A review of Internet pornography use research: methodology and content from the past 10 years

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2012 Jan;15(1):13-23. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0477. Epub 2011 Oct 27.


Internet pornography (IP) use has increased over the past 10 years. The effects of IP use are widespread and are both negative (e.g., relationship and interpersonal distress) and positive (e.g., increases in sexual knowledge and attitudes toward sex). Given the possible negative effects of IP use, understanding the definition of IP, the types of IP used, and reasons for IP use is important. The present study reviews the methodology and content of available literature regarding IP use in nondeviant adult populations. The study seeks to determine how the studies defined IP, utilized validated measures of pornography use, examined variables related to IP, and addressed form and function of IP use. Overall, studies were inconsistent in their definitions of IP, measurement, and their assessment of the form and function of IP use. Discussion regarding how methodological differences between studies may impact the results and the ability to generalize findings is provided, and suggestions for future studies are offered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Erotica* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet* / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Young Adult