Does exposure to sexually explicit Internet material increase body dissatisfaction? A longitudinal study (2014)

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Computers in Human Behavior

Volume 36, July 2014, Pages 297–307

Highlights

  • Males who watched more Internet pornography, were dissatisfied with their body.
  • Males who watched more Internet pornography, were dissatisfied with their stomach size.
  • Watching Internet pornography was unrelated to males’ satisfaction with their penis size.
  • Watching Internet pornography was unrelated to females’ body satisfaction.

Abstract

Research on the consequences of exposure to sexually explicit Internet material (SEIM) has neglected body dissatisfaction as a potential outcome. Additionally, research on body dissatisfaction has ignored exposure to SEIM as a potential predictor. Within a social comparison framework, we studied whether exposure to SEIM predicted overall body dissatisfaction, as well as dissatisfaction with one’s stomach size, penis size (for males), and breast size (for women). Based on a two-wave panel survey held among a nationally representative sample of 1879 Dutch respondents we found that more frequent exposure to SEIM increased males’ dissatisfaction with their body in general and their stomach in particular. However, more frequent exposure to SEIM did not increase males’ dissatisfaction with their penis size. Among females, SEIM was generally unrelated to body dissatisfaction. The effects of exposure to SEIM on the various dimensions of body dissatisfaction differed neither by age nor by sexual orientation.

Keywords

  • Internet pornography;
  • Media effects;
  • Body satisfaction