Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption Among Heterosexual Men
Pornography has been identified as playing an increasingly important role in the sexual socialization of men. However, relatively little attention has been paid to men’s perceptions of their own pornography consumption. This study investigated self-perceived effects of pornography consumption among an online sample of heterosexual men (N = 312). The study used a short form version of the Pornography Consumption Effects Scale (PCES–SF). The PCES–SF measures both self-perceived positive and negative effects of pornography consumption across the domains of sex life, attitudes toward sex, life in general, perceptions and attitudes toward the opposite gender, and sexual knowledge. Level of pornography use (measured in terms of frequency of use and average length of use) was positively predictive of both self-perceived positive and negative effects of pornography consumption. Those who indicated that they had never been regular users of pornography reported more negative effects than regular users. Older participants reported fewer negative effects than younger participants, even after controlling for level of pornography use. However, the relationship between age and perceived positive effects was nonsignificant. Religiosity was positively predictive of perceived negative effects, but unrelated to actual level of use. Overall, the sample perceived pornography to have a significantly greater positive than negative effect on their lives. This research is part of a growing body of literature that suggests that most men consider pornography to have a positive impact on their sexual self-schema and lives more generally.