Exposure to sexually explicit materials and attitudes toward rape: A comparison of study results (1989)

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The Journal of Sex Research

Volume 26, 1989 - Issue 1

Daniel Linz Ph.D.

Pages 50-84 | Published online: 11 Jan 2010

Abstract

This article reviews experimental studies conducted since the 1970 pornography commission that have tested the effects of exposure to sexually explicit materials on attitudes and perceptions about rape. Studies of short‐term exposure to nonaggressive sexually explicit communications have yielded mixed results. When effects do exist for this material, they are both fewer and weaker than antisocial effects from sexually violent material. Studies of the effects of long‐term exposure to nonviolent pornography have also yielded mixed results—some experiments finding increases in negative attitudes about rape, others showing no effects. However, one finding is consistent for both long‐ and short‐term studies. Those that have included violent (slasher) film conditions have consistently found less sensitivity toward rape victims after exposure to these materials. The remainder of the paper is devoted to contradictions between the outcomes of long‐term studies and their possible solution.