"Without Porn … I Wouldn't Know Half the Things I Know Now": A Qualitative Study of Pornography Use Among a Sample of Urban, Low-Income, Black and Hispanic Youth

J Sex Res. 2015;52(7):736-46. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2014.960908. Epub 2014 Oct 28.


Information about the pornography-viewing habits of urban, low-income youth of color in the United States is lacking. This study was designed to answer the following using a sample of 16- to 18-year-old urban-residing, low-income Black or Hispanic youth: (1) What types of pornography do youth report watching; where and for what purpose? (2) Do youth feel that pornography exposure has an impact on their own sexual behaviors? and (3) How do parents react to their pornography use? The following themes emerged from interviews with 23 youth: (1) Youth primarily reported watching pornography that featured one-on-one sexual intercourse but also reported having seen extreme pornography (e.g., public humiliation, incest); (2) youth reported watching pornography on home computers or smartphones, and that pornography was frequently watched in school; (3) youth reported watching for entertainment, for sexual stimulation, instructional purposes, and to alleviate boredom; many copied what they saw in pornography during their own sexual encounters; (4) pressure to make or to imitate pornography was an element of some unhealthy dating relationships; and (5) parents were generally described as unsupportive of youth's use of pornography but underequipped to discuss it. Approximately one-fifth expressed a preference for pornography featuring actors of their same race/ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Urban Population*