Associations between young adults' use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviors, and satisfaction

J Sex Res. 2011 Nov-Dec;48(6):520-30. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2010.543960. Epub 2011 May 24.


This study examined how levels of sexually explicit material (SEM) use during adolescence and young adulthood were associated with sexual preferences, sexual behaviors, and sexual and relationship satisfaction. Participants included 782 heterosexual college students (326 men and 456 women; M(age) = 19.9) who completed a questionnaire online. Results revealed high frequencies and multiple types and contexts of SEM use, with men's usage rates systematically higher than women's. Regression analyses revealed that both the frequency of SEM use and number of SEM types viewed were uniquely associated with more sexual experience (a higher number of overall and casual sexual intercourse partners, as well as a lower age at first intercourse). Higher frequencies of SEM use were associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction. The frequency of SEM use and number of SEM types viewed were both associated with higher sexual preferences for the types of sexual practices typically presented in SEM. These findings suggest that SEM use can play a significant role in a variety of aspects of young adults' sexual development processes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Young Adult