Unit 8 - Pornography

General Purpose:  To become aware of the effects of pornography on our behavior.

Unit Outline

I.   What is Pornography?  mediated sexually explicit message.

     A.   Pornos and graphe

          1.   Pornos - means of or pertaining to prostitution
          2.   Graphe - means to transmit

     B.   Erotica, Hard Core, and Soft Core - the problem of individual
            taste (the good, the bad, and the naughty)

     C.   The Problem of Personal Preference - while people argue about how
            "bad" a message has to be in class we will look only at the most
            explicit, XXX-rated messages.

II.  Definitions of Obscenity

     A.   Conceptual 

          1.   Appeals to the Prurient - message leaves you
               feeling, longing with desire, arouses, etc.

          2.   Patently Offensive - no argument that everyone was

          3.   Utterly Lacking in Redeeming Value 

          4.   Community Standards - community must agree on the
               above 3.

     B.   Comparing Pornography to Obscenity is a legal

III. Exposure and Consumption (1986 Commission Report)

     A.   Dollar Expenditures

          In 1992, Americans spent $15 billion on pornographic
          material.  As a comparison, Americans spent $12 billion
          on sneakers.

     B.   VCR Rentals 

          In 1992, over $2 billion was spent renting porno videos
          (about 15% of all video rentals).  There are over 10,000
          video titles available.  Approximately 1,500 new titles
          come out per year.

     C.   Computer Sex

          1.   Bulletin Boards

          2.   Explicit Software

     D.   Phone Sex - 1 service in 1 year made $180 million
          (averaged 800,000 phone calls daily).

     E.   Sex Differences in Use

          1.   Females (Lawrence & Herold, 1988)

               a.   Women rarely use hard core porno material.
               b.   Women reported that their exposure came from
               c.   Those exposed are more sexually experienced
                     (more partners).

          2.   Males (Demare, Briere, & Lips, 1988)

               a.   Most men report that they have had exposure
                     and use it.
               b.   15% of men report that they regularly use
                     violent messages.

     F.   College Adults in the 1990's (Booth-Butterfield, 1998)
	   1.  Method
           2.  Demographics
           3.  Results
		a.  Past Year Usage
		b.  Sex Differences
		c.  Buy it?
		d.  Attitudes

     G.   Conclusions about Exposure and Consumption - we spend a fair 
            amount of time and money; big economy that cannot be supported 
            only by dirty old men --- too big.

IV.  Content of Pornography (Malamuth & Billings, 1986)

     A.   Types of Porno Investigated - content analysis on print  porno

     B.   Major Themes in Male-Oriented Pornography

          1.   Relation-less Sexuality and Sexual Euphoria - no
                relationship, fantasy orientation, etc.

          2.   Macho Studs and Their Pleasure Vessels 

          3.   Violence against Women 

     C.   Conclusions

          1.   Messages are aimed toward male consumers.
          2.   Not an accurate rendition of how things are.

V.   Immediate Effects of Pornography

     A.   An Interesting Example (Zanna et al., 1990)

          1.   Method - recruited men who had more traditional
               gender roles.  One group was shown a porno movie
               and the other was not.  Then women were asked to
               interview the men.

          2.   Results - women clearly saw a difference (those who
               saw the porno movie were more active, etc.).  Men
               that saw the porno movie remembered the women and
               not the interview questions.

     B.   Research on Immediate Effects

          1.   Physiological - monitored blood pressure, heart
               rate, etc.  Both Men and women get physiologically

          2.   Behavioral - Younger people tend to model but older
               people see pornography as a motivator.

          3.   Cognitive

               a.   Strong attitudinal response - they either like it or not.
               b.   Very strong attention effects
               c.   Very strong memory effects 

          4.   Variations of Response by Types of People - there
               are age and sex differences.  Women will have a
               response but not as intense.  Younger people are
               much more reactive than older people.

VI.  Repeated Exposure (Zillmann & Bryant, 1982; 1984; 1988)

     A.   Background on Repeated Exposure Studies

          1.   Long term experiments have been done.
          2.   Research is a little more naturalistic (use cover story)
          3.   Most controversial.  Bryant has gotten death
                threats for publishing this info.

     B.   Methods of this Research

          1.   Participants - wide range of adults (18-middle age)

          2.   Cover Story - revolves around a marketing study. 
               For example, we've been hired by a cable TV company
               and would like you to preview movies but were
               warned that they might see adult-oriented movies.

          3.   Basic Procedure

               a.   Lasts 6 weeks (every Wednesday night for 2  hours)
               b.  Assigned to random diets of pornography.  One
                    group views no porno, another group views 50%
                    porno, and the last group views all porno.

               c.   After exposure, they were surveyed.

          4.   Outcomes Assessed - cognitive, emotional, behavioral

     C.   Cultivation Effects - see page 93

     D.   Attitudes toward Sexual Violence - see page 93

     E.   Sexual Satisfaction and Happiness - see page 94

     F.   Desensitization Effects - see page 95

     G.   Preference for New and Unusual Pornography - see page 96

     H.   Summarizing Massive Exposure Effects

          1.   Methods of Research - can make causal statements

          2.   General Pattern of Outcomes - more porno, more anti-social effect

          3.   Consistent and Reliable Pattern - effect holds across age, gender

	  4.   Powerful and Compelling Research

VII. Prosocial Effects (Malamuth and Billings, 1986)

     A.   Marital Counseling - Porno videos are a standard
          treatment (even used by Christian counselors).

     B.   Sex Education - motivates sexual behavior but more

     C.   Artistic Expression 

     D.   Entertainment - biggest use

     E.   Conclusions - most people use pornography on a prosocial

VIII.Antisocial Effects

     A.   Obscenity - sometimes used as a harassment strategy to
          get a community cleaned up.

     B.   Kiddie Porn - 3 crimes (illegal to have sex with kids,
          film, and distribute).  Feds estimate a $2 billion
          economy (totally underground).

     C.   Street Crime - effected by the presence or absence of
          pornography.  For example, Cincinnati zoned the red light
          district and street crime decreased.  

     D.   Organized Crime - in 1986, the Feds estimated that the
          mob made $4 billion on production and distribution of

     E.   Conclusions about anti-social effects - indirect

IX.  Pornography and Sexual Assault

     A.   Likelihood of Sexual Assault - women face a 1 in 3 chance
          that it will occur in their life.  Sexual assault is one
          of the most unreported crimes.  Usually occurs between
          individuals that know each other - date rape.

     B.   Can Porno Be Linked to Assault?  Since the 60's, there
          has been an increase in reporting of sexual assault and
          more pornography is available - some people see a link.

     C.   What Causes Aggression?  (Malamuth & Briere, 1986) - see
          page 100

X.   Person Characteristics Related to Sexual Assault

     A.   Date Rape by Men (Koss & Leonard, 1984) - men read a
          scenario.  Scenarios varied with sexual encounters.  Men
          were asked to indicate whether they had been in these

          1.   10-15% identified themselves as being in a "rape"
     B.   A "Normal" Pathology (Kanin, 1985) - conducted clinical
          interviews of self-confessed date rapists and found no
          difference between this group and those that did not date

          1.   Found that date rapists used more pornography
          2.   Date rapists generally were more aggressive and had
               more sexual experience.

     C.   Rape Myth Acceptance (Burt, 1980) - see page 193

          1.   Men who score higher on the rape myth scale are
               more likely to admit to date rape.

     D.   Likelihood of Raping (Malamuth, 1981 

          If you had the chance to rape a woman and knew you would
          not be caught and punished, what is the likelihood you
          would do so?  75-85% said they would not

     E.   Arousal to Violent Pornography - most men tend to lose
          their erection when seeing a violent rape.

     F.   Pornography's Effect On Person Characteristics - when men
          are exposed to pornography, the rape myth scores
          increase.  As you are exposed to porno, you become more
          accepting to sexual violence.

XI.  Situation Characteristics (Allen, D'Alessio, & Brezgel, 1995)

     A.   Basic Set-up - female takes blood pressure of male
               and hurts him then insults him.  Then teacher
               learner experiment (male shocks female).

     B.   Meta-Analysis Characteristics

     C.   Add "Standard" Pornography - males does less
               shocking after viewing standard porno.

     D.   Add Aggressive Pornography (or Slasher Film) - shot
               2 endings

          1.   "positive victim response" - fits the rape
                    myth.  Males gives much higher levels of shock
                    (seeing rape myth disinhibits male).

          2.   "negative victim response" - males don't shock
                    under these circumstances (reduces male

          3.   Add Person Characteristics - show positive response
               and male gives highest level of shocking

    E.   Gender Effects - Men vs. Women

	  1.   Who is more aggressive? - equal effects as aggression

	  2.   Who is aggressed against more?
		- Women "victims" attacked 
		- Men "victims" not attacked
XII. Violent Porno and Effects on Sexual Violence

     A.   Exposure Increases Person Characteristics - after
          exposure to porno, changes us as people.  It changes our
          view of sexual violence.

     B.   Exposure Increases Situational Risk - violent porno can
          predispose us.

     C.   Person Not Aware of Impact 

XIII. Concluding Remarks

     A.   Pornography Does Influence - most of the effects are

     B.   No Porno, No Problem?  No, but there would be fewer
          sexual assaults.

     C.   Education's Moderating Role - when adults are exposed to
          this information, it does change them - porno loses its
          power.  It can moderate the negative effects.

     D.   Ethics, Individual Choice, and Society

Back to Notes Table of Contents

Notes prepared by Teresa Jones, Spring, 1996. Page created April 21, 1996; updated on October 7, 1999. Edited by Mike Lowry Copyright © Teresa Jones and Steve Booth-Butterfield, 1996.