 2013b).
Item-level data points were missing completely at random,
2
(6889, N 359) 7029.21, p.117. Available item analysis
was used, which is recommended under these conditions (see
Parent, 2013b).
Pornography use and mean scale/subscale scores were examined
for multivariate normality. The largest absolute value for skewness
(0.73) and the largest absolute value for kurtosis (0.82) were well
below the absolute values that pose problems in regression and
structural analyses (i.e., skewness 3.00 and/or kurtosis 10.00;
Kline, 2010); thus, no variable was transformed.
When reporting on the frequency of their pornography use,
17.8% indicated never, 27.6% rarely, 32.9% sometimes, 13.6%
often, 4.5% usually, and 3.6% always (usually and always re-
sponses were combined in the analyses), with the average response
falling closest to sometimes. Table 1 presents the variable means,
standard deviations, alphas, and intercorrelations. Pornography use
was slightly-to-moderately related to all study variables according
to Cohen’s (1992) criteria.
Tests of the Hypothesized Models
All models were evaluated using path analysis procedures con-
tained in Mplus Version 6.12 (Muthén & Muthén, 1998 –2011).
For each model, pornography use was entered as a single-item
measured indicator, and mean scale/subscale scores served as
measured indicators for other variables. The sample size exceeded
the recommended minimum 5:1 participants-to-parameter ratio
needed to confidently examine a model (Bentler, 1990); under this
criterion, each model could include up to 72 parameters. Figure 1
included 11 parameters, Figure 2 included nine, and Figure 3
included 17.
For each model, adequacy of fit was determined using consen-
sus among three indices: the Comparative Fit Index (CFI), stan-
dardized root-mean square residual (SRMR), and root mean square
error of approximation (RMSEA). CFI values around .95 and
higher, SRMR values around .08 and lower, and RMSEA values
around .06 and lower indicate a relatively good fit of the model to
the data, whereas CFI values of .90 –.94, SRMR values of .09 –.10,
and RMSEA values of .07–.10 indicate an acceptable fit (Hu &
Bentler, 1999). Values outside of these ranges reveal poor fit.
Although nonsignificant
2
values indicate that the model provides
a good fit to the data, CFI, SRMR, and RMSEA values better
estimate model fit because the
2
value is often significant with
large sample sizes (Kline, 2010). It was decided a priori to (a)
integrate paths not originally estimated but data strongly suggest
should be estimated (i.e., modification indices [MI] larger than
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5
MEN’S PORNOGRAPHY USE
5.0) and (b) trim nonsignificant paths in order to achieve the most
accurate and parsimonious model.
To examine mediation, Shrout and Bolger’s (2002) bootstrap
procedures were used to estimate the significance of the indirect
effects. Mplus was specified to create 10,000 bootstrap samples
from the data set by random sampling with replacement and
generate indirect effects and bias-corrected confidence intervals
(CIs) around the indirect effects. Indirect effects (s) are signifi-
cant if the 95% CIs do not include zero. Full or partial mediation
was determined by exploring whether the direct paths between
pornography use and the criteria were significant once the medi-
ator was included (if significant partial mediation, if not signif-
icant full mediation).
Model 1. Model 1 provided an excellent fit to the data, CFI
.989, SRMR .024, RMSEA .051 (90% CI [.000, .104]),
2
(4,
N359) 7.68, p.104. All hypothesized paths were signif-
icant, with one exception: general media pressure to be mesomor-
phic did not uniquely predict body fat dissatisfaction. Deleting this
path did not provide a worse fit,
2
(5, N 359) 7.69, p.174;
CFI .992, SRMR .024, RMSEA .039 (90% CI [.000,
.090]), ⌬␹
2
(1) 0.01, p.920. Thus, this trimmed Model 1 was
retained for parsimony. Standardized path coefficients and the
percentage of variance accounted for in each criterion variable are
included in Figure 1.
Next, internalization of the mesomorphic ideal was examined as
a mediator between (a) pornography use and muscularity dissatis-
faction and (b) pornography use and body fat dissatisfaction. Both
indirect effects were significant, indicating that internalization of
the mesomorphic ideal mediated the links from pornography use to
muscularity dissatisfaction (␤⫽.047, p.016; 95% CI [.009,
.075] and body fat dissatisfaction (␤⫽.054, p.017; 95% CI
[.012, .108]). Full mediation was evidenced, as direct paths from
pornography use to muscularity dissatisfaction (␤⫽.061, p
.175) and body fat dissatisfaction (␤⫽.098, p.051) were not
significant.
Model 2. Model 2 provided a poor-to-acceptable fit to the
data, CFI .980, SRMR .021, RMSEA .100 (90% CI
[.024, .200]),
2
(1, N 359) 4.61, p.032. All hypothe-
sized paths were significant except one: the path from interper-
sonal pressure to be mesomorphic to body appreciation was not
significant, and thus was trimmed from the model. The trimmed
model was not significantly different from the original model,
2
(2, N 359) 7.32, p.026; CFI .970, SRMR .026,
RMSEA .086 (90% CI [.026, .157]), ⌬␹
2
(1) 2.71, p
Pornography
Use
Interpersonal
Pressure to be
Mesomorphic
Body
Monitoring
(14.3%)
Body
Appreciation
(29.6%)
-.42***
.22***
.13*
Media Pressure to
be Mesomorphic
.20**
-.10*
-.20***
Figure 2. Pornography use integrated within a social influence model of
men’s body appreciation (Model 2). Standardized path coefficients are
presented, and the percentage of variance accounted for by the predictors
is included below the criterion variable names.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.001.
Table 1
Variable Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations
Variable MSDRange 123456789101112
1. Pornography use 2.67 1.16 1–5 n/a
2. Media pressure 2.99 1.21 1–5 .07 .86
3. Interpersonal pressure 2.13 0.82 1–5 .13 .42
.90
4. Internalization 3.07 0.88 1–5 .17
.56
.34
.91
5. Muscle dissatisfaction 3.24 1.11 1–6 .16
.35
.35
.48
.93
6. Body fat dissatisfaction 2.95 1.26 1–6 .16
.26
.21
.46
.30
.94
7. Body monitoring 4.02 1.29 1–7 .25
.27
.25
.64
.37
.39
.88
8. Body appreciation 3.84 0.70 1–5 .22
.32
.26
.50
.36
.63
.50
.92
9. Attachment anxiety 3.79 1.20 1–7 .28
.22
.28
.34
.27
.19
.37
.31
.93
10. Attachment avoidance 2.98 1.19 1–7 .21
.15
.23
.28
.22 .22
.20
.35
.20
.95
11. Positive affect 3.71 0.59 1–5 .19
.11 .09 .26
.25
.25
.23
.52
.26
.32
.85
12. Negative affect 2.11 0.59 1–5 .23
.20
.30
.39
.33
.22
.34
.40
.48
.35
.26
.84
Note.N359. Alphas are presented along the diagonal.
p.01.
Pornography
Use
Interpersonal
Pressure to be
Mesomorphic
Internalization
of the
Mesomorphic
Ideal
(
33.6%
)
Body Fat
Dissatisfaction
(20.8%)
Muscularity
Dissatisfaction
(26.5%)
.46***
.40***
.12**
.50***
.21***
Media Pressure to
be Mesomorphic
.12*
Figure 1. Pornography use integrated within a social influence model of
men’s body dissatisfaction (Model 1). Standardized path coefficients are
presented, and the percentage of variance accounted for by the predictors
is included below the criterion variable names.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.001.
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
6TYLKA
.100. However, a large MI (5.52) indicated that a path should be
added from pornography use to body appreciation. Adding this
path significantly improved model fit,
2
(1, N 359) 2.23,
p.135; CFI .993, SRMR .013, RMSEA .059 (90% CI
[.000, .166]), ⌬␹
2
(1) 5.09, p.024, justifying its presence
in the model. Standardized path coefficients, as well as the
percentage of variance accounted for in each criterion variable,
are included in Figure 2.
Body monitoring was then examined as a mediator between
pornography use and body appreciation. The indirect effect was
significant, indicating that body monitoring partially mediated this
association (␤⫽⫺.092, p.001; 95% CI [.136, .048]), given
that pornography use directly predicted body appreciation
(␤⫽⫺.104, p.020).
Model 3. Model 3 provided a good fit to the data, CFI .973,
SRMR .028, RMSEA .060 (90% CI [.015, .102]),
2
(6, N
359) 13.64, p.034. All hypothesized paths were significant
except for one: general media pressure to be mesomorphic did not
uniquely predict romantic attachment avoidance. This path was
subsequently trimmed. Deleting this path did not provide a worse
fit,
2
(7, N 359) 14.96, p.037; CFI .971, SRMR .031,
RMSEA .056 (90% CI [.013, .096]), ⌬␹
2
(1) 1.32, p.251.
One MI exceeded 5.0, revealing that a path from interpersonal
pressure to be mesomorphic to negative affect should be estimated.
Adding this path improved model fit,
2
(6, N 359) 6.37, p
.383; CFI .999, SRMR .020, RMSEA .013 (90% CI [.000,
.071]), ⌬␹
2
(1) 8.59, p.003. Standardized path coefficients
and the percentage of variance accounted for in each criterion
variable are included in Figure 3.
Both indirect effects were significant when romantic attachment
anxiety was examined as a mediator between pornography use and
positive affect (␤⫽⫺.051, p.005; 95% CI [.085, .016])
and pornography use and negative affect (␤⫽.100, p.001; CI
[.054, .145]). Likewise, both indirect effects were significant when
romantic attachment avoidance was examined as a mediator be-
tween pornography use and positive affect (␤⫽⫺.053, p.006;
95% CI [.091, .015]) and pornography use and negative affect
(␤⫽.044, p.009; 95% CI [.011, .077]). Full mediation was
evidenced given that direct paths from pornography use to positive
affect (␤⫽⫺.081, p.076) and negative affect (␤⫽.051, p
.284) were not significant.
Discussion
As a specific form of media, pornography has the potential to
contribute to male viewers’ body-related attitudes and well-being,
given its presentation of sexualized images of men who, more
often than not, conform to cultural appearance ideals and align
with or cater to the masculine gender role (Garlick, 2010). Men, on
average, have been found to be regular users of pornography
(Carroll et al., 2008). Thus, it is important to understand associa-
tions between men’s pornography use, body image, and affect.
Acknowledging the sparse research in this area, the present study
integrated pornography use within three models of men’s (a)
muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction, (b) body appreciation,
and (c) negative and positive affect. Overall, findings revealed that
pornography use can be meaningfully integrated within each
model because it accounted for unique variance in model con-
structs, even when general media and interpersonal pressures to be
mesomorphic were considered.
In the first model, pornography use was positively linked to
men’s internalization of the mesomorphic ideal. Although this
association was rather small, it upholds facets of the centerfold
syndrome as reported by Brooks (1995)—this syndrome em-
phasizes pornography’s role in organizing and promulgating
masculine characteristics, including a masculinized mesomor-
phic appearance, and male viewers’ internalization of these
characteristics. Internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, then,
appears to connect pornography use to men’s muscularity and
body fat dissatisfaction. This finding expands on earlier quali-
tative findings that men reported decreased confidence when com-
paring their bodies with men in pornography (Elder et al., 2012),
which is a manifestation of internalization of the mesomorphic
ideal. Further, the present study’s findings both support and ex-
pand upon the tripartite influence model (Thompson et al., 1999)
by showing that pornography may be an important source of
appearance-related pressure that, in addition to general media and
interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic, is indirectly associated
with men’s body dissatisfaction through internalization of the
mesomorphic ideal.
Findings from the second model revealed that men’s pornogra-
phy use is connected to another dimension of body image: body
appreciation. Specifically, pornography use was inversely linked
to body appreciation, both directly and indirectly through habitual
body monitoring. This pattern of relationships indicates that men
who view pornography are more likely to focus on how they look
rather than what their body can do for them, and less likely to
challenge cultural appearance ideals and engage in self-care be-
haviors for their body. Therefore, pornography use may be asso-
ciated with men being more open to engaging in deleterious body
change strategies (e.g., fasting, cutting out certain food groups,
anabolic steroid use, excessive bodybuilding, cosmetic surgery) to
achieve the mesomorphic ideal rather than adaptive self-care strat-
egies (e.g., moderate cardiovascular exercise and strength training,
choosing nutritious foods) that emphasize the health and function-
ing of their body. Although Duggan and McCreary (2004) did not
find associations between pornography use, drive for muscularity,
and eating disorder symptomatology in gay or heterosexual men,
Pornography
Use
Interpersonal
Pressure to be
Mesomorphic
Romantic
Attachment
Anxiety
(15.1%)
Positive
Affect
(14.4%)
Negative
Affect
(31.6%)
-.20***
.40***
.25***
.20***
Media Pressure to
be Mesomorphic
.12*
Romantic
Attachment
Avoidance
(8.7%)
-.28***
.24***
.19***
.21**
.14**
Figure 3. Pornography use integrated within a relational model of men’s
positive and negative affect (Model 3). Standardized path coefficients are
presented, and the percentage of variance accounted for by the predictors
is included below the criterion variable names.
p.05.
ⴱⴱ
p.01.
ⴱⴱⴱ
p.001.
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7
MEN’S PORNOGRAPHY USE
they confined pornography use to pornographic magazines, which
misses men who regularly view other forms (e.g., Internet pornog-
raphy). Indeed, the narrower a construct is defined, the less expla-
nation it offers (Wood, 2007).
Extending beyond body image, the present study revealed that
men’s pornography use was positively associated with romantic
attachment avoidance and anxiety. Theoretical assertions (Brooks,
1995; Hazan & Shaver, 1994) as well as preliminary findings from
qualitative research (Bergner & Bridges, 2002; Elder et al., 2012;
Philaretou et al., 2005; Zitzman & Butler, 2009) suggest that
pornography scripts present gender-typed and sexualized working
models of self and others, which could shape how men position
themselves within their actual romantic relationships. As a social-
ization agent, pornography use may be linked to men’s (a) roman-
tic attachment avoidance by legitimizing and encouraging sex
without intimacy and (b) romantic attachment anxiety by height-
ening anxiety surrounding partner commitment. That is, by show-
ing fleeting sexual encounters and noncommittal relationships,
pornography may validate men’s fears that their real-life partners
will cheat on, reject, and/or abandon them.
Much research has found that romantic attachment avoidance
and anxiety are linked to men’s decreased well-being (e.g.,
Mallinckrodt & Wei, 2005; Wei, Mallinckrodt, Russell, & Abra-
ham, 2004). The present study builds on this research by uncov-
ering that romantic attachment avoidance and anxiety fully ac-
counted for the associations between pornography use and men’s
affect. This finding highlights (a) that pornography may be a
socialization agent for how men carry out their romantic relation-
ships and (b) dysfunctional relationship patterns are associated
with men’s negative well-being. More specifically, pornography
use is positively associated with distress and negatively associated
with positive affect because of romantic attachment difficulties.
Given that positive affect, in particular, helps build social support
networks, process emotional information accurately, perceive life
satisfaction, experience increased attention and creativity, and
overcome distressing situations (Fredrickson, 2004), men who
have lower levels of positive affect may be compromised in a
myriad of ways, including building and maintaining support net-
works, physical health, psychological health, and performance at
work.
Implications for Clinical Practice and Prevention
The present study’s findings provide guidance for professionals
in clinical and prevention settings. First, clinicians working with
young adult men with body image, relational, and affective con-
cerns may want to inquire about pornography use. Clinicians can
then explore how their male clients’ use of pornographic material
may be connected to their internalized beliefs about appearance
and relationship styles, which may be directly linked to their
presenting concerns or symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, lan-
guishing or low levels of positive affect, diminished well-being,
body dissatisfaction, relationship difficulties, and lowered body
appreciation).
Men who regularly view pornography may have internalized
scripts about how they should act, and how women should act,
within sexual relationships. In fact, pornography is often designed
to have women express sexual excitement about being objectified
(Bergner & Bridges, 2002). Heterosexual men who view pornog-
raphy, then, are exposed to this objectifying treatment, which may
then shape how they treat their female partners. Given that 66.5%
of men consider pornography to be an acceptable way to express
their sexuality and their pornography use typically begins when
they are in early adolescence (Carroll et al., 2008), it may serve as
their primary sex education tool. Therefore, it is important that
clinicians help their male clients understand that the normalized
behavior toward women in pornography is indeed objectifying,
which is negatively related to women’s body image and well-being
(Tiggemann, 2011) as well as men’s body image and well-being
(Swami & Voracek, 2013). Developing prevention programs that
illustrate healthy (secure) and dysfunctional (insecure) relationship
attachment styles may help prevent boys and men from internal-
izing the relational styles portrayed in pornography.
Although the pattern of findings in the present study clearly
suggests that pornography is related to men’s body image and
well-being in a detrimental manner, men may not view pornogra-
phy as capable of having these associations. In Morrison’s (2004)
qualitative study, men argued that pornography did not influence
their body image—they viewed pornography solely as a mastur-
batory aid. They believed that, unlike other media, pornography
does not use tactics that promote body dissatisfaction in order to
facilitate consumerism. Therefore, these men were aware of the
potential effects of other media (e.g., advertising) on body image;
however, they denied that pornography could be associated with
their attitudes toward their bodies. Perhaps media literacy pro-
grams could be designed to help boys and men deconstruct images
and interpret messages found in pornography. For instance, these
programs could point out that consumerism is indeed an aspect of
pornography, as mesomorphic male bodies and thin female bodies
are often paired with products (e.g., a pornographic DVD, penis
enhancement products) or services (e.g., adult dating sites) in order
for companies to sell their products and services. Also, media
literacy programs could pinpoint how pornography enacts hege-
monic masculinity and how this enactment is detrimental for
men’s relational and emotional well-being (e.g., portraying rela-
tionships as void of intimacy, random sexual encounters, women
as objects).
It should be noted that general media pressures to be mesomor-
phic were uniquely associated with internalization of the meso-
morphic ideal, body monitoring, body appreciation, and romantic
attachment anxiety. Interpersonal pressures to be mesomorphic
also were uniquely linked to internalization of the mesomorphic
ideal, muscularity dissatisfaction, body monitoring, romantic at-
tachment anxiety and avoidance, and negative affect. Although
most of these links were rather small in magnitude, these patterns
suggest that these two sources of sociocultural influence are also
deserving of empirical and clinical attention among men.
Limitations and Future Research
First, the response scale used to estimate men’s pornography
consumption was subjective and thus may have misrepresented
how frequently men view pornography. For example, some men
who endorsed “sometimes” may view pornography once a week,
whereas others who endorsed “sometimes” may only view por-
nography once a month. Also, the response scale included an
impossible response anchor (i.e., always), making it necessary to
classify men who reported always into the next highest, but more
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8TYLKA
realistic response option (i.e., usually). For these reasons, it is
recommended that researchers use a more objective response scale
in future investigations of associations between men’s pornogra-
phy use and well-being, such as one that has men report the
number of hours per week or month they view pornography.
Additionally, men may not have provided accurate reports of their
pornography use due to demand characteristics, although the as-
sured anonymity of their responses may have decreased the like-
lihood of socially desirable responding.
Second, the types of pornographic material that men used were
not assessed. It is possible that men’s levels of psychological,
body-related, and relational well-being may differ based on
whether the pornography they view typically consists of actors/
models that conform to cultural appearance standards or more
realistic bodies as seen in amateur pornography. The type of sexual
activity demonstrated in the material (e.g., between men, between
women, or between men and women) may also differentially relate
to men’s body image and well-being. Researchers also could
determine whether pornography use is associated with other body-
related variables. For instance, men who view pornography may be
more motivated to seek cosmetic surgery and engage in other
harmful body change behaviors and more reluctant to engage in
adaptive self-care strategies.
Third, although the present study incorporated a measure of
internalization of the mesomorphic ideal that has shown to produce
reliable and valid estimates with college men (Tylka, 2011), a
newer version exists: the Internalization-General subscale of the
Sociocultural Attitudes Toward Appearance Questionnaire-3
(Thompson, van den Berg, Roehrig, Guarda, & Heinberg, 2004).
Researchers may want to consider using this more recent version,
and/or the Internalization-Athlete subscale of the SATAQ-3, as a
measure of men’s internalization of the mesomorphic ideal.
Fourth, the current sample was relatively homogenous, as it was
comprised of mostly White, nonmarried, heterosexual young adult
men, all of whom were college students from the same geographic
region. Thus, the results from the current sample may not gener-
alize well to more diverse samples. Researchers could explore
associations between men’s pornography use and their body image
and well-being among diverse groups of men, acknowledging that
the intersection of their social identity statuses may alter their
experiences and distress.
Last, given that the present study collected data from one time
point, directionality of the model variables cannot be argued or
determined. Alternative arrangements of the model variables may
better fit the experiences of men. For instance, it could be that men
who have romantic attachment avoidance turn to pornography for
sexual release, as pornography may be viewed as less “messy”
than a sexually intimate relationship with a real-life partner.
Hence, longitudinal research designs examining the directionality
and strength of these associations over time are important to
conduct before more definitive conclusions are made. Neverthe-
less, the present study’s preliminary results indicate that future
investigations of pornography use and men’s body-related, psy-
chological, and relational well-being are important to conduct.
Conclusions
Given its accessibility, affordability, and anonymity (Ropelato,
2007), pornography is regularly viewed by men. The images and
messages within pornography, rooted in masculine gender role
ideology, could shape men’s body-related, relational, and psycho-
logical well-being. The present study is one of the first to explore
links between pornography use, body image, and well-being
among men in a quantitative manner, and it is the first study that
grounds pornography use within existing models of men’s body
image and well-being. Men’s pornography use was found to be
indirectly linked to their muscularity and body fat dissatisfaction
through internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, directly and
indirectly related to lower body appreciation through body moni-
toring, and indirectly associated with lower positive affect and
higher negative affect through relationship attachment anxiety and
avoidance. These preliminary results indicate that pornography use
is negatively connected to young adult men’s well-being in mul-
tiple areas. Researchers are urged to further develop this area of
inquiry to better understand the degree and extent of how pornog-
raphy use predicts men’s well-being in additional contexts (e.g.,
family, work, and health) using correlational and longitudinal
designs.
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Accepted December 31, 2013
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11
MEN’S PORNOGRAPHY USE
... Specifically, online pornography use was associated with higher levels of appearance anxiety, IPEDs use, younger age, male gender, self-reported addictions (including smoking), and duration of internet use. Various studies have confirmed associations between pornography use frequency and younger age, male gender, and self-reported addiction [60][61][62][63][64]. In addition, these studies also find higher frequencies of pornography use to be associated with appearance anxiety. ...
... In addition, these studies also find higher frequencies of pornography use to be associated with appearance anxiety. In their study, Tylka et al. (2015) [63] showed that men's frequency of pornography use was positively associated with dissatisfaction with their bodies. According to our study, the use of IPEDs might also contribute to the frequencyof-pornography-use prediction models. ...
... In addition, these studies also find higher frequencies of pornography use to be associated with appearance anxiety. In their study, Tylka et al. (2015) [63] showed that men's frequency of pornography use was positively associated with dissatisfaction with their bodies. According to our study, the use of IPEDs might also contribute to the frequencyof-pornography-use prediction models. ...
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This cross-sectional study aimed to explore specific online behaviours and their association with a range of underlying psychological and other behavioural factors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight countries (Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Portugal, Japan, Hungary, and Brazil) participated in an international investigation involving 2223 participants (M = 33 years old; SD = 11), 70% of whom were females. Participants were surveyed for specific type of Internet use severity, appearance anxiety, self-compassion, and image and use of performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs). Results were compared cross-culturally. The mean time spent online was 5 h (SD = 3) of daily browsing during the pandemic. The most commonly performed activities included social networking, streaming, and general surfing. A strong association between these online behaviours and appearance anxiety, self-compassion, and IPEDs use was found after adjustment for possible confounders, with higher scores being associated with specific online activities. Significant crosscultural differences also emerged in terms of the amount of time spent online during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
... A convenience sample of undergraduate men (n = 25) revealed similar adherence to the muscular ideal in respondent narratives, with many men altering their dietary or physical activity behaviors to maintain a socially desirable physique [95]. Interestingly, a recent study by Tylka (2015) demonstrated negative effects of pornography on men's body image perception [96]. Respondents who endorsed watching pornography frequently exhibited greater internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, increased body monitoring/surveillance, greater fat-and muscularityrelated body dissatisfaction, and reduced body appreciation in the path analyses [96]. ...
... A convenience sample of undergraduate men (n = 25) revealed similar adherence to the muscular ideal in respondent narratives, with many men altering their dietary or physical activity behaviors to maintain a socially desirable physique [95]. Interestingly, a recent study by Tylka (2015) demonstrated negative effects of pornography on men's body image perception [96]. Respondents who endorsed watching pornography frequently exhibited greater internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, increased body monitoring/surveillance, greater fat-and muscularityrelated body dissatisfaction, and reduced body appreciation in the path analyses [96]. ...
... Interestingly, a recent study by Tylka (2015) demonstrated negative effects of pornography on men's body image perception [96]. Respondents who endorsed watching pornography frequently exhibited greater internalization of the mesomorphic ideal, increased body monitoring/surveillance, greater fat-and muscularityrelated body dissatisfaction, and reduced body appreciation in the path analyses [96]. Taken together, these studies illustrate that men also face social pressures related to body size and shape, but their concerns may involve different body features/traits such as muscularity. ...
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With approximately two-thirds of the United States adult population classified as overweight or obese, obesity remains a critical public health concern. Obesity not only contributes to several health complications including type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, but the condition is also associated with sexual dysfunction in both women and men. Despite evidence linking obesity and its concomitant pathophysiology to sexual problems, the potential roles of psychosocial factors such as body image are understudied. This narrative review evaluates the research linkages between obesity and sexual dysfunction, with particular attention to the potential effects of body image dissatisfaction. A literature search of biomedical and psychological databases was used to identify research pertaining to obesity, sexual function, and/or body image constructs. The pathophysiological effects of obesity on sexual function are well-documented in mechanistic studies and animal trials, often with corroboration in human clinical samples. However, very few studies examine obesity, body image, and sexual function in tandem. Body image dissatisfaction appears to independently impinge upon the sexual response cycle and mental health outcomes, irrespective of body weight. While obesity is often associated with negative body image appraisal, it is unclear whether these constructs exert additive, synergistic, or antagonistic effects on sexual responsivity. Additionally, overweight/obese individuals who exhibit higher levels of body image satisfaction or self-confidence appear to be protected from the deleterious effects of obesity on sexual satisfaction, at least to some extent. Greater reliance upon conceptual/theoretical models from the body image literature may better clarify the relationships between these constructs.
... Unlike occasional viewing of IP, PIP viewing is thought to have significant emotional, psychosocial and relational impacts, such as guilt, increased body surveillance and dissatisfaction and relationship discord (Grubbs et al., 2015;Stewart & Szymanski, 2012;Tylka, 2015;Tylka & Kroon Van Diest, 2015). One useful definition of PIP use is any level of use that creates inter-personal, intra-personal or vocational difficulties (Twohig et al., 2009). ...
... Previous research on the consequences of IP viewing draws inconsistent conclusions, with studies finding both negative and positive outcomes (see Weitzer, 2011;. Detrimental outcomes include being more critical of one's own or a partner's body (Albright, 2008;Tylka, 2015), participating in more unsafe sexual and non-sexual behaviours (Carroll et al., 2008;Harkness et al., 2015;Svedin et al., 2011;Wright & Arroyo, 2013;Wright & Randall, 2012), and lower relationship or sexual satisfaction (Maddox et al., 2011;Manning, 2006;Stewart & Szymanski, 2012). However, some studies suggest IP viewing can enhance self-perceived sexual competence and education (Hald & Malamuth, 2008) and encourage more open-mindedness and comfort with one's sexuality (Innala, 2007;Watson & Smith, 2012;Weinberg et al., 2010). ...
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Full-text available
Introduction Characterised by both exploration and engagement in risky behaviours, late adolescence and emerging adulthood are periods of particular vulnerability to dysregulated behaviours. One such behaviour less well explored is that of problematic Internet pornography (IP) viewing, despite viewing explicit online material becoming increasingly pervasive and normative. Method In 2020, 385 (270 females, 110 males) Australian undergraduate students (aged 17–25 years) completed an online survey assessing exposure to IP, affective and cognitive responses to IP, IP-related sexual beliefs, self-assessed problematic IP viewing and key psychological vulnerability factors. Correlational and regression analyses were utilised to assess the relationships between variables. Results Most male (57.3%) and female (33.7%) respondents recalled their first exposure to IP as occurring between 12 and 14 years; however, 28.2% of males and 23.7% females recalled their exposure as occurring between 9 and 11 years, and a small proportion were exposed even earlier. Higher IP viewing frequency, positive affective responses to IP at current exposure, elevated sexual impulsivity and the endorsement of IP-related sexual beliefs were all found to be associated with self-assessed problematic IP viewing. Conclusions Findings suggest that both person and situational factors may contribute to problematic IP viewing patterns. IP viewing may also be shaping the sexual beliefs and behaviours of some viewers. Policy Implications There is little consensus on the factors that may lead IP viewing to become problematic, which limits the ability of clinicians to identify more susceptible individuals. These findings suggest that in addition to dysregulation factors such as sexual impulsivity, dissociation and depression, affective responses to IP and IP-related beliefs may also be important to consider when assessing for whom IP viewing may become problematic.
... Vários autores defendem a existência de diferentes estereótipos e preocupações com a imagem corporal em função daquilo que se refere como corpo considerado ideal (6)(7)(8) . A literatura vigente revela que a visualização de pornografia masculina apresenta uma relação positiva entre o tipo corporal mesomórfico (característica física caracterizada pelo relevo muscular) e a insatisfação com a gordura corporal (9) , sendo que a visualização de materiais de conteúdo sexual explicito afetam a autoestima dos homens (10) . ...
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Objective: The overall lack of studies regarding body image perception in males incited the translation and further adaptation of the Male Genital Self-image Scale for the Portuguese population. The present study's main purpose is to identify the psychometric properties in a sample of Portuguese males. Methods: The sample is comprised of 160 males, whose ages range between 18 and 64. The participants filled out a sociodemographic questionnaire, as well as the CARSAL/CARVAL, Satisfaction with Life Scale, and Male Genital Self-Image Scale (MGSIS). Results: The internal consistency indexes ranged from moderate to high, with the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin method evaluating the adequacy of the factor analysis. The item-total correlations presents from moderate to high. The confirmatory factorial analysis allowed for the assessment of a good model quality adjustment. Conclusion: The MGSIS in a sample of Portuguese men is psychometrically robust in the assessment of genital self-image.
... Researchers have attributed the increased use of pornography to the ease of accessibility provided by Internet-enabled technology (Wéry & Billieux, 2017;Wright et al., 2018;Zhou et al., 2019). Consequently, concern over the potential association between pornography use and psychological distress (Levin et al., 2012;Tian et al., 2018;Tylka, 2015) and the potential risk of addictive or compulsive use have increased (Gola et al., 2016(Gola et al., , 2017Sirianni & Vishwanath, 2016). Findings are mixed concerning whether compulsive sexual behavior, such as pornography use, should be considered a behavioral addiction (Duffy et al., 2016;Grubbs et al., 2018a;Kraus et al., 2016;Ley & Grubbs, 2017). ...
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Researchers focused on the model of pornography problems due to moral incongruence (PPMI) have suggested that perceptions of addiction, stemming from a misalignment between one's moral values and online sexual behavior, may lead to heightened sexual shame. Even so, it has been suggested that the associations found in previous models of PPMI may have been inflated by the inclusion of the emotional distress subscale in the widely used Cyber Pornography Use Inventory (CPUI-9), leading many to use the abridged 4-item version (i.e., the CPUI-4), which excludes emotional distress. Prior models assessing sexual shame have yet to fully address this potential methodological limitation. Considering advances in the conceptualization of PPMI and recommendations concerning best practices, a sample of participants (N = 296) that reported using pornography in the last six months was utilized to compare findings from two moderated mediation models. The first model assessed the differential strength of effects when the subscales of the CPUI-9 were assessed as separate mediators of the associations between moral incongruence and sexual shame, while the second model examined whether such associations persisted when using the recommended CPUI-4. Model results provide further justification for previous findings, indicating that associations between constructs were not the sole result of emotional distress, which supports the utility of the CPUI-4 in models that include sexual shame. Findings provide added support for sexual shame as a unique outcome among those who, due to moral incongruence, perceive that they are addicted to Internet pornography.
... Additionally, participants in the current study who used adult content and reported lower life satisfaction mirrored cross-sectional surveys that found that adult content use was related to reports of more negative affect, poor mental health and lower quality of life (Tylka, 2015;Weaver et al., 2011). Future studies should be designed to replicate and interpret the current study's interaction results of participants' use of adult content and relaxation strategies. ...
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