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Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption in Polish University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption in Polish University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

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This cross-sectional online survey of Polish students (n = 6463) assessed the frequency and patterns of pornography consumption, its self-perceived effects, the prevalence of self-perceived pornography addiction, and opinions on the potential effects of pornography and its legal status. Nearly 80% of students have been exposed to pornography (median age of first exposure: 14 years). Streaming videos were decidedly the most frequent form of use. In the subset of current users (n = 4260), daily use and self-perceived addiction was reported by 10.7% and 15.5%, respectively. The majority of those surveyed did not report any negative effects of pornography use on their sexual function, sexual, and relationship satisfaction. Instead, over one-quarter of students in relationships reported beneficial effects on its quality. The most common self-perceived adverse effects of pornography use included: the need for longer stimulation (12.0%) and more sexual stimuli (17.6%) to reach orgasm, and a decrease in sexual satisfaction (24.5%). Females and males with a Body Mass Index >25 kg/m 2 more often reported a self-perceived decrease in relationship quality associated with pornography use. Age of first exposure was significantly associated with reported need for longer stimulation and more sexual stimuli to reach orgasm when using pornography, decrease in sexual satisfaction, and quality of romantic relationship, neglect of basic needs and duties due to pornography use, and self-perceived addiction in both females and males. The highest odds ratios were always observed for age <12 years in reference to exposure at >16 years. In the opinion of most of the surveyed students, pornography may have adverse effects on human health, although access restrictions should not be implemented. The study gives a broad insight into the pornography consumption in young Polish adults.
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International Journal of
Environmental Research
and Public Health
Article
Prevalence, Patterns and Self-Perceived Eects of
Pornography Consumption in Polish University
Students: A Cross-Sectional Study
Aleksandra Diana Dwulit and Piotr Rzymski *
Department of Environmental Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, 60-806 Poznan, Poland;
ad.dwulit@gmail.com
*Correspondence: rzymskipiotr@ump.edu.pl; Tel.: +48-61854-7604
Received: 2 May 2019; Accepted: 23 May 2019; Published: 27 May 2019


Abstract:
This cross-sectional online survey of Polish students (n=6463) assessed the frequency and
patterns of pornography consumption, its self-perceived eects, the prevalence of self-perceived
pornography addiction, and opinions on the potential eects of pornography and its legal status.
Nearly 80% of students have been exposed to pornography (median age of first exposure: 14 years).
Streaming videos were decidedly the most frequent form of use. In the subset of current users
(n=4260), daily use and self-perceived addiction was reported by 10.7% and 15.5%, respectively.
The majority of those surveyed did not report any negative eects of pornography use on their
sexual function, sexual, and relationship satisfaction. Instead, over one-quarter of students in
relationships reported beneficial eects on its quality. The most common self-perceived adverse
eects of pornography use included: the need for longer stimulation (12.0%) and more sexual stimuli
(17.6%) to reach orgasm, and a decrease in sexual satisfaction (24.5%). Females and males with a Body
Mass Index >25 kg/m
2
more often reported a self-perceived decrease in relationship quality associated
with pornography use. Age of first exposure was significantly associated with reported need for
longer stimulation and more sexual stimuli to reach orgasm when using pornography, decrease in
sexual satisfaction, and quality of romantic relationship, neglect of basic needs and duties due to
pornography use, and self-perceived addiction in both females and males. The highest odds ratios
were always observed for age <12 years in reference to exposure at >16 years. In the opinion of
most of the surveyed students, pornography may have adverse eects on human health, although
access restrictions should not be implemented. The study gives a broad insight into the pornography
consumption in young Polish adults.
Keywords:
pornography; cross-sectional study; university students; self-perceived eects;
questionnaire survey
1. Introduction
The online pornography industry has been developing at a fast pace due to a global increase of
Internet accessibility and technological progress, particularly in streaming media that allow users to
continuously watch content, usually a video, without the need to download it [
1
]. It is, thus, no surprise
that explicit material is now ubiquitously and readily available on the Internet while intended and
unintended exposure to it may sometimes be dicult to avoid [2,3].
According to statistics shared by Pornhub, a major online website with explicit content, the group
of pornography consumers is steadily increasing and it is mostly represented by men (over 70% of all
users) and young adults, below 34 years old [
4
]. In line with this data, over 70% of adult US citizens,
aged 18–30 years old, admit to watching online pornography at least once a month while nearly 60% of
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861; doi:10.3390/ijerph16101861 www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 2 of 16
college students admitted to its consumption once a week [
5
]. Adolescents also constitute an important
group of intentional online viewers of pornography with user rates in countries such as Taiwan and
Sweden estimated at level up to 59% and 96%, respectively [6,7].
Although pornography has a long history, the new technologies have undoubtedly led it to new
heights. It is now oered in almost unlimited sexual diversity via free-of-charge online websites
accessible through any device with Internet access, mostly in the form of video pornography, which
was reported to be the most sexually arousing of all forms of explicit material [
8
,
9
]. The ease,
diversity, and arousal strength with which online pornography can reach its consumers indicates
that it may operate as a supernormal stimulus [
10
12
]. There are, however, controversies over the
exact eects that it may potentially exert on its consumers. Some studies reported that long-term use
correlates with erectile dysfunction, decreased libido [
12
15
], higher interest in pornography than
sexual contacts with real partners [
13
,
16
], and lower sexual and relationship satisfaction [
15
,
17
20
].
One should, however, note that the majority of these investigations cannot assess the causality and,
furthermore, that there are some other research that clearly produced the contrary observations.
For example, some cross-sectional studies and experimental investigations failed to find an association
between erectile dysfunction and pornography use [
21
24
], some research also suggest that men
with sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile dysfunction, may tend to use more pornography, including
patterns they self-perceive as problematic [
24
]. There are also investigations reporting a positive
correlation between pornography use in men and their sexual arousal, desire for solo and partnered
sexual behaviors [
23
], as well as studies suggesting that pornography use may reduce risky sexual
behaviors [
25
], indicating that women involved in long-term relationships that use pornography more
frequently may reveal increased sexual desire towards their partners and report higher desire for sexual
variety [
26
], and highlighting that shared viewing of pornography in heterosexual couples correlates
with increase of sexual satisfaction [
27
]. All in all, there is a need to further explore pornography
use among dierent groups and by using various research approaches encompassing cross-sectional,
case-control, and prospective cohort studies.
The pornography addiction is not a formally recognized disorder in the ICD-10 or DSM-5
classifications, therefore, some investigators have referred to it as “self-perceived pornography
addiction” [
28
30
]. The evidence from neurobiological studies indicates that it may fit into the
general addiction framework, and share similar mechanisms with those observed in addictions to
chemical substances [
31
35
] although controversies in this regard exist [
35
,
36
] and some alternative
models based on compulsivity, impulsivity or moral incongruence were suggested to describe high
and problematic consumption of pornography [
24
,
36
]. Some preliminary case reports suggest that
naltrexone, predominantly used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence, can be successfully
applied in patients with compulsive pornography use [37,38].
It is known that most individuals actively explore sexual behaviors and gain sexual experience
until their mid-20s [
39
,
40
]. It can, therefore, be hypothesized that for young adults the consumption of
pornography may represent some sort of substitute for these activities or be a part of them. This, in
turn, creates a need to understand how these individuals may perceive pornography. For this reason,
some studies have addressed this issue by investigating groups of college students but sample size was
often not high or limited to only one gender [
41
46
]. This is, therefore, of interest to conduct further
studies that would survey large groups and assess to which extent individual characteristics may aect
dierentiate the patterns of pornography use. For example, it would be interesting whether particular
personality traits can be associated with pornography use as some previous studies have reported that
they may influence sexual activities, such as novelty seeking [
47
]. The sexual activities might also be
influenced by physical characteristics such as Body Mass Index [
48
], yet not much is known whether it
may be associated in any way with pornography use. Moreover, patterns of pornography consumption
may depend on whether studied individuals are single or in a relationship; it was reported recently
that the latter group tend to use it less often [49].
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 3 of 16
The aim of the present cross-sectional online survey study was to assess the prevalence of
pornography use, age of first exposure, patterns of pornography consumption, attempts to cease its use
and self-reported eects of such cessation, self-perceived eects of pornography use, and prevalence
of self-perceived addiction to pornography among Polish female and male university students aged
18–26 years old. The associations of these parameters with body mass index (BMI), status of romantic
relationship, and eighteen self-reported personality traits were evaluated. Moreover, students opinions
on the eects associated with pornography use and its legal status were also assessed. The study
provides a broad insight into various aspects of pornography use in young adults.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Survey
To explore the patterns of pornography consumption, self-perceived eects of its use, and how
it is generally perceived by Polish university students, an anonymous, online survey based on a
self-designed, structured questionnaire was conducted. As previously indicated, research based on
online questionnaire creates the opportunity to collect data nationwide and to reach specific groups of
individuals [
50
,
51
]. Anonymity of the study was assured to eliminate the eect of embarrassment that
may be associated with pornography consumption [
52
]. As recently evidenced, surveying adolescent
pornography consumption does not increase its subsequent use by study participants [53,54].
The questionnaire employed in the present research aimed to assess:
1. the prevalence of pornography use and age of first exposure in the studied group;
2.
the patterns of pornography exposure: (i) the forms and frequency of use, (ii) an average length
of single use, (iii) use of private (incognito mode) and multi-window browsing when watching
online pornography, and (iv) consumption outside a place of residence;
3.
the frequency of attempts to cease pornography use in the group of its current users, and
prevalence and severity of associated eects (using a four-point scale);
4.
the self-perceived eects of pornography regarding (i) changes in the type of consumed content
such as switching to a novel genre, progression to more extreme (violent) material, viewing
content not matching sexual orientation, (ii) sexual satisfaction, (iii) romantic relationship
quality, (iv) changes in time of stimulation and number of stimuli needed to reach an orgasm
when using pornography, and (v) neglecting basic needs (e.g., sleeping, eating) and duties
(e.g., home-associated, occupational) due to pornography use;
5. the prevalence of self-perceived addiction to use of pornography; and
6.
general opinion on pornography: (i) the eect it may have on social relationships, mental health
and sexual performance, and psychosocial development in childhood and adolescence, (ii) the
possibility that it may cause addiction, (iii) border age of harmless pornography exposure, and
(iv) the current legal status of pornography in Poland (an open access to adult pornography).
Inclusion criteria for the study were Polish nationality, age 18–26 years old, female or male gender,
and university student. These criteria were verified by answers given to the corresponding survey
questions. Only completed questionnaires were analyzed. The demographic characteristics of each
surveyed individual included gender, studied field of science (medical, biological, social, or other),
and BMI (calculated from reported weight and height). The questionnaire was made available online
for the period of a year (February 2017–August 2018). Since it was previously reported that personal
traits may influence sexual activities such as novelty seeking [
47
], selected personality traits were
self-identified by students being able to choose one the two opposite characteristics that suited them
best. The following pairs of traits based on the list given by DeNeve and Cooper [
55
] were prepared;
they included: introversive/extroversive, optimistic/pessimistic, confident/shy, curious/uninquisitive,
sensitive/insensitive, happy/sad, calm/aggressive, trustful/conscious, and social/antisocial.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 4 of 16
In order to approach the largest possible group of students, invitations to complete the
questionnaire were sent by universities, and were made available through social media and web
portals. The study was approved by the Local Bioethical Committee of the Poznan University of
Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland (approval #68/17 issued 5th January, 2017).
2.2. Statistical Analyses
A total of 9070 questionnaires were collected of which 2606 did not met inclusion criteria (30.5%),
or were incomplete (69.5%) and were, therefore, excluded to avoid fallacious results. The analyses
were performed using Statistica v.13.1 (StatSoft Inc., Tulsa, OK, USA). Since most of the data did not
meet the assumption of Gaussian distribution (Shapiro–Wilk test; p<0.05), nonparametric methods
were used to test the results. To evaluate dierences between two and three independent groups, the
Mann–Whitney U test and Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA were used, respectively. Dierences in dichotomous
data were assessed by the Pearson’s
χ
2 test. To evaluate the associations between age of first exposure,
demographical variables and personal traits, and self-reported eects of pornography use (need for
longer stimulation and need for more sexual stimuli to reach orgasm when using pornography, decrease
in sexual satisfaction, decrease in romantic relationship quality, neglecting basic needs, neglecting
duties and self-perceived pornography addiction), as well as the occurrence of adverse eects of
pornography cessation, the classical odds ratios (ORs) with a 95% confidence interval (95%CI) were
calculated according to the formulas given by Bland and Altman [
56
] using MedCalc (MedCalc, Ostend,
Belgium). The age of first exposure to pornography was classified into four categories based on the
quartile distribution in the study population:
12, 13–14, 15–16, and
16 years. A p-value of p<0.05
was considered as statistically significant.
3. Results
3.1. Demographic Characteristics
The studied group constituted of 6463 students (2633 male and 3830 female), aged 18–26 years
old, representing medical (14.4%), biological (7.3%), social (19.2%), and other (59.1%) sciences.
The demographic characteristics of the analyzed population are presented in Table 1.
3.2. The Prevalence of Pornography Use
The exposure to pornography was declared by 78.6% subjects (n=5083; 3004 female and 2079 male).
In this subset, the current users constituted 83.8% (n=4260; 2520 female and 1740 male), while the
rest (n=823; 484 female and 339 male) reported to successfully cease its use. The prevalence of
exposure was similar in female (78.4%) and male students (79.0%) (p>0.05,
χ
2 test). The mean
±
SD
age of first pornography exposure was 14.1
±
3.0 (median 14.0) with no dierence between males and
females (
p>0.05
, Mann–Whitney U test). No association between this age and any personality trait,
relationship status was identified (p>0.05 in all cases, χ2 test).
Compared to students never exposed to pornography (n=1380), female and male, consuming
pornography did not dier in BMI (p>0.05, Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA). However, the frequency of
pornography use was higher among females engaged in a romantic relationship if compared to singles
(64.0 vs. 60%; p<0.05,
χ
2 test). The percentages of women perceiving themselves as social and
men perceiving themselves as trusting were higher in the group exposed to pornography (73.6 vs.
70.2% and 58.9 vs. 53.8%, respectively; p<0.05 in both cases, χ2 test). No other associations between
prevalence of pornography consumption and personality traits in female and male students were
identified (p>0.05 in all cases, χ2 test).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 5 of 16
Table 1. Demographic characteristic of the studied group of university students (n=6463).
Parameter
Male
(n=2633)
Female
(n=3830)
Mean ±SD (min–max) Mean ±SD (min–max)
Age (years) 22.1 ±1.7 (18–26) 22.1 ±1.7 (18–26)
Body Mass Index (kg/m2)23.5 ±3.5 (11.2–56.1) 22.0 ±3.7 (9.4–70.6)
n (%) n (%)
Underweight (<18.5)
Normal weight (18.5–24.9)
Overweight (25.0–29.9)
Class I obesity (30.0–34.9)
Class II obesity (35.0–39.9)
Class II obesity (>40.0)
93 (3.5)
1791 (68.0)
635 (24.1)
96 (3.6)
15 (0.6)
3 (0.1)
495 (12.9)
2680 (70.0)
524 (13.7)
97 (2.5)
23 (0.6)
11 (0.3)
Romantic relationship status
Single /In a relationship 1499 (56.9)/1134 (43.1) 1402 (36.6)/2428 (63.4)
n/n (%/%) n/n (%/%)
Personality traits
Optimistic/Pessimistic
Extroversive/Introversive
Confident/Shy
Curious/Uninquisitive
Sensitive/Insensitive
Happy/Sad
Calm/Aggressive
Trusting/Conscious
Sociable/Unsociable
1681/952 (63.8/36.2)
2633/1742 (66.2/33.8)
1430/1203 (54.3/45.7)
2322/311 (88.2/11.8)
2240/393 (85.1/14.9)
1957/676 (74.3/25.7)
2279/354 (86.6/13.4)
1525/1108 (57.9/42.1)
1815/818 (68.9/31.1)
2289/1541 (59.8/40.2)
1545/2285 (40.3/59.7)
1988/1842 (51.9/48.1)
3489/341 (91.1/8.9)
3503/327 (91.5/8.5)
2908/922 (75.9/24.1)
2990/840 (78.1/21.9)
2120/1710 (55.4/44.6)
2789/1038 (72.9/27.1)
SD–standard deviation.
3.3. Patterns of Pornography Use
Within the subset of current consumers (n=4260), the most often reported frequency of use of
explicit material was once per week. Daily use was reported by 10.7%, with no dierence between
female and male students (p>0.05,
χ
2 test) (Figure 1a). The daily users, both female and male students,
did not dier from those using pornography less frequently in terms of BMI (p>0.05, Mann–Whitney
U test) as well as status of romantic relationship and any personality trait (p>0.05 in all cases,
χ
2 test).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, x 5 of 15
Underweight (<18.5)
Normal weight (18.5–24.9)
Overweight (25.0–29.9)
Class I obesity (30.0–34.9)
Class II obesity (35.0–39.9)
Class II obesity (>40.0)
93 (3.5)
1791 (68.0)
635 (24.1)
96 (3.6)
15 (0.6)
3 (0.1)
495 (12.9)
2680 (70.0)
524 (13.7)
97 (2.5)
23 (0.6)
11 (0.3)
Romantic relationship status
Single / In a relationship 1499(56.9)/1134 (43.1) 1402 (36.6)/2428 (63.4)
n/n (%/%) n/n (%/%)
Personality traits
Optimistic/Pessimistic
Extroversive/Introversive
Confident/Shy
Curious/Uninquisitive
Sensitive/Insensitive
Happy/Sad
Calm/Aggressive
Trusting/Conscious
Sociable/Unsociable
1681/952 (63.8/36.2)
2633/1742 (66.2/33.8)
1430/1203 (54.3/45.7)
2322/311 (88.2/11.8)
2240/393 (85.1/14.9)
1957/676 (74.3/25.7)
2279/354 (86.6/13.4)
1525/1108 (57.9/42.1)
1815/818 (68.9/31.1)
2289/1541 (59.8/40.2)
1545/2285 (40.3/59.7)
1988/1842 (51.9/48.1)
3489/341 (91.1/8.9)
3503/327 (91.5/8.5)
2908/922 (75.9/24.1)
2990/840 (78.1/21.9)
2120/1710 (55.4/44.6)
2789/1038 (72.9/27.1)
SD–standard deviation.
3.3. Patterns of Pornography Use
Within the subset of current consumers (n = 4260), the most often reported frequency of use of
explicit material was once per week. Daily use was reported by 10.7%, with no difference between
female and male students (p > 0.05, χ2 test) (Figure 1a). The daily users, both female and male
students, did not differ from those using pornography less frequently in terms of BMI (p > 0.05,
Mann–Whitney U test) as well as status of romantic relationship and any personality trait (p > 0.05 in
all cases, χ2 test).
Online videos were decidedly the most often used form in the total surveyed population and
within both sex subsets. Other forms included photography, literature, anime/manga, and very
sporadically, audio recordings (Figure 1b). The estimated average length of single pornography use
did not exceed 1h in case of 86.8% of surveyed. The majority of students admitted to use of private
mode (76.5%, n = 3256) and multiple windows (51.5%, n = 2190) when browsing online pornography.
Use of place outside residence was declared by 33.0% (n = 1404). None of these patterns differed
between female and male students (p > 0.05 in all cases, χ2 test).
Figure 1. Frequency of pornography consumption (a) and its forms (b) in the surveyed group of
studied university students (n = 4260).
3.4. Attempts to Cease Pornography Use
Among those surveyed who declared themselves to be current pornography consumers (n =
4260), 51.0% admitted to making at least one attempt to give up using it with no difference in the
Figure 1.
Frequency of pornography consumption (
a
) and its forms (
b
) in the surveyed group of
studied university students (n=4260).
Online videos were decidedly the most often used form in the total surveyed population and
within both sex subsets. Other forms included photography, literature, anime/manga, and very
sporadically, audio recordings (Figure 1b). The estimated average length of single pornography use
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 6 of 16
did not exceed 1h in case of 86.8% of surveyed. The majority of students admitted to use of private
mode (76.5%, n=3256) and multiple windows (51.5%, n=2190) when browsing online pornography.
Use of place outside residence was declared by 33.0% (n=1404). None of these patterns diered
between female and male students (p>0.05 in all cases, χ2 test).
3.4. Attempts to Cease Pornography Use
Among those surveyed who declared themselves to be current pornography consumers
(n=4260),
51.0% admitted to making at least one attempt to give up using it with no dierence in the frequency
of these attempts between males and females (p>0.05;
χ
2 test). 72.2% of those attempting to quit
pornography use indicated the experience of at least one associated eect, and the most frequently
observed included erotic dreams (53.5%), irritability (26.4%), attention disturbance (26.0%), and sense
of loneliness (22.2%) (Table 2). Compared to males engaged in romantic relationships, singles reported
a higher incidence of the occurrence of adverse eects during pornography cessation—OR (95%CI)
was 1.22 (1.01–1.5) (p<0.05). BMI and personal traits were not found to significantly dierentiate the
incidence of cessation-associated eects within subsets of female and male students.
Table 2.
The self-perceived eects reported by surveyed individuals during attempts to cease
pornography use (n=2169).
Eects Occurrence (%)
Severity of Eect (%)
Minorly
Disruptive
Moderately
Disruptive
Severely
Disruptive
Very Severely
Disruptive
Insomnia 11.7 49.8 30.8 13.0 6.3
Irritability 26.4 54.6 27.9 11.9 5.6
Hands trembling 5.1 49.5 31.5 13.5 5.4
Aggression 14.0 59.2 22.7 11.2 6.9
Anxiety 9.0 47.2 27.2 17.9 7.7
Libido decrease 17.3 50.9 30.7 10.9 7.5
Depression 13.1 43.5 28.3 16.6 11.7
Erotic dreams 53.5 32.9 42.2 17.0 7.8
Attention disturbance 26.0 48.0 30.0 13.7 8.3
Sense of loneliness 22.2 41.7 26.0 17.9 14.4
3.5. Self-Perceived Eects of Pornography Use
The rate of students currently using pornography (n=4260) that feel embarrassed about this
activity amounted to 49.1%, and was significantly higher in females than males (57.8 vs. 42%; p<0.05,
χ
2 test). Various changes of pattern of pornography use occurring in the course of the exposure period
were reported: switching to a novel genre of explicit material (46.0%), use of materials that do not
match sexual orientation (60.9%) and need to use more extreme (violent) material (32.0%) (Figure 2a).
The latter was more frequently reported by females considering themselves as curious compared to
those regarding themselves as uninquisitive (32.3 vs. 26.7%; p<0.01,
χ
2 test), and aggressive males
compared to calm (32.8 vs. 24.2%; p<0.05
χ
2 test). Longer stimulation and more sexual stimuli
needed to reach an orgasm when using pornography was reported by 12.0% and 17.6%, of those
surveyed, respectively (Figure 2b). Most of the studied subjects did not perceive any negative eects
of pornography use on sexual satisfaction and relationship quality with respectively 7% and 28%
reporting a beneficial impact on these parameters (Figure 2c,d).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 7 of 16
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, x 7 of 15
Figure 2. The self-perceived changes in the pattern of pornography use in the course of its
consumption (a), the reported self-perceived effects of pornography consumption on sexual
performance during its consumption (b), sexual satisfaction (c), romantic relationship quality (d), and
neglecting basic needs and duties at least once in their lifetime (e) in the surveyed group of university
students (n = 4260).
The odds for a decrease in relationship quality were higher in female and male students with
BMI 25 (OR = 1.44, 95%CI: 1.09–1.92, p < 0.01, and OR = 1.35, 95%CI: 1.02–1.79, p < 0.05, respectively)
in reference to sex subsets of BMI < 25 kg/m2, as well as in females and males who reported
embarrassment about their pornography use (OR = 3.38; 95%CI: 2.65–4.31, p < 0.001 and OR = 4.68,
95%CI: 3.45–6.36, p < 0.001) in reference to their counterparts not experiencing it. The neglect of basic
needs (e.g., food or sleep) and duties (e.g., at home, work) because of pornography use was
experienced at least once by 14.8 and 19.3% of students, respectively (Figure 2e). The odds for longer
stimulation and more sexual stimuli needed to reach orgasm with pornography, decrease in sexual
satisfaction and quality of romantic relationship, and neglect of basic needs and duties were higher
in females and males exposed earlier to pornography with the highest OR (95%CI) values always
observed for individuals exposed at <12 years compared to those exposed at >16 years (Table 3). No
other significant associations between reported effects of pornography use and demographic
parameters or personality traits of female and male students were identified.
Table 3. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for different effects of pornography use in
association with age of first exposure in female (n = 3004) and male (n = 2079).
Figure 2.
The self-perceived changes in the pattern of pornography use in the course of its consumption
(
a
), the reported self-perceived eects of pornography consumption on sexual performance during its
consumption (
b
), sexual satisfaction (
c
), romantic relationship quality (
d
), and neglecting basic needs
and duties at least once in their lifetime (e) in the surveyed group of university students (n=4260).
The odds for a decrease in relationship quality were higher in female and male students with
BMI 25
(OR =1.44, 95%CI: 1.09–1.92, p<0.01, and OR =1.35, 95%CI: 1.02–1.79, p<0.05, respectively) in
reference to sex subsets of BMI <25 kg/m
2
, as well as in females and males who reported embarrassment
about their pornography use (OR =3.38; 95%CI: 2.65–4.31, p<0.001 and OR =4.68, 95%CI: 3.45–6.36,
p<0.001
) in reference to their counterparts not experiencing it. The neglect of basic needs (e.g., food
or sleep) and duties (e.g., at home, work) because of pornography use was experienced at least once
by 14.8 and 19.3% of students, respectively (Figure 2e). The odds for longer stimulation and more
sexual stimuli needed to reach orgasm with pornography, decrease in sexual satisfaction and quality of
romantic relationship, and neglect of basic needs and duties were higher in females and males exposed
earlier to pornography with the highest OR (95%CI) values always observed for individuals exposed at
<12 years compared to those exposed at >16 years (Table 3). No other significant associations between
reported eects of pornography use and demographic parameters or personality traits of female and
male students were identified.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 8 of 16
Table 3.
The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for dierent eects of pornography use in association
with age of first exposure in female (n=3004) and male (n=2079).
Eect Sex Quartiles of Age of First Exposure to Pornography (Years)
Q4 (>16) Q3 (15–16) Q2 (13–14) Q1 (12)
Need for longer
stimulation
to reach orgasm
Female
1.0
(reference)
1.16 (0.81–1.66)
p>0.05
1.79 (1.30–2.5)
p<0.001
1.62 (1.09–2.41)
p<0.05
Male 1.06 (0.68–1.66)
p>0.05
1.58 (1.06–2.36)
p<0.05
2.41 (1.52–3.80)
p<0.001
Need for more
sexual stimuli
to reach orgasm
Female 1.56 (1.13–2.17)
p<0.01
2.37 (1.76–3.20)
p<0.001
2.64 (1.86–3.74)
p<0.001
Male 1.06 (0.74–1.53)
p>0.05
1.51 (1.01–2.09)
p<0.05
1.94 (1.31–2.88)
p<0.001
Decrease in
sexual
satisfaction
Female 0.92 (0.70–1.20)
p>0.05
1.73 (1.36–2.20)
p<0.001
2.21 (1.65–2.94)
p<0.001
Male 1.32 (0.94–1.83)
p>0.05
1.90 (1.40–2.57)
p<0.001
2.40 (1.67–3.46)
p<0.001
Decrease in romantic
relationship
quality
Female 1.01 (0.70–1.46)
p<0.05
1.87 (1.36–2.57)
p<0.001
2.16 (1.49–3.14)
p<0.001
Male 1.15 (0.76–1.75)
p>0.05
1.91 (1.31–2.77)
p<0.001
1.87 (1.20–2.93)
p<0.01
Neglecting
basic
needs
Female 1.15 (0.81–1.64)
p>0.05
2.04 (1.50–2.79)
p<0.001
2.30 (1.61–3.30)
p<0.001
Male 1.66 (1.07–2.57)
p<0,05
2.52 (1.69–3.76)
p<0.001
3.20 (2.04–5.04)
p<0.001
Neglecting
everyday
duties
Female 1.30 (0.94–1.81)
p>0.05
2.75 (2.06–3.67)
p<0.001
3.07 (2.20–4.28)
p<0.001
Male 2.16 (1.43–3.28)
p<0.001
3.56 (2.43–5.21)
p<0.001
3.82 (2.48–5.90)
p<0.001
Self-perceived
pornography
addiction
Female 1.95 (1.32–2.89)
p<0.01
3.73 (2.61–5.31)
p<0.001
4.23 (2.85–6.28)
p<0.001
Male 3.46 (2.01–5.99)
p<0.001
5.94 (3.55–9.94)
p<0.001
7.25 (4.16–12.63)
p<0.001
3.6. Self-Perceived Pornography Addiction
The prevalence of self-perceived addiction to pornography in the total studied population
(n=6463)
was 12.2%, while in the subset of current users (n=4260) it amounted to 15.5% (n=787)
with no dierence observed between female and male students (p>0.05,
χ
2 test). The association
between age of first exposure to pornography and addiction is shown in Table 3. For females and
males the ORs (95%CI) were 4.23 (2.85–6.28) and 7.25 (4.16–12.63), respectively, for the lowest quartile
of initial exposure age in comparison with the highest quartile.
The BMI and romantic relationship were not associated with self-perceived addiction in male
and female students (p>0.05 in all cases,
χ
2 test). Moreover, no characteristic personality trait was
revealed by individuals with self-perceived addiction to pornography except in the male subset in
which a higher frequency of introverted persons was found when compared to male students not
declaring an addiction (71.3% vs. 64.5%; p<0.05,
χ
2 test). The OR (95%CI) for self-perceived addiction
in introversive males was 1.31 (1.01–1.71, p<0.05) in reference to the group of extroversive individuals.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 9 of 16
3.7. General Opinion on Pornography
In the opinion of the majority of the surveyed students, pornography use may have a negative
eect on the quality of social relationships (58.7%), mental health (63.9%) and sexual performance
(67.7%), as well as negatively aect psychosocial development in childhood and adolescence (78.1%).
These opinions were not diversified between sex subsets (p>0.05,
χ
2 test) except for the latter which
was expressed more frequently by female students (82.3 vs. 72.1%; p<0.001,
χ
2 test). Compared to
their male counterparts, females more often indicated that there is a safe age for pornography exposure
(37.6 vs. 31.7%; p<0.001,
χ
2 test), estimated in both sex subsets at mean
±
SD (median) of 17
±
2 (17)
years (p>0.05, Mann–Whitney U test). Most of the surveyed students agreed as to the existence of
pornography addiction on a minor (26.8%, n=1732) or wide scale (66.6%, n=4306). In view of 67.8%
(n=4381) the current law in Poland (open access to adult materials) regarding pornography should
not be subject to any modification, 24.1% (n=1558) advocated for access restrictions, and the rest had
no point of view in this regard. Opinions on both matters did not dier between female and male
students (p>0.05 in both cases, χ2 test).
4. Discussion
There has been a continuous interest in the study of various aspects of pornography consumption.
The present study explores these issues in university students aged 18–26 years old—a group which
can be expected to be sexually active. As shown, in the United States the average age of first sexual
intercourse is 17–18 years [
57
]. The results of the present study oer an insight into the prevalence
and patterns of pornography use, and the way it is perceived in the group of university students in
Poland. It demonstrates that the majority of students use pornography and that unsurprisingly, online
streaming videos are the most popular form of use, as they can currently be easily reached with any
device with Internet access.
The rate of exposure as reported here falls within ranges observed for young adults in previous
studies [
58
,
59
]. According to statistical data provided annually by the largest online pornography
service Pornhub and observations from various epidemiological studies, the prevalence of use,
particularly on a regular basis, is higher among males [
4
,
45
,
60
,
61
]. Similar conclusions were formulated
in previous research employing a smaller sample size of Polish (n=1135) and German (n=1303)
students [
59
]. Contrary to this, the present investigation found no significant dierence between sex
subsets, not only in the prevalence of pornography consumption, but also its frequency. However,
recent analysis has shown that the incidence of women using pornography in various world regions is
increasing [
62
] and, subsequently, more of them may be willing to admit it. It is also possible that the
high prevalence of pornography use in females as observed in the present study is, to some extent, a
result of volunteer bias—an anonymous online survey may attract consumers of pornography more
than individuals not associated with explicit materials.
A number of previous studies have focused on potential negative outcomes of pornography [
63
].
The present research demonstrated that nearly 25% and 15% of surveyed students perceived that
pornography use adversely aects their sexual and relationship satisfaction, respectively. However, it
is worth noting that majority of the surveyed individuals did not report any negative eect on their
sexual satisfaction, and did not note any changes to sexual performance that would occur over the
course of pornography consumption. Moreover, majority of those in relationship did not perceive
that pornography had some negative eect on the quality of relationship, and over one-quarter
actually indicated that pornography had beneficial eect on it. Interestingly, despite that majority
of students did not note any negative eects on their own sexual function, sexual and relationship
satisfaction, they mostly expressed an opinion that pornography use may adversely aect human
health.
This, in turn,
may potentially indicate that how the pornography is perceived by young adults
may not be driven by their own experience but by cultural factors, and opinions formulated by
authorities and media.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 10 of 16
However, a design of the present study cannot conclude on causality, the discrepancies in
self-perceived eects of pornography use (negative, positive, or none) suggest its outcomes may
potentially be associated with individual characteristics. Apart from BMI and age of first exposure,
which are discussed later, the variables, such as baseline sexual satisfaction, history of sexual activities
(number of partners, age of first sexual intercourse etc.), compulsivity, and impulsivity may also
be important to consider. Further studies are required to explore these issues although they may
be dicult to establish on basis of cross-sectional studies. Given the fact the high frequency of
pornography consumption among young adults, it can be hypothesized that the context of its use
may be crucial in understanding the potentially associated eects. For example, a number of studies
have shown that individual pornography use may be negatively correlated with partner’s sexual
satisfaction [
64
] while a recent investigation indicated that shared use may actually be positively
associated with promotion of sexual interaction between partners and their sexual satisfaction [
65
].
It is also plausible that individuals with some sexual dysfunction may tend to use more pornography,
highlighting a need for longitudinal studies in which baseline sexual characteristics of enrolled subjects
are established.
As demonstrated in the present study, women using pornography more often reported disgust,
guilt, and embarrassment [
27
], and this may also limit their willingness to report or discuss any
association with explicit material [
66
]. This advocates the use of anonymous online surveys in
epidemiological studies on pornography exposure although they also introduce number of limitations
as discussed later. The present study highlights that over half of female students using pornography,
a significantly higher number than in the case of their male counterparts, report to be embarrassed
by this activity. This dierence may arise from cultural influences and much lower acceptance of
pornography consumption among women compared to men, and that some women may more often
associate it with an act of infidelity, although contradictory findings were reported in this respect [
67
69
].
It could be hypothesized that such embarrassment could induce distress associated with pornography
use. The present study also found that women who are embarrassed about their pornography activity
more often perceive that its consumption negatively impact a romantic relationship quality. However,
one should also note that such an association was even more frequent in male students. Feeling
ashamed of pornography consumption may impede discussing it with a partner, and potentially
undermine trust in a relationship. Altogether, it supports the notion that partners should openly
discuss the pornography use with each other.
With some exceptions, none of personality traits, which were self-reported in this study,
dierentiated the studied parameters of pornography. These findings support the notion that access
and exposure to pornography are presently issues too broad to specify any particular psychosocial
characteristics of its users. However, an interesting observation was made regarding consumers
who reported a need to view increasingly extreme pornographic content. As shown, frequent use of
explicit material may potentially be associated with desensitization leading to a need to view more
extreme content to reach similar sexual arousal [
32
]. Nevertheless, it was recently evidenced that the
pornography industry does not produce increasingly more material presenting violent and degrading
acts, and that streaming videos presenting such acts receive less views and lower rankings from
online viewers [
70
]. As indicated by Italian research surveying high school students, a minority of
them (18.8%) were exposed to violent/degrading material with a lower rate observed for females [
71
].
The present study found that a need to use more extreme pornography material was more frequently
reported by males describing themselves as aggressive. A link between pornography and aggression
has been studied previously: intentional exposure to violent material over time predicted an almost
six-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior [
72
]. One should, however,
note the present findings cannot exclude the possibility of reverse causation (aggressive males more
frequently preferring violent pornographic material). This would require case-controlled or cohort
studies. Interestingly, in the present study females reporting a gradual need to explore more violent
explicit materials more frequently perceived themselves as curious. It could, therefore, be hypothesized
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 11 of 16
that violent pornography may attract females with a specific interest in sexual exploration, although
this would also require further investigation.
An interesting observation of this research is that overweight/obese (
25 kg/m
2
) female and
male students perceived that pornography has negative eect on relationship quality more often than
those with BMI <25 kg/m
2
. For young adults, pornography may model their sexual perception and
expectations, and has been reported to serve as a source of sexual information [
3
]). This may not
unambiguously lead to adverse eects if pornography is not regarded as a primary source of such
information and, as a fantasy, it is not mistaken for sexual reality [
73
]. Pornographic materials often
present unnatural or even extreme acts by actresses and actors who, in order to adapt to the promoted
type of physical appearance, often undergo plastic surgeries or use pharmaceuticals to sustain the
state of erection [
74
]. Altogether, this may lead to the generation of sexual demands which are often
impossible to meet, and discrepancies between physical attractiveness as presented in pornography
and that of the exposed subjects, particularly those who are overweight or obese. It can be hypothesized
that pornography may further magnify the eect, already observed in previous studies, in which
heavier women were judged by their male partners as lower in attractiveness/vitality and as poorer
matches to their partners’ ideals of attractiveness [
75
]. Moreover, high BMI has been shown to be a
significant predictor of erectile dysfunction [
76
], an association which could also lead to a potential
discrepancy between male sexual skills and those presented by pornography actors.
Age of first exposure to explicit material was associated with increased likelihood of negative
eects of pornography in young adults—the highest odds were found for females and males exposed
at 12 years or below. Although a cross-sectional study does not allow an assessment of causation,
this finding may indeed indicate that childhood association with pornographic content may have
long-term outcomes. It has been previously suggested that early exposures support adherence to
unhealthy notions of sexual relations [
77
]. The present study shows that individuals exposed earlier
were more likely to report neglecting basic needs and duties at least once in their lifetime due to
pornography use, and had perceived its negative eects on relationships quality more frequently.
Whether these eects result from hypofrontal syndromes manifested by compulsivity, emotional
lability, and impaired judgment is unknown, although such eects have already been reported among
pornography consumers [
32
,
34
]. The present study also suggests that earlier exposure may be
associated with potential desensitization to sexual stimuli as indicated by a need for longer stimulation
and more sexual stimuli required to reach orgasm when consuming explicit material, and overall
decrease in sexual satisfaction. As shown in neuroimaging study, exposure to pornography may lead
to down-regulation of the reward system in adults via a decreased volume of caudate gray matter
and its altered functional connectivity with prefrontal cortex [
32
]. Finally, earlier exposed female
and male students had higher odds for self-perceived addiction to pornography—a phenomenon
observed at a rather higher rate of 12.2% in the surveyed group. One should note, however, that this
rate does not reflect whether the studied subjects were addicted to pornography in a neurobiological
sense. As recently indicated, self-perceived addiction may not always be an accurate indicator of
problematic pornography use [
29
]. Nevertheless, previous investigations have already shown that
if such a perception is present it is more often associated with increased psychological distress [
78
].
Overall, as exposure to online pornographic content is almost unavoidable for young generations, the
findings of the present study support the notion that protection of children from too early exposure
should be prioritized.
Restriction to pornography access has become a subject of political discussion. The majority of
countries, including Poland, allow unrestricted access to adult pornography by adult individuals.
Recently, in response to an increase in the rate of documented rapes, the government of Nepal banned
pornography distribution. In the present study, the surveyed students often indicated that pornography
exposure may have an adverse outcome on social relationships, mental health, sexual performance, and
may aect psychosocial development in childhood and adolescence. Despite this, the majority of them
did not support any need for restrictions to pornography access. In the long-term, a law that limits
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019,16, 1861 12 of 16
access to pornography, bans specific pornography websites, or implements age-verification systems
may be dicult or expensive to fully enforce. However, countries such as the United Kingdom are
considering restrictions based on age-verification systems for online pornography to protect children
from exposure, and ensure that only adults (18 years old) will have access to explicit content.
Although the present research reveals some valuable information regarding pornography
consumption within a relatively large and homogeneous group of university students, there are
a number of limitations which need to be outlined for cautious data interpretation. Firstly, the multiple
comparisons performed when analyzing data without correction increase the probability of type
1 errors. However, a simple Bonferroni correction could potentially be overly conservative, and increase
the risk of type II errors [
79
]. Nevertheless, the lack of such correction must be taken into account in
the interpretation of the findings of the study. Moreover, the anonymous and online character of the
survey excluded the possibility of verifying the data. Additionally, the reported eects of pornography
use were self-perceived by surveyed individuals, and were not confirmed on clinical level. Importantly,
a cross-sectional study design does not allow any identification of causation. This also relates to classical
ORs calculated for associations between age of first exposure to pornography and self-perceived
eects of pornography use. The age of first exposure reported by surveyed students should be also
treated with caution rather as a rough estimate. As already outlined, volunteer bias could not be
fully excluded under the anonymous study design and must be taken into account when interpreting
the high prevalence of pornography use, particularly in females, or the high rate of self-perceived
addiction. Moreover, it is unknown to what extent pornography use in the studied group varied with
sexual orientation as the surveyed individuals were not asked to determine it. Some previous studies
have, however, shown that homo- and bisexual subjects may be disproportionately high consumers of
pornography [
80
]. Finally, the associations between the religiousness of the surveyed individuals and
pornography use was not evaluated. As shown, religion may be an additional factor causing distress
to pornography users [81].
5. Conclusions
The present study reports the high frequency of pornography use among Polish students, and
reports that its patterns of consumption may be similar in females and males, although the former
tended to be more often embarrassed by such activity. The early age of first exposure (
12 years) was
found to be significantly associated with various self-perceived negative outcomes of pornography use
manifesting themselves during university students age (18–26 years). This finding supports the notion
that enforcement of age-verified restriction in order to protect child and adolescent individuals from
early exposure may be beneficial although one should note that this study has a cross-sectional nature
and does not prove causation.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization: A.D.D. and P.R.; methodology: A.D.D. and P.R.; investigation: A.D.D.;
writing—original draft preparation: A.D.D. and P.R.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... for Agoraphobia without a history of Panic Disorder (Ballester-Arnal et al., 2020) to 42% for a lifetime prevalence of Phobic Disorder (Black et al., 1997). Further, one study found that 9% of students (n = 6,493) reported experiencing anxiety when attempting to stop their pornography use, of which 52.8% reported this symptom being at least moderately disruptive (Dwulit & Rzymski, 2019). The majority of results looking at differences between those with and without CSB were not statistically significant in terms of anxiety disorder diagnoses, including Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, GAD, and Panic Disorder (Ballester-Arnal et al., 2020;Engel et al., 2019;Fuss et al., 2019;Kraus, Martino et al., 2017;Odlaug et al., 2013;Scanavino et al., 2019). ...
... Most of the included research appeared focused on whether anxiety was related to CSB, rather than any potential causal relationship, and those which used hierarchical analysis focused on how CSB may predict anxiety rather than how anxiety may predict CSB. Nevertheless, one study suggested that anxiety may occur prior to CSBD symptoms, according to participant's self-reported time of onset for both (Wéry et al., 2016), whereas another study suggested that anxiety was the result of CSB (Dwulit & Rzymski, 2019). However, the selfreport nature of these studies may have created leading questions, participants may have simply noticed the anxiety or CSB symptoms first, or participants may not recognize or report certain symptoms (Rosenman et al., 2011). ...
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The inclusion of the novel diagnosis of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder in the forthcoming 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases has spurred increasing interest in the clinical profile of the disorder. Such attention has included a focus on potential comorbidities, risk factors, or symptoms resulting from such behaviors, including anxiety. Anxiety disorders have long been noted as comorbid with many other diagnoses, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and substance use disorders. This review aims to understand the relationship between anxiety and compulsive sexual behavior in adults and adolescents, based on available quantitative studies. A search of PsycInfo and PubMed revealed 40 studies which quantitatively assessed a relationship between an anxiety measure and a Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder measure, including dissertations and published articles using clinical and community samples. A qualitative synthesis and risk of bias analysis of the studies was conducted, rather than a meta-analysis, due to the variety of methods. Overall, studies were primarily cross-sectional and the relationship between these two constructs was unclear, likely due to several factors, including inconsistent measurement of Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder, lack of gender diversity, and very little longitudinal data. Directions for future research are discussed.
... Previous research has shown that the Internet is one of the most popular channels through which young people obtained sexual information, this is because of the easy accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of the Internet (Shek & Ma, 2012). There is growing evidence that adolescents live in a media-flooded world and are likely to be exposed to sexual content across a range of media (Peter & Valkenburg, 2011) as explicit material is now omnipresent and readily available on the Internet while intended and unintended exposure to it may sometimes be difficult to avoid (Dwulit & Rzymski, 2019). Pornography use may negatively impact the psychological, physical, and sexual well-being of adolescents. ...
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... Schneider (1991) observed a progression of sexual addiction characterized by trying new behavior and increasing risks in order to gain the same 'high'. Hunter (1995) and Dwulit and Rzymski (2019) observed a progression to more extreme content of pornography over time. In one study, 39 out of 53 participants reported tolerance, in needing to spend time more often in their sexual activity to get the same effect (Wines, 1997). ...
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... Parental filters are a necessity to ensure safe internet use by young internet users [5,8,19]. The sheer number of online materials causes controlled filtering and distribution of mature content to be impossible, and even internet activities with a non-sexual intention could lead to unintentional exposure to sexually explicit videos [8]. ...
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Audio-based pornographic detection enables efficient adult content filtering without sacrificing performance by exploiting distinct spectral characteristics. To improve it, we explore pornographic sound modeling based on different neural architectures and acoustic features. We find that CNN trained on log mel spectrogram achieves the best performance on Pornography-800 dataset. Our experiment results also show that log mel spectrogram allows better representations for the models to recognize pornographic sounds. Finally, to classify whole audio waveforms rather than segments, we employ voting segment-to-audio technique that yields the best audio-level detection results.
... Previous studies have shown that pornography consumption can have a positive or neutral influence on an individual's life (Bőthe, Potenza, et al., 2020;Bőthe, Tóth-Király, et al., 2020;Dwulit & Rzymski, 2019;Kohut et al., 2017;Vaillancourt-Morel et al., 2019). However, for some people, pornography use can become problematic and contribute to perceptions of being addicted Lewczuk et al., 2021;Lewczuk, Wójcik, et al., 2022) as well as negative consequences in other areas of life. ...
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Previous studies have shown that specific attitudes related to moral convictions can have an important role in the development and maintenance of problematic sexual behavior symptoms. However, although other types of attitudes, like sexual attitudes, are potentially highly relevant, they have not yet been studied in this role. We investigated how four dimensions of sexual attitudes: Permissiveness, Birth Control, Communion and Instrumentality, contribute to problematic pornography use (PPU) and hypersexual disorder (HD) symptoms, controlling for religiosity, sex, age and relationship status. The study was administered through an online questionnaire and based on a representative sample of n = 1036 (Mage = 43.28, SD = 14.21; 50.3% women) Polish adult citizens. When adjusting for other variables, higher sexual Permissiveness positively predicted HD and PPU among both men (HD: β = .26, p < .001; PPU: β = .22, p < .001) and women (HD: β = .44, p < .001; PPU: β = .26; p < .001). Sexual Instrumentality positively, although weakly, contributed to HD severity among men (β = .11, p < .05). Attitudes reflecting higher support for responsible sexuality (Birth Control subscale) negatively and weakly predicted HD among women (β = – .11, p < .05). Permissiveness was also the only sexual attitude dimension that consistently predicted a higher frequency of sexual activity among men and women. Based on the cutoff criteria proposed by the authors of the used screening instruments (≥ 53 points for the Hypersexual Behavior Inventory and ≥ 4 points for the Brief Pornography Screen), the prevalence of being at risk for HD was 10.0% (men: 11.4%, women: 8.7%) and for PPU was 17.8% (men: 26.8%, women: 9.1%). Our results point to a significant contribution of sexual attitudes to problematic sexual behavior symptoms, which was not encapsulated by the previously studied influence of religious beliefs, although most of the obtained relationships were relatively weak. Particularly, a consistent link between permissive attitudes and both HD and PPU among men and women may indicate that permissive attitudes can potentially contribute to the development and maintenance of problematic sexual behavior. The prevalence of being at risk for PPU (and to some degree HD) in the current representative sample was high. Such results raise questions about the appropriateness of the proposed cutoff criteria and the risk of overpathologizing normative sexual activity, if the cutoff thresholds are not tailored adequately. The results have implications for the assessment, diagnosis and theory of problematic sexual behavior.
... Evidence shows that an average of 130 million people were reported to have visited Pornhub, a famous global porn site [7], on a daily basis, compared to a daily average of 115 million before the pandemic [8]. Scientific studies have shown that problematic IPU is associated with various psychological distresses [9,10] among males and females, inclusive of guilt and shame [11], stress [12,13], and relationship conflicts [14]. However, the association between problematic IPU and psychological distress among emerging adults in Malaysia is still unclear. ...
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Past studies have demonstrated a link between pornography use and addiction to pornography, the underlying mechanism of the association is still unclear. This study intended to examine the mediating role of perceived realism of pornography in the association between pornography use and addiction among emerging adults in Malaysia. This study recruited 222 self-identified pornography users (M age = 21.05; SD Age = 1.68; 75.1% male respondents) via the purposive sampling method. The correlation results indicated positive associations among pornography use, addiction to pornography, and perceived realism of pornography. Further, the perceived realism of pornography significantly mediated the association between pornography use and addiction to pornography after controlling for gender. Thus, this study has provided a fundamental understanding on the perceived realism role of pornography in explaining the association between its use and addiction. Although it is unlikely to stop illegal pornography use, the results pointed out a need to guide emerging adults in pornography use via media literacy programmes.
... Evidence shows that an average of 130 million people were reported to have visited Pornhub, a famous global porn site [7], on a daily basis, compared to a daily average of 115 million before the pandemic [8]. Scientific studies have shown that problematic IPU is associated with various psychological distresses [9,10] among males and females, inclusive of guilt and shame [11], stress [12,13], and relationship conflicts [14]. However, the association between problematic IPU and psychological distress among emerging adults in Malaysia is still unclear. ...
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Internet pornography use (IPU) refers to Internet-based sexually explicit materials that are ultimately used to elicit sexual feelings or thoughts. The accessibility of Internet pornography could lead to excessive exposure to pornographic messages, posing a risk to heavy users’ psychological health. This paper offers a preliminary understanding of the relationship between Internet pornography use and psychological distress among emerging adults and the moderating role of gender in the association. This cross-sectional study has taken a purposive sampling approach to recruit 144 emerging adult pornography users via the online survey method. The results indicated that males reported having more problematic Internet pornography use, and there were no gender differences in psychological distress. Meanwhile, gender is a significant moderator between Internet pornography use and psychological distress. The females were found to be more psychologically affected by their problematic Internet pornography use than the males. Overall, this study has provided a novel finding of the moderating role of gender in problematic Internet pornography use and psychological distress in the Malaysian context. This study also calls for a gender-focused sexual health programme for Malaysian emerging adults. Furthermore, the scores of problematic IPU in this study raise a concern over the effectiveness of current sex education in Malaysia. The scores may highlight the need to provide education targeting Internet pornography use.
... In a sample of heterosexual Danish young adults, Hald (2006) found that compared to women, men use pornography significantly more often, are first exposed at a significantly younger age and spend significantly more time per week watching pornography. However, in a similar sample of Polish young adults, Dwulit and Rzymski (2019) found no difference between males and females in the mean age of initial exposure to IP and no difference in the gender of those indicating daily use of IP. Single males exposed to IP at an early age have, however, been found to be most at risk of developing PIP viewing (Harper & Hodgins, 2016), and viewers exposed to IP at a younger age report more negative consequences than viewers exposed later in life (Miller et al., 2018). ...
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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.
... Studies examining the associations between pornography, offense-supportive cognitions and atypical sexual interests have used different measures. Indeed, pornography takes many forms, both in terms of medium (e.g., still images, films, cartoons) and content (e.g., consensual sex, violent sex, children), and are used differently across various research designs (e.g., see Bridges et al., 2010;Dwultit & Rzymski, 2019). Preliminary findings indicate that the type of pornography consumed influences its association with sexual offending. ...
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The effects of pornography are hotly debated in the scientific literature, especially its potentially negative influence on sexual offending. While studies do not support direct effects of pornography use on sexual offending, pornography is hypothesized to have a catalytic effect among men who are predisposed to sexually offend due to the presence of other risk factors. Using a sample of 241 men varying in sexual offending history, this study examined the associations of different types of pornography consumption, offense-supportive cognitions, and atypical sexual interests on sexual offending against boys or girls. Bivariate analyses support the idea that people seek pornography that matches their sexual interests. Multivariate analyses revealed that the only type of pornography associated with contact sexual offending against boys or girls was child pornography, as it had incremental validity predicting number of victims beyond offense-supportive cognitions and atypical sexual interests. Moderation analyses suggested that, as hypothesized, child pornography consumption amplifies the effect of sexual interests for boys on sexual offending against boy victims. However, that moderation effect was not found for sexual offending against girls. Clinical and research implications are discussed, focusing on the importance of including measures of pornography consumption within forensic assessment and management protocols.
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Background Medical students are more susceptible to stress associated with long working hours, arduous studies, and living alone away from the home, which may affect their psychological well-being. They may indulge in the use of internet and pornography to ameliorate their stress. Internet is one of the main sources of pornographic content as it is easily available, affordable, and accessible. Objective The current study seeks to quantitatively estimate the extent of internet addiction and pornography use among medical students in India, and its effect on their general well-being. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study in a medical college in North India involving undergraduate (including interns) and postgraduate medical students. Those using internet for porn use were assessed using a semi-structured sociodemographic questionnaire, General Health Questionnaire 30, WHO Quality of Life Index (WHOQOL)-BREF, and Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Results A total of 393 medical students who agreed on their pornography internet usage were recruited for the study. Problematic pornography internet usage (moderate and 0severe IAT scores) was seen in 11% (80) of the participants. Male and married students were more likely to be problematic users. The mean duration of pornography use was 8.02±6.32 h/week. The time spent on pornography use positively correlated with IAT and General Health Questionnaire scores, whereas it negatively correlated with WHOQOL-BREF scores. Conclusions Internet pornography use is significantly prevalent amongst medical students in India. As the duration of pornography use increases, general health measures and quality of life decrease, which may impact their well-being and academic performance.
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Pornography use, preference for “porn‐like” sex, masturbation, and sexual and relationship satisfaction were assessed among two samples of men (NStudy 1 = 326, NStudy 2 = 335). Frequent pornography use was associated with sexual dissatisfaction, greater preference for porn‐like sex, and more frequent masturbation in both studies. Pornography use was associated with relationship dissatisfaction in Study 2 only. The data did not support the notion that pornography negatively impacts sexual or relationship satisfaction via preference for porn‐like sex. In fact, it may bolster sexual satisfaction by promoting sexual variety. The data were consistent with a model in which pornography negatively, indirectly affects sexual and relationship satisfaction via masturbation frequency. Pornography use may have multiple opposing influences on sexual satisfaction.
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Objectives: Anecdotal reports from Bangladesh indicated that some young adults were becoming addicted to online pornography similar to how others become addicted to gambling, drugs, and alcohol. Such behaviors can have social, academic, and behavioral implications in this population. This study investigated the association between consumption of online pornography and sociobehavioral patterns among students from a private university in Bangladesh. Methods: In total, 299 undergraduate students (70.6% male) at the First Capital University of Bangladesh were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The questions included sociodemographic characteristics, online-based pornography consumption habits and sociobehavioral characteristics. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression analysis were performed to examine correlations between online pornography addiction and sociobehavioral factors such as socializing habits, nature of interactions, university attendance and study focus, sleeping habits, and consumption of main meals. Results: The use of pornography was significantly higher among students who gathered late nights with their friends (58.4%, P < 0.001). Furthermore, those who frequently argue/fight with their friends (51.0%, P = 0.001) frequently fooled around with their friends (48.4%, P < 0.001) and those who did not go to bed on time (57.7%, P < 0.001) reported greater consumption of pornography. Students who fooled around with their friends and those did not go to bed on time were more than twice as likely to watch pornography than students who did not fool around, and those went to bed on time. Conclusion: The study provides the first overview of online pornography consumption. A significant proportion of male students consumed erotic materials online than females. Students who did not go to bed emerged to consume online pornography. Such behaviors can have negative impacts on studies education outcomes as well as wider social and moral impacts for students and the society as a whole. In this digital era, technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, with increasing access to the internet. Therefore, it is imperative to provide specifically designed pornography addiction education programs to educate students about the adverse effects of pornography. Furthermore, targeted treatment programs for sexual addiction, sexual abuse, and pornography abuse are needed to support the individuals who are addicted to pornography. Keywords: Bangladesh, behavior, online addiction, porn, university students
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Anecdotal reports from Bangladesh indicated that some young adults were becoming addicted to online pornography similar to how others become addicted to gambling, drugs, and alcohol. Such behaviors can have social, academic, and behavioral implications in this population. This study investigated the association between consumption of online pornography and sociobehavioral patterns among students from a private university in Bangladesh. Methods: In total, 299 undergraduate students (70.6% male) at the First Capital University of Bangladesh were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The questions included sociodemographic characteristics, online-based pornography consumption habits and sociobehavioral characteristics. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression analysis were performed to examine correlations between online pornography addiction and sociobehavioral factors such as socializing habits, nature of interactions, university attendance and study focus, sleeping habits, and consumption of main meals. Results: The use of pornography was significantly higher among students who gathered late nights with their friends (58.4%, P < 0.001). Furthermore, those who frequently argue/fight with their friends (51.0%, P = 0.001) frequently fooled around with their friends (48.4%, P < 0.001) and those who did not go to bed on time (57.7%, P < 0.001) reported greater consumption of pornography. Students who fooled around with their friends and those did not go to bed on time were more than twice as likely to watch pornography than students who did not fool around, and those went to bed on time. Conclusion: The study provides the first overview of online pornography consumption. A significant proportion of male students consumed erotic materials online than females. Students who did not go to bed emerged to consume online pornography. Such behaviors can have negative impacts on studies education outcomes as well as wider social and moral impacts for students and the society as a whole. In this digital era, technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, with increasing access to the internet. Therefore, it is imperative to provide specifically designed pornography addiction education programs to educate students about the adverse effects of pornography. Furthermore, targeted treatment programs for sexual addiction, sexual abuse, and pornography abuse are needed to support the individuals who are addicted to pornography.
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