An Experimental Investigation Into Pornography’s Effect on Men’s Perceptions of the Likelihood of Women Engaging in Porn-Like Sex

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Abstract

This experimental study investigates whether exposure to pornography affects men’s perceptions of the likelihood of women engaging in, and enjoying, “porn-like” sex. Participants (N = 418) were either exposed to nonpornographic control videos or pornographic videos in which a male taxi driver has sex with a female passenger. Participants’ perceptions of the likelihood of women engaging in various sexual practices commonly depicted in pornography (e.g., unprotected sex with a stranger and rough sex) were then assessed across 2 vignettes. In the first vignette, a male taxi driver propositions a female passenger. In the second, a male boss propositions a female employee. The study was administered online to maximize ecological validity. No effect was found for experimental exposure. However, an effect was detected for past exposure. Men who had viewed taxi-themed pornography in the past 6 months rated the female taxi vignette character as being more likely to engage in porn-like sex with a male taxi driver. Similarly, those who had viewed workplace-themed pornography in the past 6 months judged the female workplace vignette character as being more likely to engage in porn-like sex with a male boss. The implications of these findings for theoretical models of sexual media socialization are discussed.

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