A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies (2015)

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Paul J. Wright1,*, Robert S. Tokunaga2 and Ashley Kraus1

Article first published online: 29 DEC 2015

DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12201

© 2015 International Communication Association

ABSTRACT

Whether pornography consumption is a reliable correlate of sexually aggressive behavior continues to be debated. Meta-analyses of experimental studies have found effects on aggressive behavior and attitudes. That pornography consumption correlates with aggressive attitudes in naturalistic studies has also been found. Yet, no meta-analysis has addressed the question motivating this body of work: Is pornography consumption correlated with committing actual acts of sexual aggression? 22 studies from 7 different countries were analyzed. Consumption was associated with sexual aggression in the United States and internationally, among males and females, and in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Associations were stronger for verbal than physical sexual aggression, although both were significant. The general pattern of results suggested that violent content may be an exacerbating factor.

Keywords:

  • Violence;
  • Aggression;
  • Pornography;
  • Sexually Explicit Media;
  • Meta-Analysis

ARTICLE ABOUT THE PAPER

January 5, 2016 | by: Neelam

Porn Addiction Can make You Sexually Aggressive – Study

Are you a porn movie lover? Do you spend most of the time watching pornography? Stop doing it, as a new study has suggested that porn addiction can make you sexually aggressive.

The study findings point out that pornography consumption is associated with sexual aggression among both males and females. The startling findings are derived from an analysis of 22 studies from seven different countries.

Although the study found a stronger link between consuming too much adult content and committing acts of sexual aggression in terms of both verbal and physical, but it found the associations were more significant for verbal aggression.

The researchers, from Indiana University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, conducted a meta-analysis of data derived from 22 studies. The researchers analyzed the self-reports of porn consumption and acts of sexual aggression, including sexual harassment and the use of force or threats to obtain sex, and found that “consumption of pornography was associated with an increased likelihood of committing actual acts of sexual aggression.”

The one thing that the researchers found unique in their analysis was that there was no significant difference in the pornography-aggression correlation between men and women.

They, however, acknowledged that the causes of sexual aggression are not easy to understand and that many pornography watchers are not sexually aggressive.

But the study authors ultimately conclude that “the accumulated data leave little doubt that, on the average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression than individuals who do not consume pornography or who consume pornography less frequently.”

Not all the researchers are agreed to the conclusion, though. Chris Ferguson, an associate professor of psychology at Stetson University, who has studied the issue finds the current study’s evidences “non-convincing.”

“I’m going to put my twenty dollars down and say I could probably use the same data that these authors have, control for other variables and find nothing,” said Ferguson, who in his own research in the past had found that pornography consumption in the United States has gone up over time and rates of forced sex have actually dropped down.

Ferguson argues that although the debate on this issue doesn’t seem to die anytime soon, but his population-level approach is more reliable than the current study’s findings that are based on self-reported data on extreme behaviors.

“This is something that ping-pongs back and forth—one study says one thing, another study says another thing,” he said. “This is a debate that’s gone on for decades, and it’s going to continue going on for decades.”

The recent research is published in the Journal of Communication.