Printer Friendly

Exposure to sexually explicit material and variations in body esteem, genital attitudes, and sexual esteem among a sample of Canadian men.

Men's exposure to media imagery depicting idealistic representations of the male body (specifically, the muscular mesomorphic ideal) has been linked to decrements in satisfaction with physical appearance. For example, in a recent experimental study, Lorenzen, Grieve, and Thomas (2004) found that male participants shown images of muscular models evidenced a significant decrease in level of body satisfaction as determined by a comparison of pre- and post-exposure scores on the Body Assessment scale. No difference in scores was found for participants shown average (i.e., nonmuscular) models. Using a list of 22 male-oriented magazines (e.g., Men's Fitness), Hatoum and Belle (2004) obtained a positive correlation between the number of magazines participants "skimmed" in the past month and (a) their drive for muscularity (as measured by the Swansea Muscularity Attitudes Questionnaire), (b) the number of beauty products (e.g., hair gel, moisturizer) they used per month, and (c) the number of hours they spent exercising per week. Morrison, Kalin, and Morrison (2004b) also found that male participants who reported comparing themselves to idealistic targets such as male models evidenced lower levels of appearance self-esteem and were more likely to report dieting to gain weight and using steroids to build muscle mass. Similar findings concerning the inverse relationship between men's exposure to idealistic images of the male body and sell-perceptions of physical appearance have been reported by other researchers (e.g., Leit, Gray, & Pope, 2002; Morrison, Morrison, & Hopkins, 2003).

Social comparison theory has been used to account for the relationship between media exposure and attitudes toward the body. Stated briefly, this theory maintains that individuals attempt to enhance self-understanding by comparing themselves to others on various dimensions such as physical appearance (e.g., Thompson, Coovert, & Stormer, 1999) and personal achievement (Lockwood & Kunda, 1999). The target that individuals use for comparative purposes may be universalistic (i.e., a distant target such as a celebrity or model) or particularistic (i.e., a more proximal target such as a friend or acquaintance). In addition, the comparisons that individuals make may be upward (i.e., the target is superior on the dimension of interest), downward (i.e., target is inferior on the dimension of interest), or lateral (i.e., target and individual are comparable on the dimension of interest) (Irving, 1990; Morrison et al., 2004b).

Gill, Henwood, and McLean (2003) assert that representations of the male body, as provided by mass media, are:
 generally white (black models are still largely confined to music
 and sports imagery...) ... young (under 30) ... slim, toned, and
 muscular ... usually clean-shaven--with, perhaps, the exception of
 a little "designer stubble" ... and [characterized by] facial
 features which connote a combination of softness and strength strong
 jaw, large lips and eyes, soft-looking, clear skin (p. 188).

Therefore, in accordance with social comparison theory, the images of the male body disseminated by mass media may be viewed as universalistic. Given their fantastical nature, comparisons to these sorts of targets most likely will be upward rather than downward or lateral.


Despite its commercial success and cultural impact, researchers interested in the male body/media association have neglected the medium of pornography. This omission is surprising, given the emergence of the Internet, which has "created an unprecedented opportunity for individuals to have anonymous, cost-free, and unfettered access to an essentially unlimited range of sexually explicit texts, still and moving images, and audio materials" (Fisher & Barak, 2001, p. 312). To the authors' knowledge there are no published studies in which pornography has been analyzed for content in terms of its depictions of the male body. However, it is logical to assert that the medium's representations of genitalia, physiques, and sexual proficiency are unrealistic. Indeed, Escoffier (2003) asserts that commercially prepared pornography is a "dramatic fabrication of sexual activity ... achieved by elaborate editing and montage of the filmed sexual acts themselves" (p. 539). Scuglia (2004) similarly reports that "an average scene can take up to 8 hours to film. The set has to be dressed and lit properly and the director generally has a mandate to capture certain positions for a certain period of time" (p. 186). Given such manipulations, it would appear that the images contained in pornography are quite distant from the reality of most people's erotic lives.

The purpose of the current study was to investigate associations between exposure to pornography (in a variety of formats) and three forms of esteem: body, genital, and sexual. As social comparison theory stipulates that upward comparisons to universalistic targets (e.g., the sort of unrealistic images found in pornography) may heighten the perceived discrepancy between one's actual and ideal selves, the following hypotheses were generated:

HI: Self-reported exposure to pornography would be negatively associated with body esteem.

H2: Sell-reported exposure to pornography would be negatively associated with genital esteem.

H3: Self-reported exposure to pornography would be negatively associated with sexual esteem.



A total of 188 male students enrolled in a community college served as participants. Their mean age was 23.4 years (SD = 6.91; range, 17-56). Participants' fields of study reflected the heterogeneity of the programmes offered at the college and included psychology, business administration, carpentry, and education. Of those who answered the two items on sexual experience (Ns = 159 and 160, respectively), approximately 78% (n = 124) reported having engaged in vaginal intercourse, and 26% (n = 41) reported having engaged in anal intercourse. Among those who provided an answer to the item enquiring about sexual orientation (N = 160), 93.1% (n = 149) considered themselves to be heterosexual, 2.5% (n = 4) self-identified as homosexual, 1.3% (n = 2) as bisexual, and 3.1% 01 = 5) reported being "uncertain" of their sexual orientation.


Body Image Scale. The BIS consists of 40 items and measures satisfaction with various parts of the body (e.g., eyes, buttocks, and muscle tone). In the current study, a five-point Likert-type scale (1 = very dissatisfied; 5 = very satisfied) was used, with higher scores representing greater body satisfaction (possible range 40-200). Winter (1989) provides evidence attesting to the scale's reliability and validity.

Male Genital Image Scale. The MGIS (Winter, 1989) is a 14-item scale that measures how men perceive various aspects of their genitals (e.g., length, circumference, and appearance). The MGIS uses a five-point Likert-type response format (1 = very dissatisfied; 5 = very satisfied), with higher scores representing more favourable genital perceptions. Total scores on the MGIS can range from 14 to 70. Research by Morrison, Harriman, Morrison, Bearden, and Ellis (2004a) and Winter (1989) suggest that the MGIS is reliable and valid.

Pornographic Magazine Checklist. A list composed of 32 magazines containing pictures of nudity and/or sexual activity was used. The checklist, which included popular titles such as Playboy as well as more obscure publications such as Juggs, represented magazines available in the community where the research was conducted. For this measure, participants were asked to indicate whether they had looked through, however briefly, any of the magazines on the checklist during the past six months (0 = no, 1 = yes) and, if applicable, the number of times they had looked at each magazine during that six-month period (0, 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16+ times'). The first item measured simple exposure (i.e., respondents who did not look through any of the magazines received a score of 0, while those who looked through all 32 were assigned a score of 32). The second item measured level of exposure. A composite exposure score was created whereby the frequency categories were given numeric values of 1 through 5. These variables were then multiplied by self-reported exposure (0 = no; 1 = yes) and summed. Thus, a participant who reported looking at two magazines 16 or more times in the past six months would receive an exposure score of 10 (2 [number of magazines read] x 5 [value representing 16+ times in last six months]). Similarly, a participant who looked at two magazines one to five times would receive a score of 4 (2 [magazines read] x 2 [value representing 1-5 times in last six months]). Exposure scores could range from 0 (no titles read) to 160 (all 32 items read 16+ times in the past six months).

Pornographic Media (Other than Magazines). Six items were used to measure exposure to other forms of SEM such as television (one item), video/DVD (one item), books (one item), and the Internet (three items). (2) Participants were asked to report the number of times, during the past six months, they had been exposed to each type of material. A nine-point scale was used (0, 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36+ times), with the frequency categories being assigned numeric values of 1 to 9.

To ensure that it was appropriate to sum the six items measuring exposure to forms of pornography (other than magazines), a maximum-likelihood factor analysis with oblique rotation (oblimin, delta = 0) was conducted. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin statistic was .70, and Bartlett's Test of Sphericity was statistically significant, both of which suggest that the data may be factor analysed. A two-factor solution was obtained, with the pattern loadings revealing that the three Internet items loaded on Factor 1 (eigenvalue = 2.86; 47.7% of variance accounted for) whereas the book, television, and video/DVD items loaded on Factor 2 (eigenvalue = 1.34; 22.4% of variance accounted for). The chi-square goodness of fit test statistic revealed that this two-factor model provided acceptable fit, [chi square] (4) = 4.97, p = ns. Thus, the six items were grouped into a three-item Internet measure (Internet pornography) and a three-item measure consisting of pornographic books, television programmes, and video/DVD (hereafter called Other pornography). Total scores on each of these measures could range from 3 (no exposure) to 27 (maximal exposure). To receive a score of 27, the participant had to report viewing each of the three items 36 or more times in the past six months. (As stated previously, the frequency category of 36+ was assigned a numeric value of 9).

Sexual Esteem Scale. The SES (Snell & Papini, 1989) contains 10 items (e.g., "I am a good sexual partner") and is designed to measure "the value one places on oneself as a sexual being" (Mayers, Heller, & Heller, 2003, p. 270). In the current study, a six-point Likert-type scale was used (0 = not applicable," 5 = very often), with higher scores denoting greater levels of sexual self-esteem (possible range = 0 to 50).


The questionnaire and data collection protocol were approved by a Research Ethics Review Board. Instructors of various classes were approached for permission to distribute the questionnaire to students during class time. Prior to beginning the questionnaire, participants received consent forms, the details of which were reviewed. Specifically, prospective respondents were told that all information gathered would be anonymous and confidential and that participation in the study was voluntary and could be terminated at any time without penalty or consequence. Given the sensitive nature of the research, participants did not respond on the questionnaire itself but rather on a separate booklet, which contained question numbers and rating scales. The top sheet of the answer booklet also was covered with plain white paper to ease any concerns participants might have had about their responses being viewed by others. The questionnaire took approximately 25 minutes to complete.


Alpha coefficients for all measures were satisfactory: Body Esteem ([alpha] = .96); Genital Esteem ([alpha] = .95); Internet Pornography ([alpha] = .84); Other Pornography ([alpha] = .69); and Sexual Esteem ([alpha] = .89). A reliability coefficient was not computed for the magazine checklist since there was no compelling reason to assume that exposure to one pornographic magazine would necessarily be correlated with exposure to another magazine. Means, SDs, score minima and maxima for all measures are presented in Table 1.

Inspection of mean scores indicates that male participants were satisfied with their bodies and genitalia and possessed adequate levels of sexual esteem. In terms of pornography exposure, mean scores were fairly low (i.e., on all indicants, scores were below the scale's midpoint).

A proportional examination of the pornography data revealed that, among those who completed the entire checklist (N = 181), 25% (n = 46) reported that they had not looked through any of the titles listed. Approximately 75% (n = 135) of the sample, however, had seen content from at least one publication on the list. Among this subsample, the most commonly read magazines were Playboy (77%, n = 104), Hustler (60%, n = 81), Penthouse (53%, n = 71), Swank (29%, n = 39), and Club (27%, n = 36). Focusing on these publications only, results indicated that a majority of participants reported looking at them one to live times over the past six months. However, a sizeable minority of readers of Playboy and Club (21% and 23%, respectively) reported looking at these magazines 16 or more times during that six-month period.

With respect to the other forms of pornography measured in this study, the proportions who stated that they had viewed such material during the past six months were as follows: video/DVDs, 74% (n = 137); television, 75% (n = 138); books, 41% (n = 76); Internet (nudity only), 77% (n = 142); Internet (sexual activity), 62% (n = 113); and Internet (explicit written material), 32% (n = 58). Thus, with the exception of pornographic written material (books or online), a majority of participants had seen sexually explicit material on these various media.


To test the first hypothesis, participants' scores on the measure of body satisfaction were correlated with their scores on the magazine checklist. A nonsignificant correlation was obtained, r (167) = -.02, suggesting that participants' satisfaction with their bodies was unrelated to the number of pornographic magazines they had looked at in the past six months. However, as restriction of range may have been problematic on the magazine checklist (i.e., on a scale that ranged from 0 to 32, the highest score was 13), this hypothesis also was tested by dividing participants into groups based on whether they had or had not looked at one or more of the magazines on the checklist. The numbers in the no exposure and exposure groups were 43 and 124, respectively. An independent samples t-test was used to determine whether the two groups differed significantly in their level of body esteem. A significant difference was not obtained, t (165) = .19. Finally, no significant correlation was observed between body esteem and level of exposure to the magazines on the checklist, r (162) = -.04.

Correlations also were computed between scores on the measure of body satisfaction and scores on the other measures of pornography exposure (i.e., Internet and Other). Again, no significant correlations were obtained: Body Esteem/Internet, r (169) = -.01 ; Body Esteem/Other, r (172) = -.13. Restriction of range was not of concern for the Internet/Other pornography measures; consequently, independent sample t-tests were not conducted.

In accordance with Rosenthal's (1994) dictum that examining hypotheses necessitates thorough examination of data, one final test was conducted. Inspection of the Body Image Scale suggests that some items may be more pertinent than others when engaging in social comparisons with targets appearing in sexually explicit material. For example, it is doubtful that exposure to pornography would be associated with attitudes toward one's wrists or nose; however, this medium may be associated with attitudes toward sexualised areas (e.g., buttocks) and/or with parts of the body that typify physical attractiveness in Western culture (e.g., body build and muscle tone).

To investigate this possibility, items on the Body Image Scale were factor analysed using maximum-likelihood analysis with oblique rotation (oblimin, delta = 0). The Kaiser Meyer Olkin statistic was .92, and Bartlett's Test of Sphericity was significant. Both of these diagnostic tests suggest that the data were factor analysable.

Using Kaiser's criterion (eigenvalue > 1), an eight-factor solution was obtained; however, the presence of communality values greater than I suggested over-extraction. To assist in determining the appropriate number of factors to be retained, the scree plot was inspected. The output suggested that a two-factor model best represented the data. The first factor (eigenvalue = 16.4, accounting for 40.9% of the variance) denoted parts of the body that typically are imbued with few aesthetic considerations (e.g., hands, fingers, wrist, chin, ankles, neck, feet, and knees). The second factor (eigenvalue = 2.8, accounting for 7% of the variance) was characterised by body parts that men would likely use to determine their level of attractiveness (e.g., body build, arms, chest, buttocks, and weight). Eighteen items loaded on Factor 1 and 15 items loaded on Factor 2 (seven items double-loaded and were eliminated). Alpha coefficients for these "subscales" were both .92.

Scores on these body-image subscales were correlated with the various indicants of pornography exposure. No significant correlations were obtained (i.e., r values ranged -.14 to .06). Thus, satisfaction with parts of the body that clearly possess aesthetic emphasis in Western culture such as body build is not associated with exposure to sexually explicit material.


To test the second hypothesis, participants' scores on the measure of genital satisfaction were correlated with scores on the various indicants of pornography. No significant correlations were observed for pornographic magazines, either in terms of simple exposure, r (145) = -.09, or level of exposure, r (140) = -.06. No difference in level of genital satisfaction was observed when participants were compared on the basis of whether they had or had not looked at one or more of the magazines on the checklist, t (143) = 1.77.

Significant negative correlations were obtained between genital satisfaction and exposure to the other forms of pornographic media: Genital Satisfaction/Internet, r (147) = -.27, p < .01, and Genital Satisfaction/Other, r (148) = -.19, p < .03. Thus, as might be expected using social comparison theory as an explanatory framework, self-reported exposure to pornography was inversely correlated with self-reported satisfaction with one's penis.


To test the third and final hypothesis, scores on the measure of sexual esteem were correlated with scores on the four measures of pornography: magazine simple exposure; magazine level of exposure; Internet exposure; and Other exposure. Only one significant correlation was obtained; specifically, the number of pornographic magazines participants reported looking at in the past six months was positively associated with their level of sexual esteem, r (170) = .16, p < .05.

However, an analysis of respondents' sexual esteem scores revealed that many participants selected "not applicable" for one or more items on the scale. Thus, a subsample analysis was conducted using only those participants who answered all 10 items on the SES (n = 68, 64 of whom had engaged in either vaginal and/or anal intercourse). The mean level of sexual esteem for these participants was 40 (SD = 5.3; minimum and maximum values were 21 and 50, respectively). No significant correlations were obtained between level of sexual esteem and the two magazine measures (simple exposure and level of exposure). However, as hypothesised, sexual esteem correlated negatively with exposure to Internet pornography, r (68) = -.39, p < .001.


Morrison and associates (2004a) found that individuals who reported being sexually experienced (defined as having engaged in vaginal and/or anal intercourse) evidenced more favourable perceptions of their genitals and had higher levels of sexual esteem and lower levels of sexual anxiety in comparison to those who reported no experience with sexual intercourse. Such findings suggest that important differences may exist between those who report being sexually experienced versus sexually inexperienced. As well, they make real the possibility that associations between pornography exposure and constructs such as genital and sexual esteem may be obscured when a given sample is treated as a monolithic entity. It should be noted that Morrison and associates (2004a) also found that those who had not engaged in intercourse reported lower levels of pornography exposure. The identification of such differences, as a function of sexual experience, is congruent with Bogaert's (2001) model of environmental self-regulation. Stated simply, this model contends that individuals play an active role in selecting the environments to which they are exposed--a selection process that includes choice of media.

In accordance with previous research, those who reported engaging in vaginal and/or anal intercourse (n = 123) were more likely than their inexperienced counterparts (n = 33) to report exposure to pornography. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare the two groups and revealed that sexually experienced participants reported reading more pornographic magazines on the checklist (M = 3.0, SD = 3.0 versus M = 1.2, SD = 1.3), t (126) = 5.06, p < .001, d = [.90.sup.3]; reported greater levels of magazine exposure (M = 7.9, SD = 9.2 versus M = 3.0, SD = 3.3), t (138.3) = 4.81, p < .001, d = .82; and obtained higher scores on the three-item measure assessing pornography on television, video/DVDs, and books (M = 7.7, SD = 4.6 versus M = 5.8, SD = 2.4), t (98.1) = 3.29, p < .001, d = .66. No difference was noted for exposure to Internet pornography, t (155) = .50.

To determine whether the associations observed in this study might differ as a function of experience with intercourse, analyses were run separately for the two groups. These correlations are presented in Table 2.

Fisher's r to z transformation then was used to compare the correlations obtained between pornography exposure and body, genital, and sexual esteem for the sexually experienced and inexperienced groups. No significant z values were obtained, suggesting that the correlations observed between pornography exposure and various forms of esteem did not vary as a function of sexual experience.


Findings from the current study suggest that male participants' level of exposure to SEM (especially on the Internet) correlates inversely with genital esteem. In addition, a positive correlation was observed between sexual esteem and number of pornographic magazines looked at in the past six months. However, this correlation appeared to be artefactual, for when data were reanalysed focusing solely on those who answered all items on the measure of sexual esteem (i.e., those who refrained from selecting the "not applicable" option), a statistically significant inverse correlation emerged. Those who reported greater exposure to pornographic material on the Internet evidenced lower levels of sexual esteem. In accordance with social comparison theory, such an association would be anticipated.

Though not formally hypothesized, differences were found between pornography exposure and participants' experience with vaginal and/or anal intercourse. Specifically, those who reported engaging in either form of intercourse reported reading more pornographic magazines, reading them more often, and viewing more sexually explicit material on diverse media such as television and books.

The possibility that correlations between pornography exposure and various indicants of esteem differ as a function of sexual experience also was investigated. Segal (1998) reports that pornography "mocks the impossible distance" between what individuals see in pornography and what they experience in their own sexual undertakings. She asserts that contrary to what is depicted in SEM, the "hominoid penis is anything but permanently erect, anything but endlessly ready for unencumbered sex, anything but triggered by the nearest passing [person]" (p. 50). While inexperienced persons can maintain the fantasy that pornography serves as a possible representation of their own erotic reality, those who are sexually experienced would appear less able to maintain these sorts of fictive beliefs. Consequently, sexual experience may serve to compound the negative "effects" of social comparison by making salient the gap between what one sees in pornography and what one does sexually. Although intuitively compelling, exploratory findings from the current study did not support this interpretation. Fisher's r to z transformations suggested that neither the pattern nor the magnitude of correlations observed between exposure to various forms of pornography and body, genital, and sexual esteem differed between those who were or were not experienced sexually. Additional research is needed, however, using more sophisticated measures of sexual experience.

The current study has a number of limitations that warrant discussion. First, means on the various indices of pornography exposure were fairly low (i.e., average scores were well below scale mid-points). The extent to which these levels are accurate or were influenced by reporting biases (under- and/or over-estimates) is unclear. Thus, it is recommended that future research examine possible associations between exposure to SEM and common indicants of socially desirable responding such as impression management. This construct reflects the "tendency to give consciously inflated self-descriptions" (Meston, Heiman, Trapnell, & Paulhus, 1998, p. 152), one of which may be the refusal to acknowledge exposure to pornographic media or the minimisation of such exposure. Second, the magazine checklist did not differentiate between publications that contained sexual activity and those that simply presented pictures of naked women. While one might argue that viewing pictures of idealistic sexual targets (e.g., Playboy centrefolds) renders salient one's inability to procure that type of partner in real life and, in so doing, triggers feelings of lower sexual esteem and so forth, such an explanation would appear rather convoluted. Therefore, it is recommended that researchers categorise magazines on the basis of whether they focus solely on women's bodies or men's bodies or feature both engaged in sexual activity. In accordance with social comparison theory, the latter should be correlated most strongly with various indices of esteem among heterosexual men. Third, given the length of the magazine checklist used in the current study, a more parsimonious measure is recommended. For example, in a study examining adolescent body image and nonpornographic magazines, Morrison and associates (2004b) used an open-ended question (e.g., "The seven magazines that I read most often are ..."). While these authors found that a sizeable minority of participants left the question blank, it is possible that nonresponding was due to the sample's age rather than difficulties with the item itself. Fourth, as is problematic with many sexological studies, participants were college students rather than members of the general population. However, it should be noted that efforts were made to recruit a fairly heterogeneous sample. In addition to students from traditional academic disciplines such as psychology and sociology, enrolees in apprenticeship programmes were targeted. The latter individuals would not be classified as "typical" students (and, in fact, are located in a part of the college that is removed from the "academic" stream). However, despite this effort, all participants were affiliated with a postsecondary institution. Fifth, research suggests that volunteers for sexological studies may differ from nonvolunteers on dimensions such as sensation seeking, self-monitoring, sexual esteem, and antisocial nonconformity (e.g., Bogaert, 1996; Wiederman, 1999). Therefore, the applicability of these findings to persons outside a college setting as well as those within a college setting but unwilling to volunteer for sex research is unclear.

The final and perhaps most important limitation is that the study is correlational in nature and thus does not permit one to make causal inferences. Concluding that exposure to pornography necessarily causes decrements in genital esteem, for example, would be erroneous. One also must consider the likelihood that individuals possessing negative attitudes toward their genitalia are more inclined to view pornography or that a reciprocal association exists. Due to the study's nonexperimental status and the necessity of focusing on a select number of variables, it also is possible that key constructs were overlooked, ones that may be responsible for the modest correlations obtained.

With respect to future research, it is recommended that social scientists identify variables that potentially mediate the association between exposure to sexually explicit material and various forms of esteem. For example, in a recent study examining university students' viewing of Internet and non-Internet pornography, Byers, Menzies, and O'Grady (2004) concluded that "the more time people spent [online], the more likely they were to seek out SEMI (sexually explicit material on the Internet) as a distraction from their other [online] activities" (p. 166). This interpretation suggests that researchers need to consider the role played by motivational factors (i.e., why individuals view pornography). Are those who view sexually explicit material for the purpose of distraction or alleviation of boredom less likely to engage in universalistic social comparison than those who view such material for the express purpose of sexual arousal? Does reliance on pornography as a source of information about sexual matters (e.g., Trostle, 1993) increase the likelihood that comparative processes will be triggered? Finally, qualitative research that aims to understand men's active engagement with sexually explicit material may prove useful in identifying potential mediators (Attwood, 2005).

In conclusion, to the authors' knowledge, no published research has examined associations between exposure to SEM and male viewers' self-perceptions in terms of their body, genital, and sexual esteem. Results of the current study indicate that exposure to pornography correlates inversely with genital esteem and, for a subsample of participants only, with sexual esteem. Such findings provide modest support for social comparison theory. Given the absence of research in this area, future studies are required. However, these findings do underscore the need to move beyond the traditional harm-based framework that focuses on male viewers' negative attitudes and behaviours toward women. Given the expanded availability of pornographic material (primarily through the Internet), multifaceted research on this topic is becoming increasingly important.


Attwood, F. (2005). What do people do with porn? Qualitative research into the consumption, use, and experience of pornography and other sexually explicit media. Sexuality & Culture, 9, 65-86.

Bogaert, A.F. (1996). Volunteer bias in human sexuality research: Evidence for both sexuality and personality differences in males. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 25, 125-140.

Bogaert, A.F. (2001). Personality, individual differences, and preferences for sexual media. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 30, 29-53.

Byers, L.J., Menzies, K.S., & O'Grady, W.L. (2004). The impact of computer variables on the viewing and sending of sexually explicit material on the Internet: Testing Cooper's "triple-A engine." Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 13, 157-169.

Escoffier, J. (2003). Gay-for-pay: Straight men and the making of gay pornography. Qualitative Sociology, 26, 531-555.

Fisher, W.A., & Barak, A. (2001). Internet pornography: A social psychological perspective on Internet sexuality. Journal of Sex Research, 38, 312-323.

Gill, R., Henwood, K., & McLean, C. (2003). A genealogical approach to idealised male body imagery. Paragraph, 26, 187-200.

Goodson, P., McCormick, D., & Evans, A. (2001). Searching for sexually explicit materials on the Internet: An exploratory study of college students' behaviour and attitudes. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 30, 101-118.

Hatoum, I.J., & Belle, D. (2004). Mags and abs: Media consumption and bodily concerns in men. Sex Roles, 51, 397-407.

Irving, L.M. (1990). Mirror images: Effects of the standard of beauty on the self-and body-esteem of women exhibiting varying levels of bulimic symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9, 230-242.

Kirk, R.E. (1996). Practical significance: A concept whose time has come. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 56, 746-759.

Leit, R.A., Gray, J.J., & Pope, H.G., Jr. (2002). The media's representation of the ideal male body: A cause for muscle dysmorphia? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31, 334-338.

Lockwood, P., & Kunda, Z. (1999). Increasing the salience of one's best selves can undermine inspiration by outstanding role models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 214-228.

Lorenzen, L.A., Grieve, F.G., & Thomas, A. (2004). Exposure to muscular male models decreases men's body satisfaction. Sex Roles, 51, 743-748.

Mayers, K.S., Heller, D.K., & Heller, J.A. (2003). Damaged sexual self-esteem: A kind of disability. Sexuality and Disability, 21, 269-282.

Meston, C.M., Heiman, J.R., Trapnell, P.D., & Paulhus, D.L. (1998). Socially desirable responding and sexuality self-reports. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 148-157.

Morrison, T.G., Harriman, R., Morrison, M.A., Bearden, A., & Ellis, S. (2004a). Correlates of exposure to sexually explicit material among Canadian post-secondary students. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 13, 143-156.

Morrison, T.G., Kalin, R., & Morrison, M.A. (2004b). Body-image evaluation and body-image investment among adolescents: A test of sociocultural and social comparison theories. Adolescence, 39, 571-592.

Morrison, T.G., Morrison, M.A., & Hopkins, C. (2003). Striving for bodily perfection? An exploration of the drive for muscularity in Canadian men. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 4, 111-120.

Rosenthal, R. (1994). Science and ethics in conducting, analysing, and reporting psychological research. Psychological Science, 5, 127-134.

Scuglia, B. (2004). Sex pigs: Why porn is like sausage or the truth is that--behind the scenes--porn is not very sexy. Journal of Homosexuality, 47(3/4), 185-188.

Segal, L. (1998). Only the literal: The contradictions of anti-pornography feminism. Sexualities, 1, 43-62.

Snell, W.E., & Papini, D.R. (1989). The Sexuality Scale: An instrument to measure sexual-esteem, sexual-depression, and sexual-preoccupation. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 256-263.

Thompson, J.K., Coovert, M.D., & Stormer, S.M. (1999). Body image, social comparison, and eating disturbance: A covariance structure modelling investigation. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 26, 43-51.

Trostle, L.C. (1993). Pornography as a source of sex information for university students: Some consistent findings. Psychological Reports, 72, 407-412.

Wiederman, M.W. (1999). Volunteer bias in sexuality research using college student participants. Journal of Sex Research, 36, 59-66.

Winter, H.C. (1989). An examination of the relationships between penis size and body image, genital image, and perception of sexual competency in the male. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, New York University.

Correspondence should be addressed to Todd G. Morrison, Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. Electronic mail:


National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland



University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


(1.) It should be noted that social comparisons are not necessarily deliberative; that is, they may be unintentional and, indeed, unwanted (Morrison et al., 2004b)

(2.) As per the recommendation of Goodson, McCormick, and Evans (2001), the three Internet items measured intentional and accidental exposure to sexually explicit material.

(3.) d is a commonly used measure of effect size, with larger values denoting greater "practical significance" (Kirk, 1996). For interpretative purposes, values of .2, .5, and .8 may be viewed as corresponding to small, medium, and large effect sizes, respectively.
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics for all Measures

Measure M (SD) Possible Actual
 Range Range

Body Esteem 145.8 (23.4) 40-200 83-200

Genital Esteem 51.3 (9.8) 14-70 23-70

Exposure to Pornographic

 Number of Magazines 2.6 (2.7) 0-32 0-13

 Level of Exposure 6.8 (8.3) 0-160 0-44

Exposure to Internet Pornography 8.3 (6.0) 3-27 3-27

Exposure to Other Pornography
 (e.g., books, television, DVD) 7.2 (4.1) 3-27 3-24

Sexual Esteem 29.4 (13.6) 0-50 0-50

Note: Higher scores represent more of the construct; ns range from 148
(Genital Esteem) to 184 (Expo-sure to Other Pornography).

Table 2
Correlations of Measures Comparing Sexually Experienced versus
Inexperienced Participants

 1 2 3

l. SEM--Magazines
 (simple exposure) .96 .28
2. SEM--Magazines
 (level of exposure) .93 .43
3. SEM--Internet .20 .24
4. SEM--Other .44 .49 .32
5. Body Esteem -.09 -.09 -.02
6. Body Esteem
 (Factor 1) -.13 -.14 .04
7. Body Esteem
 (Factor 2) -.05 -.07 -.11
8. Genital Esteem -.13 -.11 -.36
9. Sexual Esteem * -.02 -.10 -.17
 (.17) (.17) (.39)

 4 5 6

l. SEM--Magazines
 (simple exposure) .13 -.05 -.17
2. SEM--Magazines
 (level of exposure) .17 -.05 -.13
3. SEM--Internet .45 .12 .24
4. SEM--Other -.17 -.08
5. Body Esteem -.16 .89
6. Body Esteem
 (Factor 1) -.17 .93
7. Body Esteem
 (Factor 2) -.14 .92 .73
8. Genital Esteem -.23 .53 .45
9. Sexual Esteem * .01 -.01 .02
 (.23) (.46) (.38)

 7 8 9

l. SEM--Magazines
 (simple exposure) .12 -.33 .16
2. SEM--Magazines
 (level of exposure) .07 -.26 .14
3. SEM--Internet -.03 -.09 .19
4. SEM--Other -.20 -.27 .20
5. Body Esteem .84 .40 .02
6. Body Esteem
 (Factor 1) .51 .30 .01
7. Body Esteem
 (Factor 2) .31 .06
8. Genital Esteem .57 -.17
9. Sexual Esteem * -.01 .04
 (.47) (.57)

Note: Statistically significant correlations are in bold type (p <
.05). Participants who reported having engaged in either vaginal or
anal intercourse were classified as sexually experienced (n = 123);
those who reported having engaged in neither form of intercourse
were classified as sexually inexperienced (n = 33). Correlations
for sexually experienced participants are below the diagonal.

* Correlations for sexually experienced participants who answere
all 10 items on the Sexual Esteem Scale (i.e., refrained from
selecting the "not applicable" option) are presented in brackets
(n = 68). Due to an insufficient subsample size, a similar analysis
could not be conducted for sexually inexperience participants.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Men's Studies Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Morrison, Todd G.; Ellis, Shannon R.; Morrison, Melanie A.; Bearden, Anomi; Harriman, Rebecca L.
Publication:The Journal of Men's Studies
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2006
Previous Article:"Everyday Joe" versus "pissy, bitchy, queens": gay masculinity on
Next Article:Misconceptions of gender: sex, masculinity, and the measurement of crime.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters