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Youth Wellbeing Project presentations and programs are research-based. Below you can find studies and videos related to violence and porn. Our other favourite sites for sourcing research include the Culture Reframed Academic Library, Your Brain on Porn and the Reward Foundation.

For targeted information to intervene with children and young people displaying problematic sexual behaviours, we recommend accessing Intervention & Recovery, a free program provided by Culture Reframed. The topics included in this resource are: What are the Warning Signs for Kids?; What are the Warning Signs for Teens?; Developing a Strategy; and, Finding a Clinician.

The Relationship Among Online Sexually Explicit Material Exposure to, Desire for, and Participation in Rough Sex
KEY FINDINGS: It’s common for those who have been exposed to rough sex in pornography to both desire and engage in those acts. Rough Sex is defined as hair pulling, spanking, scratching, biting, bondage, fisting, and double penetration. 91.4% of 19-30-year-old's surveyed who had been exposed to sexually explicit material desired to engage in one or more of these behaviours. 81.7% had engaged in one or more behaviours Almost half of the study participants (49.5%) engaged in four or more rough sex behaviours.
The Association Between Exposure to Violent Pornography and Teen Dating Violence in Grade 10 High School Students
ABSTRACT: Exposure to pornography in general has been linked with adolescent dating violence and sexual aggression, but less is known about exposure to violent pornography specifically. The current study examined the association of violent pornography exposure with different forms of teen dating violence (TDV) using baseline survey data from a sample of Grade 10 high school students who reported being in a dating relationship in the past year (n = 1694). Gender-stratified logistic regression models generated odds ratios adjusted for demographics, substance use, history of suspension/expulsion, gender equitable attitudes, and tolerance of rape myths to identify significant associations between violent pornography exposure and self-reported physical, sexual, and threatening TDV perpetration and victimization. Violent pornography exposure was associated with all types of TDV, though patterns differed by gender. Boys exposed to violent pornography were 2–3 times more likely to report sexual TDV perpetration and victimization and physical TDV victimization, while girls exposed to violent pornography were over 1.5 times more likely to be perpetrate threatening TDV compared to their non-exposed counterparts. Comprehensive prevention strategies for TDV may consider the potential risks associated with exposure to violent pornography, particularly for boys, and provide an alternative source of education about healthy sexual behavior and relationships.
Aggression and Sexual Behavior in Best-Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update
ABSTRACT: This current study analyzes the content of popular pornographic videos, with the objectives of updating depictions of aggression, degradation, and sexual practices and comparing the study’s results to previous content analysis studies. Findings indicate high levels of aggression in pornography in both verbal and physical forms. Of the 304 scenes analyzed, 88.2% contained physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, and slapping, while 48.7% of scenes contained verbal aggression, primarily name-calling. Perpetrators of aggression were usually male, whereas targets of aggression were overwhelmingly female. Targets most often showed pleasure or responded neutrally to the aggression.
Predicting Bystander Efficacy and Willingness to Intervene in College Men and Women: The Role of Exposure to Varying Levels of Violence in Pornography
ABSTRACT: Students from two research universities completed items measuring the frequency of their using different kinds of pornography, and measures of their willingness and intent to intervene to help a bystander who might be experiencing sexual violence. Hierarchical logistic regressions showed that for men, violent/degrading pornography use, but not explicit but non-degrading pornography use, was significantly associated with reduced bystander willingness to intervene, but not associated with bystander efficacy. Women did not show the same impact of violent/degrading pornography use on the two bystander intervention variables. Results suggest violence/degrading pornography may contribute to a culture of acceptance of violence against women.
The relationship between frequent pornography consumption, behaviours, and sexual preoccupancy among male adolescents in Sweden
KEY FINDINGS: Frequent users watched hard core pornography and violent pornography to a higher extent. Frequent users were more likely to have engaged in a wider range of sexual activities. Frequent users fantasised about trying sexual activities seen in hard core pornography. Frequent users showed signs of sexual preoccupancy and problematic pornography use.
Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK
RESULTS: Anal heterosex often appeared to be painful, risky and coercive, particularly for women. Interviewees frequently cited pornography as the ‘explanation’ for anal sex, yet their accounts revealed a complex context with availability of pornography being only one element. Other key elements included competition between men; the claim that ‘people must like it if they do it’ (made alongside the seemingly contradictory expectation that it will be painful for women); and, crucially, normalisation of coercion and ‘accidental’ penetration. It seemed that men were expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners. CONCLUSIONS: Young people's narratives normalised coercive, painful and unsafe anal heterosex. This study suggests an urgent need for harm reduction efforts targeting anal sex to help encourage discussion about mutuality and consent, reduce risky and painful techniques and challenge views that normalise coercion.
Pornography, Sexual Coercion and Abuse and Sexting in Young People’s Intimate Relationships: A European Study
ABSTRACT: New technology has made pornography increasingly accessible to young people, and a growing evidence base has identified a relationship between viewing pornography and violent or abusive behavior in young men. This article reports findings from a large survey of 4,564 young people aged 14 to 17 in five European countries which illuminate the relationship between regular viewing of online pornography, sexual coercion and abuse and the sending and receiving of sexual images and messages, known as “sexting.” In addition to the survey, which was completed in schools, 91 interviews were undertaken with young people who had direct experience of interpersonal violence and abuse in their own relationships. Rates for regularly viewing online pornography were very much higher among boys and most had chosen to watch pornography. Boys’ perpetration of sexual coercion and abuse was significantly associated with regular viewing of online pornography. Viewing online pornography was also associated with a significantly increased probability of having sent sexual images/messages for boys in nearly all countries. In addition, boys who regularly watched online pornography were significantly more likely to hold negative gender attitudes. The qualitative interviews illustrated that, although sexting is normalized and perceived positively by most young people, it has the potential to reproduce sexist features of pornography such as control and humiliation. Sex and relationships education should aim to promote a critical understanding of pornography among young people that recognizes its abusive and gendered values.
X-rated material and perpetration of sexually aggressive behavior among children and adolescents: is there a link
ABSTRACT: Longitudinal linkages between intentional exposure to x-rated material and sexually aggressive behavior were examined among youth 10-15 year olds surveyed nationally in the United States. At Wave 1 in 2006, participants (n = 1,588) were queried about these exposures and outcomes in the preceding 12 months. Wave 2 data (n = 1,206) were collected approximately 12 months after Wave 1 and Wave 3 data (n = 1,159) were collected approximately 24 months after Wave 1. Thus, data for this project represent a 36-month time frame. A marginal model with generalized estimating equations was used to represent the population-average odds of sexually aggressive behavior over the 36 months as a function of exposure to x-rated material over the same time and to account for clustering in the data within person over time. An average of 5% of youth reported perpetrating sexually aggressive behavior and 23% of youth reported intentional exposure to x-rated material. After adjusting for other potentially influential proximal (i.e., sexual aggression victimization) and distal characteristics (e.g., substance use), we found that intentional exposure to violent x-rated material over time predicted an almost 6-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior, whereas exposure to nonviolent x-rated material was not statistically significantly related. Associations were similar for boys and girls.
Experimental effects of exposure to pornography: the moderating effect of personality and mediating effect of sexual arousal
ABSTRACT: Using a randomly selected community sample of 200 Danish young adult men and women in a randomized experimental design, the study investigated the effects of a personality trait (agreeableness), past pornography consumption, and experimental exposure to non-violent pornography on attitudes supporting violence against women (ASV). We found that lower levels of agreeableness and higher levels of past pornography consumption significantly predicted ASV. In addition, experimental exposure to pornography increased ASV but only among men low in agreeableness. This relationship was found to be significantly mediated by sexual arousal with sexual arousal referring to the subjective assessment of feeling sexually excited, ready for sexual activities, and/or bodily sensations associated with being sexually aroused. In underscoring the importance of individual differences, the results supported the hierarchical confluence model of sexual aggression and the media literature on affective engagement and priming effects.
The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships
ABSTRACT: Although the objectification of women is widespread, there is relatively little research on objectification in romantic relationships. The purpose of our research was to explore how partner-objectification might be related to sexual pressure and coercion in heterosexual relationships. Two studies were conducted, one with heterosexual men and one with heterosexual women as participants. An online survey of 119 heterosexual men in the United States demonstrated that men who frequently survey their partners’ bodies are more likely to sexually pressure and coerce their partners—primarily because partner-surveillance is related to feelings of shame regarding one’s partner’s body, which in turn is related to increased sexual pressure and coercion. An online survey of 162 heterosexual women in the United States demonstrated feeling objectified by a partner is related to several (but not all) measures of sexual pressure and coercion. Furthermore, women who felt that their partners frequently surveyed their bodies were more likely to experience self-surveillance, which in turn predicted increased body shame and lowered sexual agency. Our research can inform interventions aimed at reducing sexual coercion and spark future research on the distinction between physical attraction and objectification in the context of romantic relationships.
Pornography and the Male Sexual Script: An Analysis of Consumption and Sexual Relations
ABSTRACT: Pornography has become a primary source of sexual education. At the same time, mainstream commercial pornography has coalesced around a relatively homogenous script involving violence and female degradation. Yet, little work has been done exploring the associations between pornography and dyadic sexual encounters: What role does pornography play inside real world sexual encounters between a man and a woman? Cognitive script theory argues media scripts create a readily accessible heuristic model for decision-making. The more a user watches a particular media script, the more embedded those codes of behavior become in their worldview and the more likely they are to use those scripts to act upon real life experiences. We argue pornography creates a sexual script that then guides sexual experiences.To test this, we surveyed 487 college men (ages 18–29 years) in the United States to compare their rate of pornography use with sexual preferences and concerns. Results showed the more pornography a man watches, the more likely he was to use it during sex, request particular pornographic sex acts of his partner, deliberately conjure images of pornography during sex to maintain arousal, and have concerns over his own sexual performance and body image. Further, higher pornography use was negatively associated with enjoying sexually intimate behaviors with a partner. We conclude that pornography provides a powerful heuristic model which is implicated in men’s expectations and behaviors during sexual encounters.
A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies
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.