Diverse Sexual Behaviors and Pornography Use: Findings From a Nationally Representative Probability Survey of Americans Aged 18 to 60 Years

AUTHOR(S)

Herbenick, Debby; Fu, Tsung-Chieh; Wright, Paul J.; Paul, Bryant; Gradus, Ronna; Bauer, Jill; and Jones, Rashida

PUBLISHED

2020 in Journal of Sexual Medicine

KEY FINDINGS
  • In this nationally representative survey, researchers found that pornography consumption is significantly associated with engaging in aggressive sexual behaviors—both as the aggressor and the target of aggression. Women and men who have sex with men were significantly more likely to report being the targets of sexually aggressive behaviors.
ABSTRACT
Background: Convenience sample data indicate that substantial portions of adults have engaged in sexual behaviors sometimes described as rough; little is known about these behaviors at the population level.
Aim: To describe, in a U.S. probability sample of Americans aged 18 to 60 years, (i) the prevalence of diverse sexual behaviors, described here as dominant and target behaviors; (ii) the age at first pornography exposure as well as prevalence, range, and frequency of pornography use; (iii) the association between
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EXCERPTS
  • "In regard to the relationship of porn use and dominant/target sexual behaviors, we found relationships with both past-year frequency of porn use and lifetime range of porn use and participants’ reporting of dominant and target sexual behaviors. These findings are mostly consistent with findings from convenience samples that have found a relationship between porn use and either engagement in or appeal of dominant sexual behaviors."
  • "In conclusion, findings from this U.S. nationally representative probability survey provide population-level data about diverse sexual behaviors. We found that both dominant and target sexual behaviors were prevalent and that women were more often targets of the behaviors we assessed. Finally, we found associations between the frequency and range of pornography viewed and the dominant and target behaviors. Clinicians, educators, and researchers have unique and important roles to play in continued understanding of these sexual behaviors in the contemporary United States."
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