Introduction: Converging evidence from culturally diverse contexts indicates that sexually explicit media use behavior (SEMB; i.e., pornography consumption) is associated with risky sexual health perceptions and behaviors, many that involve high risks of HIV/STD transmission.
Aim: Essentially unexplored, and the focus here, are potential relationships between SEMB and nonsexual mental- and physical-health indicators.
Main outcome measure: Variability in six continuously measured health indicators (depressive symptoms, mental- and physical-health diminished days, health status, quality of life, and body mass index) was examined across two levels (users, nonusers) of SEMB.
Methods: A sample of 559 Seattle-Tacoma Internet-using adults was surveyed in 2006. Multivariate general linear models parameterized in a SEMB by respondent gender (2 × 2) factorial design were computed incorporating adjustments for several demographics.
Results: SEMB was reported by 36.7% (n = 205) of the sample. Most SEMB users (78%) were men. After adjusting for demographics, SEMB users, compared to nonusers, reported greater depressive symptoms, poorer quality of life, more mental- and physical-health diminished days, and lower health status.
Conclusions: The findings show that mental- and physical-health indicators vary significantly across SEMB, suggesting the value of incorporating these factors in future research and programmatic endeavors. In particular, the findings suggest that evidence-based sexual health promotion strategies simultaneously addressing individuals' SEMB and their mental health needs might be a useful approach to improve mental health and address preventable sexual health outcomes associated with SEMB.
© 2010 International Society for Sexual Medicine.