Why Do People Watch Pornography? The Motivational Basis of Pornography Use


Bőthe, Beáta; Tóth-Király, István; Bella, Nóra; Potenza, Marc N.; Demetrovics, Zsolt; and Orosz, Gábor


2021 in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

  • This study examined motivations for pornography use, and found a gendered difference in reasons for consuming pornography. Additionally, stress reduction, emotional distraction/suppression, boredom avoidance, fantasy, and sexual pleasure motivations were all associated with Problematic Pornography Use, with stress reduction motivations being the strongest predictor for PPU.
Although pornography viewing is widespread among Internet users, no scales for measuring pornography use motivations (PUM) have been developed and psychometrically tested for use in general populations. The present work aimed to construct a measure that could reliably assess a wide range of PUM in nonspecific populations. Self-report data of 3 separate samples (N₁ = 772 [51% women], N₂ = 792 [6% women], N₃ = 1,082 [50% women]) were collected and analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, measurement invariance testing,... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • "Motivations to reduce stress had positive, weak associations with the FPU, and they had the strongest positive associations with PPU. Stress reduction motivations may contribute similarly or to a higher degree to the development of PPU as emotional distraction or suppression, in line with a self-medication hypothesis (Khantzian, 1997; Reid et al., 2013). To summarize, pornography may seem an easily accessible, affordable, seemingly anonymous and fast way (Cooper, 1998; Young et al., 2000) to diminish stress, but it may also generate even more stress as a result of developing PPU."
  • "Stress Reduction motivations were the strongest statistical predictors of PPU, followed by Emotional Distraction or Suppression, Boredom-Avoidance, Fantasy, and Sexual Pleasure motivations, respectively. These results are in line with those in previous studies (de Souza Aranha e Silva & Baltieri, 2016; Reid et al., 2011; Wéry & Billieux, 2016), indicating the importance of certain motivations in PPU and other related problematic sexual behaviors, such as hypersexuality or problematic OSA. When comparing the motivational patterns underlying PPU and FPU, Emotional Distraction or Suppression and Fantasy motivations were related to PPU but not to FPU, suggesting that although stress reduction may be the strongest predictor of PPU, it may not result in PPU without Emotional Distraction or Suppression and Fantasy motivations, although this possibility warrants direct examination. Individuals who use pornography not only to reduce their stress but also to avoid negative feelings, forget about their problems, and escape from the real world may be at elevated risk of developing PPU."