Rape fantasies as a function of exposure to violent sexual stimuli (1981)

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Arch Sex Behav. 1981 Feb;10(1):33-47.

Malamuth NM.

Abstract

Twenty-nine male students, classified on the basis of questionnaire responses as sexually force oriented or non-force oriented, were randomly assigned to exposure to rape or mutually-consenting versions of a slide-audio show. All subjects were then exposed to the same audio description of a rape read by a female. They were later asked to create their own fantasies. Penile tumescence and self-reports of arousal indicated that relatively high levels of sexual arousal were generated by all of the experimental stimuli.

No differences in arousal during the exposure phase were found as a function of the manipulation in the content of the slide-audio show. Sexual arousal during the fantasy period, assessed by means of self-reports, indicated that those who had been classified as force oriented created more arousing fantasies after having been exposed to the rape version of the show, whereas those classified as non-force oriented created more arousing fantasies following the mutually-consenting version.

Most significantly, those exposed to the rape version, irrespective of their sexual classification, created more violent sexual fantasies than those exposed to the mutually-consenting version. The possible role of such media-elicited fantasies in the development of antisocial attitudes and behavior is considered. Also discussed are ethical issues arising from implementing or failing to implement research in this area.