Influence of unrestrained access to erotica on adolescents' and young adults' dispositions toward sexuality

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Aug;27(2 Suppl):41-4. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(00)00137-3.


Because consensually accepted programs of sexual education are lacking, erotica have come to serve as the primary agent of sexual socialization. The new media technology gives prepubertal children and postpubertal adolescents ready access to erotica in all their manifestations. However, next to nothing is known about the consequences of the steadily increasing amount of such exposure. A brief overview of what is known and what remains unknown about the effects of pornography on young adults is presented. Thereafter, the focus is on the development of sexual callousness across the pubertal threshold, and on how this callousness might be influenced by extensive exposure to erotica. The erotica under consideration are not so much those explicitly depicting coital behaviors as those that are less explicit and present a fuller social context of sexual engagements. A program of research is outlined that would help provide an understanding of erotica's effects on adolescents' sexual callousness, an understanding that is sorely needed for the construction of effective educational efforts aiming at the removal of callousness and coercion from sexual relations.

Publication types

  • Congress
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Sexuality*
  • United States