Morrison, Todd G.; Harriman, Rebecca; Morrison, Melanie A.; Bearden, Anomi; Ellis, Shannon R.
September 2004
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2004, Vol. 13 Issue 3/4, p143
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to investigate variables--beyond those examined traditionally within a harms-based framework--that may be associated with exposure to sexually explicit material (SEM). These variables included: genital self-image, sexual anxiety, sexual esteem, perceived importance of engaging in safer sex practices, and perceived susceptibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Participants were 584 (382 female, 202 male) students enrolled in an Introductory Psychology course at a Canadian university. Significant results indicated that exposure to SEM correlated positively with sexual esteem (male and female participants) and with estimated number of sexual partners (females only). As well, for male and female participants, differences in exposure to SEM were noted as a function of sexual status (i.e., virgin/non-virgin), with those who had not experienced vaginal intercourse reporting lower levels of exposure than those who had engaged in this sexual activity. Finally, as predicted, male and female participants' levels of sexual anxiety were inversely correlated with their self-reported exposure to SEM. Such findings underscore the need to move beyond a traditional harms-based framework and, in so doing, formulate models that capture the complexity of the viewer/SEM interchange.


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