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Pornography

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Abstract

This article describes theory and research regarding the effects of pornography and on explaining gender differences in the consumption of such sexually explicit materials. The three major ideological/theoretical perspectives (Conservative/Moralist, Liberal and Radical Feminist) that have particularly influenced the scientific research in this area are described and related research summarized. An evolutionary-psychological theoretical perspective is also discussed and applied specifically to understanding gender differences in attraction to and consumption of pornography.

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Youth in Australia are routinely exposed to sexually explicit images. Among 16- and 17-year-olds, three-quarters of boys and one-tenth of girls have ever watched an X-rated movie. Three-quarters of 16- and 17-year-olds have been exposed accidentally to pornographic websites, while 38 percent of boys and 2 percent of girls have deliberately accessed them. Internet pornography is a particularly pervasive source of minors’ exposure to pornography, both accidental and deliberate. Two features of children’s exposure to pornography mirror those among adults. First, males are more likely to seek out, and are more frequent consumers of, both X-rated movies and pornographic websites. Second, Internet users of any age find it difficult to avoid unwanted encounters with sexually explicit materials.
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This essay comprises testimony to the Congressional Committee on Government Reform. The Committee's concern was the possibility of exposure to pornography when children and teens participate in peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, which are extremely popular in these age groups. A review of the relevant literature led to three major conclusions: (1) Pornography and related sexual media can influence sexual violence, sexual attitudes, moral values, and sexual activity of children and youth. (2) Peer-to-peer file-sharing networks are part of an all-pervasive sexualized media environment. This total environment, including file-sharing networks, leads to a tremendous amount of inadvertent and unintentional exposure of children and young people to pornography and other adult sexual media. Peer-to-peer networks and the Internet differ from other sexualized media in that young people construct important components of this sexualized environment themselves. (3) A warm and communicative parent–child relationship is the most important nontechnical means that parents can use to deal with the challenges of the sexualized media environment, including peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. In addition, open parent–child channels for communicating about sexual and media experiences, sex education at home or school, and parental participation with children on the Internet are constructive influences. For boys already at risk for antisocial behavior, parents should carefully monitor and severely limit access to pornography on file-sharing networks and elsewhere.
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Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people, with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Particularly among younger children, exposure to pornography may be disturbing or upsetting. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people's adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships. And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials, consumption intensifies attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault. While children and young people are sexual beings and deserve age-appropriate materials on sex and sexuality, pornography is a poor, and indeed dangerous, sex educator. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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WOMAN-AFFIRMING SEX: AN EXAMINATION OF FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES ON WOMEN's SEXUALITYSexual Salvation: Affrming Women's Sexual Rights and Pleasures, Naomi B. McCormick. Westport, CT:THE WIT AND WISDOM OF A FEMINIST SEXOLOGISTSex is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays, Leonore Tiefer. Boulder, CO:THE BATTLEGROUND OF OPPOSING VIEWPOINTSMale/Female Roles: Opposing Viewpoints. Jonathan S. Petrikin (Ed). San Diego, CA:Feminism: Opposing Viewpoints. Carol Wekesser. (Ed.). San Diego, CA:Sexual Values: Opposing Viewpoints. Charles P. Cozic (Ed.). San Diego, CA:A “FADDISH PREOCCUPATION” COMES INTO ITS OWNWomen and Suicidal Behavior, Silvia Sara Canetto and David Lester (Eds.). New York:
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This article revisits young people's experiences with sexual content in the light of dominant arguments in the public debate concerning the potential effects, or risk and harm for young people. Drawing upon a research project I conducted in 2011, I argue in this article that there might be an alternative approach to young people's experiences with sexual content, one deriving from the Foucauldian perspective on sexuality as a self-governing discourse. Set in a social constructionist framework my discussion prioritises young people's accounts as reflections on a constructed notion of sexuality.
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Whether pornography consumption is a reliable correlate of sexually aggressive behavior continues to be debated. Meta-analyses of experimental studies have found effects on aggressive behavior and attitudes. That pornography consumption correlates with aggressive attitudes in naturalistic studies has also been found. Yet, no meta-analysis has addressed the question motivating this body of work: Is pornography consumption correlated with committing actual acts of sexual aggression? 22 studies from 7 different countries were analyzed. Consumption was associated with sexual aggression in the United States and internationally, among males and females, and in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Associations were stronger for verbal than physical sexual aggression, although both were significant. The general pattern of results suggested that violent content may be an exacerbating factor.
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Pornography is extensively produced, distributed, and used as a medium of entertainment around the world but has been little studied in Bangladesh. The present study examined the attitudes and risk factors of Bangladeshi university students’ pornography consumption. A survey was carried among 313 undergraduate students at Jahangirnagar University (Dhaka, Bangladesh). The study found that 72% of students consumed pornography at least once within their entire life, and approximately half of them were occasional consumers. Approximately two-thirds (67%) encountered pornography during high school, although females typically encountered pornography much later. Logistic regression analysis showed that pornography consumption was predicted by being male, living in a rural area, being in a relationship, engaging in online activities (such as using Facebook), and watching movies. Further research is needed to further determine the behavioral patterns and associated factors that influence pornography consumption among Bangladeshi students. Keywords: Pornography; Pornography consumption; Pornography attitudes; Student sexual behavior; Bangladeshi sex
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Recently interest into the effects of pornography on children and young people’s sexual development has increased leading to an increase in studies in the area, laws being changed and public concern growing. This paper aims to recap these findings including more recent studies carried out in the UK. The literature shows links between viewing pornography and sexually explicit material and young people’s attitudes and behaviours. This suggests that young people’s sexuality is affected by sexual imagery and that this influences children and young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviours. The impact is contingent on the young person’s support network, social learning and other demographic factors, not least gender which has been consistently found to be significant. Recent studies have found changes in sexual practices of young people which are attributed to viewing pornography such as an increase in anal sex and casual attitudes to consent. Links between porn use and sexual coercion have also been found. How and in what ways children and young people are affected by such imagery—and what can be done to reduce the negative impact on young people is debated in the light of the gaps in the literature and the issues with the existing literature. Further need for study is discussed.
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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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In response to some recent critiques, we (a) analyze the arguments and data presented in those commentaries, (b) integrate the findings of several metaanalytic summaries of experimental and naturalistic research, and (c) conduct statistical analyses on a large representative sample. All three steps support the existence of reliable associations between frequent pornography use and sexually aggressive behaviors, particularly for violent pornography and/or for men at high risk for sexual aggression. We suggest that the way relatively aggressive men interpret and react to the same pornography may differ from that of nonaggressive men, a perspective that helps integrate the current analyses with studies comparing rapists and nonrapists as well as with cross-cultural research.
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This meta-analytic review examines the effect that exposure to pornography produces on aggressive behavior under laboratory conditions considering a variety of possible moderating conditions (level of sexual arousal, level of prior anger, type of pornography, gender of subject, gender of the target of aggression, and medium used to convey the material). The summary demonstrates a homogeneous set of results showing that pictorial nudity reduces subsequent aggressive behavior, that consumption of material depicting nonviolent sexual activity increases aggressive behavior, and that media depictions of violent sexual activity generates more aggression than those of nonviolent sexual activity. No other moderator variable produced homogeneous findings. The implications of the results for theoretical approaches to understanding the impact of pornography receives discussion, as do the limitations of such findings.
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This study measures the sexually violent content in magazine, video, and Usenet (Internet newsgroup) pornography. Specifically, the level of violence, the amount of consensual and nonconsensual violence, and the gender of both victim and victimizer are compared. A consistent increase in the amount of violence from one medium to the next is found, although the increase between magazines and videos is not statistically significant. Further, both magazines and videos portray the violence as consensual, while the Usenet portrays it as nonconsensual. Third, magazines portray women as the victimizers more often than men, while the Usenet differs sharply and portrays men as the victimizers far more often. A series of possible explanations for these findings are offered, with the conclusion that the competition among men on the Usenet is an under‐analyzed component of the differences among these media.
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In this study, we wanted to explore issues which would provide more insight into the topic of women and SEM than had been presented in previous research. Specifically, we wanted to examine women's attitudes about using SEM in a variety of contexts; the specific types of SEM women use most frequently; the reasons women give for using or not using SEM; the ways in which SEM is acquired; and the contexts in which women use SEM.
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Sexual excitement depends on a scenario the person to be aroused has been writing since childhood. The story is an adventure, an autobiography disguised as fiction, in which the hero/heroine hides crucial intrapsychic conflicts, mysteries, screen memories of actual traumatic events and the resolution of these elements into a happy ending, best celebrated by orgasm. The function of the fantasy is to take these painful experiences and convert them to pleasure-triumph. In order to sharpen excitement-the vibration between the fear of original traumas repeating and the hope of a pleasurable conclusion this time-one introduces into the story elements of risk (approximations of the trauma) meant to prevent boredom and safety factors (sub-limnal signals to the storyteller that the risk are not truly dangerous). Sexual fantasy can be studied by means of a person's daydreams (including those chosen in magazines, books, plays, television, movies, and outright pornography), masturbatory behavior, object choice, foreplay, techniques of intercourse, or postcoital behavior.
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We have looked at the empirical evidence of the well-known feminist dictum: "pornography is the theory--rape is the practice" (Morgan, 1980). While earlier research, notably that generated by the U.S. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) had found no evidence of a causal link between pornography and rape, a new generation of behavioral scientists have, for more than a decade, made considerable effort to prove such a connection, especially as far as "aggressive pornography" is concerned. The first part of the article examines and discusses the findings of this new research. A number of laboratory experiments have been conducted, much akin to the types of experiments developed by researchers of the effects of nonsexual media violence. As in the latter, a certain degree of increased "aggressiveness" has been found under certain circumstances, but to extrapolate from such laboratory effects to the commission of rape in real life is dubious. Studies of rapists' and nonrapists' immediate sexual reactions to presentations of pornography showed generally greater arousal to non-violent scenes, and no difference can be found in this regard between convicted rapists, nonsexual criminals and noncriminal males. In the second part of the paper an attempt was made to study the necessary precondition for a substantial causal relationship between the availability of pornography, including aggressive pornography, and rape--namely, that obviously increased availability of such material was followed by an increase in cases of reported rape. The development of rape and attempted rape during the period 1964-1984 was studied in four countries: the U.S.A., Denmark, Sweden and West Germany. In all four countries there is clear and undisputed evidence that during this period the availability of various forms of pictorial pornography including violent/dominant varieties (in the form of picture magazines, and films/videos used at home or shown in arcades or cinemas) has developed from extreme scarcity to relative abundance. If (violent) pornography causes rape, this exceptional development in the availability of (violent) pornography should definitely somehow influence the rape statistics. Since, however, the rape figures could not simply be expected to remain steady during the period in question (when it is well known that most other crimes increased considerably), the development of rape rates was compared with that of non-sexual violent offences and nonviolent sexual offences (in so far as available statistics permitted). The results showed that in none of the countries did rape increase more than nonsexual violent crimes. This finding in itself would seem sufficient to discard the hypothesis that pornography causes rape.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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Women's reactions to three types of sexually explicit materials were examined. Ninety-six female undergraduates completed questionnaires measuring previous exposure to pornography, past history of coercive sexual experiences, attitudes toward feminism, hostility toward men, adversarial sexual beliefs, and rape myth acceptance. They were then randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) erotica, (b) nonviolent pornography, (c) violent pornography, and (d) control. They viewed 50 slides during each of two 30-minute sessions, completed a measure of mood disturbance, and evaluated each slide. The erotica was evaluated positively, while the pornography was evaluated negatively, and the violent pornography was evaluated more negatively than the other three conditions. Mood disturbance increased significantly from pre- to postexposure in the violent and nonviolent pornography conditions only. In addition, women with past coercive sexual experiences evaluated pornography more negatively and erotica more positively than women who had no such experience. full text available at http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/psychologypub/1/