Media Sex What Are the Issues?

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A Cognitive Psychology of Muss Communication, Third Edition
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Media Sex
What Are the Issues?

Barrie Gunter
University of Shefiield


Copyright 02002 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproducedin any form, by photostat, microform,retrievalsystem, or any other means, without prior written permission of the publisher. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers 10 Industrial Avenue Mahwah, NJ 07430

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Gunter, Barrie Media sex : what are the issues? / Barrie Gunter.
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Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8058-3722.1 (cloth) - ISBN 0-8058-4010-9(pbk.) 1. Sex in mass media. I. Title. P96,/S45 G86 2001 306.7.lc2 1

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What Concerns Have Been Raised About Media Sex? How Much SexIs Shown? What Is Acceptable to the Public? Does Media Sex Influence Young People?





129 157 175 194 214


Is Media Sex Degrading Women? to
Does Media Sex Give Men theWrong Ideas? Is Media Sexthe Cause of Sexual Deviance? Can Media SexPortrayals Influence Nonoffenders? Can Media SexSell Commodities?

7 8

How Are Effects of Media Sexto Be Explained


11 12
Can We Trust the Research on Media Sex?
How Effective Are Over Sex? Controls Media


References Author Subject

299 335


the country’s most widely read conservative tabloid. in part. television in particular. The is products of this industry are no longer simply identified with salacious magazines. and exposes on thepornography industry that often include clips from explicit movies that would not normally be deemed appropriate for television. interviews with porn stars. The same channel (though it has not been alone in this) has also televised late-night soft-porn films with full vii .m. from the perception increased prevalence and availability of explicit sexof ual materials produced by a burgeoning pornography industry. Conservative lobby groups and associated right-wing press have accused even the mainstream media. the Daily Mail. Although virtually no channel has escaped criticism. of turning increasingly to the use of explicit sex in a battle ratings.) line-up with naked its game shows. for example. Concern aboutmedia sex stems. the campaign has focused principally on the scheduling tactics of the new terrestrial broadcast Channel 5 that has made a point including significant amounts of of risqu6 content on late-night (post-10 p. but with a vibrant video film production business whoseoutput and is distributed not only through specialist stores. for In the United Kingdom. has waged a major campaign against sex on television. For some sectors of society. but also via subscription television channels. such material regarded as distasteful and offensive.Preface Public debate about sex in the media has become increasingly vociferous despite the liberal attitudes that prevail within many Western societies at the beginning of the 2 1st century. It not only restricted circulation material that is sex has been challenged.

comes into direct conflict with the fundamental principle of a free press. This is not the endof the story. regardless of their inherent popularity. In liberal. if a solid case can be made that a publication has harmful . freedom speech is one of the founding principles of the sociof ety and is a statutorily protected right. The new Channel 5 in the UK has quickly established its presence.viii PREFACE frontal female nudity and simulated sex scenes. for instance. for example.The public’s viewabout sex on television. democratic societies that enjoy freedomof speech. in increasingly competitive TV a an marketplace. These include the time of transmission. public opinion surveys have not supported the view of antimedia sex lobbyiststhat thereis widespread public disquiet over these developments. is there cause for concern about media sex?Whether or not sex on television or in themovies. therefore. Despite the negative press coverage. Regardless of whether people to consume media or acknowledge that even like sex. The offence that specific publications might cause to the sensibilities of certain sectors of society is not deemed to be a sufficiently powerful reason for restricting the freedom to publish. social and psychological consequences of exposure to media sex have been highlighted over the years. the channel of transmission.The acceptability of media sex must also be judged according to more stringentcriteria that focus on theissue of harm. Weighing up this evidence. if it is not something they personally enjoy. is fairly open-minded. others might. however. The idea of censorship. a range of possibly harmful. and its treatment when it occurs. and these can shift over time. Such films would previously have been found on encrypted. and the additional publicity it has achieved in thelight of its controversial scheduling strategy has undoubtedly helped it to reach respectable audience share. Public opinion profiles concerning media can also be affected by the form of questioning used in a sex survey. Such opinion serves as a barometerof current social values. In the United States. though the extent to which it is accepted depends on a range of mediating factors. the natureof the program. there is a tolerance for the publication of all kinds of material. only subscription television channels broadcast by satellite or transmitted through cable. As we willsee in this book. However. the appropriateness of its utility in a program. by fuelling viewers’ curiosity. Subscribers to encrypted television channels have displayed liberal attitudes towards porn channels and displayed an openmind regarding the rights of people to choose for themselves their preferred forms of entertainment. however. Survey respondents not uncommonly express greater concern about the possibility of harmful reactions to media sex occurring among other people than among themselves. there is a separate matter of how viewers might be influenced by the experience. or the even more explicit depictions of pornography magazines or videos. Sex is not widely regarded as unacceptable. is acceptable is partly a matterof public opinion.

Such questions are especially important if research is to be accepted as credible and as being sufficiently robust to inform or guide social policy and media regulation in this area.The freedom and expectation of the public to choose for themselves what types of media content to consume represent further considerations. A numis ber of fundamental questions are asked about sex in the media. these questions are not new. and about the use of sex as selling device. this As well as these specific questions about provision. that would present a clear and present danger. about public opinion concerning that content. If there is a serious problem with media sex. tastes. about different kinds of effects (usually harmful ones) that allegedly follow exposure to media sex. particularly in aworld that is empowering ordinary citizens with greater control over personal media consumption. The probbe lem here is proving that such harm has occurred is likely to. Individually. Instead. Media sex has been accused undermining social mores. what steps can be taken to deal with it? This complexarea fraught is a with conflicts of interest and conflicts of value systems that reach to the roots of the founding social principles of some societies. Unless there is a clear-cut case of illegal behavior occurring on screen (e. However. this book represents the first attempt to examine this breadth of questions within a single volume. Finally. the early onset of sexual behavior and teenage pregnancy rates. it may be difficult to prove harm in a court law.. The book considers questions about the prevalenceand prominence of sex in themedia. the book examinesquestions more directly concerned with media-related policy and regulation. of the ‘harm’would applyto participants in sexual depiction rather than to the the audience. there are equally important questions to be raised about the quality of the research evidence. . or real sexor ual assault). alternative measures beneeded that help promay to tect the interests of the public while not restricting freedom to publish. Each of these issues is examined in separate chapters in book. sexual beliefs and sexual practices. promoting of sexual promiscuity. A balance mustbe struck between the speech rights of publishers and broadcasters and the free need to protectsociety from undue harm. international evidence collated about media sex.g. In this case. depiction of actual sex with under-age children animals. or In this book. and producing distorted male (and female) beliefs about female sexuality. The reported or supposed harmsof a media sex range from short-term effects on postviewing attitudesto sexual aggression and female sexuality or on behavioral aggression to longer term influences on social values. then freedom of speech protection could repealed. This book therefore asks questions about how the supposed effects of media sex have been explained in theoretical terms and about the strengths and weaknesses of the research methodologies that have beenused to explore the prevalence of and public reactions to media sex.PREFACE ix effects on individuals or society at large. and harms.

.X PREFACE Such steps might include clearer labelling and advance warnings advisoor ries so that members of the public know what to expect and can choose for themselves what to consume and what to avoid.

Literary classics such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tules and Shakespeare’s The Turning of the Shrew were filled with sexual double entendres and overtly sexual themes. such women fought with boars and with wild each other in armed combat or from chariots (Guttmann. Scantily attired with their breasts naked. Juvenal. Sexual themes have featured prominently in fiction. with such stories regularly spilling over into editorials and othermedia commentaries or into comedians’ jokes. 1958. including books. Sexual scandals involving politicians. or page. newspapers. and television. 1971). Robert. media celebrities. 1991. a subject of contemporary concern. Popular dramatic narratives frequently center on relationships between characters that. magazines. 1 . The blending of sexual titillation with violence. comedies were frequently laced with sex. involve sexual interacas tions-no matter how mild these might be. often as not. Ancient Greek stage. Accounts of the sexual lives of ordinary people and sex advice columns also represent prominent aspects of glossy magazines targeted at various sexually active age groups. whether played out on the screen. was also witnessed in Roman times with the introductionof women togladiatorial contests. sex has been one the major themes covered the of by contemporary mass media. video.What Concerns Have Been Raised About Media Sex? Sex has been at the centermany forms of public entertainment for many of centuries. film. In recent history. Sex is also the stuff of news. and other public figures are featuredvirtually every week in tabloid newspapers.

such as Phyboy. real sexual intercourse. impacton young people. Even more widespread concern has been publicly voicedabout depictions of sexual behavior in cinema and television programs films that attractive significant audiences. for example. These concerns have been directed towards the representation of sex in mainstream audiovisual media available to everyone and also towards media content for which they is more restricted access. and. more worrisome for some commentators. An alleged preoccupation with sexual issues in magazines aimed at teenage girls. potentially offensive. Such channels depict explicit simulations and.2 CHAPTER 1 Although muchof this media preoccupation with passesoff without sex comment. the representationof sexual behavior by the media has not received universal acceptance. A number of sexually explicit television channels have launched on cable systems in North America and Europe. 1994). and American Exxxtasy in the United States and The Adult Channel in the United Kingdom. reach large audiences. suchmaterials have become more accessible to young audiences. Tuxxedo. This concern has been focused especially by statistics showing steady increases in the rateof underage pregnancies among teenagegirls under 16 years of age and of unwanted pregnanciesoccurring among girls age16 and over who are not in a steady relationship with a partner likely to serve as a supportive and responsible father (Harris & Associates. WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? Concerns about in the sex media havecentered on a number of issues relating to offence to public taste. and the potential causal agency of such content in relation to the commission of sexual offences. It has been charged that these media have become increasingly preoccupied with and that depictions of sexual behavior have sex become more graphic and gratuitous (Greenberg. the Internethas emerged as a source of anxiety among parents because of its largely uncontrolled provision of highly controversial. Latterly. influences on family values and effects on marriage as a social institution. sexually explicit audiovisual materials have become more widely availableto the general public. in some case. the social and sexual implications for women. sparked a controversial debate about the role such publications might play in shaping sexual attitudes among young girls. The latter forms of entertainment include encrypted erotic television channels for which subscription charges are levied and explicitly sexual videos available through special outlets or via mail order.With the growth of cable television and homevideo. Complaints have been invoked by certain types of sexual presentation inspecific media and underparticular circumstances. Some of these channels. 1986). and even illegal content and the readiness with which children and teenagers are able to gain access to suchmaterial. .

social background. but may also cause them considerable embarrassment if they are watching with their children. the case of broadcast television. In they will let their views be known. many viewers are prepared to tolerate provithe sion of adult television channels for those with a taste the material such for channels supply. age. showing actual sexual behavior involving same-sex and opposite-sex participants. Indeed. Of 4. and sex with violence. During the same period. professional critics join the goes debate about whether the media are the best interests of the public. This experience might not just be a source of personal distaste to viewers. Offence to Public Taste One focal point of concern aboutmedia sex is that it can cause offence to large numbers of people. parents. viewers are not slow to complain to the authorities when offended. Furthermore. Ultimately. while some people may object to having mediasex thrust before them because they find it personally distasteful. and theBBC’s Program Complaints Unit received 40 complaints aboutsex . Mainstream television channels are freely availa able to anyone with television set. or other people. 31% were about sex. 1994).892 complaints from viewers received by the Broadcasting’ Standards Commission in 1998-1999. serving By the end the 20th century. This type of concern has been especially acute with regard to sex on television. when a medium too far. even thoughthey would not wish to watchthose channels themselves (Gunter.WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? 3 These materials can take on an extremely graphic nature. 1999). should such scenes be included in programs. Sancho-Aldridge. Even mainstreamentertainment channels such as non-encrypted television services and cinemafilms have been criticised for a growing emphasis on sexual themes and wider use of nudity and increasingly explicit simulated portrayals of sexual intercourse. the Independent Television Commission(1TC)received 3 18 complaints fromviewers about sex on thecommercial television channels. group sex. if individuals are upset enough by sex in mainstream media. the gender. for example. The truth is that public attitudes towards media vary widely with the nature the sexual sex of content. 6r Winstone. Sexual depictions can therefore be seen readily by anyone who tunes in. and the social context of consumption. The research evidence on this question is reviewed fully in chapter2. and personality of individuals. compared with 18% over the previous 12 months (Harvey. O n some occasions. Britain’s commercial television regulator. Concern about thesheer volume of media sex begsthe questionof how much sex is actually contained indifferent media. they may nevertheless accept thatthis does not meanit should be banned. complaints from of viewers in Britain about sex on television achieved an all-time high.

Another of concern was the increasing prevalence of area sexual themes. Brown. 1999). Although media sex is publicly criticised. This concernstems in part from the perception that portrayals of an erotic nature present depictions of (sexual) behavior that would normally remain hidden. the For sexual act is a privatebehavior. They can consume it and easily without embarrassment (Zillmann & Bryant. 2000). exceedingviolence (121 complaints) and language (133 complaints) combined. The camera brings the details of factor such activity into close-up. often discussed in graphic detail. but on the time when they were shown. The depiction of graphic sexual portrayals.Viewers become voyeurs. 1999). As well asthis curiosity. it is also publicly consumed.1% of all complaints). Prominent television commentators joined in the chorus of criticism aboutbroadcasters’apparentgrowing obsession with sex. Late-night expos& of the sex industry in Europe or reality shows featuring ordinary people talking about their sex lives were billed asinvestigative journalism with an educational function by their producers. involving the realistic simulation of sexual intercourse and other intimate sexual practices. 1988a).4 CHAPTER 1 on BBC programs (5. they generate extreme curiosity among their consumers who then seek further exposure to what scholars may some call ‘forbidden fruit’ (Bryant & D. The ITC (2000) reported a total of 280 complaints from viewers about sex in television drama and entertainment during 1999. One aspect of concern about in popular entertainment media is that sex it can cause offence to members of the public. More people have ready access to such material in theprivacy of their own home. Notall these complaints were upheld by the regulators (Petley. By bringing intimate acts out into the open and rendering them available for close scrutiny. The natureof the appeal of media sex. Passive consumption on own may loseits appeal after a its while (Zillmann & Bryant. 1999). is offensive. on daytime talk shows (Harvey. Even the regulators by were dubious about the justification for some of the reality shows with strong sexual themes. can itself lead to an appetite for more of the same for a while. Sustained interest in explicit sexual material may also be driven the role it plays asa by . but dubbed as mere ‘sexploitation’and titillation critics (Dunkley. even though they were transmitted late at night (Petley. Herein lies the inherent appeal of sexual depictions in the media. there is the added of increased availability of erotica. curious to see other people having sex. 1989). they may develop appetitesfor less familiar types. Much of the public’s concern centered on sexual stories creeping into programs aimed teenagers and sexual innuendo in at programs that were popular with children.Concern focused not simply on the nature of the sexual portrayals. 1989). however. some people. the biggest single category of complaint. but then to a demand more exfor treme materials. As viewers habituate to one of sexkind ual material.

The propensity for engagingin unprotected with numerous partners sex increases the likelihood of infection or further unwanted pregnancies. The impact of media sex has been hypothesised to operate through a number of stages. D. They may be driven to take steps to recapture their youth in later life. 1989. except that often these young mothers are having children before they have themselves reached psychological maturity or financial independence. The impact of media sex on young peopleis examined at greater lengthin chapter 4. sex Impact on Young People The concern about theexposure of young people to sex in the media has two main aspects. Lawrence & Herold. Second. Males are more active consumers erotica thanare feof males. exposure to media content thatplaces emphasis on sexual themes among teenagers is believed to encourage early onset of sexual behavior and contributes. 1988).WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? 5 sexual stimulant or a substitute the real thing (Glassman. they usually depend on others to instigate the experience (Lawrence & Herold. 1988). prevent them from enjoying their teenage and young adult free from the responsibilities of years child rearing. Jones etal. Although females will watch sexually explicit material.. may not be so bad. with disastrous consequences for familycohesion. 1993). Brown. 1993). Sexually explicit materials are not enjoyed equally by men and women (Bryant & D. First. We return to thesubject of public opinion about media in chapter3. the models role role do not always behave in responsible fashion.. the media place sex high on the public agenda. 1989. for Erotica can also provide information about sex that its consumers may utilise in their ownsex lives (Bryant & D. one infour pregnancies occurred to mothers under 20 years of age (Greenberg et al. Fourth. Day.70% of females and 80% of males have had seven of these individuals has contracted a sexually transmitted disease-in some cases AIDS (Greenberg et al. Media sex has been identified as a contributory factor in connection with all these behavioral trends. there is a worry that very young children be upmay set by seeing explicit sexual scenes that they lack the maturity to interpret. to thegrowth in unwanted teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (Greenberg. Social statistics for the United States have indicated thatthe age sexual intercourse. This. 1985). Brown. 1989. by 1993). the media prime people to think about sex a lot. One in of 20. 1977). Thus irresponsible lessons in a sexual conduct and morality may be learned. Second. Early onset of motherhood may. The popularity of erotica varies across the population. therefore. the media present models for emulation. J. & Buerkel-Rothfuss. These concerns stem from the observation that the mainstream mass media are permeated sexual referby . Brown.The United States has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the industrialised world (Bigler. in turn. By the early 1990s. Third. First. in itself. 1988)..

Fabes & Strouse. 1990. Some writers have called attention to the possibility that this pattern of representation could cultivatevalues among individuals regularly exposed to such content that underpin wider acceptance of sex outside a marriage. in turn. as we see later on. Instead. Some media productions present highly explicit sexual depictions. This. 1980). Zillmann and Bryant (1984. Such materisex als. childbirth outside marriage. they tend frequently to represent casual sexual couplings or infidelity and convey an implicit message that promiscuity and unfaithfulness are acceptable and normal forms of conduct. 1990). including rape. and the of coercive or use degrading sexual practices. Diamond. and thekinds of portrayals it has brought with it. 1987. Greater availability of these thoughts in memory (Tversky & Kahneman. contribute to may the breakdown of traditional family values and thewillingness of people to commit themselves lasting partnerships and the to responsibilities that raising a family entail. In certain instances. marriage as a temporary rather than permanent estate. & Mazzarella. 1975. can sometimes producesocially undesirable changes in viewers’ attitudes towards sex. Social and Sexual Implications for Women For some individuals this trend. 1984. Longino. Heintz. These references readily occur in television programs. movies. Aidman. an undesirable development because the kinds of attitudes such is of material can cultivate among viewers. female sexuality. is combined withviolence or horror. Feminists claim that depictions of sexual behavior in the mainstream media have tended to show women as sex objects and sexual subordinates to men(Brownmiller. Effects on Family Values and the Institution of Marriage Depictions of sex in themass media have been accused taking place outof side of a romantic.1988a) have maintained that continued exposure to explicit depictions of women engaged in sexual activity may activate thoughts about female promiscuity in viewers. 1985. 1982. The probability that these ideas .1984). magazines and song lyrics in popular music (Dorr &L Kunkel. Wartella. but it cultivates a broader set ofbeliefs about the relative power of men and women in society. 1973) may lead to inflated estimates of women’s tendency to desire and engage in unusual and abnormal sexual activities. Notonly does this convey certain unwanted messages about the role of women in sexual relationships. videos.6 CHAPTER 1 ences. loving context. and an expectation of many sexual partners in one’s adult life (Zillmann &Bryant.

1994. in great depth. Research with young college-age males found that when a controlled fed diet of movies for up to a week that contained sexually aggressive rape themes. Whether or not increased rape myth beliefs and morecallous attitudes towards women represent normal responses to sexually explicit films aggressive themes has not been consistently demonstrated. as compared with similar young men who had watched a of erotic movies with nonviolent themes diet (Linz. Malamuth &Ceniti. Such psychological changes persisted for over a week to a point when they were for their perceptions tested of a simulated rape trial. & Penrod.Padgett. Langevin et al. 1991. and more sympathy for the accused.WHAT RAISED? CONCERNS BEEN HAVE 7 will beaccessed and used in evaluations women increases as a participant of is exposed to more of these behaviors in movies. The relationship between pornography and sex offending has been examined through four principal methodological approaches: (a) studies of sex offenders’ exposure to pornography. 1988. Donnerstein. Fisher & Grenier. the empirical evidence concerning the role of explicit media sex in shaping male perceptions of women andfemale sexuality. public concern is not simply focused on thepossibility that graphic depictions of sex in audiovisual (and print) media causes the development sexually deviant proof pensities among those who consume such material. and (d) clinical diagnoses of sex offenders in which pornography has .. Chapter 6 considers. (c) aggregate statistical analysis of crime figures and pornography distribution figures. but that the material itself may contain illegal acts of sexual behavior. Brislin-Slutz. 1988). Causal Agency in Sexual Offences The appearance of explicit sexual material in the media has often been linked anecdotally to the prevalence of sexual offences in society and to the onset of sexual offending in individuals. Those men who had consumed a diet films with of rape themes exhibited more callous attitudes towards female sexuality. 1986. In this context. sympathy for a rape vicless tim. & Neal. (b) laboratory research with offenders and nonoffenders. stronger beliefs that women enjoy being raped. 1989 ). further body A of research has found that men are easily affected by sexually explicit not materialsthatportraythesexualobjectificationorvictimisation of women and has detected no relationship between exposure to exsexually plicit material and the development negative attitudes andaggressive of behaviors towards women (Becker &Stein. the men’s beliefsabout femalesexuality and attitudes towards rape appeared to be changed by the experience. A further and more direct has link been made between production and distribution the of certain kinds of pornographic materialand child sex offending.

1971. Baxter. The experimental evidence concerning the impactmedia sex on ordinary male populations of is examined further inchapter 8. Blanchard. 6r Marshall. verbal measures of beliefs and attitudes. Surveys of sex offenders have so far produced inconclusive evidence thatexposure to pornography was a primary causal agent (Cline.8 CHAPTER 1 been identified as a potential causal influence. . and even affect men’s (nonsexual) aggressive behavior towards women. and simulated aggression responses. 6r Guild. although a small number of studies have also measured femaleresponses. One investigation reported that more than eight in ten convicted rapists admitted regular use of pornography. Court. & Green. 1971. Goldstein. Pomeroy. Fosen. 1978.Gagnon. 1977. Researchers such as Jennings Bryant. Judd. & Pacht. 1965. 1974). Reactions contingent upon exposure to pornographic materials can be explored in a more systematic way in laboratory-based experiments. & Harman. 1988). A variety of controlled reactions to pornography havealso been investigated including physiological measures of sexual arousal. Studies of sex offenders have examined the relationship between men convictedof sex crimes and their exposure to pornography. Barbaree. shift men’s attitudes to be more accepting of callous dispositions towards women. 197la). Investigators exert greater control over variables and can manipulate the nature of the materials to which experimental participants are exposed and the conditions under which exposureoccurs. Research into the effects of media sex on the occurrence sex offending of has focused on theexposure of known sex offenders to pornography. Edward Donnerstein. Studies by these researchers have been conducted largely with nonoffending populations. This literatureis examined in more detail inchapter 7. Neil Malamuth. Kant.Kutchinsky. 1986). Eysenck & Nias. some survey evidence has indicated that young sex offenders exhibited a history of less exposure to pornography than did nonoffenders as adolescents (Goldstein. but was unable to prove that pornography triggered sexually violent behavior (Marshall. Some experimental research has been conducted to out if sex offenders also find react differently from nonoffenders certain to types of sexually explicit material. Goldstein. 1977. 6r Christenson. self-reported arousal or mood. Kant. Cook. DanLinz. Laboratory evidence has been regarded some commentatorsas more by powerful in the context demonstrating causal links between exposureto of pornography and sexual violence. 1974. Indeed. Barlow. andDolf Zillmann have utilised experimental methodologiesto explore the possibilities that exposure to pornographic materials can changemen’s beliefsabout female sexuality. Rice. Gebhard. Experimental methods have been used among dysfunctional and offending populations as well (Abel. 1973. This type of research has typically investigated male responses to pornography.

Sex and Consumerism Sexual imagery has been widely used to sell commodities for many years. for example. 1983). Fisher & Barak. their results have notalways been consistent.Such interviews also question offenders about their experiences with pornography. Pornography addiction. Mixed results have emerged from this of research. however. 1984). including masturbation. Robertson. urbanisation. As is shown later in volthis ume. based on random assignmentof participants to experimental conditions. Evidence has type been reported that relaxing restrictions on pornography is associated with a reduction of sex crime rates (Kutchinsky.RAISED? CONCERNS WHAT BEEN HAVE 9 Such experimental studies. Although indecency codes restrictions on how far advertisers place . 1984). Knownoffenders are interviewed in depth about their background. 1991). 1990). and sadomasochism (Carnes. child sex abuse. Clinical interviews may reveal evidence of habitual or addictive use of pornography and whether itrepresents part of a behavioral syndrome that includes other types of unusual sexual proclivities (Colman. The fourth of investigation involves the collection of data in type clinical or therapeutic contexts. while some investigators have reported no relationship at all (Scott & Schwalm. Baron &a Straus. 1988. there are important issues concerned with generalising from their results to the real world. there were further mitigating factors connected to economic conditions. 1982. not all of which arenecessarily violent. 1985). may represent an aspect of a wider preoccupation with sex that becomes manifest in arange of sexual practices. and thechoice of responding givento participants that bear close scrutiny in thecase of experiments (see Berkowitz & Donnerstein. In the latter case. prostitution. provide the best methodology for assessing cause and effect relationships in the laboratory. The third type of study into pornography andsex offenders involves the secondary analysis of aggregate statistics on the distribution and consumption of pornographic materials and the occurrenceof sex crimes among a specified population. however. 1973. 1984.voyeurism. their self-perceptions. Furthermore. and their sources of ideas for offending. Baron & Straus. Reid &a Soley. the spontaneityof participants responses. 1989). Sex is used to attract consumers’ attention to products and to render specific brands more attractive (Reid. 198813) or a positive link in which higher circulation rates of certain kinds of pornography are associated with rape rates (L. Salmon. These studies compare the circulation rates of various magazines or the numberof adult theatres with rates rape and othersex of crimes. & Soley. and gender-related that may have contribvalues uted significantly towards sex crime rates and interest in pornography(L. their urges.

oral sex. Sexual depictions can appear many forms. 1997))nudity and sexually alluring females are frequently deployed inadvertising for a wide range of commodities in most developed nations. 1978. violence. Some sexual depictions occur in materials labelled as ‘sexual’in nature.1992. They may depict sex between couples. 1988)) there has been concern registered about the indirect impact such imagery might haveon perceptions of women. about whattype of content is being studied. Sex may bediscussed in television talk shows. or group sex. and evenillegal behaviors. Tinkham 6r Reid. Criticisms have centered on the objectification of women and theside effects that thefocus on certain types of physical beauty can have on females in the audience. faces have been found to appear male more oftenthat male body parts(Hall & Crum. Some depictions of sex include unusual techniques. Myers & Biocca. Iritani. sexual innuendo. and full sexual intercourse. Kimes. 1992. 1994. The sexual depictions may involve members of the opposite sex or the same sex. whereas other depictions occur inregular entertainment formats in which sex maynot be a dominant theme. reports of sex. Chapter 9 analyses these issues and the empirical evidence on sex and advertising in more detail. individual and more than theirfaces (Archer. it is important tobe clear. 1988). & Barrios. Sullivan & O’Connor. They may comprise in verbal references to sex. including explicit petting. 1977. and depictions of real sexual behavior. featuring The of women purely as ‘sexobjects’ in advertising has been supportedby evidence showing that much media advertising features female body parts more than theentire. mild sexual behavior. graphic sexual simulations without or without nudity. or presented in highly graphic form in pornographicfilms and videos. Although the is still out on the jury commercial impact sex in advertisof ing. An undesirable social side effect associated with advertising is that the emphasis on slender female body forms may encourageyoung women to emulate such icons and become preoccupied with their own weight and body shape. This may encourage young women with low self-esteem to diet excessively. 1994). Baker 6r Churchill. simulated infictional dramas or sex education materials. 1983). In contrast. Stice & Shaw. with research producing conflicting results about its effectiveness (see Alexander & Judd. WHAT I SEX IN THE MEDIA? S When examining sex in the media and its effects on media audiences. sex in which one participant has multiple sexual partners. with harmful effects on their health (Heinberg &Thompson.10 CHAPTER 1 can go in theiruse of sex to sell (Lin. . in the first place.

In Britain. It would also be misleadingto assume that public opinion shifted evenly and in consistent direction in rea spect of all sexual issues. that may not have been entirely accurate. that an of sexual permissiveness era had opened up in which standards were in decline. Over successive generations.Made-for-televisiondramas(labelled ‘kitchen-sink‘dramas) challenged the public to confront issues that normally remained hidden and pushed back boundariesprogram-makers had that formerly been loathe to cross (Shaw. society was undergoing fundamental changes that television and other media reflected. Although the attitudes of the public. for example. there was too muchsex and a potentially damaging erosion of familyvalues. the women’s movement. it is probably true to that the say medium had begun explore sensitive social isto sues of which sex was apart. regulators.therefore. 1999). by some critics. The introduction of the birth control pill enabled women to take greater control over their sexuality. confirmed and even extended. A perception followed. 1999). The 1960s witnessed a growth in liberal attitudes towards sex. In relation to media the AIDScrisex.WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? 11 In any reviewof the evidence aboutmedia sex. and the shifting balance of power in sexual relations between women and men undoubtedly influenced public attitudes towards media treatments of sex. politicians. inways that would not have been accepted 10 years earlier. While increasingly liberal attitudes emerged towards sex in mainstream media. 1960s television was relatively tame compared with what was to come inthe next 30 years (Shaw.For critics. 1999). Although sex education in schools. the onset the AIDS of epidemic was seen by some observers as a particularly key event (Shaw. This trendwas bemoral lieved. in the form of greater sexual explicitnesson television.particular dramatic treatments sex. . to have been reflected within the mass media. In truth. the public maintained adiscriminating disposition towards certain sexual issues. values change and suchsocial evolution creates a distinct climate of public opinion varying in its tolerance for the overt depiction or discussion of sex. it is essential to make distinctions between different forms and contexts of sexual representation. Health Risks and Personal Hygiene There are occasions when critical events causesocieties to confrontissues that they had previously suppressed. subjects that had previously sis ofthe early 1980sbrought out into the open been regarded as taboo. and broadcasters towards the representation of sex in the broadcast media generally underwent a gradual process of modification over time. although broadcasters dared to feature sex in televised entertainment. this evolution of opinion was sometimes givena jolt by specific events. and the of depiction or discussion of sex in specific media locations. Equally.

Another ground-breaking event that stemmed from the publicity surof for rounding AIDS was the relaxation certain rules regarding advertising certain personal products.Research showkd that the multimedia campaign with sometimes explicit sexual and references was acimagery cepted by the public as anecessaryapproach. but little direct impact occurred on sexual behavior patterns. and were unprecedently frank in the way they tackled certain issues. 1988). even in the late 1990s a large proportion of the British viewing public foundexcessive bunching of such commercials in the late evening offensive (Svennevig. Sex on Mainstream Television When examining the representation of sex on television. Wober. and embarrassing. an invasion of privacy. it broke through many barriers in thebroadcast treatment of sex and contributed towider public acceptance greater. Both kinds of representation have given to public conrise of cern. There are worries about the also embarrassment caused bringing out into by the open matters that are normally regarded as private. andincreased public awareness of AIDS. These programs were mostly designed principally to reach known at-risk groups. Sherr. Although suchadvertising became accepted. This concern stems a belief on the part some people that cerfrom tain treatments of sex could subvert traditional moral and family values. given the openness with which the use ofsafe sex practices had been discussed on air.openness in dealing a of with matters linked to human sexuality. Some modification of public attitudes was also registered. The initial introduction of suchadvertisements caused controversy Britain becausesome people regardedthem as offenin sive. 1987. 1987. 1998). except among the homosexualcommunity (DHSSNelsh Office. In Britain. public service and commerby cial broadcasters collaborated scheduling aweek of special programs in 1984. 1987. especially young people. such as safe practices.12 CHAPTER 1 The media were drawn intoa majorhealth education initiative that received funding from governments. The first of these is the overtdepiction of sexual activity screen and the second the discussion of sex and on is related topics. Both of these con- . In Britain. These concerns were reflected in public opinion surveys. However. whose results urged caution on the part of commercial broadcasters in the advertising treatments that were used for these products and resulted in restrictions on when they could be broadcast. it became ‘old-fashioned’ and inconsistent to continue bans on advertising for sanitary protection products(referred tointhe NBC codeonadvertisingstandards as ‘catamenial devices’). This kind of treatsex ment was regarded as justified because of the seriousness posed by AIDS. considerationis usually given to two separate matters.

after 8 p. and some kissing caressor and ing may be shown in televised dramas. or socially irresponsible.m. someethnic andreligious groups may also take deepoffence at depictions of behaviorsthatWesterncultureswouldnotregard as inappropriate or improper in apublic place (see Watson.may be found among different sectors of society. audiences have been anxious display to liberal.m. vpes o Sexuality f The acceptance of increasingly explicit sexual representations as the evening wears on does not mean that kinds of sexual behavior are acceptany able. however. Forexample. Repeated and gratuitous scenes of explicit sex.m. In Britain. the degree of public disquiet over this topic. Explicit depictions of sexual behavior would not normally be allowed expected to or occur on programs on nonsubscription channels before 9 p. even though simulated. on nonsubscription channels. scheduling restrictions are placed on broadcasters in regard to the inclusion of certain types of content in programs and advertisements.CONCERNS WHAT HAVE BEEN RAISED? 13 cerns are particularly acute in contextsinvolving children. Nudity is permitted in programs. Despite increased acceptance of homosexuality in society. Two British soap operas caused a stir by featuring story lines about a . even moregraphic portrayals of sexual behavior may occur. there remain sectors of society who regard such behavior unnatural. 1993). while at the same time exhibiting reservations about such depictions (Millwood-Hargrave. There are other areas where the tension between artistic integrity and crossing the barriers of decency is brought into sharp focus. on these channels. In Britain. Public opinion surveys have revealed conflictingattitudestowardstherepresentation of homosexuality on television. films originally made for the cinema may contain sexual depictions that would not be allowed before 9 p. but only partially in advertisements. Late-night broadcasts on channels known for their testing of decency barriers cause less outcry than far less graphic depictions in peak-time broadcasts. especially after 10 p. prior to this watershed. There may be an uneasy tension here between dramatic licence and voyeurism.m. morally reprehenas sible. However. The depictions of homosexuality and sexual violence are two such areas. O n subscription channels.m. Differences of opinion. may enjoy aless positive reception. It is important that sex is justified in relation to the story line. After 9 p. even among liberal-minded viewers. open-minded attitudes. the restrictions on depictions of sex are gradually relaxed scenes of nudity and and simulated sexual activity (including intercourse) are allowed. as with treatments others kinds of of sexuality. 1992). for example. but nothing beyond that. Onceagain. sex may be spoken about inferred. is undoubtedlylinkedtowheresuchmaterialoccurs.

Sex Talk As we will see later in this volume. generated a large volume of complaints fromviewers. Much of this expansion facilitated by developments in commuwas nications technologies. In last the two decades the 20th century. Talk about sex in the form of sexual innuendo isalso not uncommon in light entertainment programs and is a frequent source of comedy. most the story lines of revolve around personal relationships. mass production business serving a large internationalcustomer base (Hebditch & Anning. 1999). Public disquiet over the open representation homosexuality on mainof stream broadcast television is not unique toBritain.14 CHAPTER 1 sexual relationship between characters the same sex. objections were raised about the ‘outing’ by situation comedyactress Ellen Degeneres of her screen persona (also called Ellen). In both cases. and many of these tend to be of a sexually intimate nature. Althoughnudity and overt depictions of sex are rare in soaps on mainstream television channels (though notso on ‘soaps’ produced by sex channels suchas The Playboy Channel). The episode in which this occurred received advance publicity and achieved an audience of more than 40 million viewers.. The growth of the home video market created a wider audience for the consumption pornographic videos. the kisses were brief and discreetly shot. the of controversy over these plot-lines peaked as a result of scenes showing kisses exchanged betweenthe characters(two menin theBBC’s East Enders and two women in Channel4’s Brookside). Bothscenes. In both cases. PORNOGRAPHY Among the most controversial forms of media sex is pornography. 1994). the pornography industry expanded signifof icantly. In these programs. largely uncontrolled. In the United States. talk about sex is more commonplace than actual depictions of sex (Kunkel et al. Talking about sex is a regular feature of serious drama. especially long-running serialised dramas or soap operas (Greenberg. . through which significant market for pornography couldbe reached. The later evoof lution of the Internet provided a further channel. 1988). The a production and distribution explicit sexual materials thus became transof formed from‘a seedycottage industry’ to amore technically sophisticated. talking about sexual relationships is prominent. a short while after the actress herself had declared herhomosexuality. nonetheless.

Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. 1985). 1970. 1978). 1986. One central of contenarea tion about erotica is whether the balance of its effects can be considered socially positiveor negative. it is argued. 6r Quittelier.particularly that featuring realistic depictions of sexual behavior. Women are depicted obsessed as with sex. there is an alternative view that erotic material can have important educational or therapeutic functions. According to critics of media sex. 1980. Kaplan. The sexual callousness model has been voicedrepeatedly.of sexual dysfunction (Gagnon.and encouragethe use of violence against women as an aspect of sexual intercourse. Such portrayals. Scott. Thisperspective on thehypothesised effects of pornography has been strongly espoused by feminists. 1986). erotic materials can be damaging to women. can send the wrong messages about women and their sexuality. Diamond. While much emphasis in public debate has been placed on the offensiveness and potentially harmful effects of media sex.WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? 15 Debates About Erotica Media theorists have debatedthe effects of sexual material in the media. and especially the influences of highly erotic content. cultivate detrimental perceptions of female sexuality. 1975. Lemare. 1977. These benefits include the provision of valuable lessonsin sexual technique that can enhance consumer’s own sex life a or be of assistance in the treatment . Early commissions of enquiry into pornography reached the controversial conclusion that exposure to explicit sexual materials is not a cause of so- . Lederer. for some men. only further reinforce already callous attitudes about the opposite sex (Russell. this may cultivate perceptions among men that women prefer a subordinate sexual role and. 1986). A further characteristic typical of this entertainment format is that women present themselves to men as easysexual conquests whose principal role is to gratify male sexual needs (Brownmiller. Marcolin.Such material may alsobe of use in helping in0 dividuals overcome guilt and anxiety about sex that may impairtheir ability toestablish or maintainmeaningfulemotionalrelationships(Buvat. and encouragepermissive sexual behavior bothinside and outside marriage (Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. 1984. especially in major government-backed commissions of enquiryintopornography (Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Buvat-Berbaut. At the very least.Wilson. 1984. Erotica that divorces sex from loving relationships and portrays it as a physical act performed purely for hedonistic reasons may also socialise irresponsible values undermine the that importance of stable marital and family relations. The beneficial effects idea has been roundly rejected by other writers. Committee on SexualOffencesAgainst Children and Youths. Their concern has focused on pornographic themes that emphasise the sexual promiscuity of women. and willing to engage in any kind of sex act with any partner. 1988). 1990).

Childpornography involves minors and. whether sex scenes are heterosexual or homosexual. Emphasis is also placed on the physical side of sex. 5. Harris (1994) noted that the AttorU. subservient. 1987. 1978). with little time . subordination or humiliation constitute the largest class of commercially available materials. and as over-responsive to themale interest. three mainstream themes have been identified in pornography. violent. 1979). nation.and idealised. ney General’s Commission on Pornography (1986) identified five classesof pornographic material: 1. Nudity shows the naked human with no body obvious sexual behaviororintent. Whereas pure sex may be harmless. 1974. Sexually violent materials portray rape and other instances of physical harm to persons in a sexual context. 1989). whether the sex is nonviolent or violent.’ 3 . Elsewhere. Differentiating Formso Explicit Sex f It would be misleading to treat all forms of explicit media sex as the same. and whether sex scenes depict unusual sexual practices or involve children. whether the sex is real or simulated.though illegal to produce in the United States. was questioned by other researchers prominent in the field (Linz. Non-violent and non-degrading materials of viotypically depict a couple having vaginal or oral intercourse with no indication lence or coercion. These generally portray women ‘masochistic. the combination sex with violence could prove be afar more of to damaging cocktail.16 CHAPTER 1 cia1 or individual harms (Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. These are termed standard. In the contextof pornography. There are clear distinctions that can be made between different types of sexual portrayal that are associated with the degree of explicitness. Whether sexual violence was as prevalent as the 1986 Attorney General’s enquiry claimed. This conclusion was not readily accepted within the scholarly community (Cline. the emphasis is placed on a macho culture which in males are sexually dominant and females are sexually submissive (Day.S.248). Williams Committee. Sex a preoccupation in is these productions and the story lines tend to be thinly veiled strategems that result in sexual couplings with minimal build-up. it was claimed that sexually violent materials had becomeso widespread that a rethink necessary about the was effects of pornography. however. still circulates widely through foreign magazines and personal distributions (p. domi2. 4. By the mid-l980s. 1986). Eysenck & Nias. 1970. 1988). Malamuth. Donnerstein 6r Penrod. In the case of standard pornographic themes. Non-violent materials depicting degradation. Thisview changed in later years with increased recognition being given to the potential harms causedby sexually violent material (Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography.

1987. the female victim’s sexual allure is emphasised prior to her violent demise (Weaver. but their vulnerability is magnified by featuring them as naked or scantily clad at the point at which are attacked. Often women are shown responding to coercive sex with pleasure. More specifically. 1980). exposure to sexually violent materials has indicatedan increase in the likelihood of aggression.This typical scenario reinforces a cultural myth thatwomen enjoy being raped (Burt. they tend to be contextualised within a story line that provides a strong romantic or affectionate background to the relationship (Steck & Walker. Palys.Prince. In some they scenes. In making this case. 1988). but also include an emphasis on violence as an aspect of the sexual act. In violent themes. but also included unlawful sexually violent behavior by some subgroups the popuof lation.WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN RAISED? 17 or plot devoted to the establishmentof emotional relationships between characters (Palys.. 1984. 1985).Sex is depicted as a purely hedonistic activity. Hazen. This horror genre depicts graphically displayed gory violence. 1986). While graphic displays of physical sex may still be shown. The Commission concluded that the increase in aggressive behavior occurred only in research not settings. Idealised sexual themes present compassionate portrayals of sexuality with emphasis emotional on aspects of heterosexual sex. plays initial expressions of disgust. Abeel. 1990. The Commission concluded that. Women are frequent targets of extreme aggression.. The perpetrators rarely suffer adverse consequences or penalties for their actions. 1986. Rimmer. Women tend eagerly to give themselves to men (or other women) and engage in multiple sexual encounters (Abeel. 1985). shows a causal relationship between exposure material of this type and aggressive to behavior towards women’ (p. 1983. 324). 1976. often with erotic overtones. the Commission referred primarily to experimental research that showed evidence short-term increases in laboratory of aggression among young college students following their controlled exposure to sexually violent media content-usually film clips (Donnerstein & . the usual erotic scenarios occur. Slade. 1984. but eventually becomes sexually aroused and experiences apparent enjoyment.Winick. The ‘rape myth‘is promoted in many these films whereby a womanforced to have disof is sex. The 1986 AttorneyGeneral’s Commission on Pornography voicedconcerns about the possible link between sexually violent media and violent behavior. the research . 1987. Senn. Sex and Violence One particular genre that has proved highly controversial is the so-called ‘slasher’ movie. ‘in both clinical and experimental settings.

andpractice. when sex is used to help be sell products in advertisements. though have notalways been empirically tested by their supporters. That study did not find any such long-term effects. 1984. Zillmann 6r Bryant. beliefs. While a number different explanations of media sex effects have been of put . Most of the attention devoted to media sex has concentrated on its potentially harmful effects. and different types of individuals whomight be exposed toit.failed to include the findings of the only study of that period that examined possible long-term effects of repeated exposure sexually violent media content on to laboratory aggression (Malamuth & Ceniti. Donnerstein.1984. 1981). behavioral effects may involve sexual proclivities or aggressive dispositions. The conclusion reached here that the reto was search had demonstrated that such material could shift male attitudes towards female victims and the actrape itself in a more rape of callous direction.1982. specific psychological effects of pornographic materials. This volume examines a number of important questions about media sex. values. Media sex canhavedistinct influences on women. the In reviewing the evidencetherefore distinctions are made between different types of media sex. These effects included measures of perceptions. and behaviors. Media sex may also involvedin consumer behavior. whether the research evidence canbe trusted. 1985.18 CHAPTER 1 Berkowitz. attitudes. a blanket view that all sexual portrayals or all media consumers are same is unhelpful. beliefs. In considering whether media sex does cause harm. and on individuals with particular personality profiles. Linz. & Adams. on young people. self-perceptions. and behavior(Krafka. Criticisms of such entertainment-oriented material have stemmed from particular ideological perspectives in which a range of effects on public values have beenhypothesised to occur. a significant body of empiricalresearchemergedduringthe1980sthatexplored. whether such material is acceptable to thepublic. These questions relate to the amount that the mainstream of sex media contain. the book turns to othersignificant issues of theory.however. A further element of the 1986 Commission’s conclusions related to research into the effects of exposure to violent pornography on attitudes rape. having examined the different types of media sex effectsin relation to different types of media consumer. The influences of media sex can take the form of attitudes. Nevertheless. on men. method. different types of influence. 1989). Malamuth. Finally. This part of the Commission’s report. 1989. Zillmann & Weaver. and whether the evidence points to thefor tighter social polineed cies and regulatory controls over the media and mediadepictions of sex. 1986). and whatkinds of effect media sex has on different groups of people. Questions are asked about how media sex effects can be explained.through largely quantitative research methodologies. however.

Whether or not the freedom of choice should reside with the producers of content and with the consumers of content. Regardless of what theeffects of media sex might be. the debate about of controversial content has placed greater emphasis on the provision technologies to facilitate control over reception at the level of the individual content. Uncertainty over the findings of research into the effects of media sex has. been the increased empowerment of media consumers. enand on the need for better quality advance information about abling individuals to make more informed choices for themselves. there continues to be debate about the legitimacy of censorship. .With control over the distribution media content becoming decentralised. or with acentralised legislator or regulator. there have been disagreements among also social scientists and clinicians working in the field over the conceptual and methodological rigor of the published research. and chapter 11 considers the methodological debates about theempirical evidence. produced mixedopinions about the need more or less regufor lation of media. In a world in which communicationstechnologies have undergone revolutionary development. but have not yet acted as though fully convinced by the scientific and clinical evidence. governments and legislators have paid some lip service to the harms of media sex.WHAT CONCERNS HAVE BEEN WISED? 19 forward. in turn. To date. and continue to do perhaps the most significant change has will so. depends ultimately on whether itis possible to prove that harmis being done. Chapter 10 examines the theories and explanations of media sex effects.

ask This. or publications.How Much Sex I s Shown? In considering how much sex is shown in themajor media . Q U A N T I F Y I N G SEX IN T H E MEDIA Most of the evidence based on objective. and videos as well. subThe jective opinions of media consumers. such as films. is usually done in the context enquiring see of as to whether people believe there is too muchsex in these media. Most this evidence has been produced broadcast television. alof for though research has also been conducted tomeasure the prevalence and prominence of sexual behavior in magazines. videos or television programs. one approach has been to the audience. Thus. maynot reflect the reality of what the media actually contain. films. In the lattercase. Trained observers are thenemployed to monitor television programs. quantitative measures of sex in the media has been obtained through research method content analysis. the focus of attention has usually been on theavailability of pornographic material. the of This perspective uses a simple counting method. identify actions or incidents that 20 . films. Some studies have also investigated the frequency with which sexual content occurs in pop musicvideos. videos. however. Researchers using this method begin defining the range ofbehaviors intend to by they subsume under the general heading ‘sexual’for the purposes of their analysis. as we will in chapter3 . qualify as sexual behavior.we need to examinefindings from research that has attempted to quantifyhow much sex is depicted in the media.

) . 1986. 1996.. much the focus of has been placed on measuring the prevalence of pornographic materials. including general release cinema films and television programs.Scott & Franklin. 1974. Longitudinal analyses of sex references in mass circulation magazines. McCall’s. 1988.g.. Distinctions are generally made between different categories of sexual behavior such as kissing. Sex therefore became a more prevalent theme in the mass media between the 1950s and 1980s.g. Sex references have also become progressively more liberal. trends in the depiction of sex in broadcast media have emerged as well (Lowry & Towles.HOW MUCH SEX I S SHOWN? 21 and catalogue them. and on). Historically. such as Reader’s Digest. in turn. trends in mediadepictions of sex have focusedon print media. 1991). Godenne. of Analysis of themes of sexual aggression against women has not been restricted to pornographicmaterial. can be found in mainstream entertainment media. and the often graphic images that characterise them. Talk about sex has also been distinguished from overtdepictions of sexual behavior. Most of that research has. and the circumstances surrounding the behavior (e. horror. whether they take place between marriedor unmarried couples. Researchers usually distinguish so the type of program or film in which the behavior occurs (e. In later years. etc. action-adventure. Such themes. andfull intercourse. a one-night stand. prostitution. petting. Life.. This was evidenced by a decline in references to censorship of sex and increased references to extramaritalsex (Scott. Whether this coverage was instrumental in producing more liberal attitudes towards\sexthat were observed over this period (e. whether theactors are nude. science fiction. the age and ethnicity of participants.or whether the media were merelyreflecting social trends caused by other factors is less clear. a loving relationship between permanent partners. Sapolsky & Tabarlet. and Newsweek have indicated increased volumes of references to sex across the decades since the Second World War. There has also been a great deal of attention given to erotic film and video scenes that feature violence. comedy.touching. Where sexual behavior in videos and films isconcerned. .g. 1986). Scott. KaiserFamily Foundation. SEX ON TELEVISION Most of the research into the amountsex in the of media has studied the frequency of sexual portrayals on television. 1973). soap opera. Depictions of rape have been asource of much concern and hence much the research into of video pornography has studied the frequency and nature such portrayals. Time. Sexual portrayals may also be classified in termsof factors such as whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. In this context. interest centers on the extent which depictions of more unto usual sexual practices are shown.

Initial research about on mainstream television began in the United sex States in the mid-1970s. network programs fromone full week in October 1975. and Atkin (1978) focused on drama series from prime-time U. nonaggressive touching. Given that American television programs are broadcast widely in other countries. 37). embracing. containing low to moderate amounts of kissing. sexual innuendoes increased in frequency from about one reference per hour in1975 to seven in 1977 and to almost 11 in 1978. the most distinctive feature of the variety show was the useof innuendoes.S. The most controversial acts. In a1981 study. Nearly all sexual beon havior or references to such behavior were heterosexual nature and in deviant forms of sexuality were rare. but contained only moderate amounts of kissing and embracing.contextually implied intercourse increased from no weekly occurrences in 1975 to 15 in 1977 and 24 in 1978. and innuendoes thanany other type of program. had virtually no behavioral appearance. Greenberg. embracing and nonaggressive touching. Verbal and visual displays of intimate sex behaviors on television were largely confined to acts of intercourse between . embracing. occurred much more often between unmarried partners than between married partners television. direct verbal references to intercourse increased from twooccurrences per week in 1975 six referto ences in 1979 and 53 in 1978’ (p. Variety shows also displayed frequent nonaggressive touching. rape and homosexualbehavior. In another study. There no differentiation of sexual bewas havior on screen by gender of characters. whether shown or implied. network television. Sprafkin. Sprafkin and Silverman (1981) found a sharp increase in the amount sexual content in of 1978-1979 prime-time networkprograms: ‘Specifically. Most dramatically. The behaviors that appeared most often were kissing.22 CHAPTER 2 derived from the United States. and Rubinstein (1977) analysed 61 prime-time U. sex usually in the context of discussing crimes to be solved in dramas and crime adventure shows. Situation comedies contained more kissing. Since then. however. Korzenny. Only verbal references to rape and other crimes occurred. particularly in those without canned laughter. American writers have observed steadily increasing amounts sex on television-whether in terms verof of bal references to sex or depictions of one form of sexual conduct or another. Fernandez-Collado. such as intercourse. aggressive touching and nonaggressive touching. Drama programs were more conservative. Franzblau. They examined 13 categories of physical intimacy ranging from intimate behaviors (sexual intercourse) to more casual behaviors (embracing). the findings from this work are probably relevant toreaders beyond the United States. They coded intimate sexual behavior and found that sexual intercourse. but almost no sexual innuendoes.S.

Riptide. They estimated that the average adolescent American viewer in 1985 was exposed to between 1. By the end this decade. 1986. Hill Street Blues. Sex in Soap Operas Long-running. & Linsangan. Greenberg and his colleagues documented an increase in rates sexual of content of 103% in the5 years from 1980to 1985 in television soap operas popular with adolescents. 1993).e. Love. Linsangen. 88). Greenberg. Heeter. inturn.and Neuendorf (198 concluded: ‘Soap op1) eras have moresexual content than do prime-time programs. Abelman.depending on his orher viewing patterns (Greenberg. five Heeter. embracing and kissing. Lowry. Heeter. however. the great majority comprised kissing (70%). 1987). . erotic touching. Sexual deviancy in form of the rape and alternative sexual lifestyles such as homosexuality were rarely portrayed. much of the drama centers on relationships among thecentralcharacters. ‘with these relationships. Siemicki. Television series included in this research. Thematically. & Rubinstein. sexual intercourse was usually talked about and not shown on screen. Siemicki.400 sexual references on television. & Stanley. Stanley. but thetypes of intimacies portrayed differ’ (p. 1981).. and Miami Vice. Just one in (21%) were intercourse acts (Greenberg. Soderman. Thus. they found more than three instancesof sexual behavior involving unmarried partners for every instance involving married partners.900 and 2. and Kirby’s (1981)study of soap operas from the 1979 season foundan average of more than six sexual behaviors (i. a signifiof cant increase was measured inthe rateof occurrence of sexual innuendoes and verbal references to sexual intercourse. Soderman. Thisincrease in sexual suggestiveness wasprimarilylocatedinsituationcomedies(Sprafkin & Silverman.HOW MUCH SEX I S SHOWN? 23 mutually consenting heterosexual partners. serialised dramas represent someof the most popular programs on television. implied intercourse.were Dynasty. A later study of prime-time television drama series in the United States reported an average of just under three sexual behaviors per hour. Two types of sexual behavior-intercourse and kissing-were most prevalent.Lin. References to sexual intercourse were implicit and never explicitly depicted (Silverman. Like several earlier studies. Sprafkin. prostitution) per hour. Further studies of sex on American network television in the late 1970s were confined largely to touching. Focusing specifically on afternoonsoap operas.Soderman. Most sexual activity in prime-time drama series (63%) was verbal rather than visibly depicted. 1979). Stanley. Among those sexual behaviors that were actually shown. & Linsangen. frequently being sexual in nature. Greenberg.

There were few instances of sexual intercourse in either program sample: four depictions in 1979 and nine in 1989. rape. Prostitution.4 behaviors perhour from 6.7 acts per hour. covering threetelevision dramaserials from the earlier the analyses plus two more: The Young and The Restless and Days of Our Lives (Greenberg & Busselle. With intercourse. .7 in 1985. This represented average of 3. Although therewas an increased amount of sexual behavior on prime-time television.8 an hour in 1979. 1996). In terms of who was engaged in various forms of sexual behavior. 1993).Much of the sexual behavior was talked about or referred to rather than visibly shown.6. and petting (distinguished from long kissing) were virtually nonexistent (Greenberg. Sapolsky and Tabarlet (1991) foundthat television had not diminished its portrayal sex in an when teenagers and adults of age were being urged to approach sexual intimacy with caution.8 instances an hour of sexual imagery or language in 1989 compared to 12.24 CHAPTER 2 Lowry and Towles (1988) replicated the 1979 study of sexual behaviors on soaps and found substantial increasesex between unmarried a in persons and a norm of promiscuous sex. these of of researchers found a total110 acts involving some form sexual behavior. 1993).. Comparisons were made with an television offered viewers analysis by Sapolsky (1982). In furthering their work on sex in soaps in the1990s. Talk about sex focused most of all on the subject of sexual intercourse (62% of sex-related talk). with few attendant consequences. Noncriminal acts in both sex years were dominated by less sensuous forms of touching. There was an hourly average of 6. Nearly nine in ten all sex an of acts (88%)in these programcomprised long kissing and intercourse. Intercoursewas far more likely to be talked about (73%) than shown.6 sexual incidents in 1994 compared with 3. D. they individuals engagwere ing in extramarital or premarital sexual contact (Greenberg al. or hugging. Greenberg and his colleagues reported on depictions of sex in themost popularserialised dramas among teenagersin the UnitedStates-All My Children. A summary of the distribution of sexual incidents in these serials is shown inTable 2. In only one in four sexual couplings were the participants marriedto each other. Network prime-time 15.1990s. There was a generally higher rate of sexual behaviors per hour in 1987 compared with 1979. General Hospital.just over one infour scenes contained visual depictions (27%). there was no major increase in soaps. kissing. Ten episodes were analysed fromeach soap opera in 1993 yielding 333 incidents involving some of ‘sexual’behavkind ior. Otherwise. Brown. et A n update on the 1980s figures emerged from the same research group in the mid. there was a major increase in the ratio of sexual behaviors between unmarriedand married sexual partners from 1979 to1987.J.Visibly depicted sexual behavior usuwas ally restricted to kissing.1. andOne Life to Live. Across ten episodes of each serial. & Buerkel-Rothfuss. up to 7.

Over a 20-year spell from the mid01970s. ABC.13 0.64 0. These comparisons were only possible for the three longest-established television networks. The latest research attempting to quantify sex on television has emerged from the United States under the direction Dale Kunkel of the Departof ment of Communications. 1996. with 43% of programs containing any sexual material in the 1970s and 75% doing so in the 1990s.m.07 0.03 0. There were a few. to 9 p.56 0.14 0. rare incidents of simulated sexual intercourse.HOW MUCH SEX IS SHOWN? TABLE 2. This study analysed 128 network family hour programs in 1996. & Colvin. and compared sex in these with earlier program samples from the 8 p.m. The earlier samples wereobtained from research conducted by George Gerbner and his colleagues under the ‘CulturalIndicators Project.40 1. He compared the depiction sex on American of Family Hour television in 1996 with figures for 1986 and 1976.10 0.93 0.m.83 1. Cope. sexual depictions became increasingly prevalent on network television programs during the mid-evening time slot. to 9 p. Research reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Children Now compared sexual messages contained in television programs in the United States between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s during the 8 p. This overall increase in sex on mainstream television was largely attributable to a greater amount about sex in situaof talk tion comedies and drama series (Kaiser Family Foundation.00 3.00 4. University of California at Santa Barbara. with more than three incidents hour. Actual sexual behavior occurred per much less frequently and was largely restricted to kissing and caressing. CBS.72 0. time slot on themajor networks.96 0.07 1.16 1.40 1.m.67 Not2 Source Greenberg and Busselle.00 6. 1996).70 0. and NBC (Kunkel.23 0.14 1.10 0. A great deal of talk about sex was found.14 0. 1996).’ .oo 0. period in 1986 (n = 3 1) and 1976 (n = 23).1 1880s and 1980s 25 Sex i n American TV Soaps in the N m u e of Sexual Act 1994 (5 soaps) 1994 (3 soaps) 1985 (3 S O C Z ~ S ) Unnlarried intercourse Rape Long kisses Married intercourse Miscellaneous Prostitution Petting Homosexuality Total 2.73 0.67 0.

this would be counted as a sexual incident.351 television shows over a 6-month period from four major commercial broadcast networks. Portrayals involving talk about sex weremeasured separately from those that included sexual actions or behaviors. Sexual behavior was categorised in asimilar fashion to methodsused in earlier studies. the degree of scene focus onsex was judged. any comments about sexual incidents that had already occurred or involving sexual suggestiveness were cataloged. sexually suggestive behavior. talk about sex-related crimes. To be considered sex behavior. seductive conversations between potential sexual partners. sexual intercourse strongly implied. talk toward sex. intimate touching(touching of another’s body in a that way is meant to be sexually arousing). certain elements had to be retained from earlier research in order to facilitate comparisons over time. At the same time. talk about sexual intercourse that has already occurred. Similarly.. would also qualify. All scenes were also coded or b . expert advice. such as self-gratification.26 CHAPTER 2 Ip a furtheranalysis. one public broadcasting station. and included passionate kissing (kissing also that conveys a sense of sexual intimacy). With sexually related talk. Thus a kiss of greeting between two friends did not count. one local independent television station.attempts were made to improve upon previous research methodologies both in respect of program sampling and content coding. This approach was taken to ensure that the data obtained the 1990s would be for directly comparable to those obtained the two previous decades (Kunkel in et al. or talk about sexuality or sexual activity. if one charactertold another that he went bed with a woman to the previous night. a passionate kiss between two characters with a But discernible romantic interest would be counted. Sex was defined as any depiction of sexual activity. differentiating minor or inconsequential references and depictions from portrayals in which there is a substantial primary emphasis on sex. The type of sexual behavior was measured using a rangeof six categories that began with physical flirting (behavior meant to arouse or promote sexual interest). 1999). A further distinctionwas made between intercourse implied and intercourse depicted. A final categoryof ‘other’ captured highly infiequent behaviors that meet the definition of sexual behavior indicated above but do notfit in any other category.. Talk about sex was divided into six categories: comments about own or others’ sexual actions/interests. and four cable channels (Kunkel et al.All programs except sports and news were monitored. even when no overt sexual behavior was depicted. however. Across the studies conducted by Kunkel and his colleagues. and other. and sexual intercourse depicted. For any material involving either sexual dialogue or behavior. Kunkeland his team examined additional television channels in their own analysis for1996. 1999). actions had to convey a sense of potential or likely sexual intimacy. For example. Kunkel and his colleagues monitored a larger sample of 1.

all scenes were classified in terms of their depictionof sexual risks or responsibilities. 1979).. and Fox) could attract more than 6 million children and teenagers between 8 p. Distinctions were made between sexual interactions. If the camera shifted to another scene while they were kissing (even though they had not finished). sexual content on the networks has become both .m. The courts ruled that scheduling restrictions on content violated the First Amendment because the Federal Communications Commission (the industry regulator) had pressured the industry to adopt it. As soon as they stopped kissing the interaction would end. An interaction endured so long as it continued within the same sceneand maintained the same characters as the primary participants. This termwas used to describe the issues surrounding theserious outcomes thatcould beassociated with human sexual activity such as unwanted pregnancyor sexually transmitted diseases. CBS. There was widespread concern to control the appearance of sex and violence on television in the early parts of the evening. in response to increased competitive pressure from other television services. two characters kissing would represent an single sexual interaction. NBC. The measurement systemapplied by Kunkel and his co-workers did exhibit some modifications to earlier methodologies. this would markthe end of the interaction. The fundamental level of measurement was an interaction between two more characters on or screen. The Family Hour Study The significance of Family Hour stems fromthe fact that the greatest concentration of young viewers is normally found at this time. audience ratings showed that the four major television networks in the United States (ABC. The industry’s commitment toFamily Hour protection was abandoned in the 1980s following legalchallenges by the creative community responsible for producing most television entertainment content (Cowan. 1977). During the mid-l990s. and theoverall sexiness of an entire program. particularly cable channels. Thus. Family Hour was the subject of broadcast industry self-regulation in the 1970s designed to ensure that programs shownat thistime would be suitable for all viewers (Wiley.HOW MUCH SEX I SHOWN? S 27 for degree of explicitness. Three levels of analysis were deployed to measure sex on television.A single interaction could also represent asingle scene. Some observers have argued that. and 9 p. scenes depicting sex. which indicated the physical appearance of the characters involved in the behavior. However. Decisions about appropriate standardsfor sexual portrayals were then made at the networklevel. a scene could contain more than one interaction presented in a relatively unbroken sequence.m. Finally.

none of the dramas analysed contained sexual content. Inasmuch the great as majority of Americans believe that sexual portrayals on television contribute to young peoplehavingsexandtotheevenmoreseriousproblem of teenage pregnancies (Impoco.1). in the proportion programs on the three of television networks that contained any sexual behavior at all. the proportionprograms depicting overt sexual behavior of one form of or another (61%) was greater than the proportion containing just talk .3 in 1976 (1.’ and the other labelled ‘sexualbehavior. The proportion of shows with no sexual content atall diminished from majority (57%) in 1976 one in (25%) in 1996.5 sexually related of interactions per hour (3.2 and 1. but a little over half (54%) did so in 1986 and an overwhelming majority (8 1%)did so in the 1996. but also the nature of that behavior. All a to four movies analysed on these networks contained sex in both 1996 and 1986.In 1976. 1980s. over time.4 involving sexual behavior). and 1990s. Family Hour programming in 1996 contained an average 8. In 1986. compared with3. It was not only the amountof sex depicted in mainstreamtelevision programs on major networks that changed over the 1970s.1involving talk about sex and 5.28 - CHAPTER 2 more frequent and more explicit. an talk even larger percentage of Family Hour programs contained sexual behavior (61%).2). It was against this background that Kunkel and his colleagues undertook their research. a larger proportion of programs contained talk about sex (39%) than actual depictions of sexual behavior sex (22%). from 33% of sitcoms containing sexual material in 1976.9 in 1986 ( 41% doing so in 1986.both types ofportrayal had increased with depictions of sexual behavior (48%) foundslightly more often than about sex (46%). although therewere more programs containing in general.8 and 2. is not surprising that calls were heard for a it tighter grip on the use of sex in mainstream television entertainment.and 60% in 1996 Table (see 2. slightly outnumbering those containing talk about sex (59%). andthis increased to 65% in 1986 and to75% in 1996.and Colvin (1996) found a marked increase. In 1976.’ The latter covered physical actions ranging from kissing or caressing to sexual intercourse. 5% inwhereas onlyhalf ( 0 ) did in 1976. the prevalence of sex increased over time. A trend was noticed between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s away from characters simply talking about sex and towards actually doing it. 1996). and 2. Figures for 1976 showed that 43% of programs contained at least some sexual content. Cope. Situation comedies also contributed totelevision’s sexual content. Onceagain. Two types of sexual representation were differentiated in this analysis-one known as ‘talk about sex. Drama showed a more substantial crease in the presence of sex over time.1). By 1996. In 1976. Kunkel. By 1996. about sex was found in alarger proportion of talk Family Hour programs (39%) than was actual sexual behavior (26%).

Kunkel sex and his colleagues observed that intimate seductive conversations(8%of or all sex talk) were quite rare. it usually involved little more than kissing or flirting. orcomments about the character’s own (28%)or past sexual sex life history (21%). Instead. Of course. However.. Kunkel et al. even talk about can get erotic at times. Source. 1996. Having said that. Reproduced with permissionof Kalser Family Foundation. 19 62 38 59 61 60 21 78 0 84 I3 % 25 75 31 % 100 1986 number of Programs 17 % 1 % 0 % Talk about sex Sexual behavior None Either 38 47 41 35 38 54 100 100 0 62 6 % 65 100 0 0 0 0 0 % 46 48 35 65 1976 number of Programs 15 % 2 % 23 % Talk about sex Sexual behavior None Either 53 33 40 0 0 50 50 50 50 100 0 0 0 0 39 26 57 43 60 0 Note. about sex (59%).HOW MUCH SEX I S SHOWN? TABLE 2.2 29 Prevalence o Sexual Messages Across v p e s o Programs f f Broadcast During ‘Family Hour’ Sitcoms Drama Film Reality Total 1996 number of Programs 31 78 % 3 % % 128 16 % % ~~ Talk about sex Sexual behavior None Either 16 69 55 81 33 100 Is. . it should be borne in mind that when sexual conduct was shown on screen. most conversations that touched on the subject of sexual matters represented observations about other people’s sex lives on thepart of television characters (32% of all sex talk).

itwas uncommon for the characters to be married. the average level of explicitness was low at 0. sex. Of the 528programs that contained any sex at all. some disrobing. More intimate touchingwas the nextmost frequently occurring sexual behavior (12%). The “Sex on TV” Study This later and much study by Kunkel and his colleagues analysed sexbigger ual content ‘presented across the overall television landscape’(Kunkel et cable channels.sexual material the was rated interms of its degree of explicitness along a four-point scale. Across all programs including any sexual behavior. averaging 1. Individuals engaged in sexual behaviors were much more likely to be unmarried (7 1%) than married (23%). This study coveredboth network and analysis revealed that there are two primary types of portrayals involving sex-talk about sex and sexual behavior. Of all programs studied. Sex was often not just an isolated incidentin a program.9. discreet nudity.The al. Across the composite week sample of 942 programs. more than half (56%) contained some sexual content. 23% of all programs sex studied contained sexual behavior. p. 39% contained one or more scenes with a substantial emphasis on sex. In more than one in five cases (22%) where sexual intercourse depicted or implied. at least one was of the characters had an established relationship withanother person. each A n established relationship was defined as characters having shared close interpersonal activities and experiences together. which could range from a dating relationship to a long-term committed situation. and nudity. Across all examples of sexual behavior observed in 1996. Roughly one case out of six involving sexual behaviors (17%) included a character who had an established sexual or romantic relationship with someone other than the partner in that situation. whereas sexual intercourse rarely shown on screen (3% of sexwas ual incidents). Whilewas comit mon for those involved the range of sexual interactions to haveesin full an tablished relationship with one another (67%). 4). more than eight in ten incidentsof sexual behavior comprised physical flirting (46%) or kissing (39%). In programs with precursory behaviors only.30 CHAPTER 2 Turning to actual sexual behavior. Both types of portrayals have the potential to influence viewers’ beliefs and attitudes about sexual issues.. encompassing provocative dress.4 scenes per hour withsexual behavior shown. More than half (54%) of all programs studied contained talk about with an average of 3.0 scenes per hour containing talk. Relationship fidelity was sometimes violated in television programs. two out of three included characters who shared an established relationship with other. the .2 scenes per hour involving sex. 1999. Among programs containing any sexual content. there was an average of 3.

Just under one infour scenes (23%) depicted the coital act.-midnight) on the four main UK television channels (BBCl.m. SEX ON TELEVISION OUTSIDE THE LJNITED STATES A small number of studies have beencarried out beyond the United States in which sex on television has been quantified. Women and men. A further classification of sexual activity in terms of context and characterisation revealed some evidence of gender differences in the depiction of sexual behavior on British television. Therewere also two scenes (4%) where sex was implied through sound though not actually seen on screen. Although this difference is significant. two thirds of such scenes (66%) involved an individual making comments about or her own another’s sexual interhis or ests. Much smaller proportions of cases involved more explicit sexual behavior such as intimate touching (7%). Turning to talk about sex. thetalk was about sex-related ten crimes. the talk was about sexual intercourse that had occurred.3). the talk concerned ‘talk towards sex’ (talk leading up to sex.HOW MUCH SEX I S SHOWN? 31 explicitness score was 0. Men were much more likely than women to be depicted having an extramarital affair. 4%) and expert advice or technical information about sex (2%).4. ITV. implied sexual intercourse (12%) or depicted sexual intercourse (3%). which was represented in overhalf the scenes (53%). Britain. in thosedepicting sexual intercourse. The most frequently occurring sexual behavior was kissing. O n sexual behaviors. few involved married couples (see Table2. however. Out of a total of 277 programs and 524 advertisements. Although more than third of the reone lationships in which sexual activity occurred were established relationships. All portrayed heterosexual sex. Millwood-Hargrave (1992) compared these objective content analysis results to the subjective opinions held by the British public towards premarital and extramarital affairs. Channel Four) to assess the depictionof sexual activity and nudity on British television. An initial content analysis was reported by Millwood-Hargrave (1992) of seven days’ evening output (6 p. In 15% of cases.57 scenes of sexual activity were catalogued. three out four cases involved physiof cal flirting (26%) or kissing (50%).9. thelevel of explicitness was fairly mild.were equally likely to be shown engaged in sexual activity on afirst date. BBC2. Other scenes were noted to be precoital (11%) or postcoital (9%). The former was largely accepted (54% of re- . the Broadcasting In StandardsCommission (formerly the BroadcastingStandardsCouncil) conducted regular monitoring of sex on television during the 1990s. itwas 1. In just under one in cases (9%). This patternis consistent with findings in NorthAmerica. even incases of depictions of sexual intercourse. In smaller proportions of cases.

coders were asked to code eachimage. Other work on television sex has emerged from New Zealand.’ Fif‘sure not to cause complaint’ and teen scenes were rated at the 3 and 4 levels. analAn ysis of sex on television based on all programs recordedon the three New Zealand broadcasttelevision channels during one week in February 1991 found 287 sexual images. In thisstudy. not whether it would be sustained. 1991). and event the level of public offence they by believed it would cause. and on Channel 3 they occurred onceevery 45 minutes. sequence. They assessed this by reference to past objections filed with the Broadcasting Standards Committee. or sequences. & Shuker. Most of the sexual material was found to occur films that were largely in broadcast in the afternoon in the late evening late-night slots. sexual images occurred around once every 90 minutes.3 Context o Sexual Activity on UK Television f ~~~~~~~~~~ ~ Established married Established nonmarried Extramarital affair: men Extramarital affair:women Extramarital affair: both First time pick-upby male First time pick-up by female First time pick-up mutual Rape or sexual abuse Prosritution Other Note. They were invited to decide the likelihood that an objection would be raised. 5 15 13 1 1 9 26 23 3 3 6 1 2 2 5 5 11 2 2 4 12 7 spondents saying it was rarely or not at all wrong and 23% saying it was mostly or always wrong). There or or were 24 films scheduled in the week of the analysis. Ratings were made along a five-point scale: 1 being 5 being ‘certain to cause complaint. Most of the sex287 . Lambourne. Bassett. 1992. but none at 5 (Watson. Thirteen of these films supplied 90 out of the total instances of sexual imagery. but the latter were roundly rejected (85% saying it was always or mostly wrong and 3% saying it was rarely or never wrong). On Channels 1 and 2.32 CHAPTER 2 TABLE 2. events. Source Mdlwood-Hargrave.

embracing. cuddling. however. thus keeping within the requirements of the guidelines provided by the broadcast regulator. In scenes that depicted lovemaking. Nuditywas infrequent and any that did occur was carefully staged to avoid giving offence. GENDER DIFFERENCES IN DEPICTIONS O F SEXUAL BEHAVIOR Few of the early studies of sexual behavior on mainstream television differentiated between genders in terms of the nature of their sexual behavior. Women’s breasts. etc). They found no overt portrayals of intercourse. for by a coded instance involves a heterosexualcouple. (1979) analysed prime-time network programs from the 1977-1978 season in the United States. Following up an earlier study. programs that contained explicit sexual more imagery werescheduled lateat night.HOW MUCH SEX I S SHOWN? 33 ual imagery seen during thisweek was not of a violent nature. Furthermore. physical hug. More than one intu70 sexual scenes (56%) were classified as depicting loving relationships. and as the likelihood of male-female reciprocal actions increases. the category of implied intercourse where. Therefore. kissing were again the most common and acts. The only full-frontal images to include pubic hair were within the movie Body Double. Nine per cent of scenes contained any angry or coercive behavior. were shown on 11 occasions. but there were occurrences of implied intercourse. comparisons were reported between male and female characters. Females represented 32% of the character population studied. more than one in three (35%) were classified as casual relationships. There only one instance was when the camera showed almost full-length nudity in ascene depicting intercourse. where intimate sexual behavior was about to take place or hadjust happened. Touching. which was screened after midnight. One exception was a study by Silverman and her colleagues. Females also accounted for a greater proportion the categories of of physical kiss. definition. The most likely explanation of this is that thesetypes of interactions are typically done heterosexually. stroking. the ratioreaches an even . the camera tended toshow no more than the tophalf of a nakedbody and from behind. and implied intercourse than would have been expected the on basis oftheir overall representation. Silverman et al. the male-female ratio of performers will reach one to one. The great majority of sexual scenes comprised kissing (84%)and a further one in ten (9%) contained some petting (hugging. physical affectionate touching. The authors concluded that the amount and nature of sexual activity shown on television was not of a quantity or that would cause concern type to most people. O n this occasion.

2% vs. females accounted for a disproportionate amount the of physical suggestiveness and references to affectionate touching. Male characters initiated three fourths of the noncriminal sex acts in 1989. 204 87 36 76 35 9 29 72 6 3 3 79 15 2 1 0 53 11 16 11 32 21 116 9 416 7.4). Television-1 989 Gender of Initiator-Receiver Female-Male Male-Female Noncriminal sex acts Touching Hugging Kissing Implied intercourse Explicit intercourse Criminal sex acts Sexual language Touch-hug-kiss Intercourse Prostitution-rape Sexual innuendo Atypical sex practices Sexual responsibility Categories combined Rate per hour 1989 Note: Source: Sapolsky and Tabarlet.34 CHAPTER 2 split. male characters were found to initiate two thirds of sexual behavior and conversation.7%) and overt depictions of sexual sex behavior (50. the male predominated as the initiator. Later research reported a near even between males and split females involved in talk about (49.23 22 4 99 5 20 4 4. In addition. order. Research by Sapolsky and Tabarlet (1991) shows that. In 1989. in the 1979 equality of the sexes wasin season. 1991.9%) inFamily Hour networktelevision the United States (Kunkel et al. Males initiated 110 sexual acts. 1996). 49.4 Frequency o Sexual Incidents on f U. TABLE 2.17 . females precipitated an additional 111 (see Table 2.5% vs. in interactions between men and women. 48.S.. In contrast.

by Kunkel and his colleagues (1999) found that more than half the characters involved in the depictionof sexual intercourse-related behaviors (53%)were in anestablished relationship (even if not actually married). Another Americanstudy of a wider sample of programs. Furthermore. Sex was depicted as something engaged in more often characters who were in esby tablished sexual or romantic relationships. 1999). this figure had increased to eight in ten characters engaged in sexual interaction. in most of these relationships (74%). more than onefour in (28%) had metbefore their initialsexual encounter but had not estabyet lished an intimate relationship. most of those involved in some kind of sexual interaction (7 1%) were in an established relationship. Greenberg & Woods. and that 10 years later. evidence emerged that trends were changing. all instances of implied or explicit sexual intercourse involved unmarried partners. This prominent andpopular genre has proved be a richsource of sexually oriented to story lines.In this case. One analysis of American networktelevision found that three out four nonof criminal sex acts featured unmarried charactersin 1979. Heintz-Knowles (1996) found that sexual activity was increasingly depicted as a part of an established romantic involvement between partners. Many of the analyses of sex on television in which the marital status of characters has been focal point have examined soap a operas. known tobe married to each other. whereas in all other such incidents the participants either single. within the contextof the story. including the major networks. or had an unknown marital status (Greenberg &Busselle. Furthermore. However. The shows analysed wereknown to be the most-watched amongthat age group. Around one in sexual incisex five dents (21%) in thesesoaps involved fictional characters whowere. This study analysed a composite week of television programs video-recorded from ten channels. 1996. married but not to were each other. 1985. The same research group conducted an analysis on a small sample of 15 television shows designed specifically for the teenage audience. soap operas on American television were shown frequently to depict outside of marriage. and one in ten (10%) had only just met. In 1989. the characters remained faithful to their romantic . most physical behaviors occurred between participants who were not married (79%). a preponderanceof sexual action and talk was found to take place among unmarried characters. and that one-night stands were rare. only one verbal reference to intercourse (out of a total of 91) occurred between a married couple (Sapolsky & Tabarlet. 1991). Greenberg & D’Alessio. By the 1990s. During the 1990s.HOW MUCH SEX I SHOWN? S MARITAL RELATIONS AND SEX ON TELEVISION 35 From the earliest studies of sex on television.

abortions and pregnancy outside marriage are depictedfrequently occurring if not as the norm. In those instances where sexual relations occurred among characters who were married to each other. Fewer than half the men (46%) and women (40%) who engaged insexual relations with someoneto whom they were not married were positive about the experience. In every case. Regular exposure soap of to operas in which volatile relationships. can encourage viewers to believe that the world really is much the same as this (Buerkel-Rothfuss &Mayes. Perse. having sex with someone who was married to someone else was a minority activity for women (12%) and for men (15%). Some researchers have gone beyond simple descriptive counts of the extent on involvement in sexual interactions of characters within or outside of established relationships. information about the world. 14%. The of initiation of sex was evenly divided among married menand women. could be especially susceptible to such influences. In contrast toearlier studies. these interactions occurred between characters who had an established sexual or romantic relationship with one another. however. to explore the reactions of participants to their sexual relations. 1999). and companionship. who rely on television for much of their entertainment. SEX-RELATED RISKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Public opinion about depiction of sex on television has the challenged broadcasters to take a moreresponsible line by building safe sex messages sexinto . 18%) a were not completely satisfied with their relationship. whereas less than a quarter the wives were in this age group (23%). The significance of these patterns of sexual portrayals stems from evidence that they may shape viewers’ beliefsabout the status sexual relaof tions. This the same study found just six instances of sexual intercourse taking place among characters. 1985. A minority of characters (10%) were depicted as being unfaithful to their established romantic partner in show (Cope & Kunkel.36 CHAPTER 2 partners. marital infidelity. thereis some suggestion that certaincategories of viewer. For the most part. Although the extent to which suchsocial conditioning effects occur may be dependent on the reasons that bring viewers to these programs to begin with(Carveth &Alexander. 1986). divorce. 1981). there a tendency the men to not was for be older than the women. women. More than half the husband characters (54%) were in their 40s. husbands were older than their wives. The attitudes participants towards their of sexual relationship werealso less clear-cut thanwas the case with married couples. whereas minority in eachcase (men. and the institution marriage. Greenberg and Woods (1999) reported thatmarried couples in televised fiction were depicted as overwhelminglysatisfied with their sexual relationship. faithfulness.



ual portrayals. This treatmentis believed to be particularly important given the role that television might play thesex education of children and teenin agers (Millwood-Hargrave,1992). Concerns have been about morality of the television’s depictions of sex as wellas its health implications. The mass media have been criticised for showing sexglamorous or exciting and risk free as (Furstenberg, Moore, & Peterson, 1985) and cited as one of the causes of increased risky sexual activity among the young (Hayes, 1987). Over many years, however, content analysis studies have indicated a tendency for television represent sex as largely hedonistic pursuit rather than to a as part of a loving, established, and long-term romantic relationship, and one publicly sealedthrough marriage. Instead, sex is frequently depicted as an activity indulged in more often by unmarried than married couples. Contraceptives are rarely referredto or used, yetwomen seldom get pregnant, and men and women rarely contract sexually transmitted diseases unless they are prostitutes or homosexuals (J.D. Brown &Steele, 1995; Femandez-Colladoet al., & Neuendorf, 1981; Greenberg, Graef, 1978;Greenberg,Abelman, Fernandez-Collado, Korzenny, & Atkin, 1980; Lowry et al., 1981). Between the mid-1980s and mid-l990s, soap operas on American network television depicted increased incidence of sexual relations (particularly intercourse) between unmarried partners and introduced of date-rape story lines. Discussions of safe-sex practices or use of contraception were identified on five occasions across 50 episodes fromfive drama serials (Greenberg & Busselle, 1996).Although muchTV sex focused on sex between partners who were not married, a great deal of this content was spoken rather thanvisually depicted. Interestingly, spoken dialogue revealed signs of an increasingly responsible attitude towards sex among soapcharacters. Positive attitudes towards sexual activities declined from 69% in 1985 to 50% in 1994. Positive attitudes towards married sexual intercourse, in contrast, rose sharply. Sex outside marriage was increasingly frowned upon. Themes pregnancy-wanted and unwanted-became more promof inent andwere reminders of sexual responsibility and irresponsibility. Across 50 soap operaepisodes, Greenberg and his colleagues looked for special references to safe sex and theuse of contraception. Five references were detected. One case involved a lengthy, lnultiscene discussion between a mother and her teenage daughter about theand demerits of having merits sex with her boyfriend, and one specific mention of AIDS occurred. Twenty out of the 50 episodes included scenes that referred to pregnancy. There were 15 different pregnancies in all. Pregnancies were twice as likelyto be unwanted as wanted, and in most cases, the identity of the father was known. In half these cases, the parents were married to each other and in one in four cases they were not. In othercases, the marital status was unclear. The researchers noted thatgiven the centralityof pregnancy to most



soap operas, it was curious that half of the pregnancies theycataloged were portrayed as being a surprise (Greenberg &L Woods, 1999). The risks and responsibilities factor was regarded by Kunkel et al. (1999) as an important contextual feature in relation portrayal of sex. They to the measured three possible types of themes concerningrisks and responsibilities of sexual behavior: (a) sexual patience: waiting until a relationship matures andboth peopleare equally ready to engage in sex; (b) sexual AIDS, STDs, and/or unwanted pregprecaution: pursuing efforts to prevent nancy when sexually active; and (c) depiction of risks andlor negative consequences of irresponsible sexual behavior. There were 45 scenes containing depiction of risks or negative consequences (2% of sexual scenes). Therewere 35 scenes of sexual precaution (2% of all sexual scenes). Therewere 13 scenes depicting sexual patience (1% of all sexual scenes). Those scenes (n = 78) that included risk or responsibility concerns were categorised as placing either minor or substantial emphasis on suchtopics. A further 37 scenes were classified as minor emphasis and 41 scenes were classified as a substantial portrayal. Talk shows (23% that hadany sexual content) were most likely to contain discussion of risks and responsibilities of sex. Comedy (3%) and drama (5%) were least likely to includeany such caveatsassociated with sex. Kunkel et al. examined the ages of the characters involved in their sex, apparent relationship to one another, and association between sex and any drugs or alcohol. Nearly three quartersof all characters involved in sexual scenes (73%) wereclassified as adults aged 25 or older. Nearly one in four (23%) were classified asyoung adults, 18 to 24 years. Just 3% were clasage sified as teens age 13 to 17. There was just one scene in whichchild chara acter (under 12) was involved. In more than half the scenes depicting sexual activity, the characters were in anestablished relationship (53%). In more than one in four cases (28%) the characters had met before but were not yet in an established relationship. In one in ten cases (lo%), they had just met. Therewere just two scenes in which drugs were involved and 13 scenes in which alcohol was involved. Kunkel et al. found that the majority of shows on television that involve intercourse present no information at all within episodes regarding the consequences for the characters. This held true both programs than for presented talk about intercourse (63% showed no clear consequences) and for those that depicted strongly implied the behavior(59%showed or no clear consequences). When intercourse was the topic talk, there of was relative balance between the programs that included primarily positive and primarily negative consequences intercourse (14% positive vs. 16% of negative inprograms featuring talk about intercourse that has occurred). Whenintercoursebehavior was shown rather than discussedsec-



ond-hand, there a much stronger tendency towards was positive than negative outcomes (27% vs. 7%). VIOLENT SEXUAL PORTRAYALS ON TELEVISION Content analysis studies have indicated considerable variability in the prevalence of violent sexual portrayals in different types of sexually explicit media, as research discussed later in this chapter shows. Around a third of ‘adult’ books were found to contain references to such behavior (Smith, 1976), as compared to a littlemore than one in ten‘adult’ movies (Palys, 1986;Slade, 1984;Yang & Linz, 1990), and about one in 20 soft-core magazines (Malamuth &Spinner, 1980; Winick, 1985).O n broadcast television, however, such depictions are seldom shown in explicit way. an Following the discussion of ‘risk factors’ associated with the depiction of sex on television, however, in addition to concerned with avoidance risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, therehasbeenconcern voiced about violent sexual depictions on mainstream television programs. A study of daytime soapoperas indicated that although violent sexual behavior was the second mostfrequently occurring type of sexual conduct, it was nearly always implied rather than shown on screen (Lowry et al., 1981). A later analysis revealed that evenimplied sexual violence or references to rape were not common,occurring about once inevery 11 hours of broadcasting. In contrast, the sexual activity most frequently referred to-verbal mentions of sexual intercourse-occurred 1.5 times every hour insoap operas (Greenberg & D’Alessio, 1985). During the 1990s, date rape emerged as a prominent theme in television soap operas. A nonevent in the 198,0s,within 10 years it emerged as a key issue. Greenberg and Woods (1999)reported two date rape stories in soap operas from the mid-1990s. Both dealt with date rape of teenagers. In one case, the date rape involved multiple assailants and viewers witnessed remorse and guilt from two of the male characters, but not from a third. The pain of the victim was relived frequently in subsequentepisodes. Another story line portrayed a teenageboy holding his potential victim hostage and tormenting her, having raped her sister some time earlier. The episodes in this story ended with the accused rapist stating that he would testify he never had sex with the victim and verbally menacing both sisters.

Content analyses of the most popularmovies in the United States 1959, of 1979demonstrated a trend towards increasing explicitness in de1969, and




pictions of sexual themes, but thethemes themselves remained stable. Sex in themovies was more about physical gratification than about expressing affection (Abramson & Mechanic, 1983).Movies made for the theatreare frequently shown on television. Analyses of televised films have shown them to amongthe most ‘sexual’genres on broadcast or cable television, be and the most explicitly sexual of any genre in terms of depictions of overt sexual behaviour (Kunkel et al., 1999). Much R-rated (and even some X-rated) material to which theywould be denied admission in a theatre can watched by children andteenagers on be cable channels (Yang & Linz, 1990). Furthermore,withR-rated and X-rated films shown in the theatre, most individuals experience a single viewing, whereas on cable television, movies enjoy repeat showings, giving opportunities for repeat exposures. Video entertainment has become increasingly popular since the early 1980s. Mainstream cinema films, originally produced for theatre showing, are eventually distributed through video releases. However, concern about sexual portrayals in video has focused more emphatically on pornographic movie releases that are exclusive to this medium and on music videos. The pornographic video releases contain a greater quantity of sexual content that is generally far more explicit than anything foundin cinema films. Music videos have caused concern because sex isone of the dominantthemes in popular music and the addition sexual images may of increase the excitement they can arouse in viewers (Zillmann & Mundorf, 1987). They are also especially popular with teenagers. The potential risk of socially undesirable effects on young viewers may increase when already powerful music and lyrics are mixed with visual images(Hendren & Strasburger, 1993).Together, the newer media of cable television and video present increased opportunities for exposure to material of an extreme sexual nature. Against this background, it is important to have data just how much on explicit sex these media present.

Sex in Music Videos
T h e growing popularity of music videos during the1980s, stimulated by the increased availability of economicallyviableproductsin music stores and promoted through specialised television services such as MTV, led a number of researchers to turn their attentiontowards this category of video entertainment. Research into music videoswas further encouraged by anecdotal observations that and violence appeared to sex be prominent themes. As the market for these products became established, investment in their production grew, with the result that their professional quality also improved.



As they became more firmly established on the entertainment scene, music videos were the focus of more concerted criticism. Groups such as Women Against Pornography the National CoalitionTelevision Viand on olence arguedthat thevideos were even moresexist, pornographic, and violent than conventional television (Jaeger, 1984). Others argued that MTV (Music Television) was racist because it did not play adequate numbersof videos of Black performers (Wolmuth, 1983). There particular concern was about the potential impact of these videos given that most of their audience comprised adolescents. Music videos can be divided into performance videos and concept videos. In a performance video, a musical performer group sings a song in a or concert or studio setting. A concept video consists of a story that goes along with the song, which may or may not add a plot to the lyrics (Strasburger, 1985). Both types of video have been found to display sexual content. In performance videos, popular musicartists wear revealing attire designedto enhance their sexual allure make sexually suggestive movements, and in some cases even simulate sexual behavior on stage. Concept videos may display more explicit sexual imagery, involving nudity, and display behavior such as kissing,erotic touching, and simulated intercourse. When such images are combined with explicitly sexual lyrics, the overall effect is a highly sexualised medium. Only a limited number of studies have been published in which prevthe alence of sexual content inmusic videos was measured. An analysis of concept musicvideos in 1985 found sexual intimacyinmore than three quarters of the music videos examined. Visible sexual activity consisted mostly of touching, kissing, huggingand flirting. However, sex wasmore often implied than overtly shown (Sherman & Dominick, 1986).The same study also found that aroundhalf of all the women featured were dressed provocatively and tended to displayedas sex objects. Another study conbe ducted around the same time reported that nearly 60% of concept videos sampled contained sexual themes (Baxter, De Riemer, Landini, Leslie, Csr Singletary, 1985). This study was limited, however, in that restricted analysis to detectit its ing the presence of sexual content in music videos and did not provide measures of how much sexual material i,ndividualvideo productions contained. Even so, it did provide a breakdown of the types of sexual behavior that 1% were identified. Sexual content was signalled by provocative clothing (3 of videos with sexual content), embraces (3 1%), sexually suggestive dancing (27%), other sexually suggestivemovements (Zl%), scenes of dating or courting ( 15%),kissing (11%), scenes depicting males chasing females and vice versa (I 1%), and finally, someone using a musical instrument in sexua ally suggestive manner (8%).



Music videos were found to be not only sexual but also sexist (Gow, 1993; Vincent, Davis, & Bronszkowski, 1987). The earliest studies that emerged in the mid-1980s corroborated less formal, nonscientific evidence about the violent and sexual themes that ran through many of these videos (Baxter al., 1985).At this time, however, fusion of sex and viet the olence was relatively rare. Analysis a random of sample of videos from one week of output on MTV in 1984, for example, found sadomasochism 2% themes in5% of videos and sexual bondage themes in just (Baxter et al., 1985). J. D. Brown and Campbell (1986) conducted a content analysis study to establish what kinds of portrayals music videos contained. They sampled videos from MTV and Black Entertainment Television (BET) and compared howmen andwomen wereportrayed. They distinguished two broad categories of music video. Performance videos contained images of the musical performer or group in concert,with or without a live audience. Concept videos were based on a story line or subject of the story and featured the song’s artist(s) as the main performer(s). Love emerged as the dominant theme performance and conceptvidof eos on bothtelevision channels. In one in three on MTV, sexual relacases tions were featured prominently, and this was also true of four in tenvideos from the BET channel. Altogether, just under half (47%) of the songs featured in the videos in this sample were about love, in the context courtof ing, desiring a sexual relationship, or severing a relationship. Further research Vincent and colleagues expanded on these early by his findings, and produced more detailed results on the nature of sexual themes and depictedsexual behavior in musicvideos. In onestudy, they analysed 300 rock videos selected fromMTV and classified the different forms of male-female contact. Thisvaried from simple touching (53.8% of videos) through kissing (26.9%), hugging(25.2%),heavypetting (4.2%,) to implied lovemaking (1.7%). Nearly one in ten videos contained suggested nudity (9.2%), nearly 4 in 10 (38.7%) usedhighly seductive clothing, and one in ten (10.1%) used women in undergarments (Vincent et al., 1987). Vincent (1988) published another analysis of MTV rock videos 2 years later tofind out if the themes noted in the earlier study had changedat all. He found that the prevalence of implicit or explicit nudity (15.6% of videos), ofwomen lingerie (16.4%), and women in bathing in of suits (13 cases) had all exhibited marginal, nonsignificant increases over time. The frequency of nonintimate, sexual touching actually decreased, while kissing and heavy petting remained largely unchanged. Implied lovemakingstill occurred only in small minority (4%) of videos, but had become twice as a prevalent compared with years earlier. 2



Films Aimed at Teenage Audiences
Analysis of mainstream television in the United States indicated that has one in ten scenes containing sexual material involved teenagers. In the great majority of such scenes (83%), teenager characters simply talked about sex, although in some these instances (13%), talk centered sex of on that hadoccurred. About one in sexual scenes (17%) involving teenagsix ers depicted sexual behavior. For the most part, these scenes comprised kissing (63%) or flirting (27%), andnone werefoundtodepict sexual intercourse between teenagers, although in a few cases (8%) sexual intercourse was implied (Kunkel et al., 1999). Analysis of R-rated films known to be popular among adolescents has indicated the presence of more explicit sexual content. Greenberg and his colleagues looked at thesex content of movies such as Friday the2 3th, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Risky Business, Porky's 11, and Bachelor Party. All the movies (n = 16) selected for analysishad previously been identified by a teenage sample as being among the most liked movies among their age group. An average of 12.5 acts involving sexual behavior were found per film (or 10.8 scenes per hour). Nude scenes were quite prevalent (9.8 per film), with female nudity exceeding male nudity four to one. The main by (8 category of sexuality was sexual intercourse between unmarried partners acts per film). In sum, these R-rated movies typicallycontained far more sex than television programs (Greenberg, Siemicki, Dorfman, et al., 1993).

Sex in Explicit Videos
Sexual content has traditionally been associated with restricted adult forms of entertainment. Prior to thepopularity of entertainment videos, explicit sexual content could be obtained through printed media, including books and magazines. Much explicit sexual material could be found, instance, for in adults-only paperbacks. During the 1960s and 1970s, the amountof sexual material being made available in this form increased by a substantial margin (Smith, 1976). With therapid expansion of the home video market the 1980s, pornoin graphic videos superseded print media the preferred form of explicit sexas ual entertainment. Several published studies have reported analyses of sexual depictions in thesevideos. While adultvideos contain large quantities of explicit sex, almost by definition, researchers have been interested in the particulartypes of sexual behavior portrayed. The bulk of pornographic material, published in theform of still photo- ' graphs or video and film productions, is nonviolent. Predominantly, it depicts revealing shots of female nudityand acts of heterosexual intercourse.

Most of the sex scenes were heterosexual (78%). and finally autoeroticism. Cowan. . Palys (1986) examined adult andXXX-rated videos commercially available in Vancouver. aggression. Second. the percentage sexual violence appeared to have declined of in X-rated materials but remained constant in adult videos. whereas females were submissive recipients was sometimes ofwhat seen as abusive treatment. Palys found that females were more likely to be the targets of sexual violence in adult-rated videos than in X-rated videos. Weaver. More than 4.The analysis showed that menwere usually the dominant actors. and Snyder (1988) analysed more than 400 explicit sex scenes taken from 45 X-rated videos. 6r Staab. group sex. For example.Canada. reciprocity. of which abouthalf could be coded for sex. the adultvideos had higher percentages of aggressive scenes and more severe and graphic forms of aggression than the XXX-rated videos and more often depicted scenes in which at least one participant not engage in sex freely or scenes involvdid ing overt aggression. 1990. in which oneperson used status or coercion toget their own way (26%). Lee. They found that more than half the scenes they examined depicted themes of domination or exploitation. Six per cent of scenes depicted rape. Typical portrayals show heterosexual intercourse. There was a clear presence in many scenes of aggression-eitherverbal (20%) or physical (23%).44 CHAPTER 2 Themes tend to highlymasculine. in whichsex took place between equal and mutually consenting participants (37%). oral-genital contact. The triple -X videos frequently depicted explicit sexualactsamongtheactors. 1986). and anal intercourse (Hebditch & Anning. In anotherstudy. Finally. and/or sexual aggression. although Palys found no indication of an increase between 1979 and 1983 in nonsexual aggressive images in either type of video. although in adult videos men usually played the dominant role in sexual scenes. There tends to minimal communication between partners and expression be little of emotion apart from lust and desire (Brosius. 1993. and thefondling of breasts and genitals. Rimmer. oral-genital contact. preoccupied withthe sex act and be with little surrounding story line or development of romantic relationships. lesbianism. in the XXX-rated videos men and women were depicted in the dominant role about equally often. Palys found that XXX-rated videos portrayed more egalitarian and mutually consenting sexual depictions than adult videos. which depicted scenesof self-stimulation and masturbation(9%). exploitation.200 separate scenes were identified with 150videos. in which the sex act was controlled by one person (28% of all sex scenes). Levy. Four major themes were identified: domination. Bisexual or homosexual acts featured female actors only.including genital-genital intercourse. 1988). Prince.

In R-rated videos. The predominant form of sexual violence overall was individual or group rape (33% of such scenes) followed by exploitative and coercive sexual relations (26%. the next most frequent categories. or prosocial.800 behavioral sequences were coded of which 52% were coded as either sexual. Exploitative and coercive sexual relations not coded rape comprised 21% of the remainingsexually vioas lent depictions.Female and male homosexualrape was the predominant theme in around and 6%.and XXX-rated types. sexually violent. X-. Brown & Bryant. Among the four typesof behaviors examined here-violent. were also portrayed with about equal frequency in R-rated videos. The availability of pornography withcoercive or violent themes is limited (D. such materials are not unknown and tend to depict women getting enjoymentofout being raped (Cowanet al. and sadomasochism an additional l% in the X-rated videos. X-rated. 1989). Few sexually explicit materials depict idealised sexual themes in . combined in a slightly more powerful statistical analysis. and most of these acts are very explicit. group rape and exploitative coercive sexual relations. portrayed with nearly equal frequency. violent. Violence was most prevalent in R-rated videos. followed by group rape and sadomasochism. were the most frequently portrayed sexual themes. women’s initialreactions of distress during rape are transformed into sexual arousal and pleasure. sexually violent. while in theR-rated videos it was violence folwas lowed by prosocial behavior. and of XXX-rated videos selected at random from a pool more than 1. no difference was found. When R-rated videos werecompared to X. Sex in such material tends heterosexual rather than homosexual. Sexually violent behavior was infrequent in all categories. of sexually 5% violent behaviors. 1988). A breakdown by video type showed that in X-rated videos the predominant sexual theme rape (either individual rape or group of was rape a single female by a groupof males).. but be to homosexuality is not uncommon and tends predominantly to involve lesbianism. Nevertheless. sexual. They depict frequent actsof sexual behavior.HOW MUCH SEX I SHOWN? S 45 A later study by Yang and Linz (1990) analysed a sample 90 R-. and sadomasochism (19%). sexual violence and pro-social activity. Male homosexual rape and sadomasochism. respectively.600 of titles. Nearly 2. Pornographic films and videos are highly sexual in nature. behavior portrayed in these videos was classified for presence of sex. Sexual behavior was most frequently portrayed in X-rated and XXX-rated videos. The scenes on XX-rated videos were exploitative and coercive sexual relations (39%). and prosocial-the predominant behaviorin bothX-rated and XXX-rated videos sexual. viothe lence. In a rape myth scenario. Sexually violent behavior was infrequent but equally likely to be portrayed in R-rated. and XXX-rated videos.

in many of these 'adult only' productions. The overriding impression to be gained from studies conducted during the past three decades that the amountof sex in these media is has increased. itis . The analysis of media content canidentify and describeregularly occurring patternsof sexual behavior in television programs. but more especially more talking about sexual matters. rape. such as television and popularfilms. CONCLUSION This chapter has reviewed research intoway sex is shown in the methe dia. and vidfilms. As such. Sexin pornographic videos tends tobe graphically portrayed. This pattern has been found to characterise sexual portrayals in media aimed at younger audiences. The real concern with such sexual depictions lies not with the tastefulness of the nudity and sexual simulations. Television programs contain more overt sexual activity. though not in materials madefor adult audiences. however. there has nevertheless been a growing propensity to push back the barriers by developing story lines that tackle controversial subject sexual matter. and even incest. In addition. this concern has been reinforced by audience research on public opinion about such portrayals (especially that of women viewers) and on theeffects that exposure to this type of sexual depiction might have on the beliefs and attitudes young men about women and of female sexuality. and of videos. Although much of the sex shown o n nonsubscription television channels is mild in nature. It has focused on the representation sex on television. films.46 CHAPTER 2 which sex occurs as part of a romantic relationship and where male and female partners are equals in the relationship. concern has centered on the lessons that these sexual representations may teach young peopleat a time of life when they are becoming sexually active and media role models aresignificant sources of influence. the degree of explicitness of sexual depictions in mainstream media. rarely going beyond kissing and cuddling. eos. but with the hidden messages that may be conveyed about women and female sexuality. Other characteristics of media sex portrayals are related to the occurrence of sex outside of established emotional relationships and the tendency for sexual couplings to take place with little consideration being given to therisks of casual sex. It does not represent a measure impactof media sex. As we will see in later chapters. Indeed. of the To understand thesignificance of media sex as a social phenomenon. has also increased. suchas homosexuality. Explicit depictions of sexual intercourse have remained rare in mainso stream entertainment media. littleis left to the imagination. prostitution.

This search should tell us something about the way viewers perceive media content for themselves and react to what see. In the next chapter.HOW MUCH SEX I SHOWN? S 47 necessary to turn to research conducted among media consumers. . they we continue the analysis of media sex by examining public opinion about sexual content in the media.

Attemptshave also beenmade through laboratory-based studies to measure viewers’ perceptions of different types of sex48 . of and videos is acceptable to thepublic has been attemptedmostly through public opinion surveys.What I Acceptable to the Public? s Studies of media output have clearly demonstrated that sex represents a prevalent featureof motion pictures and other productions that are shown in theaters. Most of what appears on mainstream audiovisual media productions tend to take the of fairly mild form depictions of sexual behavior. but tend tobe restricted to films and videos with adult classifications or programs broadcast lateat night and on more specialised subscription channels. In addition. Do viewers display concerns thatsex is too much of a preoccupation infilms and programs? Do they perceive that it has increased in prevalence and in graphic detail over time? Are such developments generally welcome or should they be discouraged reversed? and Establishing whether the depiction sex in films. the next important question is whether sex per se or different types of sexual portrayal are acceptable to viewers. More graphic depictions also occur.on video or on broadcast television. qualitative methodologies have been deployed to explore in greater depth the opinions that ordinary people hold about sex on screen. Having shown that depictions of sexual behavior occur with some regularity and thatsex has increased in its presence on screenover the past two decades. Studies of the representation of sex on screen havedistinguished between different kinds of sexual behavior. television programs.

while giving lessemphasis to bed-hopping (Hill. While notunduly critical of this role. 1986). and controversial or salacious content can occur without warning. when. Korzenny. of course. Sprafkin & Silverman. In the United States. others with whom one shares one’s home may enter andleave the viewing situation at will. opinion surveys about public perceptions of sex on television have provided useful snapshots of the climate of opinion that exists at different times. With televid sion. With cinema films. movie-goers have attend to screenings in a theatre and often have read will advance notices about the films they go to watch. & Atkin. has been identified by members of the public in the United Statesas a major source of learning about sex forchildren and teenagers. but more especially given the way itenters people’s homes. PUBLIC OPINION ABOUT SEX ON SCREEN Numerous surveys have explored public opinion about sex on broadcast television. and to in whose company. This is understandable given the ubiquity of the medium. Nevertheless. often without taking adequate precautions (Planned Parenthood Federation of New York City. there was some concern voiced about theaccuracy of the sex-related information presented by television (Roberts. 1987). consumers must take deliberate decision a to purchase or rent afilm on video. This research has examined the public’s views about whether there is too muchsex in the audiovisual entertainment media and attitudes towards different kinds of sexual portrayal. in contrast. The movie-goer therefore exerts a considerable degree of personal control over what see. for example. The choice of when to watch and with whom to watch is also very much under theviewer’s control. Kline. Television. programs are scheduled by broadcasters. example. Opinions can vary widely across television audiences and may shift over time. Surveys asking aboutthe amount of sex in themedia tended to used most frequently with televibe sion. .WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 49 ual portrayal and to relate these perceptions to the natureof the portrayal and to thepersonality of the viewer.With videos. & Gagnon. merely reflects the personal views of media consumers. Graef. such surveys have revealed a marked for degree of public concern about the amount of sex shown on television (Greenberg. Contrasting opinions have been expressed by some writers who have claimed that television has become moreresponsible in its depictions of sex and has turned to traditional themes of commitment and love. This concern does just take theform of being pernot sonally offended by sex on television. 1980. Public opinion. FernandezCollado. 1978). 1980). but also stems from the perception that television can encourage young viewers to become sexually active earlier than they would otherwise.

Viewers perceived the problem of ‘too much on television to be more sex’ acuteinrelationtoparticularcategories of broadcastthanothers. 1999. Women were more likely to say there was ‘too much sex’ shown in films (43%). the great majority (41% of all viewers) said there was too few (2%) feltthere was toolittle much sex on television. Millwood-Hargrave (1999) reported that people age 65 or more years (73%) were much more likely to think there ‘too much on television than viewers in general was sex’ (36%). There was a gradual decrease in the percentage British viewers who felt there was too much of sex on television and an increase in thosewho felt the amountwas about right (see Table 3. . toomuch talk about sex. opinions about the amount of sex on television became morerelaxed. In the early 1990s. more than half a nationally representative sampleof British television viewers (54%) claimed that the amount of sex shown on television was about right. soap operas (29%). television drama (29%). Of those who dissented from this opinion. drama (32%).andcomedies (21%)as containing excessive amounts of sex. British viewers expressed the general belief that standards in broadcasting were becoming more liberal and depictions of sex TABLE 3. and comedy (27%).1).50 CHAPTER 3 In Britain.1 British Viewers’ Opinions About the Amount of Sex onTV 1998 1996 1994 1992 1997 1995 1993 1991 % 1 % % % % % % % Too Much About Right 41 54 5 41 54 40 55 38 58 53 35 58 41 6 ~ 32 36 57 Too Little 4 4 4 7 62 6 7 Note Data are from Millwood-Hargrave.onlya (Millwood-Hargrave. Millwood-Hargrave (1999) reported that British viewers were especially likely to single out confessional talk shows (47%). Men were more disagree likely to (28%of men said these was not ‘too muchsex’ in anyof these genres compared with 15% of all women). television advertising (37%). By the early 1990s. and the complaint that it had become almost impossible to avoid it. surveys have addressedthe question the perceived amount of of sex on television head-on. By the late1990s in Britain. films on television (33%). 1992). Opinions about the amount sex on television are notuniform in their of distribution across different population subgroups. By the end of the 1990s. concern about the prevalence of sex on television centeredon levels of explicitness.

Even so. In contrast. More than half of British viewers (56%) in theearly 1990s agreed that showing sex on television only encourages the young to experiment with sex themselves too young. compared to approximately one in three (36%) who did.Where most viewers were clearly in agreement (81%) was in their endorsement the opinion that scenes on television should imof sex . More than one in three (36%) also felt that television had a stronginfluence in encouraging sexual and moral permissiveness and a similar percentage (35%) felt that it had some influence in this respect. nearly three out of four viewers (72%) did not usually find sex on television offensive. What emerged fromthe early 1990s’ research. Most respondents 1%)expressed the view that the amount (7 of sex on television had clearly increased compared with the past. 1999). the perceived educational benefits of televised sex depended on the context in which they were used. By the end of the 1990s. they did not want to be confronted by it ontelevision. This opinionwas particularly likely to be supported by viewers aged 55 and over. British viewers were slightly more likely to agree (53%) than disagree (47%) that sex scenes give parents a good chance to about these talk things with their children.For most viewers (58%). but more than four in ten (43%) rejected this opinion.while sexwas acknowledged to be a part of everyday life. though a marked minority (39%)did find it offensive. with around half saying that it did (48%) and half saying it did not (51%). more than four in ten (4 1%) questioned whether itwas necessary to show it. However. was that many people thought about their opinions carefully and were not inclined to give blanket endorsementor rejection of sex on television. In theearly 1990s. 1992).WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 51 more explicit. O n balance. of whom 60% believed that television had a strong or very strong influence in cultivating a climate of permissiveness (Millwood-Hargrave. compared with 14% of the general sample. compared to one in four (24%) who did (Millwood-Hargrave. slightly more than one intwo British viewers (54%) said they did not enjoy watching sex on television. many British viewers thought that sex on television could have an educational role. however. In contrast. Older viewers went against this trend.especially on young people. with four in ten of those age 65 and over (40%) agreeing strongly that sex on television was offensive. Most viewers (61%) denied that they found it offensive to see sex on television. there were mixed views about the possible impact that televised sex could have. Opinions about sex on television were further mediated by the nature and intentionof its inclusion in programs. Although most British viewers were not offended by sex on television. the belief that showing sex on television is a good way ofhelping to educate children about thefacts of life was rejected (52%) more than it was accepted (45%). Opinions were even more equally divided on theissue of whether sex on television encourages immoral behavior.

& Winstone. including violence and bad language(ITC.52 CHAPTER 3 ply. in the public’s consciousness.Independent Television Commission [ITC] . 1999). sex was the of cause of more complaints from viewers about drama and entertainment on commercial television in Britain than any other single category of content. For most British viewers (75%). During the 1990s. as much as possible. 1998). Equally. attitudes to sex on television have been tracked overmany years. 1994. Such complainants a are self-solicited group of individuals. Svennevig (1998) also examined opinions about steps broadcasters take to safeguard children.Sancho-Aldridge. who do notcomprise arepresentative sampleof the viewing population in any normative sense. Around one in 20 viewers also made specificreference to sexual violence as a source of offence across these channels. around one in ten British viewers expressed concern aboutsex or nudity on thecommercial terrestrial television channels. 2000). alongside opinions about violence and bad language television. Yet. whereas in the 1980s the proportions of viewers complaining about sex on the main television channels fell. 1999). By the was important for the great majority of viewers (78%) that sex scenes were necessary to the story (Millwood-Hargrave.1990s. by the end the 1990s. Respondents were asked say whether. Although thissurvey does not pindown in precise terms what kind of sexual material is being referred to. with around 1 in 20 expressing the same concerns about this on the BBC’s two national terrestrial channels. when young to . sex was of less concern to viewers than bad language or violence on television. In Britain. Regardless of the beneficial functions televised portrayals of sex might fulfill.Public sensitivities to sex on television have beeninvestigated in this survey in relation to a question asks viewers that about what has offended them on television. sex on television was tolerable provided sex scenes did not go on for too long. it does serve as a measureof the relative importance of sex. One infive viewers (20%) indicated they had seen programson television over the past year that had contained an unacceptable amount of sex or nudity. viewers’opinions were also affected by the natureof the production treatment.There was less general agreement with statements thatsuggested that the depiction sex wasacceptable because of it was acting (48%) than with the importanceof sex being depictedas part of a loving relationship (63%). of course. as a television-related issue.that condoms wereused and thusgive encouragement to safe sex practices. In a recent review of this survey’s findings Svennevig (1998) noted that sex-by which was meant sexual acts and sexual innuendo-was as much a cause of concern as bad language during the 1970s. One in four (24%) saidthey had switchedoff the television or changed to another channel because the amountof sex or nudity inthe of program they had been watching(ITC. by on the commercial television regulator (see Gunter.

research findings are reviewed that derive from studies in which respondents have given opinions about sexual media content that was presented under more controlled conditions. distinctions among viewers have centered on demographic measures. 24% for violence. and 8% for bad language. Nearly half the viewers interviewed in this British survey (48%) felt that showing sex on television could encourage immoral behavior. though nearly sex four in ten (39%) did find it offensive. attitudes towards sex on television may reflect attitudes towards sex in general. when asked to give reasons for saying programs were unsuitable. By 1988. A study by the Broadcasting Standards Council indicated that an overwhelming majority of viewers agreed that if people wantto watch on television. 1992). programs had been shown on television which the childrenshould not see. This more relaxed attitude towards sex on television has been supported by other surveys carried out inBritain. Furthermore. Furthermore. they should be allowed to do sex so (78%) and that people who do not like watching sex can always switch the setoff (88%). A majority of respondents in this survey (61%) rejected the notion that on television is offensive. By 1997. divorced from the actual viewing experience.WHAT I S '4CCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 53 people underthe age of 11 might be watching. then one should expect variations in opinions about televised representations of sex to be explained in terms of psychological differences among members of the audience. Many public opinion surveys have examined viewers' attitudes about on television in a sex fairly generalised fashion. and wheredifferences in reactions were linked to specific psychologicalcharacteristics of individuals. and a majority (56%) worried that sex on television could encourage the young to experiment with sex too soon (Millwood-Hargrave. in many respects. the relaxed attitude towards sex on broadcast television in Britain was further illustrated by the finding that 65% of viewers who could receive terrestrial television channels and80%of those who lived in homes with cable and/or satellite broadcast reception felt that people should albe lowed to pay extra to watch sexually explicit programs not available on other channels if they wanted to (Svennevig. four in ten viewers aged 55 and over (40%) found seeing sex on television very offensive. because of too much swearing. Later in this chapter. Yet. If this is true. 1998). these percentages had shifted to 13%for sex. and 16% said sex. 22% said because they contained too much 16% saidbecause of too muchviolence. This indicated a more relaxed attitude about and language and more concern about sex violence. Another concern about on television lay in perceptions of its possible harmful insex fluences. certain sections of the public nevertheless voiced some concerns about particular kinds of sexual content on television. . There was a moremixed reaction to the view that it is alright to show sexon television because it is what peopledo ineveryday life (51%agreed and 49% disagreed). Even though a more relaxed attitude towards sex on television emerged during the 1990s. In 1970.

In analysis of American and British public opinion survey data. the rank order items of concern from promptlist selections of was different fromthat derived from self-generated choices. Third. representeditems that they believed should never be shown on television. Thus. responses mentioning sexual material were clearly less likely to occur in the context of sources of offence. In the same survey. than in connection with things respondents said they would not like to see or that should never be shown. In a British survey causes of offence on television. more items were chosen from the that had been self-generated items by respondents. O n this occasion. First.2 shows that variations occurred in the extentwhich a numberof potento tially controversial types of scene were mentioned relation to these three in frames of reference. Second. with14% mentioning sex scenes in this context. in their opinion. should never be shown on television. a different question was used which provided adifferent frame of reference. bad language were the most often selected items. can vary with the type of question asked. sexual material was more often chosen as the type of content respondents said . further questions were asked about these issues in which ready-made response options were provided.54 CHAPTER 3 How Reliable Are Opinion Surveys? One of the problems faced by public opinion surveys is that the opinion profiles they yield not only change from one point in time to the next. a third open question asked respondents to name any subject matter that. more than half (57%) a naof tional sample indicated that they had beenoffended by something they had seen on screen in thepast year. Three points were of special interest here. less than one in (18%)mentioned five sex scenes. Respondents were asked to name any material they would not like to seeon television. items that had earlier been self-generated survey by respondents were selected by many more respondents from the prompt list. represented items they personally would not want to on see television and. Fewer than half of these respondents (46%) mentioned that the source of their offence had been adepiction of sex. Question framing can make a marked difference in the apparent of concern people have level about sex on television. Next. and sex. in Nearly half the sample (48%)were able to mention something response to this question. a list of items was presented to respondents and they were asked to choose any that. Rape. Finally. Table 3. Gunter and Stipp (1992) demonstrated how views about sex on television can vary widely within the same surveyin response to differently framedquestions. In thecase of each question. first. but more significantly. These questions required respondents to supply their own answers. explicit certain forms of violence. second. Thus.

Research into public perceptions of violence on television has repeatedly shown that context a key factor that viewers take into acis count when judging the seriousness and acceptability of on-screen violent behavior (see Gunter.3a).3b). Gunter and Stlpp. 1985. A similar comparison was made between items mentioned and item choices in response to a question asking respondents to select items that should never be shown television (Table 3.2 55 Public Opinion AboutSex and Other Matters on Television Should Never Be Shown Would Not Llke to See Fotl. items were mentioned more often when chosen from a prompt than when self-generated. One feature all the types of question have in common that they required respondents to is consider the acceptability of different categories of behavior in an abstract context.195 1. plicit sex scenes. 1986).WHAT I ACCEPTABLE S TO THE PUBLIC? TABLE 3.1992. more respondents on made a response of some sort. however.195 1. Van der Voort. is that viewers watch programs and programs can provide varying contexts for the depiction of sexual behavior. Source. Note. Reproduced by permmion of they wouldnot wish to see than were violent items when list of options a was provided.195 % % % Violence/brutality/cruelty 16 Explicit sex scenes Factual scenes of violence Child abuse Bad language 14 5 27 18 7 - 25 11 3 - 4 1 52 9 22 Nudity None/nothing 2 11 34 publisher. The same principle can reasonably be expected toapply with respect to public perceptions of sexual behavior on television. The reality of television viewing. .ld Base: 1. The differences in public opinion that occurreda result of variations in as the frame of reference offered by questions are important. and the rank order list of items common to prompted and self-generated questions varied. whereas violence more often mentioned than when was sex respondents had to supply their own answers (Table 3. Morrison. 1999. Rape was once more the most often mentioned item from the prompt followed by exlist. Again.

TABLE 3.195 % Woman raped by man Explicit scenes of lovemaking Killing of innocent victim Animals fightingkilling each other Bad language Frontal male nudity Frontal female nudity Killing of criminal Close-up of childbirth 60 36 32 27 25 * 14 16 - 23 21 20 12 4 1 1 16 * b Note. Source: Gunter and Stlpp.195 % 1.1992. Reproduced by permtsston of publisher. * Less than 0.3a Content ViewersWould Not Want To See on Television Unprompted Prompted Base 1.3b Items Viewers Think Should Never Be Shown on TV Prompted Unprompted Base: 1.195 % Woman raped by man 18 Explicit scenes of love making Killing of innocent victim Animals fighting/killing each other Bad language Frontal male nudity Killing of criminal Frontal female nudity Close-up of childbirth 55 31 29 28 26 - 27 3 9 16 14 27 - 13 9 b TABLE 3.5% 56 .195 % 1.

Watson (1993) prepared a report for the Broadcasting Standards Authority in which he analysed the commentsof participants in ten focus groups who watched final edition of the first series of the Australian the sex education program called Sophie’s Sex. with sex on television has been observed elsewhere. withsmall by ‘trigger’ extracts toremind them of the main stories. Others (54%) were concerned thatsome participants in the were discussing intimate deseries tails about their sexual relationships without having obtained their partners’ consent.g. Many panellists (60%)felt that its the series had focusedon thesexual experience and failed to pay sufficient attention to the moral aspect of sexual relationships. section section. The first group exhibited some reservations about the series and the way it have dealt with subject matter. sadomasochism. orgasms. the language used. They also discussed their feelings asto the appropriateness-for themselves and for other groups-of each of the segments shown. underlinedthis point. Research among a large national television viewing panel of more than 4. prostitution. More frequent viewers were also more likely to have discussed it with family and friends.000 viewers found that opinions about the series varied dramatically. for instance.In addition. The members of each focus group watched one episode without interruption and then they were taken through the program. presented by Sophie Lee. and disagreed that such programs lowered moral standards (44%). the level of nudity. using more qualitative lines of enquiry. or the sexual activity depicted). More than one infour panel members (28%) had watched at least one edition of the series and 6% of panellists had seen three or more editions. characterised by openness. in explicit terms. The second group. more open attitudes towards sex today (56%). This series dealt with a rangeof sex issues and included explicit discussions of safe sex practices. The variation in public response to programs that deal. the groups with no members under the age of .WHAT I ACCEPTABLE TO S THE PUBLIC? 57 Despite somepublic concern aboutshowing explicit sexual material on television. Research in New Zealand..Although broadcast lateat night (11 p. the series was ground-breaking and contained material that some observers felt exceeded the boundaries of good taste. General attitudes towards the series were measuredand found to divide the audience into two groups that Wober labelled reticence and openness. that no aspects of sex should be excluded from examination on responsible television (45%).m.). Wober (1990) reported a study of public opinion about a television series called Sex Talk that appeared over 15 weeks on Channel4 in Britain. the degree to which audiences object to such material can depend on the treatment afforded the subject matter by particular programs. and a numberof other sexdrelated topics. They were askedfor their general reactions to each segment and then their specific responses to certain issues raised by each story (e. felt that young people were luckythat they had healthier.

much more graphic and explicit depictions of sexuality can be found in films originally made for cinema or video distribution. and they acknowledgedthat they could not protect them from such depictions. were embarrassed by the subject matter. Such materials can serve as marital aids and a useful outlet for sexual frustration.m. and even then will often have the most explicit scenes cut. As we have seen. ATTITUDES TOWARDS EXPLICIT EROTICA IN FILMS AND VIDEOS Up to this point in the chapter. lossof re- . 1985. suggested were that therewere educational aspects of the program that might have been of benefit to theiryoung people. Most perceived it as essentially educational andbelieved it was authoritative and factually correct. but only a few were willing to see images of real sexual intercourse being broadcast. though a few studies investigated public response to specific programs. too. much this work has comprised of standard surveys of one-shot samples of viewers or established viewing panels. Stengel. Some of these productions may eventually be shown on television as well. The final edition of Sophie’s Sex. Pacific islanders and Asians (Indians). broadcast on Tuesday. and the parentsof teenagers who watched it. Two ofthe threegroups chosenon thebasis of ethnicity. The Maoris in thesegroups also said that there were aspects of the program with which they not comfortable. Both groups added that theobjections that they had tothis material stemmed from aspects of their cultures’ approach to sexual matters. we have exploredpublic opinion aboutsex on broadcast television. bothfor its frankness about recreational sex and its depictions of nudity. Compared with mosttelevision channels. Many people. however. The material cutby the broadcaster (scenes of genitalia) also would have been accepted as educational by most focus group participants. though they are usually shown at restricted viewing times (late at night) and onsubscription channels. 1986).58 CHAPTER 3 18 were asked for their reactions to three explicit sequences from The Lovers’ Guide (a popular English sex education video) to see whether they would object to the transmission of material even more explicit than that screened inSophie’s Sex.. nightclubbers.. also believe that suchmaterials could contribute to sexual promiscuity. 13 October1992 at 9:30 p. Both observed that their own children would have to adapt to the local mores. but they. They also admitted to being entertained and informedby it. Many of these surveys considered sex on television in a fairly broad sense. Public opinion evidence has indicated that explicit sexual material is regarded as an important source of entertainment and sexual information (Press et al.aroused much interest and little wrath among thegroups focus of polytechnic students.

A limitation of most of these studies is that researchers did not systematically explore differences in attitudes towards sexually explicit media and sexually violent media.250 sexually explicit videos were released within the United States (Weaver. and women had more negative attitudes towards sexually explicit materials than anyone else (Athanasiou & Shaver. Chase. & Suder. 1985. 1983). 1983). Kirkpatrick. 1973). This research has also displayed greater methodological variety. There have been numerous surveys of attitudes towards the acceptability of sexually explicit materials over the past three decades. Diamond & Dannemiller. Furthermore. much more sophisticated research has been carried out into public attitudes towards sexually explicit cinema films and videos than towards sex on television. Most surveys have relied on verbal descriptions of erotic materials (Abelson. 1971. 1991. Cushing. Cohen. The distinction between them emerged as cenhas . individuals with stronger religious beliefs. laboratory-based studies and qualitative research using in-depth individual or group interviews. Zurcher. By 1988. Herrman & Bordner. Heaton. and increases in acts of sexual violence. 1976. Gallup. public opinion is divided over such materials. 1989. Athanasiou & Shaver. Eysenck. Some studies have supplemented survey methods by showing respondents specific examples of erotic materials and eliciting their reactions to these illustrations (Linz et al. Survey research has been complemented by experimental.One important content distinction has also been drawn in the context of explicit films and videos-between depictions of a purely sexual nature and depictions of sexual violence. There is little doubt that there a healthy market erotica.. 1971. 1989. more concerted attempts have been made to explain the nature of public attitudes through psychological theory. The pornography business was one of the first to adopt videotape technology as a distribution outlet for its products (Hebditch & Anning. 1988). Latterly. Cowan. Herrman & Bordner. Employing a field study methodology. and Bowman (1973) compared the attitudinal and demographic characteristics of ad hoc antipornography and anticensorship groups. Wallace & Wehmer. around 1. Pornoexists for graphic magazines enjoyed considerable popularity from the 1950s to 1980s. videos seem to havereplaced magazines as sources of such entertainment.197 l . 1991). A number of early surveys that did not distinguish between sexually violent andpurely erotic sexual films found that older people. How do public attitudes towards these more sexually explicit materials compare withattitudes towards the kind of sexual material that usually occurs on mainstream broadcast television? So far.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE T O THE PUBLIC? 59 spect for women. and Stahly(1989) examined the similarities and differences in attitudes to# wards pornography control of self-defined feminists and fundamentalists using a structured interview format. Diamond & Dannemiller. Thus.

6 ) 0.60 CHAPTER 3 tral in the literature on theeffects of exposure to sexually explicit media (Donnerstein. unhealthy interest in and pat(a sex) ent offensiveness (community tolerancefor such material). 129 individuals eventually participated inviewing sessions in which they gave opinions about pornographic film and themagazine content. 1985. 1991). 1982). jurors were than required to consider whether pornographic material would be a probable cause of offence to people in theirwider community. and the respondents were asked to indicate whether they thought ‘laws should totally ban any of the following formsof activity. A cross-section of residents of a regional community were randomly allocatedto view one of the films or to look at themagazine or to view a controlfilm. Before and after viewing. ‘sale or rental of X-rated video cassettes for home viewing’ (32%)’ and even moreso ‘magazines that show nudity’ (21%).’ This meant that rather giving personal opinion. morbid. produces acceptance of rape myths and desensitization to the suffering of rape victims. respondents were toldthat the interviewer was going to read to them several descriptions of adult entertainment. 1987.. Linz (1989) concluded that the evidence harmful effects from expoof sure to(nonviolent) sexually explicit media is weak andinconsistent. (1991) conducted a public opinion survey to assess viewers’ and readers’ opinions about pornographic films and a porn magazine that had been the subjects of a criminal case. whether sexually explicit or not. Researchers who have examined public opinion toward sexually explicit materials and made the distinction between violent and nonviolent examples have found thatpublic opinion is considerably harsher toward depictions of sexual violence (Gallup. Malamuth & Donnerstein. the participants judged the materials’ appeal to a prurient interest shameful. The percentages of respondents willing to ban ‘magazines that show sexual violence’ (73%). In the Gallup poll. Linz & Penrod. allow them so long as there is no public display-or impose no restrictions at all for adult audiences’ (1985. ‘theatres showingmovies that depict sexual violence’ (68%). and‘sale or rental of video cassettes featuring sexual violence’ (63%) were much higher than the percentages of respondents willing to ban ‘magazines that show adults having sexual relations’ (47%). Linz et al. The legal standard at <hat time required that offensiveness be judgedagainst ‘community standards. p. ‘theatres showing X-rated movies’ (42%). whereas the evidence consistently shows that exposure to depictions of violence towards women. (1991) presented findings from one suchcase. From a random telephone sample of over 600 adult contacts. Linz et al. In some obscenity cases. Linz et al. The results on this occasion found . Thus public opinion poll data on theperceived offensiveness of certain types of material were used to reinforce judgments about what fell short of community standards. social scientific evidence was called upon as expert testimony.

or magazines if they wanted to. somewhat less accepting of explicit scenes of lovemaking. and 75.WHAT I ACCEPTABLE TO S THE PUBLIC? 61 that respondents that the felt films and magazine did not appeal to a shameful. An important aspect of assessing audiences’ evaluative reactions to media sex. Not all sexual portrayals in film. 1992). morbid. therefore. Before viewingspecific pornographic films charged in this particular case.5%of respondents felt that a person should definitely be able to see any such showingactual sex in adult of movies. videos and magazines showing nudity sex. videos. Public opinion surveys have indicated that television audiences are largely accepting of nudity. with portrayals occurring in variety of different contexts and settings. Instead. Fewer people felt the films appealed to shameful. is to consider thematic elements within films and programs that can influence viewers’ enjoyment.4% endorsedthis view afterwards. als as going beyond the level of tolerance regarding depictions of sexual conduct for the average adult in their community. whereas 16.7% endorsed this and opinion after viewing pornographic material themselves. or unhealthy interest in nor did they perceive these materisex. TYPES OF MEDIA SEX PORTRAYAL Measurement of the enjoyment sexual content can indicated through of be verbal reports usually filedafter the film or program has finished and via actual sexual arousal while watching. a lower percentage thought that the community would tolerate the materials they had just seen than when were they asked if they personally would tolerate suchmaterials.1% of respondents felt that the average adult in the community did tolerate adult movies. shameful. Beforehand. however. morbid. Further survey research conducted amongst British viewers provided a number descriptions of television scenarios inof volving different types of sexual behavior.6% felt that pornographic films. rather than on hypothetical judgments about the community and obscenity. 52. or videos are the same. or even same type. 59. television programs. Before viewing porn films. After viewing these materials. a of the variety of a different types of behavior arepossible. 74. Sometimes these two indicators have been used together. and magazines that depicted acts and sex close-ups of sexual organs would appeal an unto healthy.2% believed this afterwards. 43. The researchers argued that there were certain advantages to providing jurors in obscenity cases with information about community standards based on summations of personal tolerance for materials actually charged in court cases. or unhealthy interest insex after they had an opportunity see them thanbefore viewto ing. videos. In each case they were invited to indicate whetherthey thought the scene acceptable or not acceptable was . or morbid interest insex. and display fairly widespread concern about scenes showing rape (Gunter & Stipp.

Quite acceptable . Five of the six descripthe tions used in this study were found be acceptable for transmission by mito norities of respondents only.27%. Quite acceptable. which was regarded as acceptable by fewer than one in respondents. it is based on a true story. Theypeel each other's clothesoff in frontof the living room fire. the acceptability or otherwise of televised sex scenes for viewersis also determined by more specific contextual factors concerning not only the degree of sexual explicitness. Set in Ancient late Rome.6%. Very acceptable . but the itselfwas not shown.The othersignificant point about this scenewas that it was described as a radio broadcast rather than a television broadcast. and relationship shown. where wine. most are overweight. and34% who couldnot accept a scene which a couple were in shown completely naked obviously having sex. Characters are seen swapping partners. as compared with10% who objected to sex a scene in which a couple were having were conlpletely covered by sex but bedclothes. of the female characters is having an affair with a friend One she has known for a long time.30% Scenario Two An episode of an historical drama shown in theevening.35% Not very acceptable . and havingsex with morethan one person at a time. The least acceptable scene was one that depicted coercive. of shown late in the evening. The only scene accepted a clear five by majority of viewers wasone that dealt the subject of child abuse within with a factual context.4 shows. As Table 3. remains fixed on them as they achieve a mutualclimax. Not at all acceptable .62 CHAPTER 3 for showing on television (Millwood-Hargrave. Not at all acceptable . in unconventional sexualpositions. During the program there scene in a brothel. Respondents expressed greater caution the sex became moreexplicit. whereas the prostitutes areall young and beautiful. Although there are range of characters involved. Only 4% felt it was as not acceptable to show a scene which a couple were in clearly preparing for sex. then helies on thesofa and sheclimbs on topof him to have The camera sex.35% Not very acceptable . but also the social context. nature of the characters. a wealthy Romans.4 The Acceptability o Different S p e s of Sex Sceneon Television f Scenarlo One A scene from the dramatized versiona novelby a well-known and respected author. is a of lots women and song result a in full-scale orgy. homosexual behavior. Very acceptable .7%.27%.38% . The reaction to the scene that depicted homosexual behavior ilwas one lustration of a wider negative reaction that found among was British viewers when questioned about the portrayal of homosexuality on television. 1992). More than seven in ten British viewers (7 1%) indicated that theywould find it TABLE 3.

They are next seen lying in bed after havingsex. A newly married couple are about to make love for the first time since the wedding.57% I Scenario Four A scene from an early evening soap opera.48% Not very acceptable . Very acceptable .3 1% Not very acceptable . shown in the late a a evening. Very acceptable . sees the younger boy. They into the go bedroom in a passionate embrace. Very acceptable . embarrassing to watch homosexual sex scenes with some the people with of whom they would normally watch television. Quite acceptable . Not at all acceptable .17%. Quite acceptable . An older boy comes in to theshower. Data are from Mlllwood-Hargrave. and decides to take advantage of the situation. Six in ten (60%) believe that it important to is show homosexuality if it is necessary to the story. is sounds of pleasure can be heard. The next scene shows the smaller boy crying on his bed.24%. 1992. The physical and emotional effects on the child are discussed in detail. Not at all acceptable . Despite these opinions. . respondents in the same survey were not completely intolerant of homosexual sex scenes on television. having been kept behind detention misbehavfor a for ing in class. More respondents disagreed (61%) than agreed (29%) that programsandfilmsaboutgaysandlesbiansshouldbebanned (MillwoodeHargrave.7%. A young boy isin the showers alone. More than six in ten (62%) claimed they would find the screening of any physical contact between gay men offensive. and the door closes on them.39% Scenarro Five A scene from an early evening dramaseries. More than six in ten respondents rejected the view that either gay characters (62%)or lesbian characters (61%) should not be shown on television at all. romantic lighting as they slowly undress and have Soft music playing in the background and sex.3 1% Not very acceptable .15% Not very acceptable .32%. Very acceptable . Not at all acceptable .7%. doctors. Not at all acceptable . and program makers.2%.26%.old. Quite acceptable. but he has onlyjust left school. One of the main female characters is committing adultery with the next-door neighbour. 1992). anda lively discussion follows among social workers.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? Scenario Three 63 A scene in dramatized documentary about boys’ school.32%. Quite acceptable.39% Scenario Six A radio documentary in the early evening about child abuse. She is a very glamorous 40-year.11% Note. They can be partly seen in thelow. talking reassuringly to him as he starts to kiss and caress him. His embrace becomes stronger as the scene fades. He slowly corners the frightenedboy.

64 CHAPTER 3 Such surveys were dependent on people’s responses to verbal descriptions of filmor program content. & Medoff. Even with rape depictions. there are depictions that are regarded as unacceptable by some viewers. Reactions to actualfootage may be quite different and dependcrucially on contextual factors that might be regarded as justifyingthe use of a certaintype of portrayal or degree of explicitness. on the other hand. for example. 1980a. is By the early 1990s. Even within the category of otherwise acceptable heterosexual sex. Stock. Bryant. Haber & Feshbach. White. found that film portrayals of female rape produced little immediate sexual arousal in male college student viewers when the victim depicted was as being distressed. 1994. 1974a. Degrading pornographic portrayals of females in which initially unwilling female characters are coerced into having sex and violent sexual attacks on subordinate female targets produced negative reactions and mood states (Cowan Dunn. Zillmann. which survey evidence has indias cated tobe a source of concern to many people. and bondage also elicit negative verbal reactions (Malamuth. & . Other studies in which respond dents have reported their feelings verballyimmediately after watching sexual media content have found that images of nudes or semi-nudes and scenes depicting sexual behavior up to and including heterosexual intercourse cause viewers few problems (R. 1980. research with college students in the United States revealed that portrayals of male dominance and the treatment of females as sex objects in unequal male-female relationships were found offensive by male and female viewers alike. sex. immediate reactions to actual media portrayals depend on subtleties within the portrayal itself to which survey questioning usually insensitive. Zillmann et al.Social psychological experiments conducted in the early 1980s. however. Sapolsky and Zillmann (1981) found thatmale viewers were disturbed by scenes of petting but not by scenes depicting sexual intercourse. Comisky. 1983). Scenes that depict oral sadomasochism. this kind of scene was more sexually arousing than one showing male and female actors engaging in mutually consenting sex (Malamuth & Check. even with a theme such rape. when the rape victim became involuntarily aroused. One might expect to find that scenes depicting mutually consenting sex will be found more pleasurable than scenes of rape. 1979. 1981). are more likely to be rated as distasteful (Mosher & O’Grady. Thus. 1979a). Using verbal reports elicited immediately after viewing sexual film material. Portrayals of masturbation and homosexuality. A. whether the ultimate audience reactionof pleais one suredepends on howthevictiminthesceneresponds. so too did male viewers. 1991). Female viewers displayed the opposite reaction. Baron. 1981).. Indeed. however. In contrast. 1974b.

Zillmann and Bryant (1986) reported further data this issue with stuon dent and nonstudent populations. and were more likely to choose something else to watch. After this 6-week film exposure spell. whileothers viewed only nonpornographic films. such as sadomasochism and bestiality. Results showed that participants exposed to 6 weeks of standard pornography exhibited less preference for more of the same. While waiting. sadomasochism. participants were tested their sefor lective exposure to different types of video entertainment. Consistent differences in the way people react to suchmaterial have been associated with . their tastes shift towards may more explicit forms of sexual entertainment. and their colleagues that viewers can become bored with form of pornograone phy if regularly exposed to it. Bryant. nonviolent pornogof raphy produced habituation and lowered satisfaction with the entertainment value of such material. There were entertainment choices ranging from nonpornographic material through soft porn to more hard-core material featuring bondage.1984) show that a heavy diet standard. In fact. their of selections exhibited a preference for soft-core pornography or nonsexual materials. For participants not fed the diet pornography.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PLBLIC? 65 Varying Preferences for viewing Pornography Evidence has emerged from research conducted by Zillmann. and bestiality. Some participants of viewed a diet excluof sively pornographic films. or it may be that after a while they no longer ignite curiosity. Repeated exposure to soft-core pornographic films may lead to habituation whereby theyfail to excite viewers. INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN RESPONSES TO SEX SCENES Not everyone respondsto sex scenes in a similar fashion. In consequence. Consumersremainedinterestedin less common forms of erotica that featured more extreme and unusual types of sexual behavior. It was not entirely clear why these shifts in entertainment preferences occurred. They were left in a roomby the researcher who askedthem towait until called to assist with another part of the study. and they were much less inclined to select hard-core material depicting unusual sexual practices. The equipment was able to register which tapes were played and for how long. Participants in theirstudies were shown one movie per week for 6 weeks and gave evaluations of what they had seen at the endeach viewing session. Experiments by Zillmann and Bryant (1982. they showed some preference for hard-core pornographic materials. they had access to a selection of videotapes that could be playedover a monitor in the TV room. whether sexual or nonsexual in nature.

1974). Following exposure to the erotic stimulus materials. gender-related values discourage females from acquiring erotica or using it to stimulate their sexual fantasies (Fisher & Byrne. Female inexperience and discomfort with sexual material be exmay plained partly symptomatic of their conditioning not display sexual as to excitement overtly to avoid sexual exploitation by males. attitudes towards women.Sapolsky 6r Zillmann. homosexual. 1977). Women high on negative emotional reactions rated pornography negatively even when they also experienced some positive affective reactions (excited. Byrne et al. 1981). depression. Feshbach.but females tend usually to dislike it (Byrne. In general. Much of the work on individual differences has centered on the way viewers react toexplicit erotica. women whoexperienced strong negative feelings (anger. sources of offence and postviewing effects. females have been found display a weaker appetite liking for sexual meto and dia contentthan males. . sexual socialisation style. nausea) judged them to be more pornographic and exhibited stronger support restrictive for legislation. 1974). Heim. and sexual material that evenmales find distasteful will be disliked to a stronger degree by females (Sapolsky & Zillmann. and sexual personality type.66 CHAPTER 3 gender. Lamberth. When married couples were invited to evaluate a series of pictures or verbal descriptions of heterosexual. Thus. Females avoid may appearing tobe sexually aroused by erotica because such a reaction encourage unwanted sexual approaches from males (Byrne. negative opinions about pornography occurred only for those individuals who experienced strong negative and weak positive emotional reactions to the stimulus materials. Fisher. 1978b). Opinions were measured about how pornographic each sexual theme was judged to be and about participants’ support for legislation restricting thedissemination of pornography. sexually aroused. & Mitchell. disgust. 1980. and especially to those scenes in which the sex takes on anaggressive tone. Among men. In addition. and autosexual acts and to indicate their feelings afterwards.. Gender Differences Men and women exhibit largely different orientations towards pornography in terms of tastes. Erotic 6r content enjoyed by males will be disliked by females. cultural. 1981). entertained. males like or dislike sexual may media content. differences emerged between the opinions of men andwomen.whetherthere is violencepresentornot (Malamuth. These differences centered on both the nature of their emotional arousal and their opinions concerning these sexually explicit items. however.

Men who sexvidused eos forsexual stimulation andforeplay with their partners were more likely to hold sexist viewsabout womenand sex.WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 67 Despite these observations. it is not true to conclude that females never show an interest in eroticathat they never enjoy the experience of being or exposed to it. with some men displaying more femininescripts and some women displaying scripts more usually associated with men. The degree of liking for a sex sex scene is dependent on the ‘goodness of fit’ between the sexual script played out by the men and women in the scene and the individual’s own dominant sexual script (Mosher. One study found that pornographic videos served four different purposes: sexual enhancement (to create the right mood for sex or to provide ideas about sexual technique). Women prefer softer erotica over hard-core material. Useof sex videos as a substitute for a sexual partner was related to rape myth acceptance on the part of men. and substitution (replacement a for sexual partner). 1994). It is safe to observe. 1994). Sexual Socialisation Gender has already been identified as an importantfactor in relation to the way viewers respond to pornographic films and videos. diversion (as an escape or relief from boredom). whereas using them for sexual release was associated with rejection of the belief that all women secretly want tobe raped (Perse. 1994a). 1988a. According to one school of thought.1988). Mosher & MacIan. One reason for this difference in opinion about and reaction to such material is that men and women receive different social conditioning in relation to theirsexuality. Women dislike sexscenes with violence or in whichthe woman is shown in a submissive role (Cowan & Stahly. men are socialised to be sexual initiators and women to be more sexually reserved (Mosher &Tomkins. Men show greater liking for sex scenes with female subordination themes in which male sexual gratification is the primary concern. 1994). whereas women prefer sex scenes in whichthe man and woman are equals and the sexual behavior grows out of a loving relationship (Cowan & Dunn.Such sexual scripts can also varywithin genders. Such sexual scripts determine the kinds of behaviors that aredeemed to be appropriate for each gender. College men were more likely than college women to report using sex videos for sexual release and substitution. nevertheless. When there is a disparity be- . whereas men often show the opposite taste. sexual release (to stimulatesexual fantasies). 1973. 1980. Gender differences also emerge in the way pornography is used. They are socialised according to different ‘scripts’(Gagnon &Simon. a person’s dominant sexual script may influence the way they react to scenes. 1992). Put simply. that females and males do display different tastes in sexual media content.

and shame). and evaluate actions and outcomes those scenes. When emotional socialisation is guided by a normative ideology of gender. Script theory posits gender (Mosher. Reinforcing this explanation are findings that women respond more favorably to erotic films made by women directors women. The origins of this sexual involvement theory are located script theory. it lessacceptable for a boy to cry is than for a girl to doso. Moreover. interpret. fear.e. All psychological proin cesses in any scene are amplified by affect. surprise/excitement versus fear. the first emotion is differentially magnified over the second in men. in Tomkins (1979. 1988). though for sexually erotic. direct. enact.1991) defined a script as a set of rules for ordering information in family of a related scenes that produce. This theory has been invoked explain why so many women to dislike typical sex scenes in pornographic films. anger.68 CHAPTER 3 tween the viewer’s own sexual script (i. When these affect-invested scenes are connected in family of scenes. which. A failure of fit explains why most individuals do not involved in paraphilic fantasies when these areportrayed in pornography. they are psychologically magnia fied by fresh affect that reamplifies the family ofscenes and their rules for ordering information in the connected and growing set of scenes that define the script.adheremore closely to dominant feminine sexual scripts (Mosher & MacIan.. the manner he or she hassobeen cially conditioned to display) and the one being acted out on screen. surprise. Parents thus reward their childrendisplaying for gender-appropriate emotional responses. The contrasting pairs are anger versus distress. In addition. and disgust versus shame. low goodness of fit reduced the involvement in heterosexual men who watched gay male pornography (Mosher6r O’Grady.Traditional gender socialisation entails a punitive socialisation of discrete emotions that aresplit and stratified into sets of so-called ‘superior masculine’ emotions (excitement.1987. distress. Thus. & become sexually 1994). The socialisation of emotions by parents who endorse a normative ideology of gender requires that they manageand inhibit so-called cross-gendered emotions within any socialising scene. The women in suchscenes are much freer with theirsexual favours than most womenin the audience would be. whereas women magnify enjoyment over excitement. . disgust) and ‘inferior feminine’ emotions (joy. the negative emotions form contrasting pairs in men and women. 1994b) inthe differential socialisation of emotions inboys and girls (Mosher & Tomkins. Similarly. it produces a differential magnification of the two discrete positive emotions: Men magnify excitement over enjoyment. the more likely will the viewer find the scene unpleasant (Mosher MacIan. 1979a). and the sex scenes tend to be devoid of emotional depth or involvement. 1994). Any emotional responding deemed to be not normal for the child’s gender will bediscouraged.

the differential magnification of enjoyment is invested for many women in familiar and sensual kinesthetic experience. and sexual behavior. actions. ~ . Lenderking. traditional gender scripts in men and women reflect this differential magnification of invidiously stratified sets of emotion that indirectly preserve an unjust hierarchy of gender. Two hundred male and 195 female undergraduates were randomly assigned to view one of six videos: three X-rated videos intended for men and three X-rated videos designed by and for women. Women wereless likely than men to express enjoyment and more likely to display disgust. whereas women preferred the pathof partner engagementfor a familiar. Similarly. compared to women. along with optimal physical stimulation. and toand justify evaluate the happenings in any ongoing. As predicted. Men were significantly less likelythan women to experience shame. (b) sexual trance. In comparison to videos intended for men. to direct and defend. guilt. . A sexual script is the set rules for ordering information in a connected of and psychologically magnified family of sexual scenes to predict andproduce.WHAT I ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? S I I . producessexual arousal and potentiates orgasmic response. or past sexual scene. women reported more sexual arousal. Mosher (1988b) introduced the Sexual Path Preferences Inventory to measure three different paths for deepening involvement: (a) role enactment. Goodness offit between the person’s sexual script and the events. Reactions were assessed on measures of sexual arousal. and (c) partner engagement. 1988. A gender script is a modular component of the sexual scripts of men and women. to interpret and understand. goodness of fit between scene and sexual script is required to produce deep involvement in eroticfantasy or pornography. Prior researchers found that men. fear. . For men.anger. imagined. Mosher and MacIan (1994) assessed the psychosexual responses to X-rated videos intended for male or female audiences. i whereas the second is magnified over the first in women. men reported more positive psychosexual responses to all X-rated videos than did women. emotional responses. and affects occurring within the sexual scene deepens involvement. which. 199 1Sirkin. which activated negative affect. These paths are sexual scripts that map the contours of generally preferred elements in sexual scenes. novel sexual performance. preferred the path of role enactment for exciting. the differential magnification of excitement invests excitement for many men in physical attractiveness of the partner and affect-amplified sexual drive-scripts of sexual excitement that promote sexual interactions with many partners. 1985). familiar and loved sexual partners. Given a traditional normative ideology in parents and a consequent differential punitive socialisation of gender-stratified emotions. absorption. To measure the potential for involvement in sexual scenes. loving union (Earnest. 69 . and parenting. or surprise in response to pornographic movies. For women.

Femme movies). women were mildlysexually aroused. was related to psychosexual responsiveness to X-rated videos of both men andwomen. which means that pornography-or at least erotica-can . Compared to their responses to videos intended for men. and more frequent intercourse after viewing videosdesigned for women.1973. anger. whereas women responded more favorably to those movies made for women by women (Le. and use of pornography during masturbation as typical behavior.70 CHAPTER 3 more positive and less negative affect. and were lessabsorbed by pornography aimed at men. apparently because they were less a turned off than the menby the film of same-sex masturbation. The women wereless sexually aroused. the men masturbated more and experienced more orgasms. 1994c. apparently mostly from masturbation after viewing the videos intended for men. shame. O n the other hand. Schmidt. & 1979a). experienced less disgust. fear. 197913.Mosher & O'Grady. Reinfeld 6r Weidemann-Sutor. and had intercourse more frequently after viewing the Femme videos. In contrast to the women. more absorption. experienced more enjoyment and interest. Men were aroused by both types of movie. one of a man masturtwo bating and one a woman of masturbating. Schmidt. In summary.. Schmidt & Sigusch. became more absorbed the in videos. 1970). men were more psychosexually responsive to videos intended for either men or women than were women. Sigusch. sexual fantasy. These women's psychosexual responses to the Femme videos stand out from most prior reports of sex differences in which men. not predict respondid siveness to the videos. whereas those for whom this script was not characteristic enjoyed these movies far less. guilt. which is more common in women than men. surprise. Mosher and MacIan (1994) believed that psychosexualresponsiveness to pornography is a function the goodness of fit between sexual scene of and sexual script. and contempt. women were far less responsive to conventional X-rated videos intended for men but were relatively more responsive to the Femme videos. Those who adhered to a script of role enactment were more likely to enjoy X-rated pornography movies. In subsequent experiment. 1975. which is more common in men thanwomen. But the script of partner engagement. men experienced both homosexual threat and masturbation guilt to this samefilm of a man masturbating (Mosher O'Grady. In the 48 hours after watching the videos. who reported conflicting interest and disgust (Mosher. distress. these men reported more frequent weekly masturbation. A preference for the sexual script of role enactment. experienced stronger negative emotions. Only Mosherand Abramson (1977) found that women were more emotionally and sexually aroused than men to films. 1970. were more psychosexually responsive to sexually explicit films than were women. who reported nonconflicted excitement.

Gagnon(1990. 1988). conand tempt in women produces a more relaxed and enjoyable but also more fearful. less disgust. 1973) proposed important andrelevant differences in sexual scripts stemming from women’s socialisation into heterosociality before heterosexuality.that would attenuate andconflict with positive affect and form abarrier to deepening involvement (Green & Mosher. however. Men and women differed in their use of masturbatioq and pornography because of scripted personality differences that lead men. Conventional X-rated films intended for a male audience include elements and themes that women may consider offensive to women as a social category or to be personal turn-offs. anger. Mosher 6r Tomkins. exciting. and shame inboys leads many men toembrace an ideology of machismo and a macho personality script that ordains a daring. on the . Their sexual arousal to thefemme videos may have been translated intosociosexual behaviors because they were in an established relationship that permitted intercourse whenever chose. and (b) the Femme videos were more psychosexually arousing simply because they generated less negative affect-particularly. Gagnon & Simon.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 71 be constructed that either appeals to or disgusts anyindividual by matching or mismatching that person’s sexual script. The punitive socialisation of enjoyment.) From script theory Mosher and MacIanargue that the results of their research could explained by referring to differences in the be gender socialisation of discrete emotional responses and in the gendered socialisation of sexual scenes. disgust. tough. These women may have desired intercourse after the Femme videos because they were aroused withoutbeing as turned off as is the case with the typical X-rated video. tosex as exciting view an entitlement andas necessary to their manhood andthat lead women.most of these womendid not appear to have a pattern masturof bating to pornography. distressed. distress. sexual fantasies. making such male-orientedvideos harder to assimilate to their sexual scripts. (They they were not questioned on this point. and subjective sexual arousal. It should be noted that theFemme videos still triggered mild disgust and other negative emotions in women. in contrast to men’s socialisation into masturbation and heterosexuality before heterosociality. fear. 1985). on the one hand. These two processes may explain these women’s psychosexual responsiveness: (a) thewomen’s sexual scripts were more compatible with sexthe ual scenes in the Femme videos. generating greater depth of involvement. Although women reportedfar less exposure to pornography in their everyday lives. surprise. and calloused sexuality (Mosher. their experience with mass media. 19916. and sexual activities was sufficient to develop their capacity for responding to the Femme videos. In contrast to the men. aggressive. emotional enjoyment and excitement. The punitive socialisation of excitement. and shameful sexuality that favors seeking union with powerful men.

the interpretation the of meaning and the evaluation the outcomeof a specific sexual scene. and (e) the meaning of sex is to be a real man or a real woman. fulfilling an archetypal role. The pattern role enactment was qualitafor tively the same pattern. (c) thesexual style favours active expression in movement. the role expectations for the sexual partner. as less was the patternfor gender differences. the appropriate time place for sex. That is. they also found similarities within the men andwomen who preferred the path of role enactment as compared to those who did not. the conception of sexuality. & Martin. Pomeroy. sounds. 1948. Tavris & Sadd. Subsequent suggested a narrowing the gap onvariwork of ous indices of sexuality (Hopkins. for gender-specific sexual socialisation ‘scripts. like many of the women. The characteristics of the path role enactment (Mosher. drama. at least.72 CHAPTER 3 other hand. ing to claims. Early data on gender differences in sexual behavior supported this idea (e. Therefore. 1981). although quantitatively somewhat intense. Gender is an important subcultural influence on sexual norms. women highon role enactment had a pattern of psychosexual arousal to pornography similar to men’s in general. Kinsey. the criterionof good sex. 1973. both the of pornoguse raphy as a sexual aide and the novelty in partners and sexual activities in pornography achieve better goodness of fit with the pathrole enactment. 1977. (d) good sex is ecstatic and nonvolitional expression. Laws & Schwarz. 1980) include of the following: (a) sexual fantasies are scripted for novelty. Accord. although Mosher and MacIan (1994) found a typical pattern of gender differences between men and women in psychosexual responsiveness to pornography. it may need to match these scenic elements or.1994a) may specifythe attractive features in a cast. and facial expression.g. and other psychological functions. . 1978). Kinsey. From the perspective of script theory. Pomeroy.. with dramaticorgasms. Both gender scripts and sexual scripts are always particularised within persons within sexes. (b) sexual techniques display variety and skill in oralsex and intercourse. For commercial pornography succeed in generating to sexual arousal. the preferred sexual activiand ties and their sequencing and style. just as men who were low on role enactment responded less to the pornography. For example. 1980. and of more. fantasies. to not trigger negative affect that will attenuate thepositive elements in thescene. of A sexual script (Mosher. view sex as of love and an intimate act provides familto part that iar and enjoyable sexual union. Martin. 1953). the sexual talk. it is the affect socialisation of individual men and women by parents that accounts for each person’s preferences for sexual scripts and for how traditionally gendered they become. & Gebhard.’ men are socialised to be hyperresponsive sexual initiators and women are socialised to be more reserved inhibitors (Gagnon & Simon. and exhibition.

Fisher. In one model of sexual behavior development. Sapolsky (1984) reported a study in which erotophobe-erotophile measures failed signifi- . 1981). attitude toward. In contrast. 1983. authorities. It is. Sexual arousal plays a role in enjoyment erotica. Erotophiliacs are people who generally display a moreopen. 1977. friends. some evidence has emerged that measures of ‘sexual personality’ in the form of erotophiliaand erotophobia can discriminate between viewers. Through exposure to direct and indirect communications famfrom ily. 1985). 1978a). and response to sexual experiences. did not enjoy sex scenes depicting oral sex and full intercourse to orgasm to the same extent as erotophiliacs who had more liberal and active sex lives (Fisher & Byrne. individuals undergo a person-specific sexual socialisation process that shapes theirpursuit of. 124). 1988.. from birth. expectancies. however. In relation to audience enjoyment of erotica.conservative. with relatively restrictive sexual socialisation experiences behind them. therefore. underof standable that sex differences might be found in levels of appreciation of sexually explicit material in films and television programs. and reserved. Erotophobia-erotophilia is defined as ‘the disposition to respond to sexual cues along a negative-positive dimension of affect and evaluation’ (Fisher et al. the erotophobia-erotophilia dimension serves as a central construct (Byrne. and media and through learning experiences with their sexual responses. A common theme across psychosexual models of sexuality is the notion that. Both men and women with negative attitudes towards sex have been found to display less taste for pornographic films than those with more positive sexual orientations. and positive disposition towards sex and towards erotica. and behaviors. 1986. The latter are less comfortalso able viewing erotic material.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 73 Sexual Personality This heading usedto distinguish another form of audience differentiation is erotophilia and from the sexual script. A distinction has been made between erotophobia. 1988). Fisher 6r Byrne. erotophobes characterised by being sexually are more uptight. These dispositions are again believed to arise largely out of early socialisation experiences with parents (Fisher. individuals develop a dispositional or trait-like constellation of sexually related attitudes. Not all the research evidence on this topic to datehas been consistent. Individuals characterised by erotophobia. & Kelley. p. White. liberated. Byrne. This distinctionrefers to apersonality measure-a permanent psychological characteristic that predisposes individuals to act in a certain manner across a rangeof situations. Erotophilia relates negatively to sex guilt and authoritarianism (Greendlinger 6r Byrne. It is measured by the 2 1-item SexualOpinion Survey.

Women. whereas women prefer towatch scenes depicting loving foreplay(Sapolsky 6-r . men respond (Donnerstein et 1987). 1980). erotophilic individuals exhibit more willingness to consume erotica (Becker & Byrne. Other laboratory studies. men or women who exhibited erotophiliac profiles were clearly more comfortable than were those with erotophobic profiles with viewing graphic and deviant sex scenes (Lopez & George. 1985) and exhibit more positive emotional reactions when talking about sex (Fisher. &White. Miller. Differences in the length time spentviewing these slides werefound of between men and women and between respondents whose replies to personality tests had identified them to eithererotophiliacs or erotophobes. However. In contrast. A number of specific thematic elements sex portrayals have been idenin tified to produce distinctive emotional reactions and aggression-modifying effects. the polarised did men’s and women’s remore sponses become. compared to erotophobic individuals. also tive to the way their sex is depicted even in nonviolent scenes. in addition. researchers invited male and female undergraduates to view and evaluate a number of photographic slides. are sensial. and cutting across gender differences. frequent church attendance. Men prefer towatch graphic penetrative sex scenes.One reason for the inconsistency in these findings may be that some researchers failed to use nonviolent scenes that were sufficiently degrading to women. even with no violence. 1989). The more deviant the erotica. In a further test the significance of this personality dimension to the of way people respondto erotic material. and low personal experience of exposure to X-rated films all signalled greater dislike for the erotic film sequences that were shown. Byrne. sex evidence has emerged that degrading pornographic portrayals.74 CHAPTER 3 cantly to predict enjoyment of either violent or nonviolent sexual materials on film. and not the that is crucial to the way sex. In addition. it is of the violence in violent erotica.. including sadomasochistic behavior. some ofwhich depicted explicit sexual activity between aman and woman with a genitalia clearly visible. expression of opposithe tion to the showing of sexual films on film or television. however. Forsome researchers. NATURE OF MALE RESPONSE It is worth reiterating at this point that the male response to violent sex scenes can vary with the nature the scene itself. be Men tended to spend more timeviewing the eroticslides than did women.haveshown that. can adversely affect male attitudes towards women (Check & Guloien. Some slides also depicted the man and woman engaged in more devioussexual practices. 1995).

as measured through a clinically developed test (Burt. &Medoff. 1986). 1980). 1979a). the immediate emotional reactions of male observers can depend on theresponse of the female recipient. 1980). Haber. Men who reveal a likelihood of raping. White females were shown scantily clad and bound hand-andrfoot. tend to exhibit similar patterns of sexual arousal to and attitudinal acceptance rape scenes to of those of known sex offenders. In these scenes. young. 1986). Attitudes Towards W o m e n as an Individual Differences Factor Pre-existing attitudes towards women influence the men respond can way to violentsex scenes. Bryant. men with sadistic or for sexually aggressive tendencies enjoy scenes that depict females in more than men not distress characterised by such tendencies (Heilbrun & Loftus. 1980a. . However. Higherscorers on therape likelihood scale are also more likely to believe that men would rapeif they knew they could avoid getting caught. helpless to avoid the impending sexual advances from a male. 1988). sadomasochism (Malamuth. to disgust. These scenes were preclassifiedby independent judges forthe level of distress displayed by these female models. there are certain scenes that men and women often bothdisplay negative emotional reactions to.& Feshbach. Nonsadistic males found women with happy faces the most sexually attractive. 1981). Further evidence emerged from a study that obtained young college males’ reactions to photographic scenes of female bondage taken from pornographic magazines. Pictures of distressed women were found be more erotic sexuto and ally alluring than those of less distressed women. bound women more than average (Heilbrun & Seif. According to a sexual sadism model. Haber Feshbach.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 75 Zillmann. Malamuth. through anger and fear. Research evidence has emerged from male judgments of photographic slides of women displaying a rangeof facial emotions from happiness. Males who exhibited also antisocial dispositions on a personality test enjoyed the pictures of distressed. 1979). example. With sexual depictions of an extremely graphic nature in which sadistic motives areapparent. A sadistic component surfaced even within the sexuality of apparently normal males. & and bondage and bestiality (Zillmann. oral sex (White. These include portrayals of masturbation and homosexuality (Mosher& O’Grady. but men with sexually aggressive tendencies were moreattracted to women showing distressed reactions (Heilbrun & Loftus. 1981). Comisky. Men who score high on the rape likelihood scale hold morecallous attitudes towards rapeand believe that women secretly desire to be raped to a greater degree than men who score low on this scale (Malamuth & Check. 1980).

1983. In theexample in which the woman was forced to havesex. The findings highlighted the importance of the interaction between characteristics of male listeners and variations in the depictionof the sex act. 1980). however. and outcome(woman’s sexual arousal vs. This arousal was greatest. This was true regardless of pre-existing male attitudes aboutwomen or rape. even when the woman shown as becomis ing sexually aroused (Malamuth & Check. Afterwards. All movies were viewed in a normal cinema environment. nonconsent of to sex). Several days later. Not surprisingly. initially against her will. no pain). and they attribute of more of the responsibility for rape to victims who they believe derive pleasure from such assaults. Laboratory results were confirmedby a field study in which college students were bought tickets to attend either two movies with violent sex scenes or two alternative movies with no such scenes. but then eventually became sexually aroused.76 CHAPTER 3 they identify with rapists in depictions rape. such men may enjoy rape depictions more than portrayals of mutually consenting (Check & Malamuth. 1980a. college students were by male administered questionnaires concerning their sexual attitudes and behaviors. although similar results have been obtained with physiological measures of penile erection (Malamuth 6r Check. Heim. Greater acceptance of rape myth beliefs materialised among those men who watched the two movies with violent sex scenes (Malamuth & Check. as compared withmen who score low on this scale. . given this background. 1981a). Indeed. & Feshbach.Malamuth & Check. The contents of these depictions were systematically manipulated along the dimensions consent (woman’s consent vs. sex finding is 1980a.1983. disgust). 1981a. pain (woman’s pain vs. 1981b). This especially true of self-reported sexual arousal. In a study Malamuth and Check (1983). 1981a). among men who hadinitially exhibited highscores on therape likelihood scale. the men became sexually aroused themselves. Malamuth. Men who low on rape likelihood tend to react score to rape scenes with displeasure. men who score high on the rape likelihood scale show greater enjoymentsex scenes in which a woman of becomes involuntarily aroused. the same men listened to one audio tapes of eight containing an interaction that involved sexualacts between a man and a woman. male listeners tended to be much less sexually aroused themselvesas compared with the scene in which the woman consents to sex. One of the items enquired about the likelihood that the participant himself would rape if he could be assured of not being caught and punished. When the woman was portrayed as experiencing disgust. all respondents were administered a questionnaire to measure attitudes towards women and rape.

such male actor tearsex. . whereas in the other she remained reluctant and conveyed shock. In a follow-up experiment. One exby planation of this effectof reference group gender could that consumption be of pornography is normally associated more closely with men than with women.WHAT I S ACCEPTABLE TO THE PUBLIC? 77 MEDIATING EFFECTS OF OTHERS Reactions to sex portrayals can vary with thesocial context inwhich they are seen. all participants were given a research red bogus port indicating that same-sex young adults had become either highly aroused or not very aroused while reading the story. and oral with violent elements. she displayed either pleasure or disgust as an outcome to the attack. Thus. This information influenced male ax$. disbelief. this too canmake a difference to their reaction to it. genital fondling. and general distress. This enhancedsexual reaction was stronger for both men and women when told that men had become aroused by it than when told that women had become aroused it. greater acceptability. Although initially reluctant toyield to themale character’s advances in both versions. including intercourse. In a test of this social influence on reactions to sexual material. participants perceived less force. Furthermore. 1989). menmay be perceived as a morecredible information source about suchmaterial than are women (Fisher. Both versions contained explicit heterosexual acts. Men generally reported higher arousal to this story under the condition when told about the strong reactions of a reference group. and greater enjoyment by the woman in the scene than did those who read the version in which the woman displayed extreme distress. In the pleasure-ending version. Norris. Prior to reading the story. 1983. as the ing off the female actor’s clothes andforcing her to engage in various sex acts. They also answered a brief questionnaire to ensure that they had understood the key elements of the report.female participants’ reactions to bothversions of the story. but were less aroused by the story if told that othershad not become arousedby it. In different versions of a story in which a woman forced to have was sex. the female character in one gave in and expressed pleasure. Norris (1991) compared the reactions men of and women to explicit written material that contained violence as well as sex. Norris (1989) found that men andwomen reported feeling more aroused reading by a nonviolent sexually explicit story when they had received a message telling them that other men and women had become aroused by it. Whether not an or individual displays enjoyment of sex scenes ded pends on whom he or she viewing them with. if an individis ual receives information that other people have been sexually aroused by a particular scene. The reaction to the pleasure ending version was further enhanced by reading that other similar people had responded in a positive way towards the scene..



This chapter examined public opinion about media sex.Although most people do not seem to find sex on television offensive, many more people are likely to believe that thereis too much rather than too sex in programs little (Millwood-Hargrave,1999). Sex is seen as being a part of everyday life,but many viewersquestion the necessity of featuring it so prominently and ofso ten ontelevision. Sex may render programs unsuitable to watch, in the opinion of a minority of people, but most tend to agree that sex on television should not be censored out of existence. Most viewers agree that although sex maynot be to their taste, others who wish to watch it should giventhe be opportunity to do so (Millwood-Hargrave,1992; Svennevig, 1998). Films and videos can provide far more explicit sexual materials than would normally be found onmainstream television channels. Public opinion has indicated, however, that most people would not ban X-rated movies featuring purely sexual content. Most people object to videos or films for do theatre viewing that depict violent sexual material (Gallup, 1985). As with television, personal tolerance for sex may be as widespread as tolerance not on behalf of others. With explicit pornography, individuals may often eschew opportunities to watch themselves, but still feel that othersshould it be able to do so if they wish (Linz et al., 1991). Public opinion aboutsexually explicit media content varies with the nature of the sex portrayals, the social context in which it is experienced, and with thepsychological make-up of the individual. Scenes of mutually consenting, heterosexual sex are generally regarded as acceptable, even though explicit. Scenes depicting rape, sadomasochism and bondage, masturbation, andhomosexual sex, in contrast, are much more likely to be rated as distasteful (Malamuth,Heim, & Feshbach, 1980; Mosher & O’Grady, 1979a; Zillmann, Bryant, & Carveth, 1981). The enjoyment obtained from sex scenes can be enhanced whenindividuals are told that othersfound it arousing (Norris, 1989). Men tend to be more tolerant of media sex than women, and prefer hard-core pornography, whereas women prefer soft-core depictions. Men and women tend be socialisedto different sexual scripts. The result of this to socialisation is important topreferences for viewing erotic content. Women prefer sexual themes that represent a feminine sexual script in which sex is depicted as part of a romantic relationship (Mosher & MacIan, 1994). Men, in contrast, gain more enjoyment from watching explicit sex scenes in which the sex act is central and menare shown as being readily ableto obtainsex with beautiful and receptive women. The individual’s sexual personality is another important factor underpinning enjoyment media sex. Individuals of who display a more open and liberated disposition towards sex (erotophiliacs)



enjoy watching sexually explicit films and videos more than do individuals whodisplaya n o r e conservativeandawkwardsexualdisposition (erotophobics; Fisher & Byrne, 1978a; Fisher et al., 1988).Among men, in particular, those with pre-existing cynical attitudes towards women obtain more pleasure from scenes that depict coercive sex, especially when the female victim is seen to suEer (Malamuth & Check, 1980a, 1981a, 1983). In determining the acceptability of media sex, therefore, itis important to bear in mind that overall public opinion about broad sexual labels or descriptions may disguisemany important differences between individuals in what they enjoy for themselves or regard as acceptable for others. Although certain kinds of sex scenes may be regarded by most people as acceptable, the numbers of people expressing such an opinion may become progressively smaller as the natureof the scenes becomes more explicit or unusual. At the same time certain categories of individual exhibit exaggerated sensitivities to sex scenes of all kinds, and othercategories of individual display strong preferences for particular types of sexual scene. Much more research is needed that cross-references the defining psychological characteristics of media consumers with of sexual portrayal to establish those depictions types that should be taken most seriously by media regulators.

Does Media Sex Influence Young People?

One of the concerns about depiction sex in the media is the effect that of long-termexposure to itmighthave on viewers. The concern about long-term effects has been focused most especially on young people for whom the mass media representpotentially important sources of learning about social as well as purely sexual relationships. Although sex is a prevalent feature many mass media, exposureto sex of tends to occur mostly via restricted rather than mainstream mediaoutput. Thus, the amount sex to which of teenagers in the United States,examfor ple, were found to be exposed on broadcast television was fairly minimal. However, 15- and 16-year-olds were nevertheless found to haveseen R-rated movies that carried frequent depictions of sex and where portrayals were usually far more explicit than on television (Greenberg et al., 1993). At the same time, it was found that family structure was important with teenagers from households with nonworking mothers tendingwatchless to sex content ontelevision. Indeed, family circumstances had an impact on teenage exposure sex both on to broadcast television and in R-rated movies. Families in which there was a divorcedparent (usually the mother) exhibited less parental supervision of children’s television viewing. This relaxation of vigilance did not extend to teenagers’ consumption of movies outside the home, however. Even single parents werelikely to ask their offspring about the movies they were going to see (Stanley & Greenberg, 1993). Despite parental monitoringof teenagers’ out-of-home media con80



sumption, most late adolescents and young adults have acknowledged consuming explicitly sexual media content in the of books, magazines, and form videos (Buerkel-Rothfuss 6c Strouse, 1993). Indeed,the mostpopular R-rated videos among this age group tend to the ones with most probbe the lematic sexual content, inwhich stories revolve around themesof violence and male dominance (Palys, 1986; Yang 6r Linz, 1990). The attraction of sexual content in the media to young people stems from a natural curiosity in learning about sex. Traditional childhood and adolescent experiences may oftenprovide only limited opportunities for learning about sex (Bandura 6r Walters, 1963;Kinsey, Pomeroy,Martin, 6r Gebhart, 1953). In addition, thesocialisation process often attaches a degree of negativity to sexual behavior. This may, in turn, transfer across to opinions about media portrayals of sexual activity. In this traditional frame of reference, sex has been classified assomething that is private. For many people, it is a source of discomfort or embarrassment to talk openly about sex or to be in the presence of others doing Sex may thus becomeassociso. ated with guilt, shame, and evendisgust (Dienstbier, 1977). A psychological climate is then created that further fuels the young persons curiosity. This may then lead young peopleactively to seek out opportunities to find out about this mysterious forbidden fruit. In the absence of adequate information beingderived from family, friends, or school, the media providean available and necessary information source. Carried to an extreme, this drive to find out aboutsex through themedia can lead to a preoccupation with not just mild sexual depictions, but moregraphic erotica later inlife (Dienstbier, 1977).In contrast, some individuals, it can for lead to the rejection of activities divergent from approved sexual practices (Mann, Sidman, &Starr, 1973) a strongly negative disposition to sexual depictions (Fisher or 6r Byrne, 1978a). A number of theories have been invoked to identify and explain different kinds of media effects in thisrespect. Television has been identified, for example, as shaping cultural norms through its depiction of sexuality in stereotyped ways (Gerbner, 1985; Greenberg, 1982). Television can influenceviewers’ conceptions of social reality by displaying certain patterns behavior on screen, of especially when these portrayals are credible and relevant to the lives of viewers (Hawkins 6r Pingree, 1982; Wober 6r Gunter, 1988). Television and othermedia can convey messages to their consumers concerning how behave in to different settings. Thus, individuals can learn throughobservation and may subsequently copy what they have seenappropriate circumstances should if arise in their own lives (Bandura, 1977; Roberts, 1982). Television also has arole as a socialising agent. Rather than teachingspecific behaviors, it imparts entire scenarios or sequences of behavior to individuals. Some writers have called these sequences of displayed activity ‘scripts.’In the contextsexual of socialisation, therefore, the emphasis is not placed simply on specific behav-



ioral actions thatviewers might imitatefor themselves, such as kissing. Instead, the learning that occurs covers a whole range of activities and activity sequences in a sexual context, such meeting aprospective sexual as partner, engaging in a courtship ritual that involves spending time with that person in different situations where each canto know the other, creating get the conditions in which progressively more intimate physical contact takes place,andthenestablishingarelationshipbeyondsexualintimacy (Silverman.Watkins, 1983). Each these theoreticalmodels is now examof ined inmore detail.

According to cultiwation theory, a steady diet of television can influence viewers’ conceptions of social reality such thatheavy viewers’ beliefs about the real world are shaped the images of television (Gerbner, Gross, Jackby son-Beeck, Jeffries-Fox, & Signorielli, 1978). The cultivation perspective suggests that television offers a consistent, stable set of messages that serves as a common socialiser (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1980). Furthermore, heavy consumptionof the highly repetitive messages of television can create a distorted picture social reality (Carveth & Alexander, of 1985). According to Sapolsky and Tabarlet (1991):
Looked at from the cultivation perspective, prime time televisionoffers a consistent and repetitive setof messages regarding sexual behavior. Sixteen times an hour, entertainment programming adds its particular to vision of sexual world. This world the is noted for its overemphasison sexual activity between unmarried characters a and disregard for the issue of safe sex. Adolescents and teenagers who regularly watch prime time television are offered a steady mix of marital infidelity, casual sex, the objectification of women, and exploitative relationships.As traditional avenuesfor sexual socialisation have diminished in influence, television has become the electronic educator (p.5 14).

Operating withina cultivation effects model, there are numerous published investigations that provide empirical evidence media influences for on gender-role conceptions.Television has been identified as a particularly potent force in this context (Durkin, 1985d; Gunter, 1995). Among pre-teenage children, stronger gender-stereotyped beliefs have been repeatedly correlated with heavier television viewing (Beuf, 1974; Frueh& McGhee, 1975; McGhee Frueh, 1980). These & early studies did not distinguish between exposure to different kinds programs, however. Furof thermore,theirresultswerechallengedonthegroundsthattheir measures of gender stereotyping were weak (Durkin, 198513). More sophisticated studies revealed that television’s cultivation effects among children could moderated by the child’s intelligence or educational atbe



tainment levels. Even here, though, closer inspection of the results indicated a far from consistent pattern of relationships between the child’s own gender, IQ, television viewing, and gender-role stereotyping (Durkin, 198513). Research among adolescents within a cultivation model found that the correlation between the reported amount of television viewing and gender-role stereotyping was mediated by social classand strength peer group of affiliation. Adolescents of either sex, from lower social classes with few and friends, exhibited stronger gender-role stereotyping when they also watched a lot of television (Morgan & Rothschild, 1983). Althoughheavy viewing of sexist television might influence teenagers attitudes concerning gender-appropriate behavior (such as cleaning the house, washing the dishes, and mowing the lawn), there was no link between television viewing and how much teenagers tended to perform these chores (Morgan, 1987). Admitting tostereotypically inappropriate behavior among pre-teenage children has been linked to their holding stereotyped ideas about each less sex. A contributory role for television was also identified in that the strongest correlations between gender-role attitudes and behavioroccurred among children who were the heaviest television viewers (Signorielli 6r Lears, 1992). Gender-role stereotyping embraces awide range of beliefs and attitudes about masculinity and femininity. Much of the research on gender-role stereotyping touched only peripherally on the issue of sexuality as an aspect of gender-role conceptions. Within a cultivation effects model, exposure to the symbolic environment of television should contribute to viewers beliefs about the nature and frequency of sexual behaviors in thereal world. Adolescents are believed to be especially susceptible to the sexual messages containedinadult television programming. Inthat regard, the types of messages conveyed by television, film or video are of paramount importance when aimed at or, in any case, are likely to be consumedby young audiences. One issue surrounds theresponsibility with whichsexual behavior and sexual relationships are depicted. Considered within the cultivation model, for instance, atelevision world that depicts casual sexual couplings, women as easysexual conquests, or sex asa meansto ends other than a lov, ing relationship between committed partners, might be hypothesised to cultivate sexual beliefs and attitudes that encourage young viewers to behave in a similar fashion. What evidence exists for a cultivation-styleinfluence of television and other media on public conceptions of sexuality and sexual behavior? Not surprisingly, giventheirhypothesised susceptibility to media messages, much of the research on this subject has been conducted with adolescents. In many cases, researchers have confronted perceptions of sexuality di-



rectly; in other cases, measures of sex-related attributes and behaviours have formed part a more extensive investigation of gender-relatedbeliefs. of One early indication thatperceptions of sex-related attributes couldbe influenced by television derived from an experimental study by Tan (1979). This investigation found that adolescent girls aged16 to 18years, who were fed a heavy dose of beauty product commercials emphasising feminine beauty, were morelikely than a control group of girlswho saw commercials containing nobeauty messages to believe that being beautiful is an important female attribute. Those girls who watched commercials that focused on sexual qualities of women were primed ranksex appeal attributes as to being especially important in the context being liked by men. of Evidence has emerged from other studies that media images of beautiful women provide points comparison for men as well as for of women. In the case of men, comparisons are made between women in their own the lives and those seen in the media. Male college students who viewed a single episode of Charlie’s Angels wereharsher in their evaluations the beauty of of potential dates than were males who had not seen the episode (Kenrick & Gutierres, 1980). Male college students were reported to their own also find girlfriends less sexuallyattractive after being showncenterfolds from Playboy and Penthouse (Weaver, Masland, & Zillmann, 1984). Another aspect of cultivation theory and research has been the demonstration that regular exposure television, with its stereotyped often exaggerto and ated portrayals of behaviors, can affect viewers’ conception of the prevalence of similar behaviors the real world. in This relationship has been indicated in relation to public perceptionsof violence (Gerbner& Gross, 1976;Gerbner et al., 1980). Given the findings that have been reported about television’s depiction of sexual behavior, similar cultivation effects might be expected to occur with regard to viewers perceptionsof sex-related behaviors. The world oftelevision has been found to exaggerate the prevalence of premarital sex, extramarital sex,rape, and prostitution (Greenberg,1994). The cultivation hypothesis would therefore predict regular exposure such patterns of sexual behavthat to ior on television might affect teenagers perceptionsthe prevalence of these of behaviors in reality and alter their self-perceptions in that they might become and have higher expectations of their proless satisfied with their own sex lives spective partners (Greenberg, 1994). One suggestion from the United States is that American teenagers are exposed to far more media messages about sex than their peers in most other countries. Thismay lead them tobelieve that more of their ownage group are sexually active than really the case. This adds to thepressure on them is to become sexually active (Jones et al., 1985). Teenagers tendto overestimate how many of their peers are sexually active anyway (Zabin, Hirsch, Smith, & Hardy,1984).Regular viewing of television programs that emphasise teenage preoccupation with sex may further accentuate these

Inthis case. social learning theory focuses instead on the specific behavioral influences of individual media portrayals.success. in the sense that they obtain status. was associated with anincreased perception of the frequency of sexual activity in thereal world (Buerkel-Rothfuss 6.r Strouse. the greater likelihood that theformer may imitate the the latter. 1981. . The greater the perceived similarity between the viewer and the actor or model on screen. Research has been published in which this type of effect was documented. 85 perceptions. This phenomenon may contribute to the gradually but steadily decreasing age at which both males and females first have sexual intercourse that has been observed among American teenagers since the 1970s (Braverman & Strasburger. pregnant teenagers were twice as likelyto think thattelevision relationships were like real-life relationships than were nonpregnant teenagers. . does mainstream television and the films and programs it broadcasts provide the kinds of role models inrelationto sexual conduct to which teenagers are likely to be attracted? One of the significant concepts in social learning theory is identification. College students who were heavy viewers of soap operas estimated higher percentages of people in real world who are divorced have illethe or gitimate children than light viewers (Buerkel-Rothfuss & Mayes. gaining prestige and peer popularity as a result of their sexual exploits maybe encouraged to engage in similar behaviorthemselves (Bandura. 1980). Thus. Whereas cultivais tion theory posits an influence of media representationsof sex on general public perceptions about the prevalence of different sexual practices. did Carveth 6:Alexander. This theory holds that actions depicted rewardas ing. though. 1977. 1993). To what extent. In another study. 1994). Studies of sex-role portrayals television have indicated that male charon acters tend to outnumber female characters by a significant margin (Gunter. have greater potential exemplars that othersmight copy. adolescents who see young adults.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? I . SOCIAL LEAFWING THEORY Another perspective on how television or film might influence young people’s sexual attitudes and behavior social learning theory. To what extent do teenagers and sex mix on television? One way of finding out is t o monitor television output and catalog how often and in what way such scenes appear. 1993). or personal gratification. Successful beas haviors performed by attractive characters can serve as role models for others to follow. and thattelevision characters would not use contraceptives if involvedinasexualrelationship (Corder-Bolz. a little older than themselves. heavy viewing of programs depicting stereotyped pattern of sexual behavior. 1985).

Later in this chapter we return tothis subject to examine evidencefor risks and responsibilities in sexual portrayals on television in more detail. 1982). report beingless satisfied with their status virgins or with their as own intercourseexperiences. Of the scenes involving sexual behavior (n = 40). Kunkel et al. The need for responsibility is underlined by findings that indicate that adolescents do makecomparisonsbetween television role models and themselves. Sexual behavior is depicted with infrequent references to the use of contraception. Among these scenes. & Henderson. Sprafkin. More specifically. 1987). but lacking in social and moral responsibility. Furthermore. Most of the scenes containing sexual cona tent and involving teenagers comprised just talk about sex (87%) with only a minority of these scenes (17%) depicting sexual behavior. It has. In a content analysis of American network and cable television stations. a few (11) depicted physical flirting. one in ten scenes of talking about sex (10%)and a slightly smaller proportion of scenes depicting some form overt sexual beof havior (8%) involved teenager. Adolescents who identify closely with television personalities and believe that theirtelevision role models are more proficient at sex than they are. This is particularly true for male characters. Some writers have arguedthat television’s sexual role models often lack sufficient responsibility in their conduct(Elkind. 6r Davidson. (1999) studied the extent which teenagers were depicted in to scenes involving sexual behavior. are usually positive. and one comprised intimate touching. therefore. Liebert.andsexoftenoccursspontaneouslywithlittleplanningat all (Wattleton. 1982). itis important that these models set responsible examples. especially on television. 1980). one in every ten scenes with sex involved a teenager. 1993). They reported that out of a composite weeks television output. Richards. most (n = 25) comprised kissing. Among the few instances of negative consequences resulting from sexual behavior on television is unwanted pregnancyfor women (Liebert et al. No relationship was found between the way . There is an absence of social learning messages that emphasise safe sex. attractive role models are depictedas sexually active. just three containedimplied sexual intercourse and none all contained actual at sexual intercourse. and who think that television’s sexual portrayals are accurate and realistic. the status women on television has more of often been defined in terms of their relationships with men (Greenberg. been suggested that the consequences of sexual behavior presented in themedia. Intelevision serials popular with young audiences in which story lines revolve around intimate relationships. Male characters have been found to portray more authoritative and superior roles than female characters. If teenagers turn totelevision and films forrole models in the context of their sexual development.86 CHAPTER 4 1995.. for example.

theyselected primarily media figures (Fabes & Strouse. Participants were then asked toexplain their reasons for their selections. 1976a. They were asked to name two individuals who they personally felt represented models of responsible or irresponsible sexual behavior. 197613. They tended to select both responsible and irresponsible sexual models from the media based more on the context in which sexual behavior took place than the fact they or were not sexually active. responsible sexual models were most likely to be found amongpeers. male or female.rather than on the nature perof the son’s sexual experiences orthe resulting consequences (33%). as compared with women. In a subsequentstudy. 1984). Men’s reasons varied more as a function model type. men tended identify responsible sexual modto els proportionately more often according to model’s sexual acts and the pro- . and favorable sexual consequences for male actors in the media. 1980). Parents were rarely identified as modelsof irresponsible sexual behavior (7%). This finding were raised important questions regarding not only the type of sexual behaviors displayed by models but also howthesebehaviorsareperceivedand interpreted by those who observe them. In addition. Men tended identify reaof to sons based on intentionssignificantly more oftenfor their selection of irresponsible sexual models than they did for their selection of responsible sexual models. Courtright CS. participants were asked questions about their ownsexual behavior. These selected models could be real or fictitious people. In addition. followed by parents and then the media. This study was conducted with college students. Women identified peers as sources of of irresponsible sexual behavior most. but were more frequently identified as responsible sexual models (30%). may arise out of the fact that they have more models of their own sex to choose from on television. followed by peers.r Baran. of all.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 87 television portrayals of sex were perceived and satisfaction in virginity (Baran. with media models a long way behind the other Men’spreference for media models two. Given the significantly greater frequency. Men identified media celebrities as sources of irresponsible sexual behavior most all. Fabes and Strouse (1987) asked students toprovide information regarding their perceptions of models of sexual behavior. For men. famous or ordinary members of the public. responsible sexual models were primarily found among peers and then parents. followed by media models. Both men and women identified reasons for selection of irresponsible and responsible models based mainly on the intentions and motives underlying a model’s sexual behavior (67%). When college students were asked identify to models of responsible and irresponsible sexual behavior. researchers have predicted that men are more likely to select medianlodels than arewomen. For women. status.

DiClemente.Johnson & Goodchilds. Respondents whoidentified media models or peers as primary examples of responsible sexuality also reported relatively more permissive sexual attitudes. Research shown that men and has women exhibit different motives for sexual intercourse. 1970). However.88 CHAPTER 4 portionately less often according to the model’s underlying intentions for the behavior than did women. The findings regarding young adults reasons for choice of sexual models have important implications for the ways in which menand women tend to judge irresponsible sexual behavior primarily on the basis ofan individuals’ motives and intentions. Among young people both of sexes. higher rates of sexual intercourse. however. Volk. Women appearto give greater consideration to the human relationships involved in moral dilemmas areless and likely to apply absolute moral rules than are men (Gilligan. Suchspeculation must be treated cautiously. media models and peer groups represented themajority of both responsible and irresponsible sexual models. 1992. 92% of males and 84% of females had looked or by at read Playboy or Playgirl and that by age 18 years. the proportions rose to . T Christenson. 1962. and physical gratification. There is mounting evidence that adolescent and young adult populations are able to experience increased exposure to sexually explicit material. They point to the sexual liberalisation of the 1960s with its emphasis on greater permissiveness and shifting sexual norms (L. 1973). K. and 19 to 39 years. H. Bryant (1985) and Bryant and D. 1985). SEXUAL SOCIALISATION A third approach to explaining the potential influences of television and film depictions of sex on young people is offered by the sexual socialisation model. 1982). As result. Brown.television may represent a more important source of motivation and behavior styles for men than it does for women. Parallels also exist with sex differences in judgments about sexual behaviors and morality. 16 to18 years. there may bea a convergence in the responses of males and females and a lessening of guilt and disgust associated with sex and sexualimages (Schmidt & Sigusch.and X-rated media content. The aim of the questioning was to obtain normative data on amounts of exposure to various types of R. Findings indicated that age 15years. commitment. and emotion (Carrol. Some observers have suggested that significant changes have occurred the in past 30 to years in the 40 sexual socialisation process. and lower rates of contraceptive usage. &a Peck. Men’s motives more often include pleasure. Brown (1989) reported a telephone survey with 600 respondents age 13 to 15 years. fun. whereas women’s motives more often include notions of love. greater numbers of sexual partners. & Shibley-Hyde.

Whereas social learning theory focuses on the possibility that young people may copy specific behavioral examples seen on screen.5 years.Adolescents viewing music videos with sexual content were more likely to agree with the notion that premarital sex is acceptable (Greeson & Williams.Zillmann &Bryant. Evidence has emerged. 6rWaszak. . 1988a. 92% of 13. Brown. Conversations aboutsex have beenidentified as representing a significant aspect of all sexual portrayals on television (Kunkel et al. Childers. who are in noway committed to one another. Bryant. long after the swinging sixties sexual revolution. among all respondents the average age of first exposure to a magazine that depicted couples or groups in explicitly sexual acts was 13. Some studies have examined the impact of filmed sexual content on attitude formation. 1999). 1990. and who will part shortly. college students shown sexually explicit films reported a greater acceptance sexual infidelof ity and promiscuity than did controls (Zillmann. even though underage. 1994). The researchers concluded that ‘great sexual joy and ecstasy are accessible to parties who just met. 1982). For example. 198 1)and females remain more . reported exposure to an average of 6. but also by tuning in talk about to sex. Comisky. the sexual socialisation perspective examines the longer term influence potential of the media in conditioning generalised norms andvalues surrounding sex.3 sexually oriented R-ratedfilms before age of 13. Television can thus provide an agenda for sex and represent sexual ‘scripts’ that youngsters can learn and thenutilise themselves at anappropriate later date (Roberts. 1994). why and when sex is appropriate. the In regard to X-rated media. never to meet again’ (Zillmann & Bryant. In regard to X-rated films. This model recognises that young people can learn about sexual practices not only through witnessing sexual behavior played out 15-year-olds said they had already seen sucha film.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 89 100% of the males and 97% of the females.. both male and female college students exposed to hour-long nonviolent X-rated videos over a 6-week period reported less satisfaction with their intimate partners (Zillmann & Bryant. 198813). college students’disapproval of rape could lessbe ened by exposure to just minutes of scenes taken from television programs 9 and R-rated movies or viewing 5 hours of sexually explicit films over a 6-week period (J. D. In two further studies. 1982).Finally. p. Nearly 70% of 13. displeased than males even with depictions of normal sexual practices (Mosher & MacIan. and with whom.). The average age of first exposure for males was 11 and for females was 13. &Medoff. that college-age populations still find more unusual sexual themes disturbing (Zillmann. with an average reported age at first exposure of 14 years 8 months. High levels of exposure to sexually explicit films were also reported. 1986). Such talk can contribute to norms and expectations concerning how to be 15-year-olds. 450.

is that high-risk sexual behavior often portrayed. Use contraception among of sexually active teenagers is inconsistent (L. television's typical depiction of sexual relationships projects message that appears to a run counter to warnings put about health education the by campaigns. 1991). To find out more . Brown. Avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases and the prevention their spread be facilitated by of can adopting safe-sex practices by a nonpromiscuouslifestyle. example. DiClemente. particularly among teenagers. more and more health experts believe that many individuals contract thevirus during their teen years (Family Planning Perspectives. Television itself can serve as an incidental sex educator. how responsible are these in their depictionsof sex? In particular. for have noted that risky sexual practices appearto be quite prevalent among American teenagers. 1986). that thelessons being taught through formal sex education programs may be undermined by counter examples supplied through peer groups and themedia (Strouse & Fabes. or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Full-blown AIDS during adolescenceis rare becauseof the long incubation period. 1990).90 CHAPTER 4 Before reviewing the evidence for how television and films can influmedia ence the sexual mores of young people. for example. Observers in the United States. Another soand cial problem that stems from unprotected sex is the increased occurrence of unwanted pregnancies. These is risky sexual behaviors have resulted in a relatively high teen pregnancy rate in the United States compared other industrialised nations(Trussel. is any emphasis all given to the at potential health risks known to be associated with casual or promiscuous sexual behavior? RISKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN SEXUAL RELATIONS One of the biggest concerns about television's depictions of sex-and the same point applies to much sexual content infilms and videos as well. or peers. However. especially where this occurs among underage families. K. 1992) and sexual intercourse with multiple partners not uncommon. 1985). & Peck. 1988) and a steady to increase in sexually transmitted disease rates (Alan Guttmacher Institute. Indeed. Risky sexual behavior is can include sexual practices that increase the likelihood of unwanted pregnancy. There is some concern. At a time when sexually transmitted diseases are widespread. these differentsex information sources do not provide consistent advice. Although teenagers generally indicate getting information about sex from parents. the media have often been citedthe next as most important information source (Louis Harris & Associates. school.

Kunkel al. out of a totalof 722 sexual incidents coded. 1996. Cope. Lowry and Towles (1988)analysedasample of programsfrom prime-time network television in the United States1987. or abortion were extremely rare. and contraceptionwere rarely addressed on American television between 1979 and 1989. & Colvin. sexually transmitted diseases. In total.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 91 about how responsible a medium such as television has been in depiction its of sex. comprising than a tenth 1% of sexless of ual incidents. depictions of explicit intercourse have grown in number and frequently take place between partners outsideof a permanent or long-term emotionalrelationshipandwithout any apparent use of protection (Sapolsky &Tabarlet. In a1-week composite sample television output comprising 1. They were parin ticularly interested in the extent to sexual portrayals contained referwhich ences for sexually transmitted disease prevention. unwanted pregnancies.170proof grams broadcast on 10 television channels. withan average of 3. 1999.2 scenes containing sex occurring per hour. There were 35 scenes in which reference was made to theuse of safe-sex precautions and 13 scenes that defully picted waiting for sexuntil a relationship had developed more in other ways. more importantly. researchers once again turned to content analysis methodologies. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America conducted another study of network television at about thesame timein 1987. Notonly has sexual behavior in general increased in prevalence on mainstream television. (1999) found sexet ual content in56% of monitored programs. Out of 78 scenes in total that included reference at all to risks or any . and paid particular attention to depictions ofrisks and responsibilities associated with sex (Cope & Kunkel.Issues of safe sex. sexually transmitted disease. 420 scenes were found with sexual behavior..distribution. and just under a quarter(23%)contained sexual behavior. Kunkel et al. The preponderance of sexual action featured unmarried characters. They found14 references to pregnancy prevention and refer18 ences to sexually transmitted disease prevention. More than half the sample of program (54%) contained talk about sex. Kunkel. 1991). The subject of homosexuality was rarely dealt with. Santa Barbara exploredthe prevalence. and AIDS. At a time when increased sexual responsibility is called for in society. of which 13 dealt with AIDS. studies of television programming have revealed that appropriate sexual role models have been generally inadequate. Research conducted during the mid-1990s by Kunkel and his colleagues at theUniversity of California. 1999). of which just 45 scenes contained depiction or reference to risks or negative of consequences (2% of all sexual scenes). This investigation found that references to sex education. and character sexual portrayals on American of network and cable television.

the remainder were dramas. and this comprised a discussion about apossible abortion. In 1986.92 CHAPTER 4 responsibilities linked to sex. (1999) also observed that most television programs that containedscenes of sexual behavior presented no information about the consequences of such behavior for characters. though the characters had yet esfour not tablished a long-term relationship. Despite this character-relationship profile of television’s sexual couplings. there was relative balance between the programs that included primarily positive and primarily negative consequences of intercourse (14% positive vs. just 9% were found by Kunkel andhis colleagues to containany mention at of risk or all responsibility.7%) addressed any risk or responsibility topic. 7%). Kunkel et al. When intercourse behavior was shown rather thandiscussed second-hand. again only a single scene out of 48 (2. In more than one in cases (28%). This finding was true both for programs thatpresented talk about sexual intercourse(63% showed no clear consequences) as well as for those that depicted strongly or implied such behavior (59% showed no clear consequences). In 37 of the programs. In five of these cases. scenes were found contained either talk about that sex or depiction of sexual behavior. Although this represents only a modest degree attention to such of concerns. it does contrast with their treatment in previous decades. In contrast. Three outfour of these age of shows were situation comedies. Three episodes of each series were analysed. In the remainder it received little emphasis. The idea that mainstream television depicts a world of rampant promiscuity characterised by frequent casual couplings between partners who hardly know one another not upheld by Kunkel et al. Cope and Kunkel(l999) the same general methodology analyse used to the depiction sexual content in television shows of 15 that were top-rated among young people 12 to 17 years in 1996. When intercourse was the topic of conversation. this subject was given substantial emphasis in 41 of these scenes. giving a totalsample of 45 programs. they had metbefore. In only one in ten cases (10%) had they just met. and that involved a humorous remark about abortion. it was referred to as protection against AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.1%) was observed. 12 scenes were cataloged in which the use of a condom was mentioned. 262 separate interactions were cataloged involving talk about or physical sexual besex . the characters were in an established relationship. more than half (53%) of the scenes In depicting sexual activity. O u t of a total of 456 scenes involving sexual behavior. Within these 37 programs. 16% negative). there was a much stronger tendency towardpositive than negative outcomes (27% vs. in 1996.only a single scene of 27 involving sexuality (3.’s (1999)analysis of was mid-1990s American programming. In 1976. although someof these cases involved jokes or minor references that clearly would not convey a serious message about the topic to viewers.

‘What television suggests. the participantswere portrayed as being in established relationships (in three they weremarcases ried to each other). only 11 (14%) contained an emphasis on a sexual responsibility theme. beliefs. As Greenberg (1994) observed. 1976a. In a survey of 15. 1986). but relatively modest attention is devoted to messages concerning risks and responsibilities associated with being sexually active. 1993). A growing number of researchers have investigated the relationship between exposureto sexual media cqntent andadolescents’ perceptions. adolescents and teenagers who regularly watchprime-timetelevision. This study indicated thatprograms popular withadolescents contain regular references to sex and sexual relations. and sexual behaviors (Baran. only 3 contained a responsibility theme. IMPACT ON YOUNGSTERS As the content analysis evidence has indicated. Of the 99 of containing overtsexual behavior. Entertainment programming emphasises extramaritalsex and displays an apparent disregard for safe sexual practices. The ratiounmarried to married people engaging of in sexual intercourse was 32 to 1. movies and videos do’ (p. 180).are offered a steady mix of marital infidelity. more than half had seen the majority of the most popular R-rated movies released between 1982 and 1984 either cinemas or on videocassette (Greenberg et in al. In fact. Thus. & . the authors conto cluded that more intimate behaviors such as heavy petting or intercourse occurred often enough to provide adolescents with an opportunity to learn from them.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? I 93 havior across 179 scenes. there were onlysix portrayals of implied or simulated intercourse in just three programs. Buerkel-Rothfuss. None of these scenes could of the be classified as explicit and in every instance. which were depicted more explicitly (Greenberg et al.8 sexual interactionsper program. occupying around two thirds of cases.2 interactions per hour.. Even so. was waiting to have sex or abstinence. the objectification of women. television does comprise repetitive sequences of activity related to sexual behavior. Compared with prime-time television.and16-year-olds in three Michigan cities. The most prominent theme.. giving an average of 5. casual sex. these movies had seven times more sexual acts or references. Of 80 scenes containing talk about sex. values. There was just one mentionmade of other scenes sexually transmitted diseases and one mentionabortion. Most physical behaviors that were portrayed were restricted kissing and flirting. or 9. Three scenes made reference to using a condom and scenes made refertwo ence to protection from AIDS. and exploitative relationships.

1993. WalshXhilders. may belinked to theindividuals own sexual experience. for example. researchers have observed that teenagers are engaging in earlier and take more partners inearly sex the part of the sex life. 1982). the proportion never-married women. 1991). according to some writers. Moore. 1986). 1980). 1984. D. Between 1971 and 1979. Greenberg. 197613. in turn. In general. who had ever had sexual inter0 . 197610). 1980). 1984. Peterson. 1980. frustration. television has become important an sexual socialisation agent(Baran. Baran (1976a) surveyed adolescents about this subject and found that themore highly they evaluated thesexual prowess of television characters. 1978). theless satisfied they were with their own initial sexual experiences. Newcomer & J. Korzenny.realistic portrayals of sexof and uality and thelack of alternative sources for learning about sexual behavior (Roberts. especially among teenagers (Baldwin. often without contraception (Courtright &Baran. Young viewers are provided with frequentlessons in how to look and act sexy. This negative correlation between the perceived sexual pleasures obtained by fictional characters on screen and satisfaction with ones own life was sex repeated in a subsequent survey among college students (Baran. In the absence of alternative sources of information. Planned Parenthood Federation of New York City. Fernandez-Collado. and dissatisfaction (Baran. and saw television characters as having less sexual prowess (Courtright & Baran. Brown. 1976a. 197613. 1982). aged to of 15 19 years in American metropolitanareas. become an important edusex cator because both its frequent.94 CHAPTER 4 Strouse. 1976a. Television has. Adolescents who were sexually experienced perceived media depictions of sex as lessrealistic than did virgins. the sexual lessons young viewers derive from television foster an inaccurate image of sex that can lead to unrealistic expectations. Documenting the specific nature of sexual portrayals on television thus becomes an important step establishing the reality that influences the perin ceptions of young viewers. Courtright & Baran. these studies have shown that there more evidence the impact sexual content on is for of perceptions thanon values and behaviors. PROBLEMS WITH TEENAGE SEXUALITY I A number of Western countries have witnessed increased prevalence of births outside marriage and premarital sexual activity. consistent. As a consequence.The degree to which media depictions of sex are perceived as realistic is also important in this context. & Atkin. In the United States. Media depictions of sex can create expectations in the minds of young viewers about the pleasures of sexual activity that contribute towards dissatisfaction with their first sexual experiences. This. & Furstenberg.

1983). risque network programming attribwas uted to reduced censor staffs. Prime-time dramas andmovies were observed venture to ever more graphically into intimate and detailed conversations about sensitive sexual subjects such as impotence andorgasms. to more tolerant deviance. 1977). Franzblau. the picture sexuality preof sented by television is often a distorted one (Greenberg. although moreespecially in video sex depictions than on television. For example. those starting early are more likely to be males and to be Black (Zelnick & Kantner. 1976). and marriage and family life as well (Roberts. and audienceerosion was attributed tomore permissive cable and videos (Beschloss. Roberts. A number of factors have been found be associated with the timing of to initiation of sexual activity. to have reached physical maturity earlier (Billy & Udry. 1978).DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? I 95 course rose from 28% to 46%. Peterson. & Rubinstein. 1982). and committed relationships (Fernandez-Collado et al. 1980). but is also wrapped up with the representation of gender roles. 1975.Jessor. For some writers. 1991). Jessor & Donovan. Increasingly. Television viewing thought to a is be factor contributing to the high incidence of sexuality among teens. most references to sexual intercourse on television have tended toinvolve extramarital relationships and references to prostitution. Studies of the impact televisions depiction of sex on adolescents sexual of attitudes and behavior have usually taken the form of surveys in which Samples of teenagers report on their viewing habits and sexual activity. 1990. while even situation comedies were becoming increasingly filledwith sexual innuendo andsuggestiveness (Beschloss.andtohavelowereducational aspirations (Devaney. and to be more involved in problem behaviors (Jessor & Jessor. Moore and Furstenberg (1991) used data from the NationalSurvey of Children in the United States to examine the amount of time children .. Television has been accused allowing of producers to push back the boundaries of what is acceptable (Beschloss.As such. Polskin. 1991). As we have seenalready. Costa. sexuality on television is a broadtopic that includes not only suggestive and eroticbehavior. 19-year-old males who were sexually active in 1979 was 69% (Zelnick & Kantner.1983). television has had a part play in this to social phenomenon. Comparable trend data were not available for men during this period. Polskin. Sprafkin. 1980). Sex and violence are linked from timeto time. but it was known that the proportion of 15. to have lower self-esteem. Erotic relationships are frequently depicted as occurring outside of warm. intimacy and affection. to less be of be less religious. Forinstance. Furstenberg. 1983). loving. 1990. place greater value on independence and on achievement. 1982. 1982). to come from a single-parentfamily and to live in a poor neighborhood(Hogan & Kitagawa.

adding directly to natural and increasas urges ing the likelihood that thoseurges will be acted upon. These researchers considered a number of theoretical explanations for the effects that television might haveon young viewers inclinations to begin sexual relations at anearly age. 16% of 15-year-old and20% of 16-year-old girls reported having had sex. The second interview was carried out when the children were 12 to 16 years old. it was also hypothesised that television could serve as an instrument of tension release. a curvilinear relationship emerged between reported television viewing and sexual experience. Television was regarded as an agent of social conditioning. The study carried out by Peterson and his colleagues utilised National Survey of Children data at two points in time.96 CHAPTER 4 spend viewing television and the extent which the content to viewed that is sexual in nature is related to the initiation of sexual 16-year-old boys in the survey. Itwas also felt that television could arouse latent tendencies. As teenagers reach puberty and experiencephysical and hormonal changes. thus attributing a cathartic effect to television. all respondents age 15 to 16 years were asked aboutthe sexual experience of their friends and about their own sexual experience. Initial at in soundings were taken when childrenwere between 7 and 11 years old. sexual drives naturally emerge.Viewing sexual scenes on television could serve a stimulus. however. was not found tobe linked in any significant way to their history of television viewing. The same children were surveyed on both these occasions. A question was also asked about teenage pregnancies among their friends. It was felt that children could learn about behavsexual ior by observing it performed on television. whereas moderate viewers had the lowest rate of sexual experience (12%).nearly 5 years apart. These relationships were . In this interview. that could provide children and teenagers with attractiveexamples of how to behave. the At that time. Viewing sexual scenes in programs could provide a channel through which sexual urges could be vicariously expunged. The heaviest viewers had the highest prevalence of sexual experience (35%). Television was hypothesised to provide setsof role models and a source of social learning.Finally. During the second survey. or against committing oneself too readily to sex before a relationship had become sufficiently well developed. Among 15. The initiation of sexual behavior among these girls. the children were interviewed with a parent (usually the mother) present. Another view wasthat televisions effects might operateby reducing socialised inhibitions against engaging in sexual behavior before a certain age. enabling the researchers to investigate relationships between television viewing and the onset of sexual behavior longitudinally as well as one point time.

repeat surveys were carried out on three separate occasions spread over 3 years. The data on which this analysis was based were obtained through questionnaires from nearly 400 teenagers age 13 to 18 years. sexual experience and television viewing were especially strongly linked for those girls who had low self-esteem. in We also need to know something about kinds of material to whichteenthe agers have been exposed television that might be relevant to the shaping on of their sexual behavior. such as from parents. Among the girls. Respondents looked sex at a series of sentences that described sexual activity and decided if TV and . for whom counterexamples are present in their not own lives. D.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 97 found both in regard to television viewing in mid-teens and during the respondents pre-teenageyears. the strengthof association between overall television viewing and sexual activity varied as a function other factors in of their lives. may encourage some teenagers. taking the form of teaching sexual values and sexual scripts. taking many in partners. Once again. 1991). Evidence of this kind of relationship did emerge inthis study. Finding a relationship between being sexually active in mid-teens and amount of overall television viewing does not provide enough evidence by itself to demonstrate that television was an influential agent this context. Among both boys and girls. and whose parlot ents had more permissive attitude to sex. Values and scripts that encourage engaging casual sexual behavior.Fifteenand 16-year-old teenage girls who admitted to beingsexually active were more likely to name programs with content among their sexual favourites. Another survey of American teenagers reported that those who chose heavier diets of television programs that contained sexual behavior were more likely than those who viewed relatively little of this material to have had sexual intercourse (J. and in which there is little emphasison using protection. to be less concerned about the risks associated with unprotected sex with partnersthey barely know. This role of television in thesocialisation of sexual behavior among teenagers is probably most powerful when other potentialinfluences. the association between television viewing and sexual experience was stronger for those who tended to watch television apart from their parents and who also had low educational aspirations. The same study probed further for teenager girls and boys program preferences to find out whether or not especially enthey joyed watching programs knownto containsexual portrayals. Any effects it might haveare likely to be indirect. but only for girls. are largely missing. Among teenage a boys. Measures of peer and media encouragement to have wereused. who watched television apart from their parents a of the time. The conclusions reached from study were that television viewing apthis pears not to act in any direct way to influence teenagers sexual behavior. Brown & Newcomer.

For others.strengthenedthe conclusion that the direction of causality flowed from a high degree of viewing sex-containing programs to onset of sexual intercourse rather than vice versa. more sexually active or to be less sexually active. forexample. were significantly morelikely than virgins to seek sexy programming. or encourage themto be sex.Teenagers do not turn to the all media for sex information in the same For some teenage way. When reported experience sexual intercourse added to the predicof was tor variable list.98 CHAPTER 4 movies. therefore. This suggested that the relationship between viewing a high proportion television of shows containing sex and engaging in sexual intercourse held even after controlling for the perceived influenceof male and female friends and previous noncoital experience. media sex portrayals are perceived to have little . media depictions of sex are regarded very useful as sources of guidance by which they are intrigued. Finally. it does suggest that teenagers who selectively view television programs with sexual content aremore likely to have had sexual intercourse. Television viewing patterns were found todiffer by the sexual status of the respondent. the researchers exof amined theviewing of sex-containing programs as a dependentvariable. 1981). This finding. and/or your best female friend do that activity. Further questions were then asked about television viewing habits. Havinghad sexual intercourse was related toseeking out suchprograms. progressing from kissing to necking to petting to sexual intercourse. CULTIVATION OF BELIEFS ABOUT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR Mass media are among sources of information aboutsex mentioned by the teenagers (Thornburg. but not to actual frequency of exposure to them. Although this is not a conclusive test of the causal sequence betweentelevision viewing and adolescent sexual behavior. your best male friend. girls. and whether each these threesources of potential influence encourof aged them to learn about set rules about sex. each adolescent respondent was asked about their own degree of sexual experience. regardless of their friends encouragement or discouragement to have and resex gardless of their previous sexual experience. When a regression analysis was carried out in which various predictor variables were linked to sexual intercourse. In an attempt to more light the directionany potential causal shed on of relationship between viewing television programs that contained and sex adolescents personal experience sexual intercourse. the model achieved significance only when the ratio of viewing sex on television was added in. Nonvirgins in all but the Black male group.did not significantly improve the amount variance exit of plainedinsexual activity.

99 relevance to real life. Serial drama viewing predicted perceptions about problems with sex.. there is evidence that media sex portrayals may influence young viewers perceptions of sexual activity in reality. Brown. In a related analysis. In sum. sex manuals. was attitudes. Reported watching of daytime serials or evening serial dramas emerged as good predictors of a wide range of nonerotic sexual perceptions about both males and females. committing in rape) and fenlaledrelated behaviors (e. The real world perceptions that appeared to be influenced were those that involved behaviors portrayed in the media. using sexual favors to achieve goals. Buerkel-Rothfuss and Strouse (1993) measured relationships between television viewing patterns andteenagers perceptions of a range of male. Buerkel-Rothfuss. this study indicated a strong link between the nature of the media selected and the social construction of reality by individuals in their late teens. College students in the high teens asked to reporton their viewing were of television in general. . and perceptions about virginity for both males and females. Regular exposure to televised portrayals of sexual behavior.g. They were also asked to indicate their views on aspects of male-related behavior (e.talking about sex. andMTV were the best predictors of perceptions of the prevalence of erotic sexual behavior. frequent sex. Although neither . for those girls who are sexually experienced. 1993). having abortions.there may be wider effects on social reality perceptions. but the extent to which young adult males females watched and MTV and television soap operas was linked to holding sexually permissive attitudes. This finding applied to both males and females. & Nikopoulou. having an affair. action-adventure series. sex without love. and viewing of daytime serials. media depictions of sex may be regarded as overromanticised and as not reflecting their own experience (J. fathering illegitimate children. Pettey. situation comedies.D. and consumption of X-rated movies.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? I . feeling guilty after sexual encounters. and sleeping with multiple partners). There was no evidence thatperceptions of sexual behavior not depicted in the media werein any way affected by patterns of media exposure. and Shatzer (1993) reported a numberof relationships between television viewing habits and attitudes to General media consumption unrelated to such sex. has beenlinked among American teenagers with their perceptions of the frequencies with which those behaviors occur in the real world. Indeed.. Although dispositions towards the media may vary. White. Viewing ofMTV was related to perceptions that males and females brag about sex. for instance.andfemale-linked sexual behaviors. Quite apart from any impact media sex depictions that might haveon individuals perceptions of their ownsex lives. braggingabout theirsexual experiences. and high-brow dramas. evening serial dramas. picking up women bars.g. Strouse.

S. network television. and whether the media were causal agents or whether sexually explicit media content was selected by already permissive individuals. Following a forced diet of television programming 3 hours a night 5 for nights. Apart from the social learning through the observation of overt behavioral depictions on screen. and Soderman (1993)foundthatteenage viewers feltthattheylearnedsomething worthwhile from sexual vignettes about sexuality or about sexual terms. among teenagers who were active and selective viewers. are certain types of sexual liaison deemed to socially morally acceptable forms of conduct? Content analysis studies of sexual portrayals on television have indicated that sexual relationships often occur outside marriage and even outside of any established emotional relationship (Greenberg. sexual themes are prevalent in both cases. TELEVISION SEX AND ADOLESCENT MOR4LITY PERCEPTIONS Television depictions of sex can provide fictional examples of sexuality. In be or other words. the data reported in analysis were inthis conclusive as to the direction of causality.100 CHAPTER 4 MTV nor television soaps depict explicit sexual content. Linsangan. Greenberg. They also examined the mediating influences of family communication style. family value systems and the participants own viewing styles on their reactions to television’s sexual scenes. and sexual behavior that teenagers may learn from and even try to emulate. or nonmarital sexual relations. democratic communication style and well established value systems. however. They began manipulating the television viewing diet by of teenage boys and girls. young viewers rated the sexual indiscretions or improprieties depicted in video vignettes as less bad compared with same-agepeers who had viewed nonsexual material. What kinds of lessons might this teach young people who are just becoming sexually active themselves? Bryant and Rockwell (1994) reported three experimental studies designed to investigate adolescents moral judgments about sexual liaisons between characters in popular fictional series broadcast on prime-time U. whose families had an open. extra-. some of which depicted sexual behavior. Even so. sexual relations. which covered themes of pre-. televisions fictional representations of sexual relationships may convey implicit messages about morality. 1994). and then had each participant and evaluate a view series ofbrief video vignettes extracted from television series. In another examination the acceptability and value different teleof of vised depictions of sexual conduct. There were variations among differenttypes of sexual scene in termsof how much they were enjoyed or regarded as acceptable for showing on . These effects were much weaker.

as well as being more likely to believe that forcing girls to have intercourse acceptable (Check is & Maxwell. 1989). Brown. along with such scenes involving unmarried couples. of nine out ten boys and six out of ten girls claimed they had viewed explicit pornographic videos. One survey of American high school students in the mid-1980s found that 46% of junior high school students and84% of high school students interviewed had reportedly seen an X-rated film (see Bryant & D. 1992). 1995). and homosexuality. . and suitability for viewing. The scenes involving unmarried couples engaged insex wererated as the most sexy scenes overall.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 101 television. realism. Four categories of sexual scene were used in this study. especially for those girls who claimed also to have used pornography to learn aboutsex (Cowan & Campbell. does take place. Indeed. YOUNG PEOPLE AND PORNOGRAPHY Despite legal restrictions placed on the rental pornographic videos to adof olescents. survey evidence has shown that underage viewing of explicit sexual materials. than women do. The boys indicated thatthey were frequent consumers of pornography andthat they had learned about fromsuch material. Each scenewas rated for enjoyment. that are more difficult to keep under control. were regarded as the least humorous. A Canadian survey reported thatamong adolescents in their mid-teens. This pattern of linkages between rape-related beliefs and reported exposure pornography was found among to both female and male adolescents. humour. Scenes of homosexual activity were rated as the least acceptable. correlations between claimed pornography exposure and rape beliefs were stronger for girls than for boys.1. designated as suitable for adult audiences only. In the latter case. The prostitution vignettes were the most enjoyed. This study indicated that exposure to pornography was linked to beliefs that rape is often brought on the actionsor appearance by of women themselves and that it can be excused in part because men have stronger sexual needs. with three scenes adopted in each case: married intercourse. prostitution. Further evidence emerged from a sample of Californian teenagers (age 14 to 15 years). and thesegments involving intercourse between married couples were the least enjoyed. scenes of intercourse involving married couples. sex These regular adolescent users of pornography werealso found tobe more accepting of rape myths and violence against women. Synopses of each vignette are presented in Table 4. sexiness. unmarried intercourse. whereas the other three types of sexual conduct were all rated aboutequally acceptable.

is fined $200 and warned that if she is arrested again. She convinces the judge that theyoung woman should be tried as an adult. The defense attorney moves for postponement pending the location owner of the building. Comic context. the public defender explains to the judge that the young woman’s familysituation is not too good and thatshe is pursuing job opportunities in California.TABLE 4. Revolves around Norm. Her husband wants a baby but she is‘not so sure about it. explaining that the young woman was only trying to help him so they could start a new life. The prostitute asks him why he is staring at her breasts and tells him that he a horny cop is looking for a freebie. The young woman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct andis given a $200 fine. Scene ends when of the Madame of the arrives. who slaps her and calls her a whore. Banter and one-liners directed at Norm and attempts at hava his wife’s ing a baby. Her dialogue with various relatives centers on this topic. 1993 Prostitution Scene One Scene from Hill Street Bluesin which a young woman is arrested by an undercover policeman for solicitation. Scene Three From Night Court. she will be given 90 days incarceration. featurs a couple about how much they enjoyed the previtalking ous night together after children had gone bed and how close they felt to each the to other. she pleads guilty to solicitation. A police officer drops by her cell. one the regular characters. . Talk concerns one of the main character’sattempts tohave a baby. She is later arrested. The public defender consoles the young woman and talks to her boyfriend. the scene shows a more stereotypical looking prostitute-wearing a red low-cutand skin-tight dress-who also tries to solicit an undercover policeman. who is trying of to start family.and Soderman. t Married Intercourse Scene One Taken fromCheers. Group prostitutes are brought to court. She is arrested and jailed. Linsangan. Scene Two From All My Children.1 Television Sexual Vignettes Rated by Adolescent Viewers as Used by Greenberg. Scene Three Taken from a soap opera. Scene Two Again from Hill Street Blues. At her hearing. Duringthe hearing. proseof The cutor informs the court that complaint from a disgruntled formeremployee led to the a arrest of the women in a house of prostitution. The young woman is then seen with her boyfriend. She undresses and offers herself to him in exchange for her release.

The two fight. A short scene with the a police chief telling his housemaid abouthis problems at work. They talk about the situation being cozy and becoming even cozier. Scene Three From General Hospital. There follows more caresses and kissing. They embrace. The scene endswith Steven going to Luke’s apartment. but the caller asks if she should have sex with her boyfriend. talk. 103 . The hostess says it is a very difficult question her. Scene ends with man asking woman to stay and go to bed with him. Note. Dan tells his co-workers about this incident and one his co-workers tells everyone about it. To the question whetherhe was ‘coming on’ to Steven. Data are from Greenberg. one which concerns cop who wants to‘come out of a of the closet. kiss again. The woman then gets undressed under the covers and the man discards her nightgown. with the fairly explicit indication that he wants to be with him again. She then in the and under the in for gets bed covers. A man and a woman are talking about their relationship. and Soderman (1993).’ Scene Three From Dynasty. this scene opens with a man andwoman dancing toslow music.Unmarried Intercourse Scene One From Factsoflife. Adam accuses Steven of having an affair with ‘the little fag’ he is working with and that is why Steven’s marriage is crumbling. The hostess tries to avoid the question. Luke replies that he is capable of a platonic friendship. She advises the caller to thinkof the for consequences and consider her feelings. A gay tells Dan he finds him attractive. and whisper to each other. Scene Two From the sitcom Ginme Break. Scene Xu0 From One Life to Lwe. Dan stuck of else gets in the elevator with the and tells him that heis wasting his time. Ltnsangan. Dan gets cold and gay the gay gives him his overcoat. Opens with Luke telling Steven that he figured out why Steven has been has distant with him. Radio show hostess has a young caller who asks her for advice about going on a camping trip with her boyfriend who hasasked her to sleep with him. Homosexuality Scene One From Night Court. The discussion centres on the man’s understanding of what the woman needs and the woman’s confusion about her feelings. They kiss. The man is then seen bed waiting the woman.

Hansen and Hansen (1990) conducted two experiments to examine the effects of sex violence in rock music and videos on viewers’judgments of the appeal of the music and otheraspects of the production. but notso violence. for example. might be provoked very sexy vidor videos are eos than by videos with little no sexual content. Sex was found to increase the appeal of the music. Thus. Visual sexhad substantialeffects on degree of liking for the music and visual production. 1984). by Stronger sexual feelings. captures the way in which arousal produced by rock music mightcontribute towider emotional effects of visual sex or violence within video productions (Zillmann. 1978. The . This factor deserves attention because of the theoretical status such physical of arousal when paired with certain types of content. Because music teenagers are reaimed at and consumed primarily by the youth market. Sexual images can become compounded with the music in a music video to enhanceits audience appeal. The theory of excitation transfer. audience reactions were compared across videos with high. or low levelsof visual sexual content. the visual content of videos judged as high insexual content was rated as more enjoyable than the visual content of videos judged to have less sexual content. They can be expected to produce a blend of emotional reactions. and garded as more susceptible to arange of potential social and psychological influences of mass media. Zillmann. In addition to the sex component of rock videos. physiological arousal is related to both the intensity of emotional responses to an event (Zillmann. 1978) and the strength its appeal (Canof tor. 1978). for instance. both the intensity the viewers’ of emotional responses to sexual or violent videos and how appealing viewers find them should be related to the level of arousal or excitation provoked by the sexual or violent images. either independently or together. thereis understandable interest in and even concern about the impactthese videos. moderate. many have an additional factor-namely theircapacity tocreate physiological arousal through the natureof the music and thevolume at which it is played. The possibility of a link between exof posure to music videos and teenage sexual activity was indicated by an American survey that showed that teenagers who exhibited a strong liking for Music Television (MTV) were alsomore sexually experienced (Peterson & Kahn. Sex andviolence together decreased the music’s appeal. In the first study. Within excitation-transfer theory. 1984). & Einsiedel.104 CHAPTER 4 MUSIC VIDEOS Rock music videos are complex stimuli that combine music with visual content. Overall. Zillmann and Mundorf (1987) conducted an experiment in which they edited R-rated and violence into a rock sex music video.

This result confirmed the earlier findings of Zillmann and Mundorf (1987). but also social scripts that are committed to long-term memory to be invoked to guide behavior in a more general fashion when the right occasions arise. Content analyses of the representation of sex in film and television have identified regular patterns in these portrayals that may present not simply behavioral models to be emulated. rather than to the visual elements production. the of the presence of sex appeared to diminish the appeal visual production of the amongwomen viewers. This difference in methodology. It may be moreimportant to understand the extent which different sexual scripts are being learned from to the media than to demonstrate copying of specific incidents shown on screen in relation to establishing how far-reaching media effects on sexual practices can be. suggests that themere presence of sex per se is probably less important to audience reactions to music videos than is the nature of that sexual content. but really only scratch the surface in terms of improving our understanding of the ways in which media messages about sex can influence them. taken together with their respective findings. in distinction. Viewers also reported feeling more sexy after watching the videos with higher sexual content. . whereas Hansen and Hansen used milder forms sex content that had occurred naturally in of the original video productions.The latteralso observed. COMPREHENSION OF MEDIA MESSAGES ABOUT SEX Survey investigations of links between verbally reported media consumption habits.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 105 presence of more sexual content also enhanced overall liking for the music. that theeffect of sex was felt mostly in the emotional responses of video viewers to the music being played. found that sex had a strong positive effect the appeal both music on of and visual production. Often they are implicit and have to be presumed on thebasis of depicted action. perceptions of sex. and self-reportsof personal sexual practices among young people reveal where possible associations exist can between such measures. Sexual depictions in the media are notalways overt andexplicit. Combining sexual and violent imagery in musicvideos had the opposite effect of sex on its own. The main difference between these two studies was that Zillmann used R-rated sexual inserts. however. Hansen and Hansen (1990). One important aspect of media influence in this context is the way messages about sex are apprehended and processed by members of the audience. The appeal music videos declined in of the presence of high levels of violence. In fact. even though sex was also present.

Pingree. Males tend traditionally tend to be sexual initiators and females are sexual delimiters (LaPlante. Males are significantly more likely to report that their main motives for sexual intercourse are to have fun and achieve gratification. or An Ojfiicer and a Gentleman (Meischke.106 CHAPTER 4 Another relevant factor is that distinct gender-related sexual scripts can be identified. & Covert. 1980). Thompson. there maybewider scripts about sex than can be effectively communicated not just through factual media productions also through fictional portrayals. 1991). Perry. . After viewing one of these clips. & Shibley-Hyde.The learning thattakes place from media depictions of sex. each female respondent interviewed was in a fairly nondirective fashion in which a series of open-ended questions were posed about the scenes depicted. Factual information about biological matters linked to sex. 6r Draves. may take the form of schemas or broad frames reference of to guide thinking about male and female sexuality and to inform sexual conduct in different situations. all in their late teens and early ZOs. McCormick. However. According to schema theory.Content-centered processing involves cognitive activities related to thinking about the content of the message. 1986. The clips contained scenes in which sexual intercourse had apparently taken place but was not actually shown on screen. Hawkins. Dark Man. 1980). can be conveyed to young viewers by documentary programs (Greenberg. One relevant distinction that has been made in this context is between content-centered processing and content-stimulated processing (Hawkins & Pingree. such as menstruation and the reproductive process. 1983). but In some instances. Content-stimulated processing occurs when individuals make connections between media content and their own past experiences or when they imagine being in character’s place.Teenage attitudes toward issues such as premarital sex and birth control have beenmodified through a specially produced film about birth control (Herold 6r Thomas. therefore. 1985). the natureof the media’s impact on young people’s sexual awareness and understanding depends the specific typeof cognion tive information processing in whichthey engage. & Brannigan. whereas females report that their main motives are love commitment (Carrol. The scenes depicted events leading up to and then following sexbetween aman and woman. This might include selectively attending toor focusing on certain information or drawing particularinferences about information missing from the content. Volk. A small samin ple of female collegeundergraduates (n = 39). a One interesting study on comprehension of media sex investigated young women’s interpretations of implicit sexual portrayals movies. 1995). were interviewed about implicit sexual portrayals in clips taken from three movies. Meischke interested in the schewas mata viewers usedto explain the events seen on screen and to reach a conclusion that sex had or had not takenplace. Participants were shown either aclip from About Lust Night.

O n the question of whether the sexual behavior that transpired was ‘risky.atrait for theschema ‘promiscuous’might include what promiscuous people do. For example. Such a sequence of events represented a sexual script-a sequence of behaviors associated with having sex. for the motivations and intentions for or associated with their actions. Among some viewers. however. it became apparent that these young female viewers wereable to infer that sex had takenplace. onelogical conclusion from thesesigns was that they had had sexual intercourse. what kinds of clues on screen and internal schemata were used to reach this conclusion? During open-ended interviews. even though they had not seen This conclusion was not reached in a conit. viewers relied on their schemata of the kinds of sexual behaviors that go with certain relationships or sexual goals. some respondents argued that promiscuous women take precautions because . because that is what promiscuous women do. and then finally taking each other’s clothes off. Schemata are cognitive structures gained from past experience with events. Even then. Person schemata also include schema people’s goals. the sex judgment was based on broad generalisations about sexual behavior. There were no overt clues presented on screen that the actors talked about using or were seen applying contraceptives or other behaviors typical of safe sex. For example. the woman was believed to be sexually promiscuous and therefore was also believed to have hadsex with the man with whom she depicted. and topics that represent a form organised and often quite of generalised knowledge about those domains of experience. 1984). Person schematafocus on knowledge about the traits and goals that shape otherpeople’s behavior (Fiske & Taylor. Other viewers picked upon production cues and cues from the events that took place on screen. even was though they had not known each other long. then kissing. sistent fashion. in one movie. They areused to help make sense of new encounters and underpin the drawing of inferences about events where the all information about them is not present. For example. the characters were witnessed dancing. Some schematafocus on persons featured infilms.DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 107 people can reach judgments about what happened in television programs even though film or program itself may a have provided them with only partial information about the events depicted. For example. when the physical act itself was not shown on camera. Mieschke was interested in finding out to what extent young female viewers drew conclusions about not just whether sex had occurred.’ judgments were more difficult to make. Afterwards they were shown getting dressed. Instead. In the case of the latter perception. different schools of thought emerged. A goal schema is useful for predicting a particular person’s behavior in a particular setting based on the notionwhat beof havior goes with what goal. butalso whether perceptions emerged that safe sex had occurred. Thus. issues.

take or do notcare much for themselves. although they showed early signs being of attracted to some of the male characters. or identified with the lead female characters and their relationship problems. In a series of focus group interviews with viewers of Beverly Hills 10. the sexuality depicted was inappropriate becauseof the potential influence it could haveon young girls who mighttreat some of the lead female charactersas role models. the 902 degree to which respondentswere attracted to thelead male characters. The young age group displayed early signs of understanding the importance of relationships. 17-. For these young adult women. varied between 12-. The 2 1-year-oldswere not interested in the male characters whom they regarded as too immature. The 17-year-oldswere interested primarily in the male characters whom they regarded as sex objects. Interestingly. They were seen as boys rather thanreal men. but they reached this opinion from adifferent perspective to the pre-teenage girls. One qualitative study of this topic. The mid-teensgroupemphasised male-female relationships in their comments more than any other group. The 17-year-olds were the only group who did not seem to think thatBeverly Hills 902 2 0 paid too much attention to sexual issues. Consequently.however. young men andwomen areattracted tomedia messages about sexual relationships in different ways. 1987). and were critical of too much overt sexuality in the program.108 CHAPTER 4 of their high-risk lifestyle. However. the 2 1-year-olds also felt there was too muchemphasis on sex in the series. particularly between members of the opposite sex. As they progress through their teenage young adulthood. . but were still embarrassed to talk openly about such matters in front of their own peers.this age group was probablythe one most interested in sexual technique and information about sex (Moffitt. 1997). The significance of television portrayals of sexuality for young people can years and moveinto vary with age. and 2 14year-olcls. even when there were nonsexual relationships and nonrelational story lines featured in the series. they could be expected to welcome story lines that provided this sort of material. Even the 2 1-year-olds focused on sexual relationships between the characters in defining the way different characters related towards one another. They were aware of the statusof sexual relationships among the charactersonthe show. The 12-year-olds focused mainly on female friendshipsin theshow. This emphasis grew out of a heightened focus at this age on male-female relationships. The 12-year-olds displayed their sexual immaturity in their reluctance todiscuss sexuality openly. fateful. has foundthat teenage girls and young adult women exhibit different reactions to the same television serial in which the lead characters were supposedly in their midto late teens (Granello. Other respondents counteredthis by arguing that such women tend not to precautions because they are risk takers. grounded in reception theory.

Sex is depicted as fun andlargely as risk Safe sex practices are rarely alfree. the influences of media sex stem not simply from showing graphic depictions of sexual technique. The concerns about media sex and teenagers center as much on the kinds of scripts that are played out ontelevision. but also through talk about sex. In the context of rising teenage pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.whereas for 17-year-oldgirls. albeit with a limited sample of respondents. According to Granello(1997). Sex in media aimed at young people oftenoccurs in the form of conversations about sexual relationships and experiences. This talk about sex can provide an agenda for sex and presents sexual scripts from which young people can learn. however. but their greater maturity and experience meant that they questioned the realism of some television portrayals of sexual relationships in a way 17-year-olds did not. relationship-oriented television show in their modes of response to its sexual content. All three age groups were aware of the sexual content in this show. female-femalerelationshipsweremost important.Among 2 1-year-old women. and videoas on their early exposure to nudity and scenes of simulated sexual intercourse. This form influence may act not of merely through overtdepictions of sexual activity. There were. 1982).DOES MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE YOUNG PEOPLE? 109 The importance of this exploratory study lies in the differences that emerged. the media have been identified as often presenting the wrong kinds of examples to young media consumers. Thus. among female viewers of a popular. relationships were an important and defining aspect of their lives (Gilligan. The . lowed to surface. relationships with the opposite sex retained aposition of paramount importance. but the significance of sexual relationships for these groups varied as a function their own of stage of psychological maturity and sexual socialisation. For pre-teenage girls. Depictions of sex rarely emphasise the risks and responsibilities that accompany sexual relations.male-femalerelationshipswerecritical. but from scripts that play out the of sex in the context role of wider interpersonal relations. CONCLUSION Sexual portrayals in the media may serve as sources of information and learning for young peopleas they embark on sex lives of their own. nor are the potential risks associated with casual sexual relations among partners who have not known each other very long. film.this factor may be especially important in the teenage girls and young adult way females react to relationship portrayals in a series such as Beverly Hills 902 IO in which female subordination and inferiority typify many story lines. Media sex maytherefore act as an instrument of social learning and sexual socialisation. Among pre-teenage and teenage and young adult girls women. developmental differences in the kinds of relationships to which most weight is attached.

110 CHAPTER 4 accompaniment of sex with violence in films and videos has been widely criticised for cultivating a set of beliefs surrounding coercive sexual relations. for example. that women enjoy being raped. that support themyth. films that present sexuality in a way that runs counter to thesemore prevalent themes can effective at drawing the attention teenagers and be of young adults to the importance sex as part of a lasting and committed of emotional relationship with someone and that even when sexual partners know one anotherwell. . Yet. there may still be goodreasons to observe safe sex practices.

1974). who are to be admired. Women have tended to shown in a much narrower of roles than men. 1978). 1979). 1980. and used by men. Head. Women have long been underrepresented in mainstream television in most major genres of programming. there has been widely voiced criticism of sex-role stereotyping on television and other media in which women are frequently depicted in subordinate positions to men. 1990.r I s Media Sex Degrading to Women? One of the concerns raised about the depiction of sexual behavior in the media has centered on the way women are represented. manipulated. Women have been of depicted as more emotional and less rational than men. 1954. Another aspect of sex-role stereotyping has been manifest in the personality and emotional characteristics women and men. Davis. & Benet. The media treat women as objects. However. Even when women are shown in employment. primarily as sex objects. Tedesco. M. it is not so much the extent to whichwomen appear on screen as the way in which they are presentedthat has caused the greatest controversy. As such women have generally been shown as more preoccupied with personal relation111 . The be range traditional pattern has been one in which the domestic role of women is played upand any professional role is played down (McNeil. Daniels.Butler & Paisley. For many years. the occupationalroles in which they appear have tended to be traditionally female occupations and positions in which they are subordinate to men (Ceulemans & Fauconnier.1975. Tuchman. This pattern has been traced back to the 1950s (D.

Females who were successful at work were unhappily married. 1988). influential feminist writers have arguedthat in pornogas is raphy. Women are more likely than mento be oriented towards marriage. If women were successful professionally. to be shown of as having control over events in their Women were more likely to lack lives. however. single. published research began to emerge that signalled shifting patterns of sex-role portrayal.112 CHAPTER 5 ships. Men were more likely to give and women more likely to receive advice (Turow. 1990). They remained in a subordinateposition to men in action-drama series. the price they paid was failure in their private lives. 1989). 1981). work was usually secondary to home life (Kuchenhoff. 1987). In particular. women tend to featured subordinates of men even when there be no overt violence present. 1980). 1974). though. These stereotyped portrayals on television persisted throughout the 1950s. however (Steenland. Reep & Dambrot. This type of depiction becomes acutely focused in scenes in which men force women to engage in sexual activity and sex becomes mixed with violence. Men were observed to exude greater authority and competence than women across a variety of situations. Indeed. across a range fictional genres on television. At around this time. Where women were beginning to achieve parity with men. but in terms of the kinds of roles they played. Women were less likely than men. there also were signs that the occupationalvariety of women’s roles was broadening (Huston et 1992). However. The depiction of sexuality is one important elementof the representation of the sexes. 1975). 198 1. al. Much attentionhas focusedon the subordinate position women tend tooccupy vis-%-vis men in sexual situations in the media. Continued exposure to this kind of representation of women may result in the . Richards. 1974). The same pattern was not so pronounced for men who were portrayed more often than women as being able to achieve asuccessful balance in both their private and professional lives (Manes & Melnyk. this was manifest not only in terms of the prevalence on screen. 1991. Brandt & Line. control or to be portrayed as believing that they lacked control over their lives (Hodges. Although some women would be shown in occupations. Women were observed be as prominent as to men in genres such as situation comedy and serialised drama. & Henderson. Women were observed to require more emotionalsupport than men (Greenberg.. Women are depicted existing primarily for the as sexual satisfaction of others (usually men) and as willing to accommodate any and every male advance (Dworkin. demonstrating equal competence male leads even in action-oriented series (Atkin. Depictions of sexual violence feature most prominently in pornographic materials. 1960s. and emotional conflicts (McNeil. and 1970s to the late1980s (Pribram. MacKinnon. family. professional women had started apto with pear in lead roles. 1977).

One study reported and that females accounted for a greater proportion kissing. 1976. Proponents this perspective maintain that of the social and sexual ‘reality’ portrayed in pornography is so accurate and detailed that these productions provide important educational and therapeutic aids that help eradicate ‘puritanical attitudes about that have sex long dominated oursociety’ (Goldstein. Stoller. In a later examination female and male of involvement in sexual behavior.I S MEDIA SEX DEGRADING T O WOMEN? 113 acceptance of women in a subordinate sexual role and ultimately lead to behaviors that reflect this perception. Kaplan. and 1984. . 1984. hugging. 1988. This finding for American network television in 1989 showed increase in the an propensity of males to initiate sex relative to females. Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children Youths. 1980. Joint Select Committee on Video Material.and afof fectionate touching. males were much more likely than females to engage in an extramarital affair (Millwood-Hargrave. 1979). One predominant and recurrent pointof contention involves classification and interpretation of the content characteristics of sexually explicit materials. Advocates of this position contend that modern sexually explicit materials offer onlypositive images of sexual pleasure and abandon (Gagnon. 1991).Zillmann 6r Weaver. 1978). Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution. 1989). Lederer. as compared with 10 years earlier. and of implied sexual intercourse than would have been expected on the basis of their overall representation (Silverman. when both sexes had been shown be equally likely to initiate to sexual acts (Sapolsky & Tabarlet. innocuous communications that pertain to sexual behavior. 32). 1977. 1992). Few such comparisons have been made between male female characters. 1984. 1985. One view of pornographic materials is that they are simply entertaining. 1986. men were found to initiate a far greater proportion of sexual acts than did females. PORTRAYALS IN MORE EXPLICIT MATERIALS The expanded popularity and availability of pornography have beenkey factors rekindling andfuelling public scrutiny of and debate aboutvideo pornographic materials (Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. Research in Britain found that while males and females were equally likely to make afirst-time approach to a member the oppoof site sex. & Rubinstein. Wilson. SEXUALITY AND THE SEXES The stereotyping of sex rolesand sex traits by television might be expected to characterise representationsof sexual behavior. p. Sprafkin.

it has long been ‘asserted that a distinguishing characteristic of sexually explicit materials is the degrading and demeaning portrayal of the role and status of the human female’ (Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. adult toys. and concern about sanitation the consequencesof or . 1975. but also from a trend within this category of material to depict scenes of violent sexual attacks on women. Within the psychology literature there have been theoretical disagreements and empirical inconsistencies regarding the effects of nonviolent but degrading sexually explicit material. andthat they consistently depict women as ‘anonymous. p. in particular. dehumanised objects to be used.1986. p. that our pleasure consists of pleasing men. Most notable among these conventions is a seemingly complete ‘preoccupation with sexual activity to the exclusion all other facetsof of human social behavior’ (Hebditch& Anning.Prince. broken and discarded’ (Brownmiller.1984. expressions of affection or emotion (except and lust). and not ourselves’ (Longino.that sexually explicit materials require ‘that women be subordinate to men and mere instruments the fulfillment of for male fantasies . argue that the social and sexual ‘reality’ conveyed by contemporary pornography portrays women as sexually socially subservient to and dominated men. 42). these analysts maintain that such materials disparage and demean women by portraying them as ‘malleable. Palys.. 1988. 1988). 1985. 1980. afterplay. Day.1989. 45-46). There is no objective criterion regarding what is ‘degrading.114 CHAPTER 5 Alternatively.1990. ’ Defining the Prohletn Special concern has been reserved for the way women are portrayed in sexually explicit or pornographic films and videos. abused. 15). that pornographic materials typically feature all variants of heterosexual intercourse in innumerable circumstances (D. panting playthings. Winick. 1985). Brown 6. Although limited. 394). Such concern stems not only from the ‘objectification’ of women. fear depictions of foreplay. pp. At the same time.r Bryant. Many feminist analysts. however. and willing to engage in any sexual act with anyavailable partner’ (Diamond. or friendly cuddling.for instance. 1984. obsessed with sex. Many analysts p. and by From their vantage point..the available empirical data show that contemporary pornographic productionstypically involve a narrow range highly style of ized content conventions that strongly emphasize a ‘chauvinistically male or machoorientation’ towards sexual behavior(Crabbe. p. 1988.Slade. have noted.’although there may be a consensus about the types of images that are regarded as degrading. 1970. depictions of other basic aspects of human sexuality-such as communication between sexual partners. 239).

nonviolent. effects. Researchers have disagreed on the teralso minology to be used for this class of pornography. within this context. they did tend to perceive greater permissiveness after viewing scenes of coercive and/or violentsex. 1991). Another study using college women indicated increased mood disturbances in response to nonviolent aswellas to violent pornography (Senn 6-r Radtke. if not behavioral. 1989). However. A major problem in research on degrading. Research Weaver (1987) and Zillmann by and Weaver (1989) found that exposure to depictions of both sexual and coercive and/or violent media depictions can induce adverse shifts in perceptions ofwomen and dispositions about punishment a convicted of rapist. 1988. 1990. They did not perceive a rape victim as more permissive after viewing sexual themes. Perceptual consequences have been found to occur following consumption of both sexually explicit (X-rated) and suggestive (R-rated) materials portraying the standard nonviolentpornographic theme. . 1986).I MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? S 115 sexual activities-are minimised(Cowan.1989). Zillmann and Bryant (1982) proposed that degrading but nonviolent pornography haspervasive attitudinal. Zillmann. Prince.others common pornography (Zillmann. Levy & Snyder.Furthermore. which is distinguished from erotica and violent pornography. 1986). 1987. 1984. anyof a variety of sexual encounters (Abel. Rimmer. Zillmann (1989) and Zillmann and Bryant (1982) reported varied negative effects of degrading pornography both men and in women. Sexual coercion and violence. 1990) and more negative feelings towards rape victims as a function of exposure to sexually explicit nonviolent films than eithereroticised (nonexplicit sex) violence or covert violence (Borchert. 1991. Rimmer. and bothtypes of material were more likely to do so than nondegrading erotic portrayals (Check & Guloien. Someprefer the use of the word dehummising (Check & Guloien. 1989). 1986). Palys. X-rated pornography has been how to define ‘degrading (to women)’ material. 1989). and still others degrading pornography (Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. including sexual and victim desensitization and changes in broader attitudes and values towards sex and towards women. Women responded differently. Men also rated rape victims as sexually more promiscuous after exposure to media portrayals of sex or sexual violence. Different researchers have used quite varied material in investigating the effect of degrading depictions of women. and responding with hysterical euphoria to. Lee. Later research indicated thatexposure to degrading sexually explicit material was as likely as violent sexual material to increase male proclivity to coercive sex. and idealised sexuality have also revealed strong negative shifts in perceptions of female sexuality and victims of sexual assaults (Weaver. women are normally shownas eagerly soliciting participation in.

not only double standard sexuality being is a of used. erotica occurs between equals. Then. To Steinem. postures orposiin tions of sexual submission. rather than by the ways in which sexuality portrays their subordination. is Hill (1987). but also subordination is discounted’ (p. sexually explicit subordination of women in pictures orin words that also includes women dehumanised as sexual objects.according to Cowan and Dunn (1994). Smith (1976) found a repeated pattern of male dominance in sexual acts and a perpetuation of the ‘rape myth. In contrast. highly promiscuous individuals with insatiable sexual urges’ (p. and objectification of women in pornography are degrading. To him.116 CHAPTER 5 Antipornography feminist writers. such as Steinem (1980) andDworkin and MacKinnon (1988))have contended that the inequality. pornography sexualises the subordinationof women and is a form of sex discrimination.. whereas pornography unequal sex.588 sexual episodes identified 428 paperin . a philosopher. or women’s body parts . not an end. Their proposed civil ordinance spelled out ina more detailed way their definition of pornography.Dworkin and MacKinnon’s (1988) views are based on a political rather than a moral argument.. degrading (common) pornography ‘depicts women as sexually insatiable and socially nondiscriminating in thesense that they seem eager to accommodate the sexual desires of any man in the vicinity and as hyper-euphoric about any kind of sexual stimulation’ (p. (1987) also defined degrading sexually explicit material as that which depicts women as ‘willingrecipients of any male sexualurge (excluding rape) or as over-sexed. Steinem (1980) used mutuality and equal power versus inequality as the major distinction between what she labeled erotica versus pornography. exhibited suchthat women are reducedto those parts. A point of viewabout what constitutes degrading pornography that does not fully capture thefeminist view is that of Zillmann (1989). ‘These definitionsfocus on unbridled sexuality as itself constituting the degradation women. When the degradation of women is associated primarily with their display of sexuality. In their view. Cataloging Degrading Portrayals Among the earliestpublished evidence on this topic were studies of the representation of female sexuality printed in media. Donnerstein et al. 135). Some of their criteria includedthe ‘graphic. 12). but eventuallyenjoys it. servility or display. domination.’ wherein the woman initially resists forcible intercourse. things or commodities. xxxiii). or women presented as whores by nature or inferior or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual’ (p. For example. Of 4. a loss of personhood by being treated as a means. The of extent to which men’s availability and insatiability are degrading to them is rarely discussed. 4). suggested that a public display of low status is degrading-that is.

Fewer than 3% of the attackerswere reprimanded for their crimes. a study of 1. with scenes doubling rape in prevalence during this time. Prince (1990) and Yang and Linz (1990) sampled only the ‘classic’ or more notable ‘feature-length‘ productions.I S MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? 117 backs. 1990. 1984. 1988. Later. . 1987). before dropping off again. or exploitative coercive sexual relations inPlayboy and Penthouse pictures and cartoons increased from 1% in 1973 to about 5% in 1977. 1986). Cowan and lar sampling procedure.000 sexually explicit videos available in the contemporary marketplace (‘Charting the Adult Video Market. others have found less violence and more sex between mutually consenting partners. No further increase was observed after that.. Some studies have shownrelatively high levels of violence. one in five (20%) involved rape. Inanother study of magazines. have covered those years in which suchcontent peaked. Smith found that descriptions of forcible sex increased from the late1960s to the mid-l970s. used a procedure purposefully biased to permit oversampling of potentially violent pornographic materialsfrom the rental stockavailable on the shelves at several colleagues used a sinzioutlets ina Canadian metropolitan area. Although widely viewed. They found thatdepictions of rape. a study of violence in cartoons and pictures in Playboy from 1954 to 1983found that the violence level with womenas targets rose until the mid to late 1970s. andone third of the sex depicted in these novels involved the use of force to obtain sex.’ 1989).000 and in 1 fewer than 4 out of every 1. 1982). Prince. Palys (1984) for example. usually with no punishment of the aggressor. Yang & Linz. Malamuth and Spinner (1980) observed that levels of sexually violent themes in certain magazines sex decreased after reachingpeak a in the late 1970s. such productions included only a small proportion (n = 800) of the approximately 5. therefore.760 adult magazine covers from 1970 to 1981 found an increase in domination and bondage themes which the objectof sexual in domination was usually a woman (Dietz & Evans. The increase i n sexual violence in erotic magazines observed by Malamuth and Spinner (1980) may.butused nonrepresentative samples of sexually explicit videos (Cowan et al. Following the study by Malamuth and Spinner.000pictures. sadomasochism. Sexual violence occurred in aboutpage out of every 3. Depiction o Women in Restricted Videos f A number of content analysis studies of pornographic videos carried out duringthe 1980s providedinterestingdescriptivedata. There is relatively little evidenceon the gender role portrayals in sexually explicit film and video materials. Palys. 1990) or nonsystematic analytical procedures (Rimmer. and then descendedagain (Scott & Cuvelier.

of In a Canadianstudy. A comparison of the frequency of sexual violence across year of production revealed no statistically significant increase in this type of portrayal for either R-rated or X-rated (combined) videos. But this ratio was different for different ratings categories. Females weremore often recipients of . Stag films were popular before the mid-1970s. to be present in all three categories of production (Yang & Linz. and XXX found sexually violent behavior. but no such change in more restricted adulterated videos. violence never wentbeyond an upper boundaryof 10%’ and therewas no indication of any increase in violent images over time. However. During this time period.Over the +year sex period covered by this study. Slade (1984) noted that. or group rape) showed no differences across R-rated and X-rated (combined)categories. however. Since then they have been replaced by videos. of the representation of male and female sexuality in sexually ex2 plicit videos. using content analysis. in sexual scenes. as comparedwithadult-rated materials. the predominant theme in the portrayal of sexual violence was either individual rape or group rape of a single female. in which female victimisation was the norm. with special reference to whatthey revealed about portrayals that were degrading to women. Palys (1986) analysed more than 4. There were no statistically significant changes in durationfor either R-rated or X-rated (combined)videos across the years. There have been several investigations. depictions constituted 5% of this material. from 1979 to 1983. Palys found a decrease in violent sexual imagery in commercially available videos. on average. Computation of ‘recipient-initiator’ ratios indicated that females were more often the recipients than che perpetrators of violence and sexual violence in both R-rated X-rated (combined) and videos. A number of these studies were reviewed in chapter as part of a discussion about the amount media sex on distribution. itis of relevant to examine these studies again at this point. Sexually violent behavior sequenceswere much shorter inR-rated videos than in others. A further study in the United States of videos rated R. Further examination of sexual violence against females (female homosexual. Incontrast. Sexually violent scenes mostly compriseddepictions of rape. and sadomasochism. coercive sexual relations. there was greater equality between the sexes in these videos. between 1915 and rape 1972. men were dominant in most scenes. Slade did note that the violence since 1970 had become more graphic and brutal. individual. For all three types of videos.000 scenes from 150 adult-rated and commercially availabletriple-X-rated videos.118 CHAPTER 5 In an examination of the ‘stag’ film genre (the 8mm films now shown more oftenin peep shows). X. 1990). Although the commercially available videos contained scenes of explicit sex and sexual violence. This review also introduces some studies for the first time in this volume because of their specific relevance to the theme the present discussion. in adulterated videos.

Reinforcement the rape myth thatwomen enjoy being of forced to engage in sex occurred in 14% of the scenes. only limited information on the more basic social and relationalmilieux of these behaviors is provided. More than half the sexually explicit scenes identified were coded as predominantly concerned with dominationor exploitation. sisform ter-sister. Yang 6r Linz. . in published reports (Cowan et al. abusive manner. Consequently. with 38% representing women exploiting other women. which had more than three times as many prosocial as sexually violent behaviors.72).I MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? S 119 sexual violence in R-rated than inX-rated videos (4. Of 124 scenes characterised as dominance. 90% presented a man raping a woman. including physical violence. which showed women submitting to dominant. Cowan et al. Two other aspects of these investigations also tend tolimit their usefulness. Some sexual scenes depicted incestuous relationships. Of the total 40autoerotic scenes. In another analysis of X-rated videos in the United States. First. and 22% were female dominated. Finally. it more often was was done in a violent. In 68% of the exploitation scenes. Specific indicators of domination and sexual inequality. a man exploited one or more women. A rape occurred in 5 1%of the films. This omission emerges as a particularly weak aspect of previous research because it is the social ‘reality’ projected by pornography through the depiction of social roles and contexts-not sexual behavior per se-that is the focus of controversy. Women appearedas exploitative in 23%of such scenes. The remaining scenes depicted a woman being raped another woman. When a man was bound it was done playfully. (1988) focused on the prevalence of debasing portrayals of women. brother-sister. 78% were commanded by men. Dominance and exploitation major themes comprised of the sexas 545 ually explicit scenes. acts and ultimately responding with acceptanceand evenpleasure. R’ lmmer. These never took the of father-daughter-but did include mother-son. All rape scenes were rapes of women. there was generally a greater number of violent (combined)behaviors than prosocial behaviors in both types of videos. Of these scenes. although considerable detail about the occurrenceof various sexual and/or violent behaviors is available. attentionhas focused primarily on quantification of the manifest behavior presented in sexually explicit productions. An exception was in R-rated materials. 10 showed female bondage. 2.33 vs. Men did most of the domination and exploitation. Nearly by one in four of the sex scenes (23%) contained some violence-all directed towards women. and uncle-niece. whereas when a woman in bondage. Of the latter. aunt-nephew. 1988. 1990). 1986. 37% were depictions of women dominating other women. 1984. often coercive. 38 depicted women deof 2 and picted men. Palys. Of the 14 bondage scenes. occurred frequently..

between the two production periods. information was collected about each movie.duringthe 1979-1988 period. In the first tier.28 minutes.1 per film). information was coded about sexual the scenes within each movie. The average length of sexual scenes was 5. 1993). and 42 were released post-1986. and about30% involved strangers. More female (288) than male (227) actors participated in the sexual scenes. Almost 38% of all sexual scenes depicted intercourse betweencasual acquaintances or colleagues. The research used a three-tiercoding system. a random sample 50 porthis of nographic videotapes was selected from an archive of such materials targeted for heterosexualconsumers. about 13% featured a male with two female partners. If either of these characteristics changed. and 11% involved two or more females. ethnic background.6% of the typical movie was devoted to sexual scenes. . scenes depicting females persuading males sexual activities into increased significantly. Malespersuading females remained unchanged.120 CHAPTER 5 A later analysis of the prominent themes in pornographic films attempted to deal with this issue by utilising more than onelevel of analysis (Brosius. 72 movies wereincluded on the50 videotapes sampled. such as length and year of release. 30% consisted of utterances of pleasure. the reasons for engaging sexual activities. age. In the second tier. A ‘scene’ was defined as an uninterrupted sequence of activity (a) by a fixed number of participants and (b) in agiven location. 67. and clothing. Women were more expressive than men and made twothirds of the utterances in these movies. Overall. various characteristics of each participant in the sexual scenes were recorded. anew scene was recorded. However. In the third tier of the coding system. Individual women were more sexually active and appeared in more scenes than theirmale counterparts. Each sexual scene was coded for length.&Staab. The movies contained a totalof 436 sexual scenes (6. somatic features. Weaver. and the type of sexual activities in depicted. dominance and subordination in institutional relationships. Female actors were almost exclusively young (under 35). More than half (52%) of utterances referred to the sexual activities. Of these. Females subordinate to females seldom appeared (2%). These included gender. More than half the sexual scenes (52%) depicted heterosexual couples. 30 films were made during the 1979-1986 period. In all.The most frequent institutional relationships portrayed females as subordinate to males (16%). a female alone was shown inabout 12% of the scenes. the nature of the relationships.Approximately two thirds of the men andwomen were naked. the nature the persuasive efforts used initiate of to sexual activities. and 16% instructed partners’ actions through requests or demands. Persuasion was not generally needed. number and gender combinations of participating individuals. In study. The beginning of a sexual scene was defined either by actors removing their clothes or by their initiating of sexual behavior.

Women were far more expressive than men during scenes. sex was engaged in purely for pleasure. however. Significant increases were evident in the frequency of portrayals of sex between casual acquaintances. Takentogether. Sex between married partners was infrequently presented. Women initiated more oftenacross the two time periods. victimised by violent male attackers? Are women proportionately more to be viclikely tims of violence than men in these films? In slasher movies.A strong age bias(young) was noted for women but not for men. the violence often involves close-up aggressive acts. Depicsex tions of women as superordinate to men in institutional contexts. and the performance of fellatio as the initial sexual behavior among heterosexual partners. fondling of female genitalia (digital stimulation of the vulva. The findings also revealed that some thematic aspects of modern pornographic movies have shifted over time. Overtime.cunnilingus (40%). a significant decrease in the numberof depictions involving sex between colleagues in aworkplace or a prostitute-client relationship was also apparent. More than half the sexual scenes portrayed intercourse between totalstrangers or casual acquaintances. There was a significant decline in portrayals of sex between colleagues at work. in which a prevalent themeis the violent victimisation women by a maleattacker of who apparently enjoys inflicting pain and suffering on his victims. Coitus was depicted at least once in61% of all sexual scenes. males engaging in sex with female subordinates. This view of pornographic reality was different from the one promulgated by feminist commentators. female characters persuading males into sexual activities. In the pornographic reality. 22%) were also commonly portrayed behaviors. The pornographic reality frequently depicted sex sexual behavior as occurring outside the bounds of the cultural norms of most Western societies. women were shown more sexually active as with a greater variety of partners than were men. and fondling of male genitalia (digital stimulation of the penis and/or scrotum. 37%). Slasher Movies. The subordination of women in videos that contain sexually explicit material and receive adult or restricted-adult ratings often focuses on overt depictions coercive or violent sexual behavior in of which female actors are portrayed as victims. Contrary popular beor to . vagina. and or clitoris. One ormore of these behaviors were involvedin 96% of scenes. Although women can be subordinated in more subtle to what extent are women ways. increased.I MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? S 121 In more than three quarters (77%) of scenes. the datashowed that contemporary pornographicmovies continue to spotlight the sexual desires and prowess of men while consistently and persistently portraying women as sexually willing and available. Across all scenes Fellatio (54%). however. frequently including use the of knives and other cuttingsawing instruments.

. females rarely fell victim to theslasher subsequent tosexual actions. This result called into question the belief that slasher films contained scenes of explicit violence primarily directed toward women(Linz et al. Around one in seven (13. In answering the central question the study about the link of between sex and violence..6%) of all five innocent female actors were kicked by a slasher during or following a sexual display or act. Weaver provided further evidence counter to theassumptions that hadbeen posed regarding slasher films. however. Sex and violence were not commonly linked in thesefilms.7%) were linked to a female’s serious physical harm. A death or severe attack of a female duringor after depictions of sex occurred infrequently. Just over one in (2 1. there were 38 instances of death and two instances of major injury juxtaposed with the portrayal of sex. feof males were no more often portrayed as the victim than were males. and 1989. one in three the sexual images found in of slasher films were connected to at least one actof violence. Therewere only six scenes (out of 406) that depicted a female victimised after sexual activity. When focusing on female victims.In terms of the death the protagonist in slasher films. Females. however. 1985. recurrent evidence hasemerged from systematic empirical studies of these films that female characters are nomore likely to be victimised than male characters. women were not inequitably portrayed as the victims of violence in slasher films. regardless of the gender of the or time victim or the outcomeof the violent act. Weaver (1991) examined the 10 slasher films with the highest box-office earnings in 1987. However. the sex-violence linkage was substantially smaller. their finding that one thirdof nonsurviving females were presented in a sexual context before or at thetime of their attacksupports the claim that slasher films often juxtapose sex and violence. femalevictims were shown suffering longer than theirmale counterparts. First. the duration of death scenes was significantly longer for female characters. However. O n the latter point-the degree to which violence was mixed with sex-the two studies were in conflict. However. however. a significantly higher number of deaths and injuries were suffered by males. in line with findings of Cowan and O’Brien.6%) of all sexual incidents in these films were linked to the death of a female and fewer than one in 100 (0. There were 92 instances recorded sexual display or of behavior preceding at the of violence. When female victims were considered. 1988). Cowan and O’Brien (1990) analysed 56 slasher films to reveal no difference in theoverall number of male and female victims. Less than one in of these infour stances featuredfull nudity or implied intercourse. were shown in terror for longer periods.122 CHAPTER 5 lief. Second. Molitor and Sapolsky (1993) analysed 30 slasher films released in 1980. This study revealed that females were not featured most often as the targets of slashers.

Feminists who believed that tighter regulation or more censorship would lead to greater repression of women. is seen as degrading to women. Mormons.IS MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? 123 THE PERCEIVED IMPACT OF DEGRADING PORTRAYALS Although the following chapters examine evidence for postexposure psychological effects of sexually explicit or pornographic media content on consumers of such material. In an initialinvestigation. compared to erotica. A series of studies conducted by Cowan et al. There were differences between fundamentalists and feminist thinking. Jehovah's Witnesses. more than female sexual availability. Stock's research supportsthe conclusion that female subordination. also regarded pornography as de- . but even nonviolent sexual themes were perceived many of these inby terviewees as degrading. In one such is worth saying something at this point about immediateemotional responses of viewers of degradingportrayals of A women at thetime of watching them.the viewing of unequal sex (themes of dominance. violent pornography or sexually explicit erotica depicting mutuality. hostility. Pro-censorship feminists also believed that pornography harmed women. Among the women specifically. and penis worship) led to more negative mood states (depression. exposure to both nonviolent butdegrading (unequal) pornography and violent pornography increased negativemoods. All three groups felt extremely negatively about pornography. religious beliefs and Fundamentalists' answers were influenced by their strong conservative ideology. They wanted to much tighter regulation of pornography in consequence. They believed that pornography contributed to violence against women and that presented a distorted of female sexualit image ity. small amount of research has been carried out to investigate whether male and female viewers judge particular sexually explicit portrayals as degrading to women. confusion) than did exposure to eitherfemale availability without inequality. Stock (1991) found that for both females and male college students. and Pentecostals)-explored their opinions about pornography. and incest were the most strongly criticised. Themes thatinvolved battery. see and they regarded such control as outweighing the principles of freedom of speech. and dehumanising women. Feminists were also divided into those who favored tighter regulation and censorship and those who did not. 44 women-who comprised 29 self-designatedfeminists and 15 fundamentalist women (including Baptists. objectification. (1989) among different groups of women indicated that the explicit sexual portrayals found in pornography are generally regarded with some disdain by female viewers.demeaning. Explicitmedia sex was perceived to beimmoralandwrong.

(e) highly degrading or dehumanising. sexually explicit activity such as rape. nondegrading. or threat of force (95%). Status inequality: Sexual activity and the accompanying scenario that indicates inequality. Althoughthey were concerned aboutthe welfare ofwomen. Unreciprocatedsex: Sexual activity that one-sided. Seven of the nine themes depicted typesof inequalitwo ties-active subordination and status inequality. (b) full female nudity(13%). she have may be younger. She is nondiscriminating. The woman appears to less power than the man. and(f) violent. the A second study surveyed a samplerecipients of the National Organisaof tion of Women newsletter about their opinions concerning pornography. This survey was primarily concerned with attitudes about regulation and censorship of pornography that are dealt with in chapterHowever. use offorce. less . noncoercive. Cowan and Dunn (1994) assessed ratings of nine themes in commercial pornography testfeminist theory about what degrading to is to women in pornography. Thus. 1992). question relevant to subject matter of the current chapter responthe asked dents to indicate whether would regard any of six classes content as they of ‘pornographic. who rated nine excerpts of sexually explicit material. were: (a) partial female nudity (8% rated thisas pornographic).g. explicit sexual activity (33%).124 CHAPTER 5 grading women and therefore as a source of potential harm. Status reduction: Sexual activity that incorporates the idea that a high-status woman can be reduced to a purely sexual being.) Availability: Sexual activity showing that the woman is available to anyone who wants her. and one theme depicted equal sex. The woman used to is is is satisfy the man’s needs. sexual activity in whichone partneris depicted as unequal and/or exploited or presented as an object to be used. one theme depicted female indiscriminate availability. explicit sexual activity (e. intelligent. etc.(c) male nudity (13%).. in contrast.’ These six categories. they perceived that therewere more significant issues of fieedom of speech at stake should censorship be tightened here. Her gratification not important. the respondents were 94 febrief male and 89 male college students. less educated.’ Degrading and vioas lent sex acts. Category definitions used in this study were as follows: Sexually explicit behavior: Sexual activity thatis explicit and mutual without indicating an affectionate personal relationship between the two people (‘Equal’ was not used with participants. for most of these women.O n this occasion. together with the percentages of respondents who found thempornographic. (d) nonviolent. that would not benefit women (or men) in longer term. labelled as pornographic by an overwhelming were majority of the women surveyedhere (Cowan. In a third study. nudity or mutually consenting sexual depictions (even thoughexplicit) were not seen ‘pornographic. 96%). one 12.

explicitly reminded viewers that pornography is male centered. each representing one of the nine themes. and penis worship. means yes. but theywere also reduced toobjects and sexual subordinates. 1988). dehumanising. which may have affected the results. In this category. stimulating. penis worship.. Dominance: Sexual activity and the related scenario that explicitly shows that the man dominant. When presented with its definition. for Objectification:Sexual activity that treats the woman as an object or a plaything. It was also a very arousing theme. Another group was run laterusing the same videos. degrading to women. but more degrading than female availability and equal sex. The study was run intwo parts. more so than the themes of status inequalities availability. In dominance and objectification. Submission. Hemay command her to do what he wishes or is insult her without any regard her desires. objectification.These themes most and clearly depict active subordination and most blatantly disrespect women. Participants found dominance. The ejaculate (semen)especially central to the is woman’s satisfaction. Each clip was rated along 13 adjectives on 14-point scales ranging from ‘not at all’ to ‘extremely’sexually arousing. realistic. These respondents were given a label and definition of each theme. and exciting. aggressive. 1988). it was rated as more degrading.I MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? S 125 Submission:Sexual activity that begins with the woman’s unwillingness to no ultimately participate and ends with her loving it.withscores aroundthe scale midpoint. but withoutdefinitions.. affectionate. and penis worship the three most degrading themes.’ was not rated as degrading when presented without its definition. educational. or the rape myth that ‘no’ means ‘yes. availability and nonreciprocation were rated as less degrading than otherthemes. the most unifying and ubiquitous theme in pornography (Cowan et al. obscene. . Consistent withfeminist theory. Although dominance and objectification are the themes that feminist critiques of pornography have identified as most degrading to women (e. participants were exposed to nine clips. Submission. the less active and more subtle forms of subordination. Themes of status reduction and inequality. These status inequality themes. both men and women who viewed the excerpts rated active subordination more degrading status than inequalities and bothtypes of inequalities more degrading than sexually explicit material with one qualification. were rated less degrading than dominance. Dworkin 6rMacKinnon. boring. along with submission. disgusting. offensive. First. Penislsemen worship: Sexual activity that revolves around worship peof the nis. not only were women subordinate in status. were ratedmoderatelydegrading. objectification.g.

In the video examplesused. are more sensitive to explicit sexual depictions than are others. Media scenarios in which men and women respond in stereotyped ways in sexual situations may condition such sexual schema among both genders. Her clearly displayed pleasure was found highly-sexually arousing. Differences were found between men and women in comparisons of theme ratings. 1987). In one study. 1975. Meanwhile. however. Compared not to reading a story. DOES PORNOGRAPHY AFFECT WOMEN’S SELF-REGARD? Although women may evaluate certain types of media sex as degrading their owngender. reading any of these stories generally led to changes in self-esteem and . however. women rated equal as significantly less degradsex ing than the other eight themes. the effects of reading pornography on women have been found to vary with the sex-role perceptions and self-confidence of the reader. Here. evenif they initially refuse sexual advances.Also. Women rated inequalities and availabilall ity more degrading than equal sex. We sawearlier in this chapter that reactions to sexual content can vary between individuals.Research has shown that this is true of the way women respondto pornographic materials. Apparently. women may learn to expect a certain of physical force in sexual relationships degree as normal. 1978). whether male or female. whereas men ratedactive subordination themes and status inequalities more degrading than nonreciprocated sex and female availability.126 CHAPTER 5 among both men and women. Some individuals. The evidence for this has derived more from studies of print mediathan film or video media. There is a further complicating factor that has to be considered in this context. Gross. Both rated objectification and dominance as the most degrading. Men may indeed learn to believe that women will respond positively to force in sexual relations. there was greater focus on the woman’s face in the submission clips. does exposureto suchmaterial actually change thatway women feel about themselves? Some feminist writers have contended that women learn to become victims. women rated penis worship as degrading as both of these other two themes. women high and low in self-role stereotyping read one of three sexually explicit stories portraying different combinations of women’s consent or nonconsent and arousal or nonarousal to forceful sexual activity (Mayerson &Taylor. the belief that one person is being satisfied by the other does not lead to theassumption of inequality. Nonreciprocated sex was viewed as degrading as were not other inequalities. Passivity is the primary conditioned response in sexual relations (Brownmiller.

Exposure to reading storyin which women a a was depicted as sexually abused resulted in lower self-esteem among sex-role stereotyped low women but higher self-esteem among women who initially high in were sex-role stereotyping. Blackwell. The sexuality of women has beenemphasised in drama and advertising much more so than thatof men. Women readof ers who had exhibited high sex-role stereotyping in theirbeliefs about the sexes had lower self-esteem than women who exhibited sex-role stereolow typing. There are plentiful pornographicfilms and videos in which women are as sexually predatory. However. such exposure have drawn their attention to the may subordination of women by men in sexual relations producing reduced confidence in their own autonomy power through identification with and the victim in the story. 1982. 1976). a view has also prevailed that emphasis on the sexual side of women is used to objectify them. for women high in self-esteem. Although this latter observationmay indeed be true some sexually explicit pornogof raphy. 1983). women and men who hold more traditional. as and In broadcast advertising. likewise. More generally. dominant. and pleasure seeking as men. Klemmack & Klemmack. 1982.Thissexual objectification has been regarded some feminist critics as a degradation by of the female sex. Even in media that depict explicit sexual content. Kibler. . Other research has revealed that both men and women with high sex-role stereotyped beliefs exhibit greater arousal rape depictionsin the to media as compared withindividuals with weak-self-role stereotyped beliefs (Check & Malamuth. & Bentley. Thispartly stems from the customary stereotyping of the sexes that has depicted women as preoccupied with personal and romantic relations and men as more concerned with professional and occupational success. men have traditionally dominated the authoritative roles. Dietz. and where women may enjoy greater physical presence (at least equal that men). CONCLUSION Women have long been known to suffer underrepresentation in mainstream entertainment media such motion pictures television dramas. portrayto of als of women’s sexuality continues to subordinate them to men. although this pattern began to change in the past decade. Meanwhile. & Crank. it is not universally true.I S MEDIA SEX DEGRADING TO WOMEN? 127 greater acceptance rape myths and interpersonal violence. Daley. The authors speculated that exposure a woman to receiving abusivetreatment could have led female readersof low self-esteem to put their own problems in perspective. stereotyped sex-role beliefs are more likely to have misconceptions about rape (Costlin.

media sex has restricted distribution. Although much media sex is accepted by a majority. Furthermore. it not unrise is typical for women to be shown as almost willing victims of rape. who such content find offensive. it is rejected by a minority. there is little doubt that is viewed at it least occasionally by significant numbers of men. There are many men. its constituency declines. however. especially if it is low already. perceived as degrading to women. evidence has been obtained that themes of male dominance and female exploitation do occur in many X-rated Although this type of videos. Not only are pornographic portrayals of sexually available women. The important question whether such is material has even wider. along with most women.128 CHAPTER 5 The representation of women in pornography in which sex is combined with violence. dominated by sexually demanding men. evidence has emerged that women who watchthis content may lower their self-esteem. has given to special concern. As media sex becomes moreexplicit. few . This is the question to which we turn in the next chapters. although a majority of the public is likely to reject themes of female degradation. explicit media sex with violent themes continues to attract a profitable market. Here. However. adverse side effects on those who like to consume it.

6 Does Media Sex Give Men the Wrong Ideas? The previous chapter presented evidence that depictions sexual behavof ior in films. videos. and television programs can be degrading to women. Before turning to evidence thatdeals with the behavioral effects of sexual material films. Scenes in which womenare violently sexually assaulted give rise to considerable concern. videos. An case initial consideration. and about the sexuality of women. what are healthy ways of expressing one’s own sexual urges. we should examine the potential influences of such material a at cognitive level. Even nonviolent portrayals or a purely sexual nature may give out the wrong messagesabout female sexuality by depicting women as having sexually voracious appetitesand being nondiscriminatingin terms of who they have sex with. the aggressivebehavior of viewers). in the of some portrayals. and television in programs. however. The ultimate concern about media portrayals of sexual behavior rests with thepossible impact they might have the on sexual behavior viewers of (and. generating immediate anxiety reactions among female members of the audience and possibly creating a longer term climate of fear. is whether such portrayals implant certain ideas in theminds of viewers about what could deemed appropriatesexbe ual conduct. Do sexual portrayals in theaudiovisual media give men the wrong ideas about female sexuality and sexual relations? 129 .

Malamuth & Check.. and on wider opinions and beliefs about female sexuality. . some researchers have conducted experimental studies in which the conditions of exposure are manipulated in advance along with natureof the matethe rial that is shown to individuals.g. such surveys do not demonstrate causal relations between media exposure and ideas about sexual conduct. particularly certain images found in adult videos and slasher films. on antifemale attitudes. & Penrod. belief that rape and a would be a sexually arousing experience for the rapist are all correlated withself-reportedpossibility of committingrape(Malamuth 6-r Donners tein.For example. 1994). although often in mild forms. sexual promiscuity.g. sexual arousal to rape stimuli. they merely indicate where the two may be correlated... a desire to hurt women.More acute examples of the sexual objectification of women occur in pornographic films and videos. There is also a body of work that suggests that depictions of sexual behavior in mainstream media can cultivate distorted of sets beliefs and values concerning relationships. and inparticular violent sexual behavior. an increased acceptance of rape mythsand interpersonal violence against women (e. Malamuth a & Check. Among the most problematic of media stereotypes are those concerning sexual violence. procreation.g. Interest has centered on the potential impact of sexual media content on aggressive fantasies and thoughts. The research in this area canbe further divided in terms of the types of cognitive processes that aremeasured. 1981a). Of course. 1983). and sexual performance (Zillmann. exposure to a sexually explicit rape scene in which the victim shows ‘positive’ reactions produces lessened sensitivity to rape(e. 1981). Research has shown that exposure to depictions rape in which media of the woman appears be responsible for her own victimisation appears to or to enjoy the assault can result in several changes in men’s cognitive appraisal of sexual violence (Donnerstein. The research evidence can divided under a number headings. These surveys explored the degree of association between men’s reported exposure to sexually explicit media and their thoughts and feelings about women. To understand more about the possible causal connection between exposure to sexual media content and subsequent thought processes. Much of this research has. 1982). of course. marriage. Malamuth. sex.130 CHAPTER 6 Sexual stereotypes abound in the audiovisual media. Linz. especially when directedby men at women. Early be of indications that exposure to sexual media content might be associated with men’s ideas about women’s sexuality derived from correlational surveys. and an increase in sexual arousal to rape (e. They can readily be found in mainstreamtelevision and movie entertainment. been primarily concerned with demonstrating effects of pornographic content.Furthermore. 1987).

male participants were asked how women in general would react to being victimised by sexual violence (Malamuth & . 1980. reported a greater likelihood that they and other men would commit suchan act. and the victim as more saw responsible for what had occurred (Donnerstein. 1985). When therape victim became aroused. 1984). relax their inhibitions about doing and so.R. In one of these studof the ies. 1980b). 1984. or rape abhorredby the victim. In a second experiment. These studies assessed whether rapes depicting victim arousal changed male viewers’ perceptions of other rapes. condition them to experience sexual arousal in relation to such acts (Ch & Malamuth. These effects have been particularly pronounced for more sexually active men. male participants labelled the assault more as a sexual act. They did not show that these perceptions carry over to perceptions of rape in general. They also perceived greater justificationfor it. the participants were shown a rape depiction and asked about their perceptionsthe act and victim. and increased their acceptanceof violence against women. One series of studies assessed how either victim arousal or abhorrence the end a rape depicat of tion changed the way in which the assault was perceived when therape itself remained identical in thetwo versions. In another series of studies. Malamuth& Check. These experiments showed that changing the outcome of a rape affects the way it is perceived. A number of studies were conducted thatshowed that controlledlaboratory exposure to sexually violent media content could give rise to aggressive thoughts and feelings as an immediate response. Rapaport. those participants exposed to the‘positive’rape portrayalin which the woman became sexually aroused perceived second rapeas lessnegative the than those whoinitially saw a rape depictionin which the womanvictim showed extreme distress (Malamuth &Check. A body of experimental research emerged during the 1980s to complement the survey findings. altered theirbeliefs about women’s reactions to sexual assaults. male participants were shown either film depictions of mutually consenting sex between a male and female couple. In two experiments.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 131 INSTIGATION OF AGGRESSIVE EWTASIES AND THOUGHTS One view about theeffects of violent pornographyis that it may teach men how to perform antiwoman acts. Afterward. Some evidence also emerged that watching a rape victimon film displaying arousal may have led men toperceive rape as a more normal act. the carry-over effects of perceptions of and attitudes towards rape were directly examined. One particular body of research examinedthe impact ‘positive’versus of ‘negative’rape portrayals mostly in pornographic films. rape in which the female victim eventually became aroused.

g. Critics have doubted that brief and transitory exposure to violentsexual images can move men to antiwomen thoughts. In a replication of earlier research experimentsconducted by behavioral psychologists such as Malamuth.132 CHAPTER 6 Check.. greater reported exposure to sexually explicit films correlated with higher acceptance of rape . 1981). where not asingle man displayed this such fantasies. rape without sexual arousal. From this type of analysis. andusing the same general procedure and similar kinds of film materials. Although earlier work had indicated thatbrief exposure to rape scenes led more than one third of male participants tofantasise about rape (Malamuth. Explaining Aggressive Cognitive Reactions One of the ways in whichthe psychological processesthat generate such effects get underway is through the instigation of aggressive fantasies and thoughts about women. CULTIVATION OF ANTIFEMALE ATTITUDES A number of surveys and studies carried out in laboratory setting have india cated that exposure to violent sex scenes may alter male attitudes towards women and more especially towards rape. 1991). Those shown afilm depiction of a rape with apositive outcome believed that a higher percentage of women would derive pleasure from beingsexually assaulted. 1988).Evidence from surveystudies has generally comprisedan analysis of the degree of correlation between self-reports on the of male respondents of exposure to different kinds of pornopart graphic material (e.Koss & Dinero. This hypothesis has been criticised as overly simplistic and as failingto acknowledgethe influences of life-long learning experiences concerning actions that are socially permitted andthose that are socially proscribed. 1989. Afterwards. attitudes and acts that areprofound variance with at the remainder their learning of history (Fisher & Barak. magazine or film. Fisher and Grenier (1994) presented young men with scenes that depicted rape with the victim's sexual arousal. They then completed a projective psychological test also designed to measure sexual fantasies. respondents were asked to take moments and few a write down an arousing sexual fantasy of their own. violent and nonviolent) and their responses to scales designed measure to their attitudes towards women. or nonviolent male-female sexual intercourse. evidence has been reported that more frequent exposure to sexually explicit magazines is linked to beliefs that women enjoy forced sex (Malamuth &Check. that result was not repeated in later study. Further.1985. 1985a).

Briere. Haber. 1980a.e. In two of these experiments. Malamuth (1984) reportedthreeexperimentsinwhichparticipants were presented first with eitherpornographic rape scenes in which the aggressor perceived that the assault resulted in the female victim’s sexual arousal (Le. a body of empirical evidence accumulated that indicated that who are exposed sexually men to explicit materials in which women are portrayed as sexual objects who are receptive to any male (or female) sexual advances or in which violence against women in asexual context is endorsed. In atypical study. whereas in another version she was not. In one version. 1989. Several days later they would beinvited to take part in apparently an unrelated exercise. 1980). 1984. Zillmann. Over time.. Experimentalresearch concerning theeffects of exposure to sexually explicit material began withinvestigations of still photographs and literary passages. Malamuth & Ceniti. especially if she eventually became sexually aroused (Malamuth& Check. 197813. the participants would be testedtheir attitudes to a for variety of topics (including attitudes to women) in an initial phase of the research.g. Schmidt & Sigusch. These survey findings have beenreinforced by experimental evidence in which male college students were shown films that depicted sex scenes with and withoutviolence and testedfor any changesin their attitudes towards women. . that all women secretly desireto be raped) and withgenerally callous attitudes towards sexual relations with women (Check. developnegative attitudes toward women (Check & Guloien.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 133 myth beliefs (i. 1984).. Malamuth. Corne. the woman was a willing participant. Zillmann & Bryant. & Feshbach. 1989. those exposed to thepositive outcome version of the aggressive scenes in comparison to othersubjects thought the rape victim in the second portrayal had suffered less (Malamuth & Check. a ‘positive’outcome) or with other depictions (e. 1978a. 1989). 1983). Such individuals were also less likely to perceive the woman as distressed or the rape as a negative and undesirable behavior (Malamuth & Check. all of sex these participants were given a different depiction of rape and asked to indicate their perceptions of the experiences of the victim. Rmtz. Malamuth & Check. It moved on toconsider the effects of sexually explicit films and videos that portrayed consensual sex scenes (Fisher & Byrne. & Malamuth. 198la. 1986). 1980a). Afterwards. 1970) and coercive sex scenes (Check & Guloien. This involved listening to audiotape recordings of a man and a woman engaging insexual intercourse. 1989. Male listeners who exhibited more callous attitudes to women at the outset were more likely to enjoy scenes in which the woman was forced to havesex. In other versions. a rape with victim abhorrence or a mutually consenting scene). the woman displayed pain and suffering or became arousedor upset by the experience..

The deployment of a debriefing session. high LR participants were affected by nonconsenting women’s arousal. if any. . disgust). No overall relationships of significance emerged between reported exposure to pornography and attitudestowards women. In addition. This revealed a set of relationships between exposure to violent themes and traditional attitudes towards women. this study indicated that greaterreported exposure to pornography was correlated withless liberal attitudes towards womenand amore cynical attitude towards rape. consenting sex between a man and woman. 1972) and the AttitudesToward Rape Scale (Feild. exposure to violent themes in pornography also correlated with a number attiwas of tudes torape (e. The results indicated a main effect of LRreports. In sum.198lb) . a nude woman). male undergraduates first classified low were as versus high in terms of likelihood of raping (LR) on the basis of their responses to a questionnaireadministeredinapreliminarysession (Malamuth &Check. They were questioned about exposure to pornographic magazines. Later. In this experiment. nonconsent)andoutcome (women’s arousal vs. was found to be effective as counteracting such false beliefs (Malamuth. Garcia (1986) investigated the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit material and attitudes towards rape among male students age 18 to 38. oral sex.A distinction was then made between their level of exposure to violent and nonviolent sexual themes. the nature the women’s reaction had nosignificant impact on participants’ perceptions ofwomen’s reactions to rape. However. stronger agreement that women are responsible for prevention of rape and that rape and that rapists are normal. Here. outcome did make a difference within nonconsenting (rape) depictions.g. manipulation of LR outcome within nonconsenting portrayals had no impact.A laboratory session was held at a later date. however. participants completed a questionnaire about their beliefs regarding the percentage of women. For low participants. The use of such questions raises an ethical issue. and disagreement that rapists should be punished or that women should resist).. that would ‘enjoy’ being raped.134 CHAPTER 6 The third experiment revealed effects on general perceptions about women. books and films. They were also administered the AttitudesToward Women Scale (Spence & Helmreich. 1978). participants were randomly assigned to listen to audiotapes that were systematically manipulated in their content the dimensions along of consent (women’s consent vs. and about exposure within these media specific sexual to themes (coercive sex. In this session. 1984). with high participants LR estimating much higher percentages of women enjoying being raped comin of parison with low LR participants. Within consenting portrayals. inasmuch as their use may perpetuate or strengthen existing beliefs in rape myths.

1984). The results failed to reveal anysignificant connections between number of X-rated self-chosen sex videos rented and opinions about feminism or rape. 1985. The main focus of this study on the was relationship betweenthe men’s renting of porn videos and their attitudestowards feminism and rape. Koss & Dinero. even in the event signifiof cant correlations emerging between key variables. the principal media measure weight of exposure to is specified types of media content. One study of Canadian men. withsurvey data of this kind. On this occasion. Respondents of his were askedwhether or not they considered such behavior a crime and. Another study with young college men in the United States found a similar pattern of results (Briere et al. no to Effects o Heavy D o s a g e E x p o s u r e f In most of the correlational surveys that have explored relationships between reported exposureto explicit sexual material in the media and attitudes towards women. Thus.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 135 In a further investigation links between exposure to pornography and of attitudes towards women. Davies (1997) examined a sampleof nearly 200 men who voluntarily watched sexually explicit videos of their own choosing.heavier reported exposure to sexually explicit media content has been positively correlated with reactions more supportive violence against women. to short. was that higher readershipof sexually explicit magazines wascorrelated with firmer beliefs that women enjoyed forced sex (Malamuth & Check.for instance. what degreeof punishment would they proscribe. 1984).. for exof One ample. The study paid particular attention to a specific category of violent behavior aimed at women-‘marital rape. it would be difficult to determine whether the pattern video rental caused the development of of certain attitudes or whether pre-existing attitudes determined video preferences. consistent finding. evidence emerged support either hypothesis. Not all the research evidence has been consistent. found that those turned who out to be the heaviest users of sexually explicit media also exhibited the highest acceptance of rapemyths and acceptance of violenceagainst women. however.’ In this case. Options varied from ‘do nothing because it is a private matter’ through recommendation of counselling. The purpose wasto find out if the men rented the who greater number X-rated of videos displayed more negative attitudes towards feminismand if they were more likely to condone violence towards women as compared with men who rented relatively few videos of this type. a man uses physical force or the threat force in his sexual relations with wife. Of course. and displayed the most callous attitudes aboutsex (Check. if so. 1988).or long-term prison sentences. Another American survey did not find any significant degree of association be- .

Once again. Self-reportedexposuretopornographydidnotpredictattitudesto women for male or female respondents. may be more susceptible to theinfluences of explicit media than those reared with more education about such things (Malamuth & Billings. It would appear that the degree to which claimed viewing of pornographic films is linked to attitudestowards womenis mediated by the level of dependence men show on sexually explicit media content as a source of information about female sexuality. or in families where sex is treated as taboo. around two thirds of whom were female.136 CHAPTER 6 tween attitudes supporting violence against women and the extent to which they reported consuming violent or nonviolent pornography. Experimentalstudies can actually manipulate thisfactor and make . an experimentwas conducted among male and female college students who were randomly assigned to watch either hourof an erotic film material or nonerotic film material every for 5 days. evidence did emergea link between watching depicting of films women beingviolently sexually attacked and reports among viewers male that there was a likelihood they would commit sexual aggression themselves if they could beassured that they would not be punished for such acts (Demare et al. 198813). & Neal. 1989). Although a general association between reported exposure explicit material and attitudes concerning to sexual violence may not necessarily emerge. and it is unclear how seriously degrading to women such material may have been. however. follow-up surveywas carried A out among a small sample of patrons (all except one were male) at an ‘adult’ movie theatre. EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH In survey studies. 1985). These individuals reported significantly greater exposure to pornography than the college students. peopleraised with little education about sexuality. The erotica in study. the quantity of pornography exposure did not predict attitudes towards women. there is firmer evidence that for those men who depend pornography. Furthermore. An initial survey administered questionnaires to a sample of nearly 120 college students. comprised soft this pornography only. 1988). No of day evidence emerged that exposure to erotica resulted favorable attiless in tudes towards women. heavier use ofsexually explicit maon terials is connected to holding attitudes more supportive of violence against women (Malamuth. Another study that produced nonsupporting results a combinaused tion of survey and experimental approaches (Padgett. Brislin-Slutz. Finally. Nevertheless. researchers are dependent on respondents provide acto curate information about their exposure to explicit sexual content in the media..

& Adams. Donnerstein. and their colleagues during the 1980s systematically investigated the impact of violent erotica on male viewers’ attitudes towards women and more specifically towards rape (Linz. less offensive. Linz. sexual films or nonviolent. Linz. the victim. 1987. these same individuals rated the victim in this videotaped simulation as less injured than did a control of males who had not been shown such films (Linz. Linz again found thatmales exposed to several R-rated. Young men who had beenfed a week-long diet sexually violent films exof hibited significantly more lenient attitudes towards the accused and less sympathy for the victim as compared with counterparts who seen a diet had of nonviolent.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN . . young male participants were exposed to a relatively large ‘dose’ (approximately 2 hours per day for5 days) of feature-length sexually violent films. Linz. 1985.Weaver. In a typical study. Donnerstein. & Penrod.1989. 1984.There was even a tendencyfor the participants’ ‘desensitization’ to carry over to their judgments of a rape victim in a simulated trial presented following their exposure to the films. 1985. Linz (1985) studied the effects of repeated exposure to X. 1987.and R-rated feature-lengthfilms portraying sexual violence with primarily negative consequences to victims. A program of research conducted by Donnerstein.This led to subsequent close scrutiny of the series of studies as a whole andthe emergence of replication studies that raised further questions about the findings of this work (Weaver. During the week of filmexposure. In addition. 1987. In one experiment. male college students who viewed fivesuch movies had fewer negative emotional reactions to suchfilms over successive viewing sessions. 1984). This approach has yielded the worrying finding that repeated viewing of explicitly sexual or sexually violent films could produce more lasting attitude changes among maleviewers. They gradually came to perceive these films as less violent. and less degrading to women across the 5-day viewing period. Linz. sexually violent films became less sympathetic to rape victim in asimulated trial and a were less able to empathise with rdpe victims in general. The initial study caused controversy over aspects of its methodology and discrepancies in thedetails included in different published accounts (Christenson. and the accused in this case. Donnerstein. Zillmann &Bryant.WRONG IDEAS? 137 more precise comparisons between effects on male attitudes of carefully the controlled amountsof exposure to film material that depicts sexual or violently sexual behaviors. 1987). In a second experiment. 1991). 1988). & Penrod. nonsexual films. These effects carried over for another week to a setting in which the male ‘guinea pigs’ viewed a videotape a simulatedrape trial and were assessed fortheir attiof tudes towards the rape offence. those young men who were shownviolent sexual films exhibited signs of desensitisation to them. He found that these movies had desensitizing effects on viewers.

men who had been pre-classified as holding stronger rape-myth beliefs were less sympathetic towards the victim and perceived the perpetrator’s actions as more acceptable and responsible. During the period in which the Donnerstein-Linz studies were being carried out. Immediately after viewing. Donnerstein. & Adams. 1989) the original procedure was shortened and no control group was used. participants were shown two film clips that showed men verbally and physically abusing women. There were no differences in response betweentheR-ratedteen sex film andtheX-rated sexually explicit nonviolentfilm. In a later study (Linz. Later these men and no-exposure control participants completeddire quesvoir a tionnaire(asmockjurors).’X-rated nonviolent ‘pornographic. Following the usual extensive pre-testing. some of of which depicted sexual violence with nudewomen being brutallytortured or murdered. and behavioral intentions or responses towards . Donnerstein. was it men who had seen nonviolent. One of the key areas of this debate centered on the question whether shifts in rape myth beliefs. attiof tudes towards women. Next. and judged the defendant and alleged rape victim. Emotional reactions and cognitive perceptions were measured after each exposure. As noted earlier. a debate ensued among these rival groups about theveracity of their findings. In one condition. a montage shown comprising clips was from films depicting nonviolent sexual and nonsexual scenes. Male participants viewed either two or five R-rated violent ‘slasher.’ or R-rated nonviolent teenage-oriented(‘teen sex’) films. sexual clips beforehand who attributed more responsibility forthe attacks to female victimsand less responsibilityto male perpetrators.andtheno-exposurecontrolconditionsonthe objectification or rape trial variables. In the second condition.I38 CHAPTER 6 Linz. longer film exposure was necessary to affect general empathy. participants were questioned about their mood and evaluations of the film montage they had watched. Men who had seen sexual violence perceived victims as less the injured by their experiences. and Penrod (1988) conducted a further investigation of the emotional desensitization of films of violence against women and the effects of sexually degrading explicit and nonexplicit films on beliefs about rape and thesexual objectification of women. As found before. further studies were carried out by other researchers using similar methodologies. participants were shown a 90-minute montage extracts from various films. They were then asked about their perceptions of the perpetrator and victim in each instance. Participants in the violent condition became less anxious and depressed and were also less sympathetic to the victim and empathetic less towards rapevictims in general. a sample of male respondents was selected and randomly allocated to one of two experimental conditions. However. However.viewedare-enactedacquaintanceor nonacquaintance sexual assault trial.

in the contextof other phenomena (e. From this perspective. and violent scenes that had sexual overtones. It falls short of predicting to what extent anindividual’s viewing of violent pornography might translateinto a propensity to rape or commit other forms of sexual violence. peer support). exposure to certaintypes of media stimulimay be viewed as a contributory. behavior towards women. Interestingly.. sex scenes involving violence. Other participants who served as controls watched nothing (Krafka.g. perceptions and. Weaver (1991) challenged the work of Linz and Donnerstein on methodological grounds. women whohad watched a diet of violence with sexual elements associated with it also felt more confident about themselves and their abilities to fend off unwanted sexual advances. Malamuth and Briere (1986) hypothesised an ‘indirect’ model of pornography effects. During the same period. in combination with person-specific variables (e. another researcher conducted a study with female participants who. are thoughtproduce rape supportive cognitions to and perceptions that. Compounded with this was a possibility that demand characteristics-arising from re- - . during each of which immediate postviewing evaluations of filmswere obtained. were randomly assigned to watch standard sex scenes. 1985). after pretesting. childhood experiences). participants provided further self-ratings and then watched a videotaped enactment of a rape trial. 1984) suggested that long-term exposure (4 hours and 48 minutes overa 6-week period) to nonviolent but degrading pornography that depicts womenin sexually submissive roles may cause male and female viewers to (a) become more tolerant of bizarre forms of pornography. and (c) become more lenient in assigning punishment to a rapist whose crime is described in a newspaper account. reanalysis of the original results by Weaver (1991) indicated that exposure to violence with sexual overtones produced rape myth acceptance levels significantly above those of control participants. but perhaps not sufficient. Other research by Zillmann and Bryant (1982..g. Exposure to violent sexually explicit materials produced no such effect. may generate sexually aggressivebehaviors or proclivities. The failure of some studies to apply adequate control groups or any control group at all represented one problem. sexually violent media and other social stimuli. including violent sexual assaults. condition in the development of sexual aggression. In this regard.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 139 women were influenced specifically by the sexual content of erotica or whether violence was a necessary ingredient as well. Although the researcher had originally queried the significance of the data on rape myth acceptance. (b) become less supportive of statements about sexual equality. under certain circumstances. Specifically. This body of research raised certain concerns in that appeared to show it that violent depictions may influence male viewers’ attitudes. After 5 film-exposure days.

Afterwards. allocation of participantstowatchdifferent types of film-produced fairly weak effects on attitudestowards women and rape. and both gave evaluations of the male accused and female victim in these three cases. while others were asked simply to rate the sequence for film production quality. there were mitigating circumstances that could have excused the perpetrator’s actions to some degree. neutral) but also the presence or absence of cues concerning the degree of suffering and degradation experienced by the victim. whereas in thethird case. A further problemwas that some of the independent variables-thatis. Weaver found that the nature of the evaluations of films. in an apparently unrelated research exercise. During the postviewing evaluation tests.The way the evidence was presented in this simulation could have created ambiguity about the accused and victim. seemed to contribute to subsequent attitudes towards rape victims and their accused. Some details about events that led up to the alleged assault were unclear about extenuating circumstances. One possible reason for this may reside in the nature the video rape trial of used by Linz and Donnerstein. Two cases concerned instances of domestic violence in which the perpetrators were unambiguouslyinexcusable. Film evaluation measures that invited respondents to think about the degrading nature film scenes for women produced inof creased disparagement of rape victims and greater understanding of the actions of the male accused inrape cases. some participantswere asked to say how degradingto women theyfelt the scene had been. Weaver (1991) reported a replication study in which some these ambiof guities were tackled head-on. Female participants who had hadtheir attention drawn through film evaluations to the degrading nature of sexually violent film clips for women. were lesspunitive towards the accused rapist in the more ambiguous cases where he allegedly assaulted a female cohabitant. The punitive recommendations of observers of this case may have been tempered such factors and may by have been much less equivocal if the trial had recounted an offence in which the woman was clearly an innocent victim who was violently assaulted for no good reason. as well as the films themselves.140 CHAPTER 6 peated administration of film-evaluation measures that asked questions about sexual abuse and the degradation of women-may have served as prompts to participants who were able to second-guess what the experiment was about. Male and female participants were used in this study. Male participants . Different experimental conditionswere created for not only the type of film (sexual violence. such as how intoxicated the accused and victim had been when met. whether the female they victim was in any case sexually promiscuous or even a prostitute. There was an interaction effect with gender here. participants were invited to read summaries of three legal proceedings in which men were said have been convicted physical or sexual to of assault against women.

In fact. Exposure to a diet of erotica in which women were depicted as sexuallyavailable and promiscuous enhanced self-reported likelihood amongthese young men that they would engage in forcible sex acts as compared with the control group. and video has used fairly crude typologies of the portrayals themselves it (Malamuth. participants. One study that did discriminate between types of sexually explicit material correlated male university students’ exposure to violent and nonviolent pornography with their attitudes towards women and rape (Garcia. Five daysafter the last session. other than to say that some have violence and others do not. Women inconditions where female degradation was emphasised in ratings of film violence with sexual overtones. were less sympathetic and more punitive towards the perpetrator in the unambiguous caseof rape. Punitive judgments were unaffected by exposure to film sequences of sexualised violence in cases where it was unclear whether the accused was guilty of an assault or not. viewed and evaluated 30-minute montage sequences of excerpts from films exemplifying the three themes. After all. Other types of violent sex scene. distinctions would often have been finer possible (and relevant) regard to the nature and in degree of violence within a sexual portrayal. standard sexual. has largely failed to distinguish different kinds of depictions. the violence takes the form of (usually) a male character physically forcing himself upon a(usually) female victim in scenes depicting rape. They participated in three sessions over a period lasting between 1 and 2 weeks. This effect was especially pronounced among men who pretesting had been shown score high on a in to measure of psychoticism. and a control group who had been shown no clips. although differences between experimental groups wereno significant. is probably not unfair to say that much the effects research. participants in the three theme film conditions. Al- . 1986). however. television. 1986). Even then.6r Briere. Participants exposed to film clips rape or erotic. might depict bondage and the ofwhips or chains in use sadomasochistic scenarios in which participantsmay or may not be willing.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 141 showed the opposite tendency. and idealised sexual themes (sex depicted in a romantic context). Check and Guloien (1989) found significant differences in the impact of sexually explicit depictions of rape. drawn Male from student and nonstudent populations. DO EFFECTS VARY WITH TYPES OFPORTRAYAL? Much of the research into the effects of sexual portrayals in film. Check. comfilm pleted a questionnaire measuring their attitudes towards aggressive sexual behavior and women. in some erotic scenes. that stems primarily from concerns about of the impact of violent sexual portrayals. heof donistic sexual behavior displayed the strongest likelihood of committing rape themselves. however.

though.g. only reporteduse of sexually violent films wassignificantly linked to the probability of use of force against women. Briere.g. whereas use of nonviolent pornography would not. Much of the experimental research on this topic was carried out with male college students as participants. Because sexually violent pornography can involve both themes that contain explicitly sexual content (e. Some researchers have used still photographic materials of sadism and bondage frompornographic magazinesas stimulus materials (Heilbrun 6..Just over one in four of these men(27%) indicated that they would rape or use sexual force against a woman if they thought they could do so without being found out. the evidence that derived from this survey was based on statistical correlations that do not represent a demonstration of a causal connection betweenviewing of certain brands of pornography and propensity to sexual aggression. there a small association between violent pornographyuse and was both traditional attitudes regarding women and greater ‘pro-rape’ beliefs. This research utilised a simple correlational design and did not relate pornography use to any measure of sexually violent proclivities or behaviours. some have used verbal descriptions of rape scenes (Malamuth & . Ultimately. and given the potentially different impacts of each type of depiction.r Seif. One explanation of this relationship could bethat suchfilms contain sexual themes and examples sexual conduct thatemphasise the use of of violence. rape and forced sexual acts) and themes that more overtly aggressive and ‘sadistic’ (e. Amongthe different types of film about which viewing was asked. Further analysis of the survey data revealed that claimed viewing of sexually violent films and pre-existing attitudes indicating general acceptance of using violence against women were uniquely associated with the probability of use offorce in sexual relations with women. whereas well under half had watched either violent (41%) or sexually violent pornography (35%).142 CHAPTER 6 though consumptionof nonviolent pornography not correlate with such did attitudes. 6r Lips. Among a sample of more than 200 American college students. the great majority (81%)had reportedly watched nonviolent pornographic films in the past 12 months. are bondage.. an attempt made to was differentiate between use of predominantly violent versus sexually violent pornographic materials. A subsequent study followed a similar procedure in differentiating between young male college students’ reported of violent and nonviolent use pornographic films (Denlare. Experimental research has also indicated that sexually explicit depictions of women in distress have been foundto give rise to mixed reactions among young male viewers.Claimed use of pornography was then correlated with self-reported likelihood or rape and use of sexual force measures. 1988). 1988). The researchers hypothesised that sexually violent pornography use wouldbe associated with self-reported likelihood of sexual violence. whipping.or torture).

male college students have been found to display no sexual arousal to audio depictions of a woman being raped or attacked a nonsexual in way (Barbaree et al. 1993). Three the top ten computer bulletin boards on international computer networks are sexual in nature (Furniss..DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 143 Check. Silbert & Pines. The observation of pain being inflicted others can generate on sexual excitement in essentially nondeviant populations under appropriate cueing conditions (see Cline. If the woman is apparently sexually aroused by her attacker. 1980b). there remains a question to whethersexual sadism playsa part in deteras mining the eroticvalue of sexually explicit pictures. 1979).A key factor in the context of coercive sexual depictions. 1993). In thestudy of sexual sadism. 1986). 1980a). Research conducted with male college students again has indicated that males mayrespond to distress registered by females in photographs depicting bondage and other sadistic sexual situations with increased sexual arousal (Heilbrun Seif. Nevertheless. 1994). 1984).however. it has been argued that erotic gratification may be dependent on the emotional distress of the female victim without real physical harm.Women depicted with distraught & facial expressions in sexual scenes in which they were chained or tied up and seminaked had a powerful effect on some male observers. explicitly sexual CD-ROM has alin ready taken its place among the top ten interactive CD-ROMs the his- . real physical harm might be expected reduce the to sexually stimulating properties of a sadistic portrayal (Heilbrun & Loftus. 1984. sadistic sexual gratification remains dependent on least an at of illusion of distress among female victims coercive male sexual advances. Marshall. For middle-class males conditioned to abhor aggression against women. Pictures of distressed women were more likely to be found erotic than were those of women portraying pleasurable reactions. Computer-based sexually explicit materials of varying levels of user-program interactivity are becoming extremely popular in the elecof tronic and erotic marketplaces (Harmon. young male witnesses may then display sexual excitement themselves (Malamuth & Check. Even so. 1979). EFFECTS OF INTERACTIVE EROTICA The growth of computer-based erotica has created a new medium for investigation. & Lanthier. 1988). 1984) or encourage the development of callous attitudes about women (Malamuth. and others have used audiotaped portrayals of rape or nonsexual aggression (Barbaree. Although evidence has shown that exposure to pornography may stimulate aggressive behavior (Sapolsky. An interactive. is whether the female victim is depicted as upset and disgusted by the attack on her person or actually appears to enjoy it.

Mosher. 1995. moderately interactive stimuli. 1978. interactive erotic stimuli manufactured by an individual reinforces hisor her pre-existing inclinations. Eysenck. noninteractive stimuli (control condition) .144 CHAPTER 6 tory of this technology. (b) erotic.S. or (d) erotic. including prosocial. benign. 1996). and produces stronger effects than would betrue of relatively passive exposure to traditional types of sexually explicit material that have not been tailor-made to fit the user’s personality (Byrne & Lamberth. It has also prompted women’s magazinesto warn mothers to limit their children’s accessto such materials (Farrell. 1994). or antisocial tendencies. Participants’ levels of erotophobia-erotophilia were also assessed. There of is. noninteractive stimuli. the case can be made that the user of interactive erotica will create sexual stimuli that are consistent with his or her preferences. A sample of 100 university of males were exposed to (a) neutral. a theoretical basis for suspecting that the effects of interactive erotic stimulation may beconsiderably more potent than the effects of traditional erotic fare. 1980) by facilitating role enactment (the imagined playing out of a sexual script of the viewer’s choice and creation) and by encouraging the development of a sexual trance(inwhichinteractiveeroticinvolvement becomes the viewer’s reality and the constraints objective reality fade away). Interactive erotica may also increase the viewer’s depth of involvement in the erotic stimulus and magnify its impact (Mosher. highly interactive stimuli on apersonal computer. 1971. 1994). particularly when antisocially inclined individual an utilises interactive erotica to construct stimuli that reinforce the individual’s dispositions and free the individual from perceptions reality-based of constraints on action. 1988a). Swan. (c) erotic. been pronounced enough to provoke congressional hearings aimed at legislation to control computer pornography and courtchallenges to such legislation (Jones. thus. Snyder & Ickes. Interactive erotica is different from traditional sexually explicit material in that interactive erotica permits the user to manipulate and modify the sexual stimulation that he or she receives. According to this view. 1993. Penthouse magazine and a multiplicity of others have begun efforts to market interactive erotica and have found that the production of such materials is exceedingly lucrative (Harmon. and to some 30% of institutions that are conlead nected to the information highway to banaccess to such material through their computer networks (Furniss. . 1985). including the individual’s choice of erotic stimulation (Bogaert. 1993. Barak and Fisher (1997) examined antifemale attitudes andbehaviors in men as a function the use ofinteractive erotica. 1993). From a theoretical perspective which holds that personality characteristics determine an individual’s choice of stimulation. Wallace & Mangan. Penetration of sexually explicit materials into cyberspace has already U.

DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 145 After exposure to the conditions. and . 1987. or as enjoying sexual assault. In addition. but use ofcomputer pornographyby participants did not affect any of the attitudinalmeasures. theory has been advanced to suggest that exposure to sexually explicit stimuli that portray women as sexual objects. Malanluth & Donnerstein. Men classified assex-typical (as measured by the all Sex Role Inventory. 1981). Linz. the men were asked participate in interview with a female to an assistant of the experimenter. are more sex likely to be influenced by pornography than are men classified asandrogynous or less likelyto rely on sex-typical schemas for processing social information. Benl. Two theoretical perspectives were considered in attempting to explain these findings. participants’ attitudes towards women and rape myth acceptance were the cognitive variables measured in this study. 1982. Zillman & Bryant. but this effect does bot occur in men. are so profoundly at variance with most men’s lifetime learning histories and expectancies for reinforcement that such stimuli should have littleor no impact on menwho are not predisposed to antifemale thoughts or actions in the first place. as sexuallyreceptive and nondiscriminating. Barak and Fisher (1997) presented findings consistent with the position that it is not easy to promote the development antifemale atof titudes or to perform antifemale behaviors. McKenzie-Mohr and Zanna (1990) demonstrated that exposure to pornography can prime men to view women as sexual objects. 1989). or as enjoying sexual victimisation. Individual Differences in Cognitive Responses to Erotica The effects of sexually explicit media content can vary across viewers in accordance with pre-existing personality characteristics or attitudinal profiles. Men who were classified as sex-typical and whoviewed pornography were judged to be more sexually motivated towards the interviewer. strongly reinforces widely held misogynistic views and reliably encourages the developmentof antifemale attitudes and accompanying actions men in who are exposed to such material (Donnerstein.who have gender schemas about men and women that emphasise traditional roles. O n the other hand. Results showed that the erotic stimuli resulted in much interactiveactivity and in significant amounts of sexual arousal. theory has also been advanced to suggest that sexually explicit stimuli that portray women as sexual objects. O n the one hand. Afterwards. & Penrod. McKenzie-Mohr and Zanna first classified men whose views were considered sex-typical and then showed them pornography. as sexually receptive and nondiscriminating. stood closer to the female assistant duringthe interview. participants’ keyboard activity and self-reported sexual arousal to the erotica were also recorded.

These included Acceptance Interpersonal Viscales of olence (AIV) against women (e. A similar study. In astudy by Malamuth and Check (1981a).These findings suggest that films that depict rape scenes or scenes of sexual aggression can produce changes inattitude amongyoung adult maleviewers of above-average intelligence. several years later. male and female undergraduates were randomly assigned to one two filmwatching condiof tions. Classmates of the recruited participants who not see the films were also studied as an ‘undid treated’ control group. and Adversarial Sexual Beliefs (ASB. acceptance of sexual aggression and wife battering).e. but not among femaleparticipants. although theeffect was only marginally significant. Exposure to films portraying scenes of coercive sex in which the woman the eventually became aroused producedsignificantly increased scores on the AIV scale among male. not connected with the experiment as the participants as far were concerned. Experimental studies conducted in the laboratory use conditions divorced from the usual viewing environment of the participants. A similar pattern was observed on theRMA scale. In one condition.g. Participant responses were assessed by scales developed in earlier research (Burt. 1980).g.. The movies shown in both conditions hadalso been aired with some editing on network television. the belief that women secretly desire to be raped). the participants in a second (control) condition were given tickets to other films that did not contain any sexual violence. Rape Myth Acceptance (RMA. the notion that women are sly and manipulating when out to attract a man). These films included portrayals of women as victims of aggression in sexual and nonsexual scenes. even when thefilms are .146 CHAPTER 6 recalled more information about the interviewer’s physical appearance and less of what she said. replicated these results (Demare. O n the same evenings. a ‘Sexual Attitude Survey’ was administered to the entire class by an independent polling agency.. These films suggested that the aggression wasjustified and had positive consequences. relatively little experimental research has been carried out on the effects of naturally occurring sexually violent content. Participants viewed these film with moviegoers who were not partof the research.g. compared to androgynous men and compared to other sex-typical men who had not viewed pornography. 1985).. e. Several days after the films were viewed. Stimulation of Attitudes Beyond the Laboratory Beyond the laboratory. participants were given free tickets to view feature-length films on two evenings in a local cinema. What we also need to know is whether similar effects can be observed for the viewing of films containing violent scenes when viewing takes place under more natural sex conditions.

Three categories of rape attitudes emerged: (a) Blame Woman. entitled She Said No. (b) Wrongful Coercion. about women’s sexuality as compared withexplicit pornographic films. in Such movies may project more subtle messages. 35-49. The movie also encouraged older women to be less likely to blame women in a date rape situation. older males who watchedthis movie became even more likely to blame the woman. however. Attitudes towards women and female sexuality are not usually affected when scenes depicting rape show the victim suffering extreme distress throughout. Viewers of the movie were more likely than nonviewers. Personal knowledge of a rape victim made adifference to viewers’ reactions to this film. did .DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? ~ ~~ 147 viewed in naturalsurroundings. were generally more likely to blame the woman in such situations. This kind of effect is not confined to laboratory environments. This meant that noneof the respondents could have seen the program before.000male and female respondents were randomly allocated to view or not to view the movie that was shown via a closed circuit channel.andStipp (1992) evaluated the impact a television movie about acquaintancerape of on subsequent attitudes about This programme. as well asin laboratory studies. Males viewers. Afterwards. The movie increased awareness of date rape as a social problem across all those who viewed it. was aired during peak-timeby the NBC network. is that male attitudes are most likely to be affected by film portrayals of sexual aggression in which the woman victim eventually becomes sexually aroused. therefore. and 50+. Instead they comprised two films (Swept Away The Getaway) that and were eventually shown on broadcast television as well as movie theatres. to perceive date rape as an important societal problem. prior to network transmission. demonstrated that male attitudes towards women can be changed outside the laboratory following exposure to movies that depict coercive sex scenes. Another significant point to note about these findings was that the movies in question were not X-rated pornographic films. defined by items indicating support for the idea that a woman is to blame in rape cases. Such messages maybreak through male viewers’ defenses against accepting such information uncritically. The key factor to emerge in these field studies. Any restrictions on the natureof effects seem to be by determined more the type of portrayal. In fact. and (c) Societal Concern. Linz. This study. however. rape. defined by ideas that coerced sex is wrong. For the study. etc). more than 1. their attitudes towards women and rape were measured. Donnerstein. Those individuals who did not personally know a rape victim were more likely to blame the woman than were those who know a rape victim. Another study conducted by Wilson. nevertheless false. indicating a concern societal problems asfor the sociated with date rape (legal system biased against women. Respondents were divided into threeage groups: 18-34.

The elaboration likelihood model would predict that such involvement would result in deeperprocessing of the messages contained within the movie. exposure to erotica. It was also clear that women in this study were more involved themovie in than were men. rape victims. This syndrome of female oppression is reflected in gender-role stereotyping that emphasises traditional gender roles. the feminist social responsibility model argues that sexually explicit materialconveys an anti-female ideology. argues that they have positive and potentially beneficial functions. The second model drawn from feminist social responsibility view is a that holds that sexually explicit material objectifies and demeans women and leads those who use eroticatointernalise those themes (Linz 6. thatmaking sexually explicit materials more widely available causes violent sex crimes or sexually deviant behaviorto increase in society (Kutchinsky. They can be conceived being harmlessfantasy and as provide viewers with a source of sexual stimulation (Linz & Malamuth. Perse conducted a study to test different connections between reasons for using sexually explicit material. This may have accounted for the difference in reaction older women and men. In contrast. 1993). denying female sexuality. laboratory research that suggests that watching erotica produces harmful effects is dismissed as lacking external validity. and threetypes of hostile beliefs about women that reflect a cultural background that oppresses women (Burt. for instance. portraying women as servants to men’s sexual desires. 1993). based a liberal view of on sexually explicit materials. Under the liberal view of the effects of sexually explicit materials.148 CHAPTER 6 The results of this study were interpreted as showing that a dramatic movie on television can be a useful tool in educational efforts aimed at altering perceptions about a social issue such as date rape. based on stereotypes. The events depicted in Said No were presented priShe marily from the female victim’s perspective. 1980). More research of this kind is needed at stage. The first model.r Malamuth. Older of women may have been more involved and thought about the implications of the movie more deeply. sexual conservatism that rejects failure to conform with traditionalsexual orientations. There is no conclusive evidence. Perse (1994) tested two different models of the effects of sexually explicit material among college students. 1991). and promoting sexual and social subordination of and violence towards women (Brownmiller. Erotica is seen as objectifying and dehumanising women. whereas older men relied on more superficial processing strategies. and finally rape myth beliefs that comprise a cluster of prejudicial and incorrect beliefs about rape. . Adverse reactions to erotica are accounted for in terms of individual characteristics. The impact of movies like this this one are tempered by pre-existing attitudesof viewers about femalesexuality and aboutrape. and rapists. 1975.

erotica used as sex the was a substitute for a sex life. for information about sexual technique. being sexually aroused by erotica does not appear to contribute to development rape of myth beliefs. 1993). relaxation. whereas of erotica as a use sexual substitute. andSubstitution. erotica was a source of information about sex or a means of enhancing their own life.g. If the same erotica-dependent individual already holds gender stereotyped beliefs and is sexually conservative. In the case of Sexual Enhancement. Thus. THE EFFECTIVENESS O F INTERVENTION SESSIONS The evidence that emerged from studies of sexually explicit media content. Exposure to erotica was predicted by all four motivational factors. Sexual Release referred to the use of erotica for sexual fantasy and release. Males and females differed two of the four motives for consuming sexon ually explicit material.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 149 Lederer. Hence. but dependencyon erotica as a replacementfor an active sex life with a sexual partner seems to make a real difference to the kinds of messages that might be absorbed from such material. on . and during foreplay. their motives for doing so.for the college women sampled. Diversion signalled the use of erotica for escape. especially when the is violent in nature. Beingmale and using erotica for Sexual Release were negatively linked to rape myth acceptance. stronger gender stereotyping. Perse (1994) ran a survey with more than 500 college students of both sexes in which she investigated their reported use of erotic material (e. greateroverall exposure to erotica. and their beliefs and attitudes about female sexuality and gender roles. eroticawas used to get in the right mood for sex. 1980). understandably given to sex has rise concerns about the possible effects such material might have consumers. together with higher rape myth acceptance scores and gender (being male). and holding more conservative sexual attitudes were positively linked to acceptance of rape myths about women. Males were more likely to report using erotica for sexual release and as a substitutefor a sexual partner than were females. Diwersion. Finally. Four principal categories of viewing motive emerged reading or watching erotic for material. gender was linked to Sexual Enhancement (being female) and toSexual Release(being male). and reduction of boredom. These factors were labelled Sexual Enhancement. Substitution referred to the use of erotica as a replacementfor a sexual partner.. Sexual Release. entertainment. For male college students. In a multivariate analysis. magazines or films). this further enhances the likelihood of a pattern of beliefs about female sexuality that endorse rape.Male beliefs and attitudes that justify male dominance and female submissiveness may be rape supportive and may also be associated with broader acceptance of violence across a range of situations-sexual and nonsexual (Linz & Malamuth.

Fuson. antisocial dispositions (see Intons-Peterson & Roskos-Ewoldsen. Shirley. Such educational or counselling procedures represented a counteractive process designed to eliminate the possibility of experimentally observed audience reactions developing into permanent. broke her into apartment andforcibly raped her. In the ‘acquaintancerape’ story. an ‘acquaintance rape’ story. Bross. Those who were exposed the to rape stories and then debriefed were less inclined to perceive women as wanting to be raped and less likely see victims’behavior as a cause of rape than were those to who read the consenting story and received no debriefing. 1990). debriefing procedures were used by researchers who conducted experimental research in which deliberate attempts made to manipulate were participants’ perceptions. a man secretly followed a woman home. rape is a terrible crime. or amutuallyconsenting sex story. 1989. Some of these educational efforts were designed as debriefings individuals who hadparfor ticipatedinexperimentsinvolving sexually violentmediacontent. Participants were also given specific examples of rape myths and assurance that these commonly held beliefs are fictitious. have been reduced by drawing viewers’ attention to certain facts about female sexuality designed to run counter to rape myth acceptance. & Chapin. The research done so far has found that pre-exposure treatmentscan lessen the effects of exposure to explicit sexual materials on some measures. Check and Malamuth (1984) randomly assigned male and female college students to read either a ‘stranger rape’ story. Malamuth and Check (1983) conducted a study in which male and female participants were exposedto sexually explicit stories depicting either rape or mutually consenting sexual intercourse.150 CHAPTER 6 There are important ethical considerations to be borne in mind when undertaking research into which deception used to disguise the true is purpose of the investigation and when the experimental manipulations are intended to produce a shift in participants’ attitudes in a socially undesirable direction. Afterward. Linz. 1989. Intons-Peterson. & Donnerstein. though not others. for example. Linz. in reality. In a follow-up study. researchers who work in this field have developed educational procedures designed expose exthe perimental manipulation to participants and draw their attention to the potentially harmful ingredients of explicit pornographic content and the side effects that can result from exposureto them. Inthe ‘stranger rape’ story. Donnerstein. In addition tohaving a potentially valuable social function. Desensitization effects. Roskos-Ewoldsen. a sexu- . & Blut. 1986. those exposed to the rape version were givenstatements emphasising that thedepiction of rape in the stories was fallacious and that. attitudes andbehavior. Taking these ethical concerns into account. Thomas. to Several researchers have attempted correct the negative effects of exposure to stereotypic media depictions of sex and sexual violence.

1988) of and answered additional questions concerning their empathy for the accused rapist and the alleged victim. (pp. Intons-Petersonand Roskow-Ewoldsen(1989. the women consented to have with him. including one that reported a rape case. The participants. Over time.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? - 151 ally experienced womenwas drinking in a bar with a man. along with a control group who had not seen the briefing. writers will often presentsexual violence (e. 1989) administered to college-agemen a prefilm briefing dealing with rape and sexual violence towards women. the participantswere given a number newspaper of articles to read. & Penrod. because these stories were designed to be highly sesually arousing and donot in any way reflect the true horrorof real rape. The results showed.. a segment from an X-rated film that depicted sexual intercourse between two consenting adults. or a segmentfrom a G-rated film. however. rape) with other highly explicit and arousing materials . Thomas.the . The briefing contained currentinformation about rape drawn from the Uniform CrimeStatistics described common effects on victims. Those participants who had been debriefed also gave a moresevere prison sentence to the rapist in the newspaper story. Roskos-Ewoldsen. people may tend to ignore the violence of rape because there are other sexually pleasing aspects to thestories. participants viewed a videotaped reenactment a rape trial (Linz.. that your responses were in any way wrong or deviant. Shirley. even though depicts it behavior that women generally abhor.. When she refused to go anyfurther than that. where they started kissing. We do not wantyou to feel. Further. In pornographic magazines and books. all rape story participants andhalf the mutual sex story participants were administered rape debriefing. that the rape debriefing generally increased participants’ perceptions of pornography as a cause of rape. 6r Blut. She then went back to theman’s apartment. then viewed either a segment from an R-rated slasher film. This debriefing a advised the participants that no woman enjoys being rapedand thatexposure to violent pornography can be sexuallyarousing. 2 1-22) After the debriefing. The prefilm briefing group showed a statistically significant decrease in rape myth acceptance following exposure to the slasher film segments compared the to nonbriefed control group. once again. Following the film. The rape debriefing statement used by Check and Malamuth (1984) was worded as follows: Although rape is a terrible crime. Intons-Peterson. rape themes arefrequently found in eroticmagazines.g. sex After reading the stories. and debunked some general myths about rape by citing relevant statistics. Other small-scale educational efforts have attempted to sensitise participants to the issue of acquaintance rape prior to exposure tostereotypic images. the man her. The mutually consenting raped sex story was the same as the acquaintance rape story except thatafter kissing the man.. Donnerstein.

Not a Love Story. Linz. It is important in thefirst place .Freeman. and assigned less responsibility to the defendant than did participants in the control conditions. & Kimball. Men Rape.152 CHAPTER 6 briefed persons were more likely to think that the accused rapist in the videotape trial had causedinjury to thevictim than were those in thenonbriefed group..e. 1984). ‘I didn’t know pornography was that violent’ and ‘The film made me angrier about pornography’). Theseefforts involved documentaries on rape Cry Rape.. Rape myth acceptance was marginally lower for those men in all three intervention conditions. A Scream ofsilence) and on pornography Not a Love Story) (e. Unfortunately. Interestingly. suggests that viewers may benefit from exposure to this type of content (Bart. the briefing group’s increased rejection of rape myths carried over to a session 2 weeks later. only self-reported attitude change was measured (i. A preliminary investigation of the impact of one of these documentaries. These men also showed significantly higher levels of depression in response to the slasher films. In contrast. because the film audience was anaturallyoccurring group. Arluk..Bart and colleagues surviewed this docue veyed a group 332 males and 3 18 females after they had of mentary in an art film house in the Chicago area.g. Two additional control groups that did not watch the educational films were also included. Problems With Intervention Studies There are various reasons why programs or films aimed at changing attitudes towards rape may run intodifficulty. The findings indicated that exposure to thefilm resulted in changes in beliefs and attitudes about pornography (e. the men watchedclips from sexually violent slasher films and saw a videotaped reenactment of an acquaintance rape trial. W h y (e. Male college students were shown two rape education films and a documentary on thepsychological impact of slasher films and then were assigned to oneof three conditionsinvolving writing essays about the myths of sexual violence or about a neutraltopic. that were created expressly to increase awareness of such issues among the general public. Later.g..g. The interventions just described are only practical with relatively small groups of people in a controlled setting. respondents were asked their attitudes about if pornography had changedafter viewing the film) No attempt was made to assess prefilm viewing attitudes or to compare the viewers’ attitudes with a matched control group. and Donnerstein (1990) compared three types of pre-exposure briefings designed to mitigate the effects of portrayals of violence against women. there have been a few large-scale educational efforts that were targeted towards mass audiences.

and individual differences that can foster rape myths (Koss & Leonard. Another study. These same concerns have also been linked to attempts to counteract the experimental effects reported in some of these investigations. or behavioraldispositions in potentially negativeways. 1996). 1980). or subsequent attitudinal shifts contingent on such exposure. Debriefing sessions work only if all experimental participants attend such treatments. D’Alessio. although preliminary and based on a nonrandom sample. The belief that females deserve orsecretly desire sexual assault may be especially difficult to modih.Moreover. Another serious point about intervention treatments is that they are determined the researchers’ interpretations by of the psychological effects they have measured among experimental participants. This means they need tobe scheduled favorably. in Sherif. Ethical issues have been raised about studies the effects of exposure to of violent pornography. beliefs. & Gebhardt.1988). Because such studiesattempt to change participants’ attitudes. 1980). sex-role stereotyping. Malamuth. Thus there are many societalandpersonalfactors. 1984. Haber. Programs designed to modify attitudes about rape may make only a small dent inbelief structures that are reinforced by these other factors. The typical educational debriefings used in the studies under review compriseda short audiotape or written . A survey of a randomsample of adults in Minnesota reported fairly high levels of agreement with such statements as ‘A woman who goes into the home or apartment of a man on first date implies a she is willingto have sex’ and otherbeliefs measured by the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Burt. & Feshbach. it is an ethical requirement that researchers conducting such investigations implement procedures designed to reduce to minimum possibility that a the participants leavethe study permanently changed this way (Gross. These beliefs can provide males with a socially sanctioned justification for forced sexual access to unwilling females.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? 153 that such programs are viewed by large numbers of people. 1983. 1980). there are strong individual differences in beliefs about male-female power relations. It is important that all the factors that may play a part in mediating participants’ reactions to erotica.includingsex-rolesocialisation. found that college females sometimes engagein token resistance-saying no but meaning yes-in response to sexual double standards in society (Muehlenhard &Hollabaugh. 1986). A comprehensive meta-analysis of the results of published intervention studies during the 1980s attempted to assess the treatment effects of debriefings used in studies of the effects of violentpornography(Allen. 1980). and hostility towards women (Malamuth. Somecritics have asked for more detailed accounts that such sessions were fully attended. Emmers. are taken into account and effectively counteracted by intervention sessions (Sherif. miscommunication betweenthe sexes.

a countering effect occurred. and stories with violent sex themes in which women are raped may give riseto increased male beliefs that women enjoy being raped. 139) CONCLUSION Research into media sex has indicated that one adverse side effect of regular consumption of certain types of explicit sexual portrayal is that it can influence male attitudes towards women beliefs about female sexuality. Porand nographic films. All too often the seems to forget that a media experience assumes a suspensionof critical disbelief to permit a person to enjoy the entertainment experience provided. This reaction especially likely occur among young men exis to posed to film or video portrayals of rape where the woman becomes sexually aroused by the experience. Although research with American college students has indicated that an increased callousness towards womenand victims of rape can be produced among young men with otherwise stable psychological profiles following exposure to films that depictrape themes. (1996) examined 10 studies and sought to isolate the conditions under which educational efforts were effective. the greater also was the effect of the educational intervention. and that sexually explicit material depicts an unreal fantasy about sexual relations. this reaction is by no means universal. For allconditions. videos. to some degree. created representationsof reality. However. The greater the impact of the pornographic stimulus materials. The debriefs were also found to moreeffective in experiments with be control groups than in studies usingwithin-subjects designs. the impact of educational briefings wasto negate. evidence from research with interactive erotica has shown that this effect does not invariably occur. However. The impact of educational materials was correlated with the ofthe impact of size the erotic material. (p. Some studies used prebriefingsand others used debriefings. (1996) : The underlying logic ofthe educational material illustrates to the consumer that the consumer media images are false. The average effect of educational materials was higher for males than for females. the viewer should remain aware that the material displays fictional ideas not necessarily representative of actual experiences. Whether the educational intervention occurred in the early or late stages of a study. The effectiveness of prebriefing suggests the potential value of innoculation effects. that rape is a crime that violates and dehumanizes the person. Allen et al.154 CHAPTER 6 hand-out pointing out that the material consumed in the experiment was fictional. The participants were reminded that women do notenjoy forced sexual relations. According to Allen et al. the impact of exposure to sexually explicit material. The reactions of men to such content depend on the attitudes hold may they be- .

These procedures have been found to offset any research effects and effectively serve to raise awareness of the potential harmful influencesof violent pornography. For some men. In response to this legitimate concern. Research in this area is fraught with ethical problems. Those men in first who watch violent pornography a sexual substitute be more prone deas may to velop rape mythbeliefs than other men who watch same material for a the different reasons suchas diversion or personal sexualrelease.Whether or notyoung men exhibit shifts in their propensity to believe that women enjoy being raped may depend notsimply on their viewing of violent pornography. several pornography researchers have developed and tested debriefing procedures.DOES MEDIA SEX GIVE MEN WRONG IDEAS? I55 fore hand. Social scientists must be cautious not to condition psychological changes in experimental participants that may render them more likely to offend or to behave in antisocial ways beyond the research situation. Concern has been within raised the research psychology community about such effects emanating from side experimental investigationsof pornography. . but on their reasons for viewing such material the place. media depictions women’sapparent enjoyment of of rape may be so at odds with their own value system and beliefs about women that such depictions are rejected outright.

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The role played by the media in relation to the development deviant sexual practices has been investigated of over more than 30 years. The second type of study generally entailed the analysis of aggregate statistical evidence on relationships between the distribution pornography in speciof fied geographical areas and the occurrence sex offences. The scientific research can be divided into studies of two broad types. The first type of study was conducted with clinically diagnosed or convicted criminal populations in which the role of exposure to explicit sexual material is examined in relation to original onset of their deviant the behaviors or as a trigger mechanism that activates their impulses before offending. of 157 .Another Americanpolice survey of crime statistics found thata significant proportion (42%) of all sex crimes involved pornography either prior to or during commissionof the act (Pope. 1987).A study of serial murderers in the United States found that the greatof perpetrators majority (8 1%) reported significant consumption of pornography (Hazelwood. 1985).I s Media Sex the Cause o Sexual Deviance? f Perhaps the greatest concern linked to the potential effects of sexually violent films is that they might cause viewers to emulate the behaviors portrayed or use such portrayals to justify their own actions in acting on aggressive sexual fantasies or attitudes. The focus of this research has concentrated on the potential influence of pornography as a socialising agent or trigger in regard to sexual deviance. Indications thatexposure to explicit sexual material is connected with criminal behavior hasderived from law enforcement data.

are unable to demonstrate causal links.Judd. Kupperstein. ‘Does it arouse you sexually to see photographs or drawings of people engaged in sexual activity?’ Another questionwas. 1971). 6. 1971. Despite this weakness. A few laboratory-based studies have also been carried out tofind out if sex offendersexhibit different reactions from nonoffenders to erotic film material. 197l.’ with 16% admitting at least moderate arousal. . Rice. sponsored six surveys of offenders (Cook & Fosen. other (nonsex) offenders. 197la. No significant differences emerged between these samples in termsof reported sexual arousal to pornographic photographs. ‘Do stories of rape. One weakness of this research. the said highest responders were ‘heterosexual aggressors. K. Davis & Braucht. sex offenders reported somewhat greater exposure and similar reactions to pornography. Pomeroy. & Green.Peters. The data were self-reports of responses to the question.158 CHAPTER 7 Much of the research among known sex offenders used survey techniques to compare them with nonoffenders in terms of their exposure topornography. especially to scenes that depict violent sexual behavior. much the early research of into the effects of explicit sexual material took this form. torture. E. Kant. The 1970 U. rapists were more likely than controls to report being aroused by sadistic themes. 1971. for instance. For example. Gagnon. did sadomasochistic imagery hold special appeal for rapists? Did depictions of child pornography prove to be distinctly arousing for child sex offenders (Eysenck & Nias. However. Comparisons were also madebetweenknown sex offenders. differed fromthose of nonoffenders. EARLY STUDIES WITH OFFENDERS The earliest research on theeffects of pornography focusedon sex offenders. Evidence was obtained through interviews with known offenders and their psychiatrists. however. that dependself-report data and on explore links between pornography exposure and offending retrospectively. 1972. and Christenson(1965) set out to discover the ways in which the sexual histories and social backgrounds of sex offenders. who were divided into 14 categories such as incest and peeping. Compared with controls. Johnson. Propper. Of all the groups of sexual offenders interviewed. Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. and men from the general population onpossession of pornography and reactions to it.S. was that itfailed to explore in any detail the possibility of links between tastes in specific types of pornographyand specific categories of offence. Goldstein. or violence arouse you sexually?’Although most of the men surveyed ‘no’to this question. Gebhard. 1978)? Studies of this kind. Walker. rapists reported thegreatest level of exposure to pornography.

Davis & Braucht. many people claimed have ‘tried out’ to sexual activities depicted in pornography. for example. Goldstein et al. to as well as exposure to pornographic material. Both groups revealed similar past experiences with pornography. The two groups were similar their reactions to erotic slides. Davis and Braucht (197 la) reported astudy conducted with male students andprisoners in which questions were asked designed measure sexual deviance and moral character. E. but the in sex offendersreported less frequent and milder exposure to pornography. and Pacht (1971) examined the patterns of exposure to pornography among sex offenders and found that.S. Cook. There was a nonsignificant trend for the sex offenders report less exposure to pornographythan the to controls. no distinctions were made between different types of erotic stimuli for which different offending groups may have had prefera ence. 1971a). (197 1) conducted a retrospective study based on interviews.Johnson. Pornography Commission’senquiry found apositive relationship between exposure to pornography and sexual deviance. offenders were found sex to have experience with pornography. if anything. Kupperstein. less especially in adolescence. It was concluded that pornography may have played a role in the developmentof sexual deviance in these cases. E. Some of this early research conducted as part of the 1970 U. Unfortunately. Fosen.I MEDIA SEX THE CAUSE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? S 159 Walker (1971)compared sex offenders hospital with other in patients. whether controls who volunteered for these studies had more experience with pornographydid people who than refused to take part. Respondents comprisedsexoffenders and other inmates in a state prison. . and sex offendersin prison with other inmates. Signs of sexual deviance were found to be associated with amountof claimed exposureto pornography. They werealso more likely to have oral friends involved in sexual deviance and antisocial behavior (unlike the findings of K. nor were any detailed distinctions made amongdifferent offending groups in terms type of offence. Compared with poorly matched controls. Propper (1972) studied prisoners who were classified as having high or low exposure to pornography. There are problems withclaims made hereby sex offenders. The sex offenders here includedrapists and boy and girl molesters. There is no way of knowing. and to haveengaged more often in group and sex. Prisoners with high exposure pornography to were found to have had earlier experience withsex. of Cook and Fosen (1971) had participants rate their degree of sexual arousal to erotic slides and interviewed them aboutprevious exposure topornography. and Peters (1971) conducted interviews with sex offenders anda comparisonsamplefrom the general population. However. K. but thesex offendersclaimed a greater increase in sexual activity after viewing pornography. they were generally less likelyto consume such materials than were other (nonsex) offenders.

When asked about their reactions following exposure to erotic materials. however. (197 1) and Goldstein. films. comprising individuals with no known recordof sexual offence. however. Nonoffenders differed from offenders in this context.For the rapists. and that when family members were aware their interest of in erotica. Respondents were asked whether anything had been seen erotica materials in that they wished they had tried at a later time. exhibited greater levels of exposure to erotic material during their adolescent years than did known offenders. When asked whether thoughts feelings stimulated by erotica or led to sexual activity. Adolescent exposure erotica was significantly to less for all nonheterosexual and offender groups. Indeed. except homosexuals. the offenders transsexuals continued to sex and report less exposure to erotic stimuli than controls. compared with controls. sex offenders and other sexually deviant groups reported a higher incidence of masturbation thandid nonoffenders. pedophiles. and Harman (1974). During adulthood. Goldstein hadinitially hypothesised that extentof exposure to erotica during adolescence would positively related to the emergence be of sexual pathology in later This hypothesis was not borne out the findings of life. homosexuals. The patternof inhibition was consistent with the rapists’ report thatpornography in adult years did not stimulate them to desire sexual activity or to actually engage in sexual activity. around half of all groups reported than they did. These groups were all interviewed to assess their experiencewitherotic materials inphotographs. a very repressive family background regarding sexuality was indicated. of rather than masturbation. The rateof reported masturbation declined slightly from adolescence to adulthood for all groups. Whereas theoffenders claimed only rarely to act out their pornographic desires. in being more likely to mention the stimulation sexual behavior with a partner. The low exposure to erotica reported by institutionalised sex offenders was compatible with many aspects of their sexual history and attitudes. The homosexuals and users of pornography.they were highly punitive. heavy pornographyusers. the control groups who were surveyed here. both reported greater exposure during adulthood. Rapists uniformly reported thatsex wasnever atopic of discussion in theirhomes. and booksduring adolescence and adulthood.transsexuals. and a community control group. The high percentage rapists reporting frequent homosexual of activity suggested the possibility that the aggressive sexual act can times represent an at attempt at covering homosexual tendencies. by this survey. Fewerthan one four responin dents inany groupreportedly imitated sexual behavior experienced through erotic material immediately or shortly after its consumption. a majority of peo- . Cline (1974) pointedout inconsistencies betweenGoldstein et al.1 60 ~~~~ ~~ ~ CHAPTER 7 Goldstein (1973) reported a further survey of convicted male rapists. Kant.

of rates sex According to one writer. Results indicated adecline in various sex offences from 1965. although one survey (Goldstein et al. 1971. may have not been truly felt for a few more years.S. Ben-Veniste (197 1) conducted a survey of police statistics on reported sex crimes in Copenhagenfor a 12-year period. this conclusion may not be warranted. the data were examined onlyup to 1969 and the impact changes in law regarding porof nography. Kutchinsky. which took place in Denmark in the mid-l960s. There was no attempt to to distinguish between different types of sex crime or how they might relate exto posure to different types of pornography.and intercourse. Some studies have used aggregate statistical data to assess the relationship between the circulation of pornographyin society and the occurrence of sexual violence against women. the effects of exposure to violent pornography may represent a‘ripple effect’ on behavior.. 1971). However. Laboratory studies try to identify direct linkages between exposureto such material and attitudessimulated or behavior. Another factor is that both the police . 1971a. One approach has been assess the changing extent to to which pornography is available in a society and shifts in the incidenceof sexually deviant behavior. but not rape or child sex abuse. sex play. Participants in these surveys were assessed for reactions to nudity. First. No attempts were made to differentiate between serious and less serious sexual offences. 1971) did use a retrospective approach totry to ascertain over-time links.I S MEDIA SEX CAUSE THE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 161 ple in general claimed to have ‘tried out’ activities depicted in pornography. Social trends identify more general influences of pornography by tracing any changes in the volume of categories of offence that follow on from changes inthe prevalence and availability of pornography. More needs to be known about whatthese imitative practices entail. statistics (Kupperstein & Wilson. 1977). This study 20 a the is often quotedas showing that pornography led to a decrease in sexual deviance. with the exception of rape which remained constant at around cases year for period of study. The studies to reviewed in thefirst part of this chapter all used cross-sectional surveys to obtain data from respondents at one point in time. An alternative approach to examine broad trends sociis in ety based on analysis of available statistics. One problem with all these studies was that measures of exposure to pornography and of sexual deviance were nondiscriminatory. Another examined U. Two initial studies of this sort were carried out in Denmark during the 1960s and 1970s (Ben-Veniste. LONGITUDINAL EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY Field research has beenused to try to establish whether there arelinks between exposure pornography and sexual deviance overtime. These studies often comparethe circulation rates of various magazines or the number adult theatres with of rape and other crimes.

Kutchinsky (197la) designed a survey to find out whether the decline in reported sex crimes in Denmark was due to changes in public attitudes. 1984. These results did not shedany light whether availability of on pornography is linked in any way to the incidence sex crimes such as rape. 1988a). Research in Denmark revealed a negative association between the availability of sexually explicit materials and the incidenceof sexual offences reported to the police (Kutchinsky. Data from several other countries indicated that variations in the availability of pornography corresponds positively with changes in reported occurrences of rape (e. but that people had become more permissive with regard to certain categories of sex offence. 1984). This Danish research challenged by other writers (e. The possibility of changes in police attitudes or to the wasalso investilaw gated. peeping. and (physical) indecencytowards girls-the availability of pornography was identified as a key factor. They were also questioned about how seriously they regarded various types of sex crimes and whether their attitudes had shifted over time. Baron 6r Straus. . suchas peeping. Kutchinsky (197la) noted a decrease rates of occurrence of four differin ent types of sex crimes registered by the police in Copenhagen. 1973). rape with robbery..162 CHAPTER 7 and victims had become more tolerant sex crimes. attempted rape. 1987. Increased circulation of pornographic materials. For three types of offence-exhibitionism. It was found that thelaw and police enforcement practices had not changed. More serious types of sex offence such as rape. exhibitionism. the Danish study’s focus on less serious forms of sexual offence meant that it revealed littleof relevance to thesubject of causality of serious sex offences (Court. Indeed. with theresult of less of reporting of such crimes (Eysenck 6r Nias. 1989. the incidence of reported rape increased in Denmark from the mid-1960s to early 1970s) althoughlevels remained low. Scott 6. and indecent interference. Other factors were also likely to have been important at this time. Cline. particularly rape and child molestation.r Schwalm. was apparently linked to a significant drop in reported sexual offences. following the legalisation of pornography. L. He interviewed peoplein Copenhagen about their likelihood of reporting sex crimes. and intercourse on threatof violence did not show evidence of decline over the same period.Jaffee 6r Straus. however. of Indeed. 1978). This finding could be interpreted as suggesting that unrestricted distribution of sexually explicit materials served as a safety valve for deviant sexualbehaviors.g. was Court. including political greater and social participationfor women anda generally increasingly liberal social policy perspective..g. 1974. 1984). This conclusion was underlined as tentative only. Later investigations showed a positive relationship between the incidence sexual offences and the of availability of sexually explicit materials.

including the emergence of the women’s liberation movement. Thus. Gallery. Fox. arrests for sexual offences increased by 18%with rape showing the greatest increase at about 50%. L. such distinctions are highly relevant Yet when considering the impact that pornography might have sexual offendon ing (Court. Penthouse. a more general index of sexual morality. 1977. Police reports have come to be regarded as most reliable (Court. that changes inrates of serious sexual offence could have been influenced by a variety of other factors. Similar data were examined in the mid 1980s by other Americanresearchers. after controlling for demographic factors and the general circulation of nonerotic magazines. There are also issuessurrounding the types of statistics utilised by researchers to operationally define sex crime trends. 1980. over the period of increased relaxation of pornography restrictions. A cross-national survey of sex crimes and availability of pornography conducted in several countries was made by Court (1977). Eysenck and Nias (1978) pointed out. Cline (1974) extended this survey by 2 years and found that the increase in rape had accelerated after 1970. Hustler. others police reports data. they found a significant positive relationship betweenrape incidence and capita sales of sexually explicit magazines (e.. During the 1960-1969 period.g. population mobility (from urban to rural). or others victimisation study data. Baron & of . Some researchers have used arrest data. Kuppersteinand Wilson again failedto distinguish between serious and less serious sex offences. Kupperstein and Wilson (197 1) conducted research on the relationship with availability of pornographyand occurrence of sexoffences in the United States. However. etc.however. This relationship survived statistical controls other demographic and psychofor logical variables believed to be linked to the incidence rape (L.) and rape rates. Pentper house). 1976). Schwalm (1988b)reported no relationship between rape rates and the number adult theatres bookstores. when pornography became increasingly available. 1979).. not more serious offences. in less serious sex offences. Trends in minor sex offences have not always run parallel to those in major sex offencessuch as rape (Court. 1984. the rape figure was less ominous when set against the general increase in crime. Baron and Straus(1984) found a high correlation between circulation rates of certain soft-core pornographic magazines (e. Playboy. Results indicated thatreports to thepolice of rape and attemptedrape showed further signs of increase in the mid-1970s. and the impactspecific campaigns of or media events designed to change public attitudes In the United States Scott and again. of or However.Playboy. but in Public attitudes also showed increased leniency towards less serious sex offences.g.Geis 6rGeis. 1979).I S MEDIA SEX THE CAUSE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 163 Cline (1974) noted that violent sex crimes remained at around 220 per year from 1960 to 1970. thefindings forDenmark actually indicated a reduction. Williams Committee Report. He also found a similar trend for divorce rates.

Later research also found a positive correlation between rape rates and sales of Playgirl (L. Genesis. Germany. Baron. In the United States.55. He then counted the number of cases of rape and aggravated assault in Denmark. This was calcuindex lated by looking at sales (subscription and news stand) of eight magazines: Chic. The correlation between rape rates and magazine circulation in 1980 . 364). and Playboy. The presumed relationship between magazine circulation and rape rates vanishes statistically when a measure of cultural support for violence is added. 1991). including the United States. The conclusion that pornography has impact on rape rates from such no data has been disputed (Lahey. 1984). later analysis of rape rates bewas A tween 1980and 1982 showed a correlation with magazinecirculation of sex . Sweden. O i Penthouse. Hustler. which has been interpreted to indicate that ‘a macho culture pattern independently influences men to purchase more pornography and commit morerapes’ (L. Kutchinsky (1991) revisited the subject and examined the incidenceof rape in several different societies where pornography had become readily available. One of these measures was the numberof copies of sex-oriented magazines soldper capita in each state. economic inequality and unemployment. social disorganisation. He included 20 years crime data in study and assumed that a of his substantial numberof people had been exposed aggressive pornography to due to general trend towards greater a public availability of sexually explicit materials of all forms. 1990. Baron. In 1979. and the United States from 1964 to 1984. Galley. Baron & Straus. Sweden. Club. u.64.63 between sex magazine circulation and rape rates. Thus. not that one causes the .rape and nonsexual assault followed about the same pattern over time. 1990. Baron also later reported positive correlations between rape rate and gender inequality. in three countries-Denmark.Baron and Straus tried to account differences in reportedrapes across the 50 states for in the United States.1 64 CHAPTER 7 Straus. urbanisation. In fact. The lack of a relationship between the availability of pornography and rape rates in four Western societies. 1984). The results showed that in no country rape increase did more than nonsexual violent crimes despite the large increase in pornography in each country during that period. L. This evidence showed that therewas a strong association between only sex magazine readership and incidence of rape. p. there was a highly significant correlation of .suggested that the widespread availability of pornography had not increased rape rates. Research conducted in the United States revealed a relatively strong correlation between pornography availability and rape rates (L. and Germany-rape increased less than other nonsexual assaults. 1989). Baron 6r Straus. They developed indices to measure state-by-state differences in rape rates. magazine consumption and rape are both the outcomes target pattern of traofa ditional masculine attitudes.

OFFENDERS AND VIOLENT PORNOGRAPHY Research has been carried out with known offenders to find out whether sex their reactions to violent sex scenes differ fromthose of nonoffenders. Twoof the cities had laws that outlawed pornography within city limits.I S MEDIA SEX CAUSE THE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 165 other. Men predisposed to hypermasculinity may engage in acts of sexual aggression to Validate their masculinity. One survey of 500 video stores in 1989 found that only 40% of renters of X-rated videos were individual men. It was alsosuggested that there might be a third variable explanation. Baron and Straus found that a Violence Approval measure each state for cancelled out the relationship between magazine circulation and rape rates. Pornographic material is available in video form and there was an increase in rentals of explicit videos in the United States between 1980 and The question is whether an 11% in1989. and 15% were women renting tapes alone (Kimmel & Linders. Kimmel and Linders (1996) conducted an aggregated statistics study linking the availability of pornography tosex crime rates in six American cities. The researchers examined the empirical relationship between magazine circulation and rape rates. Changes in rates for aggravated assault followed closely changes in the rape rates.79). nearly doubling from 1970to 1980. crease in video rentals compensates a reduction almost 50% in the for of ciris one view that the culation of pornographicmagazines. when they are exposed certain of erotic scene. The circulation of pornographic magazines in the United States dropped sharply from 1979. Rape rates increased dramatically during the 1970s. whereas 29% were men with women renting together. Hypermasculine sex role orientation might vary from state to state. remained stable during the first half the 1980s. and they may buy sexually oriented magazines for the same reason. State and city data also failedto reveal a positive relationship between changes in rape rates and changes in pornography circulation. Even so. The correlation between circulation rates and rape rates for 1979-1989 was strongly negative (r = -.There technological shift from pornographic magazines to X-rated videos has been accompanied by a gender democratisation of pornography consumption. the reactionsof known rapists are different from those of .and increased of slightly during the second half. One reason there was a lack of relationship between pornography and rape might be to do with the measurement pornographic consumption of solely in terms of magazinecirculation. whereas the others did not have or enforce such laws. 1996). Evisurveys of offenders dence referred to earlier in this chapter indicated that had largely failed to establish significantly distinct patterns of exposure to to types pornography for this group.

1987). 1988.butdo neurotransmission patterns (Milkman & Sunderwirth. pornography has generally use featured as part of an overall syndrome (Carnes.intensesexual urges. voyeurism. More direct evidenceof the significance of pornography to sex offendingwas gathered from clinical settings and obtained through experiments. Some writers have argued that sex offenders should be amongst those influence of who are influencedby sexually explicit materials and that the such materials be manifest in various ways at different points their will in life A of (Marshall 6r Barbaree. clinically. This also about the time when adolescents report more is frequent exposure to pornography (Reed. the use of pornography is prevalent (Donovan. Mostsex offenders who manifest these disorders report the onset such tendenciesbefore the age of 18 (Abel & of Rouleau. In clinical cases of addiction. Pornography can therefore facilitate changes in behavioral dispositions by altering brain neurochemistry. 1990). 1984. self-induced pathological relationship. Clinical Evidence Evidence has emerged from clinical diagnostic settings that knownsex offenders reportthe use of pornography as a facilitatornot only in relationto the acquisition of their deviation. deof pendent. 1984). addiction to pornographyis an identifiable illness that canbe linked. but also as a deviceto break down resistance and inhibitions of their victims or targets of molestation.1989).1). In cases of sexual problem behavior. Thereareeight of these disorders: pedophilia. to the development compulsive. promiscuity.1988). transvestite fetishism. 1990. fetishism. Overall. A table produced by Reed (1994) summarised the role of pornography in the lives of incarcerated sex offenders (see Table 7. Such research examined more directly the specific part thatpornography can play in thegenesis of sex offending. sexual sadism. Carnes. sexual masochism. Robertson. and thedistinctive reactions to pornography displayed by offenders. According to Reed (1994).166 CHAPTER 7 most nonoffenders. 1990). and exhibitionism. Viewing pornography.Pornography addiction is a complex. masturbating. and addictive sexual behavior. Herman. 1984). especially where these are children (Burgess. Pornography can so by altering beusedtoestablish a desiredmoodstate. These are characterised by recurrent. 1994). and evensexual assault have been identified as forms of addictive behavior (Colman. A category of compulsive-addictive mental illnesses related to sexual deviance has been identified called puruphilias. 1990). social learning theory rape has been pro- . data concerning paraphilias have indicated that pornography playa part in their does development and maintenance (Reed.

in Marshall. 6. 1990. p. 1985. so do child molesters (DSM-III-R). 1989). 4. 206). p. 11.1 167 Role of Pornography in the Lives o Incarcerated Sex Offenders f 1. Rapists and child molesters deliberately use pornography as part of their preoffense preparation to commit an offense. as would be prepared to respond to pornography in a negative way. 205). Marshall. Mittelman. Rapists justifytheir deviant actions viewing pornography that appears to sanction by the behavior (Silbert. Reproduced wlth permission of Lawrence Erlbaunl Associates. 6r Harman. 1988). Child molesters and rapists reported use of pornography prior to andduring theiroffenses (Marshall. More than onethird of the rapists and child molestershad been incited the use of by hard-core sexual stimuli (depicting both aggressive and consenting sex) to commit an offense (Marshall. p. a resultof their experience. 1994. 3. 1989. and reported a greater desire to procure pornography for themselves in adolescence (Murrin 6r Laws. Compared to normals. 5. 207). 190). 1989. 88). 1989. p.p. cited. by virtue of their experience. 88). adult masturbatory activity in response to pornography is more common in offenders (Murrin & Laws. High-frequency masturbation behavior patterns predict general pornography use. 7. Exposure to pornographyprior to age 14 years predicted greater involvementin deviant sexual practices (Davis & Braucht. 207). 9. 207). The extensive use ofpornography serves asan escalating factorin theirrape and assault cycles (Blanchard. posed in which it is argued that certain men. Compared to nonoffenders. after incitement. p. and report owning more. they fantasize about raping or child molesting (Marshall. p.I MEDIA SEX THE CAUSE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? S TABLE 7. It was suggested that certainearly experiences (exposure to traditional views of women’s roles associated with exposure a powto erful and forceful male who modelled aggression toward females. & Becker. whereas others. 54. 1989. 1990. 10. More paedophilesthan rapists are high frequency masturbators. poor training in social skills. 8. Note. 13. 1989. Explicit material of elicits a greater arousal rapists than does nonexplicit pornography (Marshall. 1989). When they masturbate. in 1989. rapists are 15 times as likely to have been exposed to explicit pornography during ages 6-10 (Goldstein. parenting that either neglectful or other ways was in . Oneathird of the rapists and nonfamilial child molesters reported exposure explicit to pornography during pubescence (Marshall. p.p. 7). Compared to nonoffenders. Chronic offenders are more likely to be pornography users (Abel. Source: Reed.p. 1989. 1971a. 1989). Sex offenders with high-frequency rates masturbation are more of likely to be current users of pornography. would be protected from displaying such antisocialurges. Kant. Over half the rapists who were current users of consenting sex pornography claimed they used it to stimulate fantasies rape (Marshall. sex 2. plays a more important in the of pedophiles than rapIt role life ists (Marshall. sex offenders show a greater desire to own pornography. 12. 1974).

Regular exposureto sexually explicit materials is not essential to the etiology and maintenance of sexual offending. These findings indicate a direct between exposure sexually explicit materials and the oclink to currence of criminal sexual offences. These are just the types of view presented inthose examples of pornography that depict a man forcing a womanto have with him. Marshall discovered that. the limitations inherent to correlational data must be recognised and the findings interpreted with appropriate caution. A poll of U. not all men with these unfortunate formative experiences become sexual offenders. 1970).S. when compared with two different control groups. personality disturbance.For some of these men. Another psychothera324 pists suspected such a link. Many others reported no such relationships. according to the social learning perspective. might reinforce views that serve this need.g. but the totalof 578 who had either evidence suspicions about pornography or represented a significant number (Lipkin & Carnes. most sexual offenders come from this type of background and entertain views consistent withthose outlined previously.. mental health professionals found that 254 psychotherapists reported that they had come across cases in their clinical practices where pornography was found to be an instigator or contributor to a sex crime. Of course. that child pornography clearly suggests this and also clearly demonstrates that the man in the scenariois in controlof the sexual interaction. . Despite the recurrent pattern of results. Those men whose experiences have shaped their perceptions of sexuality in the ways described should be particularly receptive to information that they take to confirm their beliefs. sex the thoughtof struggling to overpower a woman too threatening. or antisocial act. These beliefs might include the notion that women enjoy being raped and that masculinity is reflected in coercing someone to havesex and inhumiliating and degrading that person. In addition.168 CHAPTER 7 failed to instil self-confidence and a concern others) would make young for males search for information that would bolster their sense of their own manliness. but should a man with the kind of personality profile right or background be exposedto such stimuli. although interpretable by others in quite different ways. These men are ready to believe that children want to have sex with adults. Marshall (1988) found that child molesters and rapists frequently used sexually explicit materials incitefully both immediately prior to and during sexual assault. Certain forms of pornography (e. they could have a stronger impact on him than on others. Working with a sample of sex offenders in a voluntaryoutpatient environment. offenders reported substantially greater use ofsexually explicit materials. but. those depicting rape or sex with children). and that such wassignificantly use related to thechronicity of sexual offenders’ they is look to othersources of power and prestige in asexual context.

1977.g. neither of the first two offending groups provided evidence of greater exposure to pornography than nonoffenders during this critical period of psychological development. With sex this index. Child molesters (heterosexual and homosexual) andrapists reported more frequent exposure to erotic pornographic materials during adolescent years than did other sex offenders. This research distinguished between a number types of sex offender whose use of of pornography was compared with that of nonoffenders. 1978). Barlow. however.Suchinvestigations rarely distinguish differing content (e. however. sex involving children. penile tumescence). by rape scenes. even though these are relevant to the issues effects of exposure to suchmaterials. Rapists are more likely to be aroused. was the reported of explicit materials by sex offenders in relation to commituse ting their illegal behaviors. the role of erotica as an instigator to offend was accidental.). Abel. Blanchard.. & Guild. 1988). nor do they define the stimuli dimenalong sions of explicitness. or at least the stimuli were not deliberately sought out to excite them tooffend. & Becker.g. Slightly more than one in threethe child moof lesters and rapists claimed to have been incited to commit an offence following exposure to certain erotic materials. 1977). as measured through self-reports and physiological measures (e..I MEDIA SEX THE S CAUSE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 169 Offenders and nonoffenders alike have been found experience sexual to arousal. . by 1967. with moreviolent rapists being aroused most of all by particularly violent sex scenes (Abel. Blanchard. Little research has been devoted to understanding the effects of exposure to sexually explicit material on males who later become sexual offenders. Research carried out in Australia in the 1980s found that sex offenders late guilty of rape or child molesting acknowledgedfrequent use of pornographic films and videotapes while preparing themselves to commit an offence and were more likely to engage in deviant fantasies during masturbation. However.’which is a ratio sexual arousal of to rape portrayals compared with arousal to consenting portrayals. such offenders were found to attribute some influence of deviant pornographic material in the offences they committed. As adults. Abel and his colleagues developed a ‘rape index. a man whose sexual arousal towards rape is similar to or greater than his arousal to consentingsex would be considered to have an inclination towards rape. depictions of violence and humiliation. inresponse to nonviolentsex scenes. consenting versus forceful sex. the child molesters and rapists made more use ofpornographic materials than did either the nonoffenders or incest offenders (Marshall. The most disturbing finding. Quinsey. 1976. Child molesters and rapists were more likely than any other groups to entertaindeviantfantasiesduringmasturbatoryactivitiesandduring nonmasturbatory daydreams. In clinical interviews. In a similar vein. etc. For some offenders interviewed. child molesters are characteristically more aroused scenes involving children (Freund.

A careful reading a morede(p. A final response is an increasing tendency to act out sexually the behaviors viewed in the pornography to which they had been repeatedly exposed. The demonstration of relationships between the use of sexual stimulias instigators to offend. more than half (53%) claimed that they deliberately used erotica in their typical planned preparation for offending. the porn addict’s appetite changes. It might serve as a sexual release to begin with. and rape. but thenalso provide a powerful source of fantasies that might be recalled later. that sexual offenders may be eager to attributeresponsibility for their misbehaviors to some external source (Marshall. for example. although sexually arousing.. acknowledged by the researcher. strengthened the conviction that child molesters (in particular) are preoccupied with deviant thoughts that unfortunately appear to mediate a high rate of sexual offending. If transferred into their own lives. requiring more and more explicit material to achieve a turn-on. as did one in three(33%) of the rapists who claimed have been to incited to offend by these materials.’ Over time.170 CHAPTER 7 However. even deviant sexual practices. such datawere derived from retrospective recall accounts.thestrength of deviantsexualinterest. may be susceptible to effects of pornography (Fisher 6r Barak. that ‘the sex deviates had less exposure to what would define as erotica (e. various aspects of the data suggested that the type of pornography to which rapists were exposedand the degree to which they were affected by it . and such accounts are subject to Moreover. Following initial addiction.. Individgo the uals respond to media-including to their sexual content-in different ways according to theirown psychological make-up. exhibitionism.g. On a cautionary note. however. of tailed version this same of study. there folmay low an ‘escalation effect.1988). however. sadomasochism. there error. Individuals who have been inadequately socialised. heterosexual acts)as we well as lessexposure to whatwe would define as violent pornography (e. in relation to the individuals studied.andtherates of masturbatory activities. A further response is desensitization. Material originally perceived as shocking or repulsive. Cline (1994) believed that pornography could play a significant part in the development of sex offending across such behaviors as child molestation. There is a need to beyond considering media in a vacuum. fetishism. they may begin to require their sexual partsex ners to engage in increasingly bizarre. was the additionalpossibility. voyeurism. sadistic and masochistic material)’ 300). An early study by Goldstein (1973) reported. may come to be seen as acceptable. Offenders might first become addicted to pornography. among the child molesters who were incited to offend. It was during this stage that deviant sexual behavior begin to would appear in its fully developed form.g. indicates that although rapists reported less exposure to pornography in adolescence than did control groups. 1991).

Respondents who reported obtaining more information explicit media from also held attitudes more supportive of violence against women. peers. educational media. and nonpornographic books and magazines as well asporno- . 1974). Although Goldstein etal. In fact. and doctors (reported in Malamuth. university students indicated how much information about sexuality they obtained in their chddhood from various sources. Rapists were more likely to relate daily masturbation to thoughts of pornography. depictions involving sexual violence (e. & Harman. exposure a to pornography might be expected to exert arelatively more powerful influence onrapists’ responses because it would be more of a primarysource of information and stimulation. sexually explicit media. suggests that rapists were morelikely to come from home environments where education about sexuality was highly restricted and sex in general was treated as a taboo subject. used scenes from pornography in their fantasies and daydreams. (1974) did not specifically inquire aboutpornography involving coercive sex themes. Kant. With such background.In addition. motorcycle films depicting ‘gang bangs’) frequently became part of rapists’ daydreams and fantasies. For example.g. Tjaden (1988) asked college students to indicate all sources from which they may have received information about various sexual topics as they were growing up. Information from sources such as educational courses actually correlated with lower levels of attitudes supportive of violence against women. church. educational courses. How we account for the datasuggesting can that rapists had less exposure to pornography in childhood but may have been moreaffected by such exposure? Goldstein’s study. the link of sexually explicit media to antisocial attitudes tended be stronger when compared with to other sources of sexual information than when measured alone. Sexually explicit media were ranked second only to peers as the most important source of information. Sources includedschool. theywere far more likely to have encountered pornographic photographs displaying explicit sexual acts (rather than nudes) at an early ageand to have expressed a desire to imitate the activity portrayed in pornography (althoughthey said they wereless likely to have actually done so). such as peers.. Such a conclusion is consistent with other research. to have become repeatedly aroused by a particular theme. and to have feelings of frustration and more guilt related to their exposure to pornography than controlrespondents. parents. In one study. compared with 9% of controls. 1993). rapists reported an earlier age ofpeak experience with pornography. as well as other research. church. These researchers reported that 55% of rapists. mass media. Such a correlation was not found with respondents named other who sources of information as primary. to have developed a stronger interest in pornography early in life. Similarly.I MEDIA SEX CAUSE S THE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 171 may have been idiosyncratic to the offending group (Goldstein. parents.

researchers have attempted to testcausal hypotheses by controlling the pornographic material to which participating sex offenders nonoffenders are and exposed. for the population as a whole. research demonstrated that deviant sexual behaviorbecould created among hitherto nonoffending individuals. 1986). attitudinal responses. and oral and anal intercourse. was found for those men who had earlier been identified as at highest risk for committing sexual aggression.172 CHAPTER 7 graphic magazines and films. The impact of a particularvariable may have synergistic effects when interacting with other factors (Malamuth. Using a nationally representative sample of post-highschoolstudentsintheUnitedStates. in a laboratory setting. however. In this case. and childbirth. Experimental Evidence Clinical evidenceis dependent on post hoc gathering information about of offenders after they have committed offences and requires the identification of factors that characterise offenders and their backgrounds which may have a causalrole in relation to their deviant behavior. Experimental evidence is built on studies in which interventionist procedures are adopted enabling the measurementof offenders’ (as compared to nonoffenders’) responses to pornographic material. men reported pornographic materials an important as primary or secondary information source. instead. pregnancy. For other topics such as masturbation. and Koss (1991) examined whether respondents who consumedrelatively high levels of pornography were more likely to be sexually aggressive. For instance. Malamuth. Sockloskie. the potential interactive effects of various factors must be probed carefully. In laboratory experiments. particularly for some individuals. For males. In general. Significant predictive value. such as venereal diseases. they illustrate the importance not relying on simple models of the of potential impactof pornography or any other factor. information about pornography did not add great deal preusage a of dictive value. pornographywas relatively unimportant for females. The mechanisms underpinning the conditioning deviant sex-related of practices have been demonstrated through experimental procedures. Although these data do allow inferences about cause efnot and fect. Their findings showed that. it was also unimportant for some topics. The responses that are measured in these studies comprised physiological indicators of sexual arousalas well as verbal. however. arousal and orgasm. aclassical conditioning procedurewas adopted through which a . The aim of these studies is to find out if convicted sex offenders exhibit different patterns of response to specific categories of explicit sexual material from comparison samples of nonoffenders.

& Marshall. Not all the evidencehas been consistenton this point. rapists were found.A fetish was created whereby a nonsexual stimulus item came to acquire properties through close association with a sexual stimulus enthat abled the item to produce a sexual response in conditioned male participants (Rachman. Quinsey. are 1983). & Guild. Chaplin. have usually been found to respond morepositively towards depictions of mutually consenting It has been sex. suggested that certainmencommitacts of violent sex becausetheyare turned on by depictions of coercive. under controlled laboratory conof ditions. Another writer conducted research that suggested that exposure to special sexual experiences (including the consumption of pornography) and then masturbating to the fantasy the experience could sometimes of lead to participation in deviant sexual acts. both rapists and nonrapists were equally able to discern the inappropriateness of the coercive sex scenes (Wydra et al. Elsewhere. Nonrape offenders. nonconsentingsex (Baxter. Barbaree. & Marshall. 1966). Marshall. guilty of crimes such as sex rape.. 1986. Earls. are morestrongly aroused by media depictionsof rape than of mutually consenting sex between two sexual partners.Quinsey. Heim. Yet further evidence has emerged that rapists showed similar or even less arousal to rape depictions than did nonrapists (Baxter. 1977). Such experiences couldbe powerful enough that memories of them get locked into the brain and difficult to erase (McGaugh. Moreover. whereas nonrapistswere to aroused only by the consentingsex portrayal (Abel. were more likely to exhibit arousal scenes in which women consented to (Quinsey &Chapto sex lin.Through this type of mechanism. convicted rapists exhibited physiologically measured sexual arousal bothtypes of content. 1983). & Barbaree. Wydra. to show greater sexual arousal to rape depictions than toscenes of consenting sex. in comparison. 1983). Further research indicatedthat males with noprior history or record of sex offending could be aroused by media depictions of rape where the female victim eventually became sexually aroused (Malamuth. Evidence has emerged that known offenders. Interestingly. & Varney. 1984. pornography can acquire significant appeal for potential offenders and comes to represent a key source of information that is used to feed their deviancy. & Upfold. When rapists were presented with audiotaped vignettes in which a woman was either clearly being raped or engaging in consenting sex. Orgasm experienced during enjoyment of pornography provided reinforcement of the experience. Barbaree. a different pattern responses was found to deof pictions of rape and consenting sex. though. In one setstudies. in contrast. Chaplin. Barlow. rapists did not show a preference for the rape scenes. however. 1984. & . Blanchard. Nonoffender comparison groups.I S MEDIA SEX CAUSE THE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE? 173 sexual arousal response to highly erotic pictureswas transferred onto a rubber boot. 1986). 1981).

on of nonoffenders as well as offenders. Thisfinding was further corroborated by a later experiment in which young men were exposed to aud tapes depicting scenes of consenting sex between a man and women. the sex is mutually consenting. Two groups of college males. and nonconsenting sex where the women showeddisgust. It clear from this evidence thatit is important toconsider is the potential impact pornography. 1980). nonconsenting sex where the woman showed sexual arousal. force-oriented males were moresexually aroused than non-force-oriented males by rape scenes. even non-force-oriented males werearoused by the rape scene in which the woman becamesexually aroused (Malamuth 6r Check. for the force-oriented men the reverse was true. There are is of sexually explicit films and televisionprograms and otherforms of media that contain images of explicit sex. Whereas the non-force-oriented men level were more arousedby the consentingsex scene thanby the rape scene.were presented with a film that depicted a man stopped car on a deserted to pick up a who his road female hitchhiker. . Again.174 CHAPTER 7 Feshbach. The menwere then invited to create their sexual fantasies to own achieve a high of sexual arousal. the man and woman havesex. one ‘force oriented’ and the other not. extreme media sex content. sought out rapists and other offenders. Malamuth (1981) identified that nonoffender samples college men couldbe differentiated into those of who were‘force oriented’ in their own and those who were not. Taking this line of enquiry a stage further. Such lives force orientation could also be reflected in their sex lives. sexual arousal to rape depictions is not the preserve of violent sex offenders. To what extent are such themes sexually arousing to media consumers in general? This the topic to which turn in is we the next chapter. whereas in anotherversion the manforces the women to havesexual intercourse. Furthermore. In oneversion. 1983). especially violent sexual content. Later. that show scenes vioby sex of lent and degrading sexual behavior that concern. itis not only the limited release. and she eventually ends up enjoying the assault. Thus. O n this occasion. however.

1992). however.Another line of thought focuses on the empirical evidence that even among ordinary media consumers.Can Media Sex Portrayals Influence Nonoffenders? Leaving aside the possible role it mightplay in shaping the conductof individuals with deviantpersonalities. More extreme it and unusual forms of sexual behaviorcancausediscomfortamongmanymembers of thepublic (Millward-Hargrave. this is not a black-or-white issue. the depictionof sex in themedia is a matter of taste and decency. is exposure to media sex necessarily a problem? Opposing schools of thought haveemerged on this question. regular exposure to sexual portrayals may have social or psychological side effects that may not always be welcome. 1986). the more explicit materials that can be found on the fringes of publicly available entertainment command a different reaction. Much depends on the type of media sex content under consideration and the nature the of sexual depictions presents.’ One view isthat pornography is simplya form of entertainment that people consume for their own amusement (Malamuth 6r Billings. is media sex a good thing or a bad thing? For ordinary people with stable personality profiles and a socially conditioned senseof moral responsibility. In the end. In 175 . It is deemed to be either acceptable or unacceptable as a matter of personal preference. Among this of material is the range of type entertainment labelled as ‘pornography. Although sexual depictions that typi& the mainstream media may beaccepted by most people.For some people.

it might serve educational or therapeutic functions. bestialparticipants are coerced. the effects measures can be distinguished between those that focus on a purely sexual response and those that focus on aggressive responding. The key distinctions that can be drawn among studies in this area are based on the nature the stimulus material. and whether the study is conducted in thelaboratory or in the field. 1988). television. In this case. the only pornography about which therereally needs to be concern is that whichdepicts sexually violent imagery with womenas victims. Despite the equivocal evidence on whether or not sexual material in of film. 1987). 1984. video. Diamond. Similarly. and rape among young men (Donnerstein. ity. the researcher either manipulates sets of circumstances or systematically measures the effects of naturally occurring changes of Circumstances. Suchdepictions have been accused of cultivating a climate of loss of respect for women generally (Lederer. 1980. 1985). this chapter also considers the usefulness of erotica in a therapeutic context. Clinical evidence has emerged that sexual mediaportrayalscanbeusedtotreatsexualdysfunctionamong nonoffending individuals. a The concern here centers on demeaning portrayals of women in which they are depicted sex as objects whose sole purpose is to cater to sexual gratmale ification (Brownmiller.176 CHAPTER 8 some cases. Following this line of thinking. . Much of the research has been conducted under controlled laboratory conditions in which the investigator determines thekind of material to which participants will be exposed and the nature of the response they will be given an opportunity to make. Evidence has emerged repeated consumptionsuch material may fosthat of ter negative attitudes about women. 1984). Russell.One might also add material that depicts degrading and illegal portrayals of child sex abuse. &Penrod. Linz. This research effort has concentrated on the impact of violent sexual material more than any other. a substantial body of evidence has accumulated the on influences of such material on nonoffending populations. Some researchers have exploredthe possible effects of erotic material in the field using subtle interventionist methodologies or post hoc reporting. Content distinctions are centered on whether the material is stimulus of a purely erotic andsexual nature or whether it contains violence. female sexuality. and certain forms of sadomasochism in which A different school of thought with primarily feminist origins has voiced concerns about wider array of erotic portrayals than those just mentioned. In contrast tostudies of potentially adverse effects of media sex. although a handful of studies have investigated the effects of nonviolent sexual content. helping individuals to enhance their sex livesthrough learning new sexual techown niques or by fuelling their fantasies (Goldstein. or other media plays a part in the causation sexual offending. the nature the effects being of of measured.

Concern about the impact kind of material has been of this fuelled by research indicating that exposure to particular forms of erotic imagery can result in an increase in aggressive sexual fantasies. and especially men. and behavioral levels. create a psychomay logical climateinwhichsuchbehaviorsare classified as acceptable (Malamuth &Check.& Feshbach. Cognitively. evidence exists for effects that operate at a number distinct (thoughpossibly interrelated) psychological levels. Continued exposure to explicit depictions of womenengagedin sexual activity. Repeated exposure to scenes of sexual violence may play a significant part shaping public perceptions about the in prevalence of such behaviors in real life.1985. may activate thoughts about female promiscuity in viewers (Zillmann & Bryant. In extreme instances. Such thought patterns may. cynical attitudes towards women.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 177 In giving consideration. This chapterfocuses on behavioral-level effects that media sex could have on nonoffending populations. Malamuth. 1982). which would generally be classified pornographic.Effects that operate at the of the ideas that people. 1980). Haber. attitudinal. and aggressive behavior towards male female targets. initially. for instance. Sockloskie. Focus has instead been placed upon more extreme forms of sexual portrayal than would ordinarily be found on the major television channels. & Koss. This material as is available either on videotape or through adult-only subscription television channels where consumers must purchase decoding equipment to to be able receive a scrambled television signal. to the potential impact sexual porof trayals on nondeviantpopulations. EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES OF THE IMPACT O F EROTICA ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOR Relatively little research has been conducted on the impact portrayals of of sexual behavior on mainstream television on audience behavior-whether sexual or otherwise. In the longer term. 1984). in turn. of Media portrayals of sex (and violent sex) may influence consumers at cognitive. in the short term. such content affect the way individuals think aboutsexual pracmay tices and male and female sexuality. Attitudinally. regular viewing of sexual scenes in whichcasual sex is depicted. 1982. to sex-related thoughts and fantasies. in which women or are portrayed as obtaining pleasure from being raped. depending or onthecircumstancessurroundingtheaggression(Malamuth & Donnerstein. where women are shown as being promiscuous. 1991). fusion of sex and violence is the . hold level about sexual relations and female sexuality were discussed in chapter 6.increase the likelihood that nonoffending individuals will come to accept such behavior in their own lives (Malamuth. such material may give rise.

The currentchapter. however. of be especially arousing by convicted rapists. Barlow. spontaneous erections. As we saw chapter this sort material can found in 7. Although there was a large increase in masturbation on the day of viewing. Questionnaires were usedto assess the thoughts and actionsthe students of . stuIn male dents were assessed for the week before and week after exposure to erotic slides. especially men. Fantasizing about scenes of erotica was reported more oftenby those who had been exposed to the pornographic material. usually through masturbation. None of the students admitted to practising any new or perverse forms of sexual activity. Pornography Commission. This study was repeated several times. Ware. The erotic stimuli comprised slides. & Guild. In yet another 1970 U. 1969. The increase in sexual activity applied to both men and women. 1977). Obviously. There was also a tendencyfor the increase in sexual activity to apply more to radical than to conservative students. Intercourse. Schmidt & Sigusch. the couples were assessed for any changes in their usual pattern of sexual activity for that week. & Schafer. Brown. This form of experiment was also conducted in research carried out for the 1970 U. Sigusch. reported sexual activity over the rest of the week was similar that to of the previous week (Amoroso. with no history of sex offending. petand ting also increased. is concerned with the impact of different types of sexual portrayal on individuals. petting and then engaging in oral sex and coitus. married couples were recruited to participate instead of college students. as compared with the day before the slides were shown. Davis and Braucht(197 lb) showed male college students films portraying couples undressing each other. with the addition female particof ipants and erotic films and stories..S. The results were similar each time (Schmidt et al. One week after this intervention. 1971). short passages from erotic books. Blanchard. one such experiment. Byrne and Lamberth of erotica on married couples. but not significantly. and Meyberg (1969) found that orgasms. 1973). E. they would have more opportunity to (1971) assessed the effects indulge in sexual activities. M. were more frequent among male students in the 24 hours following exposure to erotic slides. &Pilkey. Pruesse. 1970). Sexual Reactionsto Erotic Imagery In Germany. Sigusch. K. Schmidt. Commission experimentalstudy. Very few reported anychanges. In another experiment.S. or erotic scenes that participants were askedto imagine for themselves. with women being more affected by erotic stories (Schmidt.178 CHAPTER 8 such that sexual arousal is achieved only through images that depict violent and coercive sexual intercourse (Abel.

Further evidence has emerged the ability of pornography to increase of sexual fantasies. although not necessarily to produceany changesin sexual behavior (Mosher.No longer tern1 changes in sexual practices were reported. desex. Another factor is that in these experimental studies. masturbation.CAN M E SN F L U E N C E O F F E N D E R S ? I EA DIX NON 179 during the 24 hours before and after the study. and was also when more likelyto occur if both partners watchedthe pornography together. during. sire for sex. It therefore remained an open questionas to just how people not familiar with such material would respond to it.Early evidence also emerged from this study expothat sure to erotica could shift male attitudes towards women a more cynical in of direction. Kutchinsky (197lb) also conducted an experimental study to investigate the effectson students of exposure to pornographic material that approached hard-core types. and after the film sessions. of whom weremarried. The films depicted heterosexualand homosexual sex scenes and group sex as well asmore standardforms of sexual activity. or colored pornographicmagazines and a 15-minute recording of pornographic literature by a poet.What happens when participants are repeated sesgiven sions of exposure to pornography? In one study. participants had four sessions of watching eroticfilms. andfor male respondents.Filmswere presented that contained scenes of threein-a-bed sex and lesbianism. After most exposure to this material. There were more relaxedattitudes towards 197 premarital sex for the sexually experienced. just session of exposure to erotall one ica was employed.sometimesmanifest behaviorally in aggression where satisfactory sexual outlets were unavailable for its release. Control participants saw either neutral films or no films at all during this period. and thinking about the to provide a source films of added stimulationwhile engaging in sex. The main effect of exposure to this pornographic material was to produce an increase in daydreaming and talking about There was also evidence of an increase in tension. They made daily reports of their sexual activity the for month before. The participants in this study were mature graduate students. held once aweek for a month. This increase applied mainly to those par24 ticipants who were most aroused viewing the pornography. One of the key limitations to all of this early experimental researchwas that participants were for the most part individuals with a prior history of exposure to thekind of pornography to which theywere exposed in the experimental sessions. The impact of pornography on sexual behavior was short-term only however. indicationsemerged of increasedsexualtension. 1). .class couples who had been married for at least 10 years. The participants were all middle. with greater approvalthe use of tactics or even force to get a girl to have sex. sexual intercourse (rather than masturbation) increased in the hours afterwards.

Satiationwas specific to the erotica and not to sex life. Reifler et al... but phy did lead to an increased desire to be promiscuousin their own this wish was seldom translated into action. There was a tendency for the couples to become moreopen in talking about sex and to become more permissive in their attitudestowards pornography (Mann etal. is necessary to controlfor the efit fect of sexual fantasising among viewers. ual activity on the film-viewing nights tended to decline over the four sessions. Laboratory Studies o Violent Media Sex and Sexual Arousal f It is not only the kinds of graphic depictions that appear in pornographic films and videos that have been studied. Male college students at an American state university were providedwith a range of erotic materials for 90 minutes a day for 15 days (Howard et al. Satiation with pornography evidenced in was terms of reduced sexual arousal to pornographicfilms and also by an increasingly bored attitude towards all forms of pornography. of disinhibition effects as indicated by an increased tendency to engage in sex with partners other their spouses (although there an is issue about whether such practices would be admitted anyway). There are sexually explicit films and programs shown on television in which eroticportrayals are featured. inexamining the effects of sex scenes per se.They then found that the men produce could an erection by relaxing and having sexual fantasies. but for subsequent sessions the amountof time spent looking them at gradually declined. What this experiment showed wasthat fantasy may play as significant a role in men’s responses to eroticaas the eroticstimuli themselves. either. .A later analysis of the same data indicated a satiation effect with repeated exposure to theerotic films (Mann et 1974).180 CHAPTER 8 O n the night after the films. Regular exposure to pornogralives. 1971). There was no evidence. their the frequency of sexual intercourse and other activities remained stable over the course of the study. 1971). During the first sesto sion. magazines and novels as well as noneroticmaterials. photographs. the students spent nearly all the time looking at the erotic materials. Laws and Rubin (1969) established that four of seven men responded to an erotic film with erections. No evwas idence emerged of imitation of the sex scenes in these films.. The increase in sexal. there was usuallyan increase in sexual activity. Participants largely moved towards more permissive attitudes towards pornography and no longer saw it as an important social issue. One study investigated the effects of prolonged exposure to erotica. 197 1. They were also able to inhibit erections while watching the erotic film by thinking of other things.Thus. although it remained higher than for other nights of the week.. They had access to erotic films. but it only the couples’usual sexual habits that were activated.

1984). Furthermore.The reactions of the rape victim are not the factor that may be only at play here. callous attitudes towardsrape and victims of rape. of the early German experiments had indicated exposure to erotic that stimuli could produce changes in mood in direction increased aggressiveness the of and decreased friendliness (Schmidt & Sigusch. What seems to be significant is whether a rape portrayal is depicted with the female victim eventually displaying sexual arousal. 1981a. Malamuth & Check.. 1973). In an important series of studies. In contrast.was the link between sex and violence. Malamuth. Even studies conducted for the 1970 Commission revealed an in- . Distinct patternsof results have emerged from studies conducted with nonoffenders. Otherfeatures such as the extent to which scenes contain extreme. Malamuth and his colleagues examined the way people respond sexual violence and its association with rape-related attito tudes and behaviors. 1970. 1983). & Upfold. vicious violence with blood and gore can also make a difference to the level of audience sexual arousal (Quinsey & Chaplin. 1980a. and thesirnula. for males. Heim.scenes in which the rape victim became involuntarily aroused sexually produced sexual arousal among male viewers and were even slightly higher in the arousal they produced than scenes depicting mutually consenting sex (Malamuth & Check. 1984. particularly that work conducted for the 1970 U. Schmidt et al. 1981. Pornography Commission. & Feshbach. Quinsey. there are certain types of erotic portrayal that may cause sexual arousal. even withnonoffenders. However. 1980). Experiments conducted with nonoffenders found that rape depictions produced very little sexual arousal in male viewers when the victim was portrayed as being distressed.& Feshbach. This was surprising given work by therapists that had already shown the possibility that exposure to pornography was linked to the occurrence sex crimes or other antisocial acts. These researchers showed that. sexual responses to descriptidns of sexual violence are associated with the propensity to rape. Male viewers find this kind of depiction especially pleasurable to watch. 1980). even when a female is depicted as being raped (Malamuth. tion of sexually violent fantasies (Malamuth. as compared with those observed for offenders. Chaplin. IMPACT OF VIOLENT EROTICA ON AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR One oversight of the early research into theeffects of erotica. Schmidt (1975) reported that both males and females rate themselvesas feeling more aggressive after seeing films ofsadomasochism and group rape than after seeing a film depicting romantic (nonaggressive) sex.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 181 some of which may also contain violence. Haber.S.

being told that they had to achieve an increase in their level of aggression if they wanted tosee an exciting sex film. A more interesting finding was that even males with a severe conscience and guilt about aggression increased the severity of their attack. or a ‘scenario’ version in which the intercourse was replaced by a written description it. Two other studies dealt specifically with the linkbetweensexualarousaland aggression (Mosher & Katz. 197 Laboratory Research The research evidence for behavioral effects of violent erotica derives mostly fromlaboratory studies.. were askedto repeat their attack against the female. Aggression did increase when made instrumental to seeing this sex film. It appeared that their feelings of aggression had been intensified the frustration having their sexual appeby of tite whetted and then having their attention drawn to the nature of the censored scene. in effect to certain categories of individual and may be less likely to occur among in others. theydo so in artificial settings in which the na- . Male stua dents were shown one of three versions: the original with or without the intercourse scene. Although such studies enablethe testing of cause-effect relationships. by being asked to administer electric shocks himas part of another study. A romantic setting. however. 1). Tannenbaum (1971) also provided evidence that censorship of an erotic ocean scene in a film can increase aggression. Tannenbaum. hey showed malestudents examples of aggressive and derogatory comments and accusations(e. involving waves crashing onto rocks and dappled sunlight streaming through leaves. Mosher and Katz (1971) found that thedesire for sexual stimulation can override conscience and by allowing verbal aggression to be expressed guilt against afemale. A to significantly higher level of shock was applied by those studentswho had seen the scenario versionof the film. The students had of earlier been angered by the experimenter’s assistant and then were given a chance at revenge.g. was artistically portrayed with two lovers engaged in sex play and intercourse complete with symbolic representation of its aftermath. 1971. After being shown a the students film. if a porn consumer bored withone type of material. This evidencesuggests that regular exposure to pornography will gradually lead to a decline interest in it.182 CHAPTER 8 crease in feeling angry for men relative to women after reading erotic stories (Byrne & Lamberth. 1971). Studiesof individuals who routinely consume erotica their own lives indicate that boredom with pornography per se does not occur. 1971). Instead. he switches gets to something different (Winick. ‘You really are a dumb -’) and then asked them tobe asverbally aggressive as possible against afemale assistant. This may berestricted.

the experimental participant invited to watchfilm is a that. the participant is placed in a position where he interacts with another person in the laboratory. Aggression can be enhanced not by hostile material. contains a scene of a woman being raped. Male Laboratory Aggressionon Males The main distinguishing feature of laboratory experiments has been mathe nipulation of the sex of the attacker and target. he she behavesin in or a personable and friendly manner. . who may be male female.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 183 ture of the viewing experience and theway aggressive behavior is enacted are different from everyday reality.Thus. Some studies have investigated the impact of erotic materials on male aggression against other males. a scene that depicted violent behavior (a man being whippedby a female) and one that depicted nonviolent. Nevertheless. theparticipant is given an opportunity to retaliate against this person. the level of retaliatory aggression displayed the former was aroused to an equal extent by watching either pure sex scenes or violent sex scenes. either by being an critical of his or her performance a task. aggressive retaliation against a male target (who earlier annoyed the participant) can apparently be increased by exposure to violent or nonviolent sex scenes. and who is also a confederate the experior of menter’s. whereas for others it may depict nonsexual violence. in asituation in which young malewas ana by noyed by another male. The latter is probably more important to the present review. others havestudied effects on male aggression directed against a female target. Beforethe retaliatory phase. Although one researcher reported that exposure to nonviolent. however. whereas a control condition.more usually by being given on or opportunity todeliver electric shocks to that person every time he or she makes a mistake on a task. the other person attempts to antagonise or annoy the participant. for some participants. Baron. it is probably worth noting that in experiments in which males are invited to attack other males. A. Much of the research using this basic design has produced results that have been interpretedas showing effects of exposure to violent pornography on subsequentaggressiveness. just but also by unpleasant material. In one condition. erotic stimuli (in the form of still pictures of young women invarious states of undress or nudes taken from Playboy magazine) could serve as a distraction that could reduce angered males’ inclination to respond aggressively (R. 1974b). Later on in the experiment. In atypical experiment. In this case. nonviolent sex. most research using film or video pornography has indicated aggression isstimulated by such mathat terial in a laboratory situation. The number of shocks given and the strength of the shocks delivered are themeasures of aggressiveness. or scenes containing neither sex nor violence.

males appeared to be reluctant to display aggression against a female target. 1981). Female laboratory aggression on female targets has also been shown be to differentially sensitive to different types of sex scene.One explanation for varying behavioral reactions could be that they are affected by how much male viewers enjoy the film extracts they are shown. Initial findings showed that in the typical laboratory experiment of this kind. Indeed. However. Male Laboratory Aggression Against Females Most laboratory research into the behavioral effects of violent sex scenes has investigated male aggression aimed at females. somesex scenes were found to generate greater laboratory aggression among menon other men when those scenes were disliked. & Medoff. sadomasochism. Female Laboratory Aggression on Females It is not exclusively men who have been found feel or respond more agto gressively after viewing material of a violent or deviant sexual nature. provided the male viewers under observation were previously angered. Bryant. 1981). rape scenes were found to produce greater laboratory aggression among men on other men scenes of sexual intercourse with than no violence (Donnerstein. Rape scenes depicting female sexual arousal can stimuan late subsequent aggression against male targets in a laboratory. Comisky. Other equally arousing but liked scenes did not have such effect. The importance of enjoyment in combination with excitement to postviewing behavioral effects is examined again later in thesection that deals with psychological explanations of such effects. though. Less enjoyable depictions of female distress-causing rape. and bondage did not promote aggressiveness against other males to anything like the same degree (Sapolsky & Zillmann. such restraint could be readily dissolved when repeated opportunities were presented for a male experimental participant to retaliate a female who against repeatedly antagonised him. Elsewhere. but no genitalia showing (soft core). 1980). One explanation offered for this difference was the finding that female viewers regarded the hard core scene as more disturbing and displeasing (Saplosky & Zillmann. female participants displayed stronger retaliatory aggression against a female annoyer they had watched a scene after of explicit sexual intercourse and oral (hard core) than after watching a scene with sex sex nudity. 1981. 1981). & Carveth. the male participant also shown if was .For example. Schmidt (1975) reported that bothmales and females rated themselves as feeling more aggressive after seeing films of sadomasochism and group rape than after seeing a film of nonaggressive sex. In the prototypical laboratory design. Zillmann. Bryant.184 CHAPTER 8 but degrading sexual activity (bestial sex) both invoked arousal that led to subsequent aggression (Zillmann.

provocation). in subsequent experiments. Indeed.When. the participants presented with a multiwere ple-trial reaction-time task. no provocation). 1980). On first trial. Then. Aggressive Cues Perspective Donnerstein observed that erotic films equated for arousal but varying in aggressive contentledto differinglevels of male-female aggression . participants formed callous perceptions of the female confederate thatdisinhibited aggressive responsiveness.Of equal importance. male participants in this situation were shown film clips depicting rape scenes. exposure to a sexually violent film clip with a female victim increased male viewers’ own aggressive responding in a laboratory settingto agreater level againsta female target than a male target (Donnerstein. aggressivenessagainst the experimenter’s female assistant (Donnerstein& Barrett. the participants responded to inappropriately intense electrical shocks they received at the hands of the female confederates (Le. For all trials. The researchers speculated that because of her sexually permissive and promiscuous behavior. In what was termed the permissive cues condition. ‘That looks fun’and ‘I’dlike to try that.e.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? I85 a film sequence that depicted nonviolent this could produceenhanced sex. 1981). Folno lowing the exposure treatment. the female made no comments. the female made apparently spontaneous positive comments such as. A further study found that angered males’ heightened aggression against afemale target was in evidence whether the scenes of violent sexual behavior shown themcaused distress or sexual arousal to in the female victim (Donnerstein & Berkowitz. the participants chose a level of shock without knowledge of the confederate’s intentions (i. 1978..’ In a cues condition. their aggression against a female target becameeven more pronounced.that’s awful. The conclusion reached at this time that violent pornography a potent stimulator of was was male (nonsexual) aggression against females. the shock intensity selected by the participant served as the measure of aggression. disapproving comments such as ‘This is disgusting’and ‘Oh. three different manipulations of the social situation were enacted by the female confederates during the presentation of the sexually explicit slides. In another experimental study. 1978)..Donnerstein &Hallam. she made negative. Leonard & Taylor. neutral behaviors (controlcondition. Leonard and Taylor foundthatmeninthe permissivecues condition-where the female displayed sexual openness-had a significantly more aggressive response than their counterparts in the other two conditions. 1983).’ In a nonpemissiue cues condition. male participants were paired with female confederates of the experimenter and exposed to aslide presentation featuring actors engaged in explicitlydepicted precoital and coital heterosexual behaviors or nonsexual. insubsequent trials.

1983).When they witnessed a rape scene in which the victim appeared to suffer extreme distress throughout. A more recent attempt to replicate Malamuth and Donnerstein‘s (1982) results. depends the options that provided on are for the male response. Heim. 1980.. perhaps linkedto personality or attitudinal predispositions. or to engage her in nonaggressive way. in contrast. INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN RESPONDING Although differences in behavioral responding to violent and nonviolent erotic material have been observed to occuramong males and females.The arousal capacityof the stimuli. A nonaggressive erotic film. that mediate such responding? Evidence discussed was . Thus. Specifically.1983). male aggression against the female target is lower. it emerged that young men who had not been angered by their female target. 1980). are there other individual differences. 1981). a pleasurable outcome ina rape scenemay be especially likely to stimulate maleviewers’ subsequent aggressive tendencies towards females (Malamuth. In a further elaborationon this point. is not seenas a necesof sary component. this aggressiveresponse was much more explanation of the differential effects is based on the proposal that an individual can assume aggressivecue value when he or sheis associated with film-mediated violence (Berkowitz. 1994). In a more recent replication.even though they may have viewed violent sex scenes in the interimperiod (Fisher & Grenier. the researchers gave their male participants opportunities either to respond inkind (i. foundthat the extent to which a male participant aggressagainst a will female who has annoyed him. When this other option provided. There is also evidence to suggest that nonerotic stimuli featuring aggression against a female can facilitate male-female aggression (Donnerstein. The aggressivecues perspective appears account heightened male to for aggression against a female target subsequent to exposure to pornography featuring violence against women. Rather.186 CHAPTER 8 (Donnerstein. In the early experiments. & Feshbach. in a laboratory setting. 1984). he inflicts more harm because of the female target’s aggressive cue value-her association with lacks aggresthe victim in the film. sive cues that would lowerthe male’s inhibitions for inflicting harm against women and. the male participantswere permitted to respond only in an aggressivemanner. a was few men chose the aggressive response option. in particular the portrayal of rape.when a male views a film depiction of rape and is then given an opportunity to aggress against a female annoyer. while contributing to an enhancementaggressive behavior. nevertheless responded an in aggressive manner towards her after they had been shown rape scene a in whichthefemalevictimbecame sexually aroused(Donnerstein & Berkowitz.e. therefore. aggressively) to thewoman who had annoyed them. using the same procedureand similar film materials.

.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 187 in earlier chapters that changes in attitude towards women contingent upon exposure to film portrayals of rape can be mediated pre-exposure by attitudinal sets. disgust). Researchers have therefore tended to use ‘safer’ simulations or substitute responses for overt behavior. and knowledge. Check. and outcome (woman’s arousal vs.n both self-report O and tumescence measures. when woman was portrayed as experiencing the disgust. is that it may be ethically unsound to attempt to enhanceindividual’s antisocial . inhibitions. (c) sexual responses such as attitudes. well as reactions to as his mutually consenting intercourse. these subjects listened to one eight audiotapes of an of interaction involving sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. The content of these depictions was systematically manipulated along the dimensions of consent (woman’s consent vs. 62 participants wereclassified as low LR (a rating of 1-‘not at all likely’ on the 5-point scale) and a further 42 subjects were classified as high LR (a rating of 2 or higher). they analysed whether differences in sexual arousal to force were associated with four general areas: (a) ideological attitudes concerning areas such as adversarial male-female relations. no pain). 1986). They then & analysed whether reported arousal from this measure was predictive of sexual arousal from rape and nonsexual aggression. rape. Malamuth and his colleagues in a later study asked subjects to indicate how sexually aroused they thought they would be by forcing a womanto do something against her will (Malamuth. an behavioral dispositions. a preliminary session was run in which malesubjects were administered questionnaires concerning theirsexual attitudes andbehaviors. (b) aggressive attitudes about interpersonal and international aggression. Low LR participants were equally aroused to the consenting and nonconsenting depictions. pain (woman’s pain vs. O n the basis of this item. and (d) self-ratings regarding whether thesubject himself might engagein sexually aggressiveacts andhow attractive he found such acts. a very different pattern emerged. experiences. nonconsent). Briere. The findings indicated the importance the interaction between of individual differences among subjects and variations in the depicted content. the likelihood of raping or LR item). One item enquired about the likelihood that thesubject himself would rape if he could be assured of not being caught and punished(Le. In a further analysis of individual differences. In addition. Several days later. However. whether they are manipulated in a laboratory or field context. and male dominance. when the woman was perceived as becoming sexually aroused.. The difficulty with demonstrating such varying behavioral effects. both low and high LR participants were lessaroused sexually by the nonconsenting as compared with consenting depictions. In a study conducted by Malamuth and Check (1983). whereas highLR participants showed greater arousal to the nonconsenting scenes.

particularly when assessed via penile tumescence. In contrast. To do so would require some experimental manipulation would that intentionally increase such thought patterns. Classmates of the selected participants. Is there any evidence. inhibitions. who did not watch thesefilms. to test the proposition that certain thought patterns contribute causally to the occurrence rape or other of forms of serious sexualaggression. Those male students who attended a movie with a sexually violent theme showed the most positive attitude towards the use of violence in a sexual context and greatest acceptance rape myth. The impact of films featuring sexualand sexually violent themes on viewers’ attitudes towards female sexuality.for those who reported relatively high level of a arousal fromforce (c30%). This study was restricted to changes in participants’ perceptions. NATURALISTIC STUDIES One of the critical issues of debate about the largely laboratory-based studies that have been used to test the potential behavioral effects of media depictions of sex or sexual violence is that measurements take place under artificial conditions that to match fail real world viewingsituations andsocial interactions. of Female college students who watched this type of movie did not exhibit the same opinion profile. and attitudes. itwould be ethically problematic.For those who reportedno arousal or moderate arousal force (c70%). Malamuth and Check (198 lb) randomly assigned male and female college students to watch films with sexual.that implicate cultural attitudes roles as causes of aggression against women. particularly among those most likely to commit sexual aggression. To conduct such research real for . Men’s reported arousal from forcing a woman is predictive of their actual sexual arousal to media depictions of violent sex (as measured by self-reports and penile tumescence). sexually violent and nonsexual themes instana dard movie theatre with other members of the public. arousalfrom force did not relate to noncoercive sexual responses. aggression was indeed found to enhance sexual arousal.Those who were more highly aroused by rape depictionswere more acceptingof an ideology that justifies male aggression against and dominance over women. were used as controls.beliefs. or sexual experience and knowledge.188 CHAPTER 8 Results indicated thataggression may be a sexual stimulant some infor dividuals. 1975). rape and coercive sexual relations has been investigated in a field setting. In contrast. The data were supportive of theoretical approaches. but they are not supportive of theoretical approaches that implicate sexualcauses. including attitudes.that exposure to suchmedia content canproduce negative changesin behavior? Of course. in a completely satisfactory way. such as a feminist one and (Brownmiller. from a nonlaboratory setting. thepresence of aggression inhibited for sexual arousal.

Ageton (1983) gauged the extent to which a variety of measures predicted levels of sexual aggression. The findings suggested that themost important factor relating to sexual aggression was having sexually aggressive friends. social class. Several studies using samples of college men also reported significant links between attitudes and actual sexual aggressiveness (Briere et al. and attempted sexual coercion where the force component was as mild as verbal pressure or as severe as a physical beating orinjury from a weapon. Analyses wereconducted by identifying ‘offenders’and comparing them to variety variables discrima of inated between the groups.e. beliefs in rape myths. The other two factors found likely to contribute tosexual aggression were attitudes legitimizing such aggression and military service in theVietnam war. peer behavior. educational attainment. but ina discriminantanalysis. Alder (1985) used a subsample from a larger representative sample of men from a county in Oregon to assess variables potentially predictive of sexual aggression. The sexual aggression focus was added toa studyprimarily designed to focus on other issues. These attitudes are likely to be associated with sexually aggressive behavior rather than the type of attitudes assigned by Ageton (i. 1984. In this study. Beezley.. incest. These included family background. &Oros.K.g. and attitudes about aggression in general).to 17-year-old participants were drawnfrom a representativenationalsampleand were interviewed in several consecutiveyears in the late1970s.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 189 would be potentially hazardous and ethically unsound. forced fondling. was the attitude factor.. a number of studies have attempted to cast on possible links between light exposure to sexual content in the media and real-world sexualaggression among nonoffending populations. it was found two that involvementwith delinquentpeers at a youngage was the best single predictor of sexual aggression in later Another predictor.Mosher &Anderson. nificant than peer group experiences. sex-role stereotyping. attitudes.It may be inappropriate to group together such diverse acts. war experience. etc. involvement with peers. andpersonalattitudestowardssexual aggression. . 11. Leonard.. creating somelimitations intheextenttowhichlongitudinal predictions concerning sexual aggression could beproperly assessed.Koss. 1985. the study’s design allowedpredictor measures (e. However. Nevertheless. Malamuth (1989) challenged the definition of sexual aggression used by Ageton to classify offenders versus nonoffenders. sodomy.) to be obtained before the occurrence of sexual aggression. which was assessed by self-reports. In a cross-sectional study. those less siglife. Ageton did not specificallyassess acceptance of sexual aggressionor attitudes regarding violence against women. It included ‘allforced sexual behaviorinvolving contact with the sexual partsof the body’ including rape. 1986.

Malamuth. Erotic Material as Education There have been a numberactive advocates of the use ofeducational proof grams to counteract the potentially harmful psychological side effects of watchingpornography (Check & Malamuth.These predictors were then correlated with self-reports of sexual aggression. measured Eysenck‘s by psychoticism scale. hostility toward women. All the predictors except psychoticism were significantly related to naturalistic aggression. He found that a much higher percentageof rapists justified rape in general than did control participants.’‘teasers. erotic materials have used in psychotherapeutic contexts been as part of a courseof clinical treatment of sexual dysfunction among otherwise normal (Le. can the kinds of materials be used to same produce more positive and beneficial outcomes?Two categories of evidence have emerged this question. as a (b) disinhibition to commit sexual aggression included attitudes supporting aggression and antisocial personality characteristics.’‘loose. one on In case.especially when it combined with violence.. Linz. 1992. BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF EROTICA The discussion so far has centered on the hypothesis that exposure to explicit media sex. nonoffending) individuals.Malalmuth &Check.These studies measured self-reported sexual aggression on a continuum of behaviors ranging from psychological pressure on women to rape. In the second case. sexual materials have been used as educational interventions to counteract the potentially harmful reactions that may follow fromuntutored viewing of explicit media sex.’ or ‘economicexploiters.particularlythoseperceived as ‘pick-ups.190 CHAPTER 8 K. with psychoticism showing a marginally significant relationship. who compared the attitudes of 71 university students who admitted committing rape with a control group of nonaggressive college males. Malamuth(1986) divided the variables that might contribute to sexual aggression into threeclasses : (a) motivationfor sexual aggression included sexual arousal aggression (measured by penile to tumescence). & Beckett.’ Using a sampleof 155 men. though. has negative is effects. To what extent. 1984).Moreover. . 1984. Similar results were reported by Kannin (1985).These programs can be effective. he found that rapists were far more likely to believe their reputationswould be enhanced among their peers by sexually aggressive behaviortowardwomen. although not everyone who participates in them responds in the desired way. 1985). and (c) opportunity to aggress sexually was assessed by sexual experience. and dominance motivefor sex. Rapaport & Buckhart.

Yaffe. beliefs. One surveyof American and Czech/Slovak mentalhealth professionals indicatedthatthe use of soft-core and certain hard-core sexually explicit materials was favorably received in the context sex therapy. there remain further questions about which types ofmaterial work best and the need to attain a balance betweenthe effectiveness of the material and not causing embarrassment or offence to individuals being counselled (Buvat et al. films. and attitudes. Although this general view about the therapeutic value of explicit sexual material has some support.magazines. for example. 1994). This means that sexual stimuli may losetheir capacity to produce sexual arousal in men after they have been with the same individuals a number of times. Men have been foundto show habituation to specific sexual stimuli more quickly with repeated exposure than do women (Laan & Everard.. There is a likelihood that theachieved effects willbe the opposite of the ones desired. 1995). Accordingto some writers. Visual sexual stimulation (VSS) has beenused for many years in the investigation of sexual dysfunction (Wagner.Materials featuring violentsexual beof havior or bizarre and degrading sexual depictions were roundly rejected for such application (Robinson. It is understood.C A N MEDIA SN F L U E N C E O F F E N D E R S ? I EX NON 191 Erotic Material as Therapy Someexpertshavepromotedthe use of erotic video materialin a psychotherapeutic context.Ceror tainly individuals who lead sexually promiscuous lives have reported finding that pornographic films provide a stimulus or model that has been linked. Koznar. 1990). and books-to change individuals’ or couples’ sexual behavior. with behavior such men pushing their wives or girlas friends into partner swapping or lesbian sex scenarios (Bartell. VSS is regarded by its users as a noninvasive and useful first of analysis relation line in to thediagnosis and treatmentof erectile dysfunction. evenin psychotherapeutic contexts. Sex counselling clinics have made use of explicitsexualmaterials-includingpictures. Despite such caveats. This used habituation effect is likely occur more readily to print to stimuli than to film . 1996). Scheltema. The effectiveness of erotic material in a therapeutic contextdepends in part on the continued ability of specific depictions of explicit sex to facilitate sexual arousal in individuals followed repeated exposures. there is a supportive body of professional opinion about using erotic materials in therapy. 1985. & Mantheir. There is often no guarantee thatexposure to sexually explicit materials will have positive benefits for those with whom they areused. 1982). that the of erotic mause terials needs care and skill. it is not clear whether this use of pornography counts’as education rniseducation (Cline. 1971). The value of such materialin aneducational or therapeutic context has been disputed.

In contrast. about theuse of poor quality is productions because they may be perceived by patients as confirmation that this form of therapy is itself a sleazy procedure (Wylie. It would be ethically questionable try to mato . It was concerned primarily with the impact of explicit media sex of the kind that might be found in soft-core or hard-core pornography. Previous chapters had considered the effects of media sex on consumers’ thoughts. When exploring questions of personal sexual behavior. if any. for example. beliefs. also depends on the degree to which viewers become involved with the sexual stimulus. 1996). as much scholarly attention has been devoted to the question people respond of how to depictions of violent sexual behavior. 1985). or of as such. they are. Researchers have used experimental manipulations and surveys to explore the cause-effect refield lationships. that many pornographic films are available on video. CONCLUSION This chapterconsidered the effects of media sex on nonoffending populations. however. resubject . in principle. have not been subject to review by the British Board FilmClassification. attention was shifted to behavioral effects. though they can be used in restricted clinical settings (Riley. but many have been imported are ‘homemade’ and. especially among men. With such a sensitive as this. Hence research on individuals’ sexual reactions to erotic imagery usually confined to suris veys that yield self-report evidence. The speed with which this reaction occurs. research often runs into problems linked to what people are prepared to divulge about their lives and how honestly they are to respond sex likely to probing questions about it. and attitudes. One might expect to find a discussion of effects of media sex on sexual behavior. perceptions. This chapteralso distinguished between methodologies that have been applied to investigate these mediasex issues. Sexual behavior not something that can is be readily studied within an experimental framework. It has been observed in Britain. Two broad types of effect were examined: effects on sexual behavior and effects on aggressive behavior. betweenexplicitmedia sex andthesubsequent behavior of those who consume it. Greater involvement in an erotic depiction ren0 ders it more arousing (O’Donogue 6r Geer. Withoutclassification. Here.192 CHAPTER 8 or video stimuli. studies the impact of of sexual violence have turned theuse of experiments in which exposure to to media sex scenes and the subsequent behavioral responses of viewers can be tightly controlled. 1992). There a real concern. searchers have often found themselves restricted the approaches they in can take either ethical constraints or willingness of people to particby the ipate in such studies. however. not legally distributable to the general public.

Although these studies have identified a number of psychological and social background characteristics of individuals who exhibit sexually aggressive tendencies. Personality characteristics and pre-existing attitudes towards rape and coercive sex can mediateaggressive responding following exposure to sexual violence in laboratory settings. of Limited evidence hasalso emerged that even female viewers may be enticed into responding more aggressively towards another female in the laboratory after they have been shown explicit (nonviolent) sex scenes. Self-report data andmultivariate statistical analysis techniques have been used to assess the correlates of sexually aggressive orientations. is This enhanced aggressiveness has been found to occur among adult young males whether the target their controlled aggression is male or female. Finishing on a more positive note. that viewers imitate sex scenes witnessed in erotic films or that they necessarily increase the level of their own sexual activity as a resultof exposure to suchmaterial. Exposure to sexual violence in a laboratory setting has been found to increase aggressiveness in immediate postviewing situations in which aggressive responding towards another person encouraged to takeplace. Going beyond laboratory.ethical constraints have the generallyprevented or restricted the investigation of the impact explicit sexual materials in natof ural settings. in turn basis may be linked to individuals’ subsequent sexualactivity. Explicit sex scenes from films and to videos have also been used under controlled clinical conditions treat individuals with sexual dysfunction. it canprove to be successful in some cases. even in the laboratory.however. There is no consistent evidence. however. . Although such material to be careneeds fully chosen and used in combination with other clinical techniques by skilled therapists. Pornography has been used in interventions designed to draw attention to the distortions of female sexuality that frequently characterise such material. on the of self-report evidence. Pornography may be used to fuel fantasies and assist with achieving sexual arousal shortly before usual sexual activity. Some people use pornography as a sexual stimulantto spice up their ownsex lives. Exposure to erotic material does seem to be able to generate sexual thoughts and fantasies that. explicit media sex can be used as an educational and therapeutic tool. they have produced lessclear evidence on the role that media depictions of sex might playin the causation of such tendencies.CAN MEDIA SEX INFLUENCE NONOFFENDERS? 193 nipulate individuals to perform real aggression towards others in a naturalistic setting. Not everyone responds in this way.

Sexual messages in advertising may beaimed at men or women. coffee. indecency restrictions are more stringent. and furniture. 1985. however. carpets. by creating a more attractive brand image that people want tobuy through association of the product with attractive models or actors. toiletries. These models may be scantily clad or even nudefeaand tured in suggestive poses.Can Media Sex Sell Commodities? The use of sexually attractive imagery in advertising has been widespread practice for many years. One of the major concerns about theuse of sex in advertising is the observation that advertisements routinely portray women as objects-most commonly as 1 94 . but has traditionally been most often associated with clothing. the sexual imagery advertising created through the of alluring female in is use models or actors. savory snacks. and certain foodstuffs (e. meaning that there less latis much itude for using sex to sell in televised advertising (Lin. 1997). 1988). With television. Over time. cosmetics.Sex has been used to sell many different products. ice cream). Soley & Kurzbard. The use of sex in advertising is based on an assumption that sex can help to sell the advertised product by rendering a commercial message more attention-grabbing and memorable to consumers. and making the product by itself more desirable because it linked to a certain sexual lifestyle. The use of sex in advertising has a long history (Trachtenberg.. 1986). Sullivan &O’Connor. 1986. Sexually attractive females have also been used to sell more expensive items such as cameras. theuse of sex in magazine advertising has become much more widespread andgraphic(Schorin & Vanden Bergh. Traditionally.g. cars.

1979). 1994). Attractive people are usually rated as more desirable. 1987. There are many ways in which advertising impact can be measured. Debevec. Gitlin. The traditional woman-as-sex-object representation accused by critics is of reinforcing stereotypical male fantasies about women and promoting a widerideology of masculine dominance in society (Dow. of female bodies (Kilbourne & Lazarus. 1990. Kimes. there are three broad issues that need to examined. Malefaces appear more often than bodies. 1982).Lafky.& Kernan. How has the use of sex mediaadvertising evolved over in the years? A second consideration to investigate the impact that in adveris sex tising has on the impact of commercial messages upon consumers. but not necessarily enhance recall or positive attitudes toward a brand (Alexander & Judd. 1978). and clothing as well as cars and power tools (Kilbourne & Wunderlich. 1993). & Barrios. 1983). Critics believe portraying females as sex objects and decoration strips them of identity and symbolises them as 'things' to be owned. respectable and influential than less attractive people (Berscheid & Walster. Women are presented as decoration without personalities-often with sexual symbolism (Courtney & Whipple. Iritani. The conventional form of advertising in which young. 1994). Sexy body shots are used for such products as undergarments. desired. Such advertising is believed to encourage female consumers model themselves these media to on icons. 1985). Kilbourne & Wunderlich. In considering the use of sexin advertising. 1979). 1988. Madden. slim. Despite the evidence on the power of physical attractiveness. Ultimately. 1985). Other concerns stem from the presentation of women as sex objects. cologne. and males appear twice as much as females (Sullivan & O'Connor. & Berkowitz. or parts. Hall & Crum. 1983). Duffy. Psychological evidence on the importance of physical attractiveness in relation to communicationeffectiveness and attitude change would. 1979). in principle.A physically attractive communicator can also be more persuasive (Patzer. 1996). support the potential commercial value of using sexy models promote to advertised products (Chaiken. Media convey this by presenting pieces.The attractiveness stereotypes of advertising can make women feel less adequate about their own physical appearance (Kamins. 1989). the impact of physically attractive models on consumer purchase behavior is not so clear cut (Joseph. 1986). Advertising features female body parts more than theirfaces (Archer. 1974. The first consideration is the way sex is presented be in advertising. beautiful female models attribute their physical attractiveness to the product has been labelled as exploitative (Kilbourne. advertisers judge the performance of advertisements on the basis of impact . 1990.MEDIA CAN SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 195 sexual objects. Some susceptible consumers may goto extreme lengths to achieve an ideal look or shape (Downs & Harrison. rejected and replaced rather thanas people (Bern.Nudity and erotic content can increase consumer attention to an advertisement.

The same authors conducted anotherstudy that (35%) print advertisementsfor televishowed that more than one in three . domestic. This investigation found that less than 7.5% depicted partially clad models. 1981. Is sex in advertising regarded as acceptable or offensive? Are certain types of sexual image or depiction more acceptable than others? What differences of opinion exist among consumers and are such differences associated with specific consumer characteristics? REPRESENTATION OF SEXUAL IMAGERY IN ADVERTISING Research conducted between the 1950s and 1970s repeatedly found that television advertisements portrayed women as decorative. Although this book is concerned with sex and theaudiovisual media. Women were more likely to appear as sex objects than were men (Rak & McMullen. 1987. & Kingsley. As with sex in programs. & Snook-Luther.196 CHAPTER 9 on product sales and market share. . somereference is made hereto studies of sex in printed media. Pitts. Third. Gilpin. among consumers. One content analysis of television commercials used a cross-cultural sample of Clio award-winning advertisements to determine the similarities and differences in the use of sex in American and international television advertisements. and develop afavorable impression aboutthe product so that it becomes adesirable commodity that they would wish to purchase. before this type of impact can be felt. 198 1 Lovdal. Knill. to psychologically. and only 0. 1988. & Soley. 1989. In consequence. advertising campaigns have make a mark. Salmon. 1988). Another reason is that atleast one suchstudy investigated the use of sex in printadvertising for television programs. sexual attractiveness. 1988). Haynes. and primarily concerned with personal beauty (Caballero. 1991). some advertising can be classified as ‘sexually oriented’ in appeals. Persch. & Madden. there the question what consumers is of think about the of use sex in advertising. However. Three types of implicit sex appeals were found to occur on television: double entendre. differences were found to perSullivan & O’Conner. These gender sist into the 1990s. Consumers must attention to an advertisement. 1984). Pursey. 1989). Lumpkin. sex in advertisements can be depicted in an overt fashion or appear in more subtleforms such as innuendo and other forms of talk. & Perloff. learn and pay remember its message. but the gap between the sexes had narrowed over time (Bretl & Cantor.nudity was more common in the advertisements aimed at international markets (Reid. whereas other commerits cial messages use ‘sex’as a selling point. dependent on men. and nudity (Cohen. LaTour.7% of advertisements for the American market contained anything other than fully dressed models. Overall. One reason for doing this is that many trend studies tracking the presence of sex in advertising over the years focused on magazines. Ferrante.

One per cent of the advertisements contained verbal to sex. kissing or implied sexual activity). Salmon. Morgan. bathing or swimming) .This trendwas observed to continue a further for 10 years into the mid-l990s. verbal innuendo (verbal expressions of sexual desire). male and female. tight-fitting clothing that accentuates the body. undressing. Lambiase.In this analysis. and physical contact (hand-holding. in magazine advertising was found to occur (Soley &Reid. Reid. research on advertising on television has indicated that is not a common feature. embracing. but they do not account for thegreat majority of broadcast advertisements. 7% contained physical refer- . In addition. fondling. nude. & Soley. Between the mid-1960s and mid-l980s. Despite the wider useof sex in print advertising. Partially clad would include males with their shirts off or female models in their underwear or bathing suits. Soley and Kurzbard (1986) concluded that visual sexual portrayals increased. Soley and Kurzbard (1986) found an increase in andmore overtuse of sexuallyoriented appeals in advertising in a content analysis of visual and verbal sexual portrayals in magazine advertisements. This finding was more pronounced with females than males. the amount of female-male contact depicted in the advertisements they studied tripled between 1964 and 1984. Carstarphen. 1988). to partially revealing and finally. 1999). Nudity ranged from either theimplication that themodel was not wearing any clothing disto plays of full-frontal nudity. Comparing publications from 1964 and1984. Thesevarying degrees of nudity generally applied to femalemodels. through of suggestive. with the percentage of advertisements containing a woman and man involved in sexually suggestive behavior more than doubling from one in five tomore thanonein two (Reichert. consumers have evaluated advertisements with nudesas more offensivethan otheradvertisements. 1984). along with more frequent.Although highly suggestive poses and semidressed modelsare found to attract attention. but research has not necessarily supported sex’s success in all cases.CAN MEDIA SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 197 sion programsused sexual content (Reid & Soley. Suggestive dress was represented by open shirts that exposed cleavage. a marked increase in the use of provocatively dressed models. and more implicit sexual acts. appeals resex Sex main an important element that advertisers can deploy.compared to males. explicit sexual appeals. or mini skirts. 6L Zavoina. Lin (1998) reported that around 12% of advertisements from a sample of over 500 commercials recorded from week of network American one television contained less than fully dressed models (an increase of 5% on10 years earlier. 1985). advertisements were coded for three dimensionsof sexually oriented conduct:physical innuendo (flirting. nudity. Advertisers increasingly rely on overt sexual messages. dressing. Degree of nudity couldbe classifiedalong ascale that indicated the presence progressively lessclothing. from demure. with females more likely to be sexually clad or nude.

men also appear twice as often as women (Sullivan & O’Connor. Combining beer and sexy female images may be dangerous considering the increasing alcoholism in society. Nystrom. 1987. For example. 1989. attractive bodies with no personality. appear more often than men’s bodies in print advertising. 1993).’ objects male sexualdesire. cologne/perfume. This nonhuman image of women can be conveyed by reducing women to ‘body parts’ instead of a wholeperson (Kilbourne & Lazarus. Despitethe relative rarity of sexual content in network television advertising. 1989). Male aggression is displayed during such sporting events as football. women’s body parts are featured more than women’s faces in printadvertising (Archer. Marketing research has discovered a strong link between sports viewing and beer drinking. For example. Kilbourne & Wunderlich. the customary gender difference survived. Downs. female characters with stereotypical aggressivemale images and alcohol may bea volatile combination. A subtle message is conveyed to the audience through these differences in body and facial images.Men’s faces. Kimes. & Barrios. but only attractiveness is communicated through pictures of bodies (Dodd et al. and wrestling. as as well cars and power tools (Boddewyn & Kunz. and 8% contained physical contact of a sexual nature.. Postman.Strate. 1978)”degree to which a camera shot focuses on the face versus the body-shows that women largely remain stereotypedas unintelligent. 1991. Harcar. The number of ‘face-isms’ (Archer. 1979). & Barrios. The use of provocative female models in commercials advertising boots or cigarettes or other products propagatesthe unintelligent/decorative image of women. The type and numberof female body shots in print advertising does not seem to differ with the type of product advertised. & .and the promoting of male aggression (Lang & Sibrel. Foerch. or as part of the of advertised merchandise rather than as people (Bem. and clothing.Dodd. U s e of Bodies Perceiving women as sex objects strips women of their individual identities. but theuse of these women in alcohol commercials adds an additional dimension to these Tying these dehumanised ads. Iritani. Intelligence and personality are communicated through pictures of faces. on the other hand. Women remained more likely than men to be cast in sexually appealing roles. thus beer commercials air frequently during sports events (‘Alcoholand Sports. Kimes. &a Gondoli. They areviewed as ‘things.’1992. 1983.&Anderson. 1988). 1989). boxing. 1979). Miller. 1989). the increasing connection between alcoholand domestic violence. sexy body shots are used for such products as undergarments. Kilbourne & Wunderlich.198 CHAPTER 9 ences.

However. butfor men it was only 24%. 1988).15 and of females was 2. In otherwords. female bodily exposure was greater. The Commercial Impact of Sex Sex in advertising is designed to draw consumers’ attention to an advertisement. This was a statistically significant difference. as sexobjects and decoration in ads as determined throughobservation TV of the number and of bodycamera shots type used in TV beer commercials. a 49% chance that acommercial inthis sample contained at least one camera shot focusing on thewoman’s chest. Overall then. leg shots. and of faces (‘face-isms’) They addressed the issue of women . They focused on pictures in ads and the appearance of bodies and body parts (‘body-isms’). research can be divided into those studies interested in measuring the direct or indirect effects of sex on the commercial impact advertising and of those that have investigated a wider social impact of sex in advertising. for example. Researchhas also shown that sports viewing and violence are highly correlated (Horn. may have to compete the for attention of the audience with other advertisements in thesame advertising break. . Hall and Crum (1994) analysed a sample of 59 TV beer commercials covering 23 different brands of beer.18. They identified the number of male and female characters in these commercials and further analysed gender representation in terms body-isms. and about sexual relations in society. AUDIENCE IMPACT Analysis of the representationof sexual imagery in advertisements can reveal potential messages about sex. theaverage number of shots per ad of males was 1.MEDIA CAN SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 199 Weingartner. but does not demonstrate that any such messages are apprehendedby consumers who are then subsequently infludisposition towards the advertised enced by them either in relation to their product or in termsof broader social beliefs and perceptions about sex and sexuality. with adjacent program content. for instance. This the first stage advertising influence and is increasingly imporis of tantin mediamarkets thathave becomemorecrowded. to what extentwere of male and female characters shown in chest shots. men appeared more often than women in these advertisements. There was. buttock shots. andwith advertisements that appear subsequently for competing products in ad-breaks elsewhere in the schedule. therefor fore. and crotchshots. Hall and Crum(1994) conducted research on women in TV advertisements toassess the way in whichmen’s and women’s bodies are used. Of 34 commercials containing at least one body camera shot. In examining evidence the impact of sex in advertising.Any single advertising message on television. 1985). the sexuality of women and of men.

1969). led to lower levels of recall and appeal evaluations well as as poorer manufacturer and product perceptions. In this type of case. Further evidence has indicated that. and affect consumer attitudes towards the product. or both. Courtney and Whipple (1983) found sexual imagery in advertisements. nor do theynecessarily occur in a consistent direction.Not only are membersof the audience more likely to pay attention to an advertisement featuring an attractive scantily clad model. in the form of female models depicted various stages of undress.if the advertisement creates an association between a desired sexual lifestyle or the attainment of personal. advertising researchers have shown higher brand recall with nonsexual printillustrations as opposed to sexual ones (Alexander 6r Judd.200 CHAPTER 9 I ( Sexual contentmay also make an advertising message and the product being advertised more memorable. The use of sexual themes in advertisements could have a potential also impact on consumer attitudes towards the advertisement. This result has been replicated. Steadman. they are also more likely to remember the advertisement subsequently. the levels of nudity or sexiness rise. Baker and physically attractive models produced more faChurchill (1977) found that vorable evaluations thandid unattractive modelsfor fabricated advertisements for hypothetical brandsof coffee and perfume. the intended communicationeffects either dissipate or turn unfavor- . 1961). it has been argued that thepresence of sexual material. the advertised product. could have distracted in readers’ attention from the brand-related information the advertisement in (Steadman. although attracting attention. Hence nudity in advertising might increase consumers’ attention. has been inconsistent. sexual attractiveness and theadvertised product. This effect a was observed to occur among both male and female participants. these effects do not always occur together.such as magazines. In addition. However. however. So what is the evidence each of these kinds of impact for following from the use of sex in advertising? Sexual imagery in advertising may grab audience attention. However. The evidence thathas emergedon thisissue so far. 1969). 1978). improve memory for the commercial message. 1978. may be less effective but than nonsexual illustrations in leading to brand recall (Baker. Smith and Engel (1968) found that sexual attractiveness in advertisementsinfluencedemotionalandobjective evaluations of the product inmagazine advertisement for a car. Alexander and Judd (1978) found effect of female nudity in advertisementsconsumers’atno on titudes towards the advertisement. greater exposure of the naked female form from head bare shoulders to full frontal nudity not produce progresand did sively worse brand recall of magazine advertisements presented to experimental participants as slides (Alexander 6r Judd. that product’s image may be enhanced as a result.

nor do or they offer any explanation the productsspecial attributes or advantages overother of competing products.Steadman. Using aphysically attractive spokespersonis no guaranteeof commercial success in theform of decision to purchase the advertised product (Caballero. if congruent. in contrast. 1991). 1978. They foundthat a female model was more effective for a body oil product than a ratchet wrench set. 1988). They are nonfunctional that they play no part in demin onstrating the effectiveness of the product how to use it. Richmond & Hartman. the . the degree congruency between product of and sexual image may be critical. thus. Elsewhere.CAN MEDIA SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 20 1 able (LaTour et al. Decorative models aremerely an attractive stimulus designed to attractconsumers’ attention (Reid &L Soley. logical connection between such ‘sexual’ elements and the product itself. these can be reconciled to some extent by considering more closely the different kinds of sexual appeal that have positive or negative results in terms of commercially relevant consumer responses.. Steadman (1969) suggested that when a logical relationship exists between a sexual image-for example. a sexy model-and a product. Baker and Churchill (1977) offered support for this view in that perception theory would arguephysically attractive models increase source credibility of a product. Although the research has thrown out some inconsistent findings (Joseph. 1989). The use of nude models was found on a number separate occasions to reduce the of effectiveness of advertisements (Alexander & Judd. there is seldom any obvious. however. 1983. and argued that audience members see the model’s role as a more titillating function. Consumers’ opinions about advertisements with nude female models were linked to demographics. Even so. physically attractive celebrity endorsers did elicit better brand recall than unattractive celebrity endorsers (Kahle & Homer.1983). Lumpkin. Smith & Engel. Peterson and Kerin (1977) found experimental subjects did not rate print advertisements with varying degrees of nudity as favorably as they rated advertisements with partially clothed models. are more and highly evaluated(Courtney & Whipple. 1977).Attractivecelebrity endorsers can create a more positive attitude towards advertisementsfeaturing a desired product (Kamins.but using physically attractive models can enhance certain aspects of an advertisement’s communication effectiveness (Baker & Churchill. with male responses tending to be more favorable (LaTour et al. 1982). 1969).1982. & Madden. 1990).This effect hasbeenconfirmed. Tinkham & Reid. 1991). In the case of decorative appeals. 1983). the sexual appeal may increase recall.. One type of sexual appeal in advertising depends primarily on theuse of decorative models. 1968. More appropriate sexual appeals. where the consumer some congruinfers ency between sexual appeal uses of the product. Yet.

1981). &Walsh. they manipulated a single magazine advertisement to high be and low in sexual imagery. 1990). with more product-related thinking occurring in response to the non-sexual than the explicitly sexual appeal (Severn et al. Even so. though this effect does not generalise to enhanced brand recognition (Chestnut. Another factor that has been investigated in relation to the effectiveness of sex in television advertisements is the presence or absence of sexual content in the surrounding program. 1978. 1968). 1990). who might have somewhat ality in advertising. this was one of the few studies to use a cognitive listing procedure in this context. Consumers generated more thoughts associated with the advertised product following exposure to advertisements without sexual content. a higher order cognitive response measure that is more sophisticated than mererecall or recognition. Belch. Kennedy. Schumann. female model present have been found atto tract greater attention (Reid & Soley. 1992. and more original than advertisements with no sexual content. . The presence of a sexually alluring model distracted attention from other informational ingredients on the commercial message. & Lubitz. with the magazine print adstimulus projected on a slide screen. creating both an artificial environment for consuming a magazine as well asan artificial ad. 1986. 1971. compared to otherindividuals their age or in thelarger population. print adstimulus.Norris &Colman. (1990) noted limitations to theirstudy that showed sexual imagery less successful than nonsexualimagery on recall of an advertisement’s copy. thistype of sexual appeal can enhance advertisement recognition. There is ample evidence that program environment can affect recall of advertising (see Bryant & Comisky. They liberal views on sexuused 180 college students. Gunter. The overt use of sexual appeals has been found less successful than nonsexual appeals with respect to recall (Severn. 1981).. the study took place in a college classroom. The use of explicit sexual imagery in amagazine advertisement yielded a negative effect on copy-point recall (Severn et al. Advertisements with asexy. more inas teresting.202 CHAPTER 9 presence of an attractive female model has been found to influence consumers’ reactions to the product inpositive ways (Smith & Engel. Soldow & Principe. Although they used a cognitive listing procedure tomeasure their subjects’ thought processes while evaluating an advertisement. 1990).. La-Chance. 1998. Bushman (1998) reported that placement advertisements in violent program environment of a could impede recall of the commercial information compared to a nonvias olent program environment. Severn et al.Furthermore. & Belch. Furnham. 1977). 1993. this positive evaluative response did not transfer over to bettercommercial information processing.Researchers argue that the use of sexual imagery ‘interferes’ with message comprehension. Although sexual advertisements were rated more entertaining.

Female observers found the sexual version of the advertisement more interesting and enhanced their also it intention to purchase the advertised product. the female participants were angered by the sexy program morethan by the nonsexual program. This the finding contrasted with results obtained by Axelrod (1963) and much later by Bushman (1998). Pitts. The sexual version of the advertisement was found more interestingby male participants than the nonsexual version.CAN MEDIA SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 203 Bello. the presence or absencesex in the preceding proof gram had no effect on its communication effectiveness. sexual content in the program preceding the advertisement had no effect on interest in the advertisement. the gender of the receiver and the kinds of measures used to determine commercial effectiveness (Belch. the advertisement may not have been perceived as disruptive and was processed without interference. According to Bello et al. When thenonsexual version of the advertisement followed the nonsexual program. Among male participants only. and Etzel (1983) tested the impact sexual and nonsexual of versions of an advertisementfor Calvin Klein clothing when placed within a sexual or nonsexual program environment. The nonsexual version of the criterion advertisement was less effective on following sexual program content. (1983). when the nonsexual advertisement shown. By disrupting a drive for closure. These results are interesting in their demonstration not onlyan effect of on thecommercial effectiveness of television advertising of sexual content within the advertising itself. However. . 1987). but also of sexual material within the adjacent programming. The Social Impact o Sex in Advertising f Sex in advertising can have incidental effects on observers in addition to any commercial impact. One explanation offered for this effect is that the advertisement have been perceived an intermay as ruption when following the sexual scenes in the program. sexual program sequence The preceded the critical advertisement. but reduced productliking and intention topurchase. The ways in which womenor men are depicted in advertising can convey implicit messages about male and female sexuality. With the was sexual advertisement. 1971). the degree to which this emotional reaction occurredwas apparently not sufficient to interfere with processing of the advertisement. Belch. but this factor made no difference to how much the advertised product was liked or likely to be purchased. the processing of the advertisement may have been impaired (Kennedy. Females and males were clearly influenced in different ways by the presence of sexual material. & Villareal. One summing up the literature of on the effectiveness of using sexual imagery in advertising concluded that the impact of sex in this context depends on thetype of product advertised.

to influence beliefs about sex. 1992. Wagner. Noncommercial influences of sexual content inadvertising can extend to the maintenance certain gender stereotypes relating to occupational. 1993. While the concern young women emphasises need to reof the main slim. Waller. Ogden & Mundray. 1992). Richins. 1987). then. among some individuals. and hip measurements become overestimated compared with pre-exposure levels (Myers & Biocca. for young men the body ideal emphasises the need to maintain a muscularupper torso. A combination of advertising with slim. and even more so among woman who have been clinically diagnosed as suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa andbulimia nervosa (Hamilton & Waller. and small buttocks (Pearson. A number of experimental studies have indicated that exposure to advertisements containing images of alluring models with slim physiques result can in lowered body self0esteem greater overestimation of own body sizeand and weight. sexually attractive actors and programs with similar body modrole els can have an immediate impacton viewers estimations of their own body size whereby chest. further evidencehas emerged that exposure to pictures of attrac. especially in relation to their ownbody shape. Young men also make comparisons between themselves male models seen and in advertising. Bannert. of professional. Hamilton. 1991). especially among young women (Heinberg & Thompson. Although the effects of such images on female observers’ body image perceptions have not always been confirmed.204 CHAPTER 9 Advertisements have the potential. Women were not influenced by such portrayals in this way. Stice & Shaw. 1992). slim waist. 1992. & Mathes. 1994). However. sexual relations. One of the most significant areas of concern is that the focus that advertising places on a slim physique as attractive may influence the body self-esteem of certain consumer subgroups. tive and slender female modelsdoes cause women to thinkmore about their own weight (Champion & Furnham. 1999). there are other subtle influences of advertising that depict physically attractive actors or models. Idealised body images in advertising may contribute to lower levels of self-esteem. The presentation of women as sex objects in magazine ads resulted in men reporting interest in less politics subsequent to exposure. and the sexual mores of men and women. In addition to these influences directly related to sex. & Shaw. womenexhibited less interest inpolitics subsequent to exposureto ads depictingwomenindomesticorhomemaker roles (Schwarz. These effects were found to be even more pronounced among non-clinically diagnosed women who exhibited attitudes consistent with disordered eating orientations. waist.The results were explained in terms of the cognitive accessibility of sex role concepts influenced exby posure to certain types of ad portrayal of men andwomen. and evenpolitical aspirations. These effects most commonly occur among young women. 1996. Exposureto do- .

In contrast. and 24 non-beer ads. They used 72 ads in total-24 beer ads. Even advertisers recognise that commercials that cause offence may be detrimental to the attractivenessof their products. particularly if they do not get it from other. and Slater (1998) investigated the impact of sexual content inbeer TV ads on adolescents’ cognitive responses to advertising. it appears that respondents were invited to express their thoughts and feelings about each ad immediately after it was shown. nor is it clear how much programming surrounded the ads. Ward (1995) argued that primer time contained common TV themes of sexuality in the shows adolescents view most. with whom to have it. but this was not tested. According to the researchers. Although not clearly explained. Unfortunately. Adolescent respondents freely made comments about male images in advertising that were relatively neutral in gender-role presentations. Rouner. andso on. perhaps more realistic.MEDIA CAN SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 205 mesticfemale portrayals remindswomen of thistraditional role and suppresses thoughts conducive to political aspirations. trusting reliable sources. CONSUMER OPINION ABOUT SEX IN ADVERTISEMENTS Interest in the the public reacts to in advertising stems from conway sex cerns about social policy and commercial effectiveness. The authors are not clear whether respondents saw every (72!). although audiof ences canbe quite open-minded about the of treatments with sexual use . This would have been overpowering workload. the research discussed in insufficient was detail to demonstratethese findings. Most comments about females tended to be critical with regard to gender roles and sexuality. the findings indicated that there were many negative stereotypic images regarding females. It was argued that depictions of women as sexobjects affected men’s aspirations because such images reminded menof playboy lifestyles not conducive toserious politia cal career. Domenech-Rodriguez. why to have sex. ad an If they saw a subset of the ads. Media regulations place restrictions on the treatments advertisers use to promote their may products. it is not explained how manyor how these were selected. Beer advertisements were targeted at young and old people. The principal concerns in this context are that consumers should not be mislead or offended. In the context advertising on television. 24 beer ads with sports content. Most of the advertisements were aimed at males. but beer advertisements with sports content were targeted at younger people. Ward added that the youthwho watch theseshows are eager to consume this information. These societal constructed scripts from adults establish norms and expectations about how to be sexual. one would therefore expect tofind that exposure to ads depicting women in career roles ought to have the opposite effect to exposure to domestic role portrayals.

attention focused also on the need to permit advertising on television for condoms as part of a wider campaign to promote safe sex (Shaw. like jeans and pantyhose. American consumers have shown distaste television advertisements for for acceptable products. With the emergence of health scares during that decade linked to AIDS. A significant body of public opinion research was conducted in the United Kingdom duringthe 1980s that trackedgeneral principles relating to what the public found acceptable in advertising on television. One of the keyissuesof controversy was the proposal by the beginning of the 1980s to introduce televised advertising of sanitary protection products. This research also of showed attractiveness as an important attention-gettingcharacteristic. Among these individuals. Despite concerns among regulators and critics writing in the national press that most people would find advertisements that featured sexual matters or promoted productsfor personal hygiene deeply offensive. the greatest sources of embarrassby ment were advertisements (mentioned 4 1%) for feminine wear depicting nudity or scenes deemed to be ‘sexy. their judgements about whatis or is not acceptable are tern. Research inthe United States shown that consumers haverated adhas vertisements showing a memberof the opposite sex higher than those showing a member their own sex (Baker& Churchill. A national survey of UK viewers in 1980laid down benchmark opinion data on sources of embarrassment to the public in television advertising. When some portion of a presentation has sexual overtones. only certain consumer segments object. For example. but this failed to be related to cognitive acceptance of the ad’s message. pered by the perceived appropriateness of the style of advertisement for the product in question. especially when it could also be considered sexist (Johnson & Satow. Miller. 1999). Males and females are likely & to view sexually controversial advertisements as more entertaining and interesting (Severn et al. in particular. older women have been foundto be more offended than younger women by overt sexual material in advertising. but with the advertising of products that were associated directly or indirectly with sexual matters (Independent Broadcasting Authority [IBA]. 1980).’ Three in ten of these individuals . whereas younger women were more concerned about sexual inneundo. 1981). 1990). 1988. 1977). 1978). others either to make the interpretation do not fail or find it offensive. Wober. with the public’s acceptance notjust of sexual treatments in advertising. a systematic analysis of public opinion indicated that was only a minority of viewers who it voiced real concerns. Walsh.. that had too muchsex orientation (Warwick. Only a modest proportion UK television viewers of (16%) admitted to having experienced embarrassment upset by an ador vertisement.206 CHAPTER 0 overtones. time it is transmitted and the the type of channel on which itis shown. This work was concerned.

To put theseresults into further spective. the results are summarisedin Table 9. AIDS (1% of all viewers). Over one in four (28%) respondents expressed some annoyanceat television advertising. with support for this advertising showing marked growth from the mid. Channel 4-1% of all viewers). It canbe seen that there widespread supportfor advertisements for was family planning clinics and pregnancy advice services at this time. individuals who expressed concern about advertisements withsex or nudity in themcomprised fewer than 7% of all viewers. and contraceptives or condoms (less than late 1980s. viewers aged55 and over were much more likely than younger viewers to be offended by advertisements for sanitary protection products and contraceptive products. 1990).1. These individuals were then asked to what it that had say was caused them offence. One of the reasons people objected to televised advertising for some of these products and services was because theybelieved that watching such .Proportionately speaking. The same survey alsoasked respondents whether found any adverthey tisements on television annoying. In response to a question about whether thesedifferent forms of advertising should be allowed. They were further asked to distinguish between advertising on the main commercial television channel of that time (ITV) and advertising on the second commercialchannel (Channel4). A nationally representative UK sample of more than 1. A majority of British viewers wereprepared to accepttelevised advertising for contraceptives. There was much less acceptance of advertising for homosexual advice services and little acceptance the proposal for adverof tising on television of homosexual magazines. This attributewas by no means the most often mentioned source of annoyance. and half that number (4%) said the same of Channel 4 advertising. The most nominated types of advertisement that caused offence were for sanitary protection products (ITV-2% of all viewers. but itwas the treatment of women as sex symbols rather than sex per se that was mentioned as a source of such annoyance (by 3% of all viewers). IBA. A later survey on public opinion towards advertising shifted the question focus from embarrassment and annoyance to offensiveness. 1988). Fewer than one in ten (8%)said that they had been offendedby advertising on ITV. A series of surveys conducted among British viewers in the1980s tracked opinions about theacceptability of different types of advertising on television. however. The range of products and services upon which focus was placed in these polls included many connected with sexual behavior.CAN MEDIA SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 207 (30%) also said they would find advertisements for sanitary protection perproducts embarrassing(Wober.100 UK television viewers were asked if they had ever been caused offence by television advertisements. 1980). It should be noted that none of these productsor services were advertised on television in Britain when these surveys were undertaken (Gunter & Wober.

advertising would make them feel uncomfortable. the first % refers to ‘condoms. and amajority (60% to 75% would experience thesame feeling when faced by advertisements for homosexual nlagazines (see Gunter & Wober.’ 2Question asked in 1988 only. pregnancy advice services. ‘In 1988 two questions were asked. 20% to 30% said they would find such advertisements uncomfortable to watch.1 CHAPTER 9 Acceptance of Different Wpes of Advertising on Television in Britain % Saying TV Advertising Should Be Allowed 1984 % I986 % 1987 % 1988 % Deodorants Underwear Family planning clinics Pregnancy advice services Syringes for diabetics Contraceptives’ Sanitary napkinsltampons Undertakers/funeral services Marriage/dating agencies’ Homosexual advice services Homosexual magazines 95 87 78 94 85 80 80 65 67 62 42 37 11 93 85 81 81 65 96 90 82 80 60 78/70 66 46 77 63 56 55 41 36 13 70 63 40 38 13 44 34 9 Note Source: Gunter and Wober. With advertising for family planning clinics. 1990). and marriage or dating agencies. around 10% to 15% of British viewers surveyed through the mid1980s expressed this feeling. 1990. Reproduced with permmionof authors. The campaign was accepted by the television broadcasters for trans- . with a dlstlnctlon made between ‘condoms’ and ‘other contraceptwes’. Around one intwo viewers said they would be made uncomfortable advertising by for homosexual advice services. Research conducted in the 1990s in Britain turned its attention tosome more specific aspects of television advertising including the appearanceof nude or partially nude models and actors commercials.208 TABLE 9. This research in was triggered by the appearance in early 1994 of an advertisement for Neutrulia shower gel that became the first on British television to feature a woman’s nipple. whereas for contraceptives advertising.

however. The qualitative research. distinguished between individuals who were embarrassed about nudity (‘Puritans’). the study used advertisements from overseas markets where such treatments were more accepted (ITC. The social circumstances of viewing were linked to the perceived acceptability of advertising with nudity. their discomfort can be exacerbated by the company with whom they watching. Nudity in relation to advertising a car. as observed earlier. for instance. for some viewers. This comprised a nationwide attitude survey and focus group research. the advertisement generated the highsecond est numberof complaints (199) from viewers to thecommercial television regulator. nudity an advertisement for a bath product. those who felt it should not be allowed (‘Moralists’). when viewing with membersof the opposite sex (ITC. in part because. to large degree. Furthermore. viewers can be made to feel uncomfortable by certain kinds of advertising. In consequence. would be lessacceptable. for that year. Thus. for viewers who did not adopt the extreme are high moral ground that preferred an outright banon all nudity.m.CAN MEDIA SEX SELL COMMODITIES? 209 mission after 9 p. It was difficult and.This would are help to reduce the likelihood of embarrassment that would becaused by the unexpected appearance such advertisements when watching in the comof pany of children or much older people. meaningless to attempt to a establish universal views because opinions varied with the personalities of viewers. but thatthey nevertheless expressed some strong opinions when pressed on the subject. and the nature of the production treatment featuring nudity in the advertising itself. The survey measured public attitudes towards nudity television advertising and the qualitative in research explored reactions smaller groups of people to specific advertiseof ments containing varying degrees of female and male nudity. 1995). (the endof Family Viewing Time) and representedan experiment toassess whether such an advertisement would be acceptable to viewers. would be acceptable. the circumstances under which viewing occurred. . Hence. The research found that nudity was not uppermost in British viewers’ minds whendiscussing televisionadvertising. 1995). or even. there were many who found nudity advertising acceptable only within limits. The natureof the advertising itself and the production treatment given to the nudity were factors that mediated public perceptions of its acceptability. As it turned out. Nudity was regarded as more acceptable when was relevant to the it product.those who believed it would encourage people to be lessprudish (‘Crusadors’). the ITC launched its own investigation. Often in this meant that such advertising should be restrictedto late night viewing or those channels that available on a subscription basis only. Because frontal nudity in British television advertising was nonexistent before the Neutrulia commercial. which the in for user would normallybe unclothed when applying it. and those who wanted to see as much nudity as possible (‘Libertines’). the IndependentTelevision Commission (ITC).

how much of the advertisement it occupies. Table 9. Isotoner (women’s underwear. Evian (mineral water. UK) Pan across snowy mountain range morphs into view of naked woman (breast conside cealed). bodies not perfect) having barbecue.2 S p e s of TV A d v e r t i s i n g in Which N u d i t y I s A c c e p t a b l e Acceptable Any Time Cellnet (mobile phone. UK) Man showering (waist up). For many viewers. Frontal from a distance (crotch detail airbrushed out) . man arrives and drops raincoat (camera pans very quickly down front). this was a dangerous combination. images were less Still controversial than moving images. Exposure of genitals was generally considered as unacceptable for either sex. The exposure of of naked female breasts caused some concern. as did significant amounts of physical contact between nudesin the camera shot. Becomes apparent that he is a model for women’s art class. on Women gather. but views wereregarded as side less problematic than full frontal exposure. shots of naked woman showering using product. and the degree movement also afon of fected viewers’judgements. Pearl (soup. U K ) Family of naturists (young and old. There were also strong feelings about which parts the body should be exposed. Excessive lingering of the camera on the naked body invoked some criticism.210 CHAPTER 9 Nudity became more problematic when there was a sexual side to it. U K ) Brief pan of nude carved figurehead. including bare breasts. such as the duration of the nudity. Other factors. acceptable only late in the evening or notacceptable from this study (ITC. Dunepnk (bacon. 1995).2 summarises the types of advertisements featuring nudity that emerged as acceptable at any time. who are clearly naked but all ‘dangerareas’ cleverly hidden by props. Brylcream (mini toiletries. Product’s supporting benefits explained. UK) Nude man standing on globe throws net over UK. Female heavy breathing starts on soundtrack. Puts raincoat andgoes out. TABLE 9. U S A ) Woman cladin underwear moves in balletidathletic manner. the degreeconof tact between nude people screen. The rear view ofa male wasalso problematic for some viewers. shaving (using product range). .

French) Young men. and all use product on (bared) chests. (table continues) 21 1 . in which light falls on her breast as the camera passes. Perrier Zest (lemon drink. runs along shorewaving diaphanous veil. Involves repeated close-ups topless. Shots of man. French) Woman and two men are trekking through tropical jungle. It rains. and children tropical jungle village. Vittel (mineral water. UK) Nude couple entwined under stream water. Filmed in black and white. U K ) Dark imagery. Dim (men’s underwear. No full frontals. waiting for in rain. Close shots of swimming. now fully dressed walking. Walks over to seated man and holds bottle to his lips. Spanish) Camera pansslowly in close-up from nude girl’s face(eating yoghurt) chest and around to to bottom. now clothed. Watershed Davidoff Cool Water (aftershave. Fa (body spray. English language) Shots of man clothed. French) Nude man frolics and swims in sea. French) Nude female on a beach applies product. Acceptable After Later Watershed Neutralia (shower gel. Starts to rain and many striptopless and use product. including almostfull frontal.Cleopatra (soap. leading to a brief glimpse of topless Cleopatra bathing inasses’ milk (view from side. Puts on underwear and runs along shore (close up of crotch). Acceptable After 9 p. then diving into sea. not full-frontal. using product on arm). putsT-shirt and takes bikini top on off. women. U K ) Product’s benefits described voice-over followed by shots of on topless girl pleasurably applying product. French) Girl in bikini by pool side pours drink over T-shirt. caresses chest. Girl. Fully dressed again. Close-up view of rear whilst towelling back. Unacceptable Bio (yoghurt. including panup bodyof shadowed nude perspiring woman. they all frolic in a waterfall. French) Epic production in which Cleopatra prepares to bathe.m. of Tahiti (threesome) (shower gel. Tahiti (group) (shower gel. X S (perfume.

caressing in and out water. 1992). of one and even celibacy (Hall.1987. & G. 1983. Where sexuality became linked to politically incorrect ‘sexism. a shift in the cultural value associated with onset more consersystem the of vative politics and growing concern about the spreadsexually transmitof ted diseases. produced a transformation from a climate of sexual openness and freedom to sexual selectiveness.Belch. Horton. embraces woman. & Koppman. 1995. 1992). Further evidence has indicated that overt sexual appeals may have negativeeffects onattitudestowardstheadvertisementandthebrand (Simpson. Judd &Alexander. 1981).involving close-up topless and full-frontal nudity from a distance. 1994). & Ahern. THE FUTURE OF SEX IN ADVERTISING Increased use of sex in advertising across the 1970s and 1980s was explained in terms a growth in sexual freedom liberalism (Reichert et of and al. Belch. Soley& Kurzbard. Brown.No full nudity.sexual material can inter1 fere with effective cognitive processing of brand information (Grazer & Keesling. Sex scenes intercut with shots of coffeepercolating. 6-r Villareal. Italian) Nude woman paddlesand jumps up and down sea-shore. 1995. Severn. She for a goes swim then returns tolie beside the rum bottle. Black-and-white. Even though overt sexual portrayals can attract attention to advertisements (Alvaro. 1990). Holgerson. Reid & Soley. Full-frontal nuditythroughout. especially AIDS. on Davidoff Relax (aftershave.2 (continued) CHAPTER 9 M R (coffee.’ pressures were applied to the advertising industry to cleanup its act (Miller. Reichert. Belch. Belch. . 198 . Couple have postcoital cup coffee. of Old Nick (rum. Strapline of is ‘real pleasurecan’t come in an‘instant. leading to love-making. West. Soley & Reid.. 1997. 1990. 1986.212 TABLE 9. 1999. 1996)and purchase intention (LaTour & Henthorne.” Chilly (feminine douche. English language) Full rear and side topless views of man andwoman both individually and embracing. the inappropriate or excessive use of nude or semiclad models may have a counterproductiveeffect on advertising’seffectiveness(Belch. 1994). monogamy. Note Source: ITC. 1988 ).Percy & Rossiter. &Belch. Indeed. much as the sensitivities about political correctness. In later years. English language) Man arrives home. fondling rum bottle. French) Nude girl giggling suggestivelyon beach.

and may even influence attitudes towards the product. Furthermore. Thus. Essentially. Over the years. may make the advertising message morememorable. but simply the attractiveness of the body parts revealed.MEDIA CAN SELL SEX COMMODITIES? 213 Despite concerns about sexually transmitted disease. Apart from the commercial benefits of sex in advertising. The of nudity in advertiseof use ments for bath products would be regarded as acceptable because people generally take a bath shower without any clothes In contrast. Women appear in sexually alluring roles with advertising more often than men. Hence. Sex in program adjacent to the an advertising break may also affect ad recall. sex continues to be a regular promotional feature in many advertising campaigns. Sex is used to attract consumer attention andpromote a brand through association with sexual satisfacits tion or certain lifestyles in which is a prominent element sex (Frazier. There is evidence that sexual imagerycan draw increased attention to advertising. attention to an may beincreased by the use of sexual imagery. and political correctness. The accusation of sexual objectification of women in advertising has received some support from research showing that female body parts are used more frequently than male bodyparts in association with advertised brands. however. 1994). however. It is important that is deemed as an appropriate sex technique given the nature the product. These effects do not always occur together. although withinlimits. leading to accusations of sexual objectification of women by advertisers. Whether or not theuse of sexhas a positive impact on attitudestowards the brand can depend on how appropriate that selling tactic is perceived by consumers to be. it is not the identity or personality of the model that is emphasisedin relation to the brand. there has been an increasing trend in the use of sex to sell. the use of sex in advertising is broadly accepted by the public. of . they may not all change in a consistent direction. is culturally linked with some countries being more accepting it than others. Physically (and hence sexually) attractive female and male models and actors are used to endorse products. Sex in a program has been found to reduce productliking among some consumers. use of nudity to sell a car may be regarded with more suspicion. especially if they already suffer from lowself-esteem. althoughthis effect may be counteracted insome degree by the use of sex in the ad. unwanted teenage pregnancies. One of these concerns the of female actors and moduse els with slender body shapes. there may be social side effects. CONCLUSION Sex is frequently used asa selling device in advertising. although withoutany empiricaljustification for doing so. ad but recall of the brand may not. the or on. Research has indicated that exposure to such imagery can adversely influence the body self-esteem of young female consumers. The acceptability of sex and nudity in advertising.

&Evans.10 How Are Effects of Media Sex to Be Explained? Psychologists who investigated the effects of media portrayals sexual scenes of from films. 1978. Donnerstein. & Feshbach. and aggression perpetrated by males on females. Malamuth. both a facilitatory (Cantor. 1974.R. Zillmann.1974. 1974b. with or without violence. A. research has indicated relationships between exposure to sexual stimuli and aggression among males. but was unable to establish whether these led to behavioral effects.Hoyt. An initial body ofwork that emerged during 1970s found contrasting the results. Most of this evidence derived from studies carried out in controlled laboratory environments. Baron &Bell. As we saw in chapter 8. Donnerstein.Another group established an aggression.or annoyance-reducing effect (Baron.Zillmann & Sapolsky. A. 1979. whereas others focus on longer term effects. 1972. Some theories attempt toexplain immediate reactions.. 1977). To try to explain 214 . Baron.Zillmann.In studies of interfemale aggression. White. Sapolsky. Feingold. 1974). 1977. One group of studies found an aggression-enhancing effect for eroticmedia content (Jaffe. aggressionamong females. have produced a numberof explanations for the effects they have on viewers. television programs. 1975. Sapolsky & Zillmann. 1984.& Einsiedel. & Day. videos. 1981) and an inhibitory (R. Meyer. 1979) effect for erotica were again observed. Some research was conducted under more natural conditions andsuggested that exposure to films that contain certain kinds of explicit sexual material can cause attitudinal shifts. Jaffe et al. 1974a. and other media.

whereas chapter 11 turns attention towards methodological issues. 1982).& Rothblatt. a decrease in aggression was found subsequent to viewing mildly arousing. explicit films. the is arousal from the erotic material becomes compounded with their anger to enhance it still further. & . Once aroused in this way. 1981). the aggression-eliciting effect of a violentsex scene is a functionof its ability to excite viewers (Zillmann. Burdeck.HOW MEDIA CAN EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 215 these discrepant findings. 1975). Marshall. Sometimes less explicit sexual content can be more arousing than more explicit content (Bancroft & Mathews. 1971). Romano. The degree of arousal is not necessarily highly correlated with the degree of explicitness of the media content. thus for how fetishes could be learned (Rachman. it is important toconsider various theoretical explanations for media effects that apply in this context and toexamine the methodologies deployedby researchers to investigate the effects of media erotica. & Barbaree. One explanation of discrepant findings might therefore be found in the choice of experimental stimuli. mostly among maleviewers. Perry. In one conditioning exercise. researchers classically conditioned men to be sexually aroused by women’s providing a model boots by pairing the boots with nude photographs. In light of evidence that motion pictures induce greater sexual arousal than still photographs (Adamson. Seeley. 1988. Explicit sexual content especially. This arousal can be measuredby verbal self-reports of individuals or by physiological measures such as penile tumescence (Eccles. increases the likelihood that thatperson will openly display anger in theform of aggression. Malamuth & Check. less explicit still photographs. Whereas an increase in aggression occurred following exposure to highly arousing. but also whether they become aggressively aroused. ifa person then subsequesntly annoyed or angered. 1968). 1966. This reaction. Schaefer & Colgan. can give rise to sexual arousal in readers and viewers. 1977). 1980a. and thermography (Abramson. Seeley. This chapterfocuses on ananalysis of theoretical perspectives and explanations. Sexual arousal to stimuli not naturally evoking such response may be learned through classical conditioning. whether itoccurs in print media or audiovisual media. AROUSAL Exposure to sex in themedia can cause consumersto become aroused. The interestherecentresnot simply on whether viewers become sexually aroused. According to the arousal hypothesis. Corman. vaginal changes (Sintchak & Geer. The arousal hypothesis has been invoked in particular to explain audience reactions. to violent sexual content. in turn. Rachman & Hodgson.

Specifically.216 CHAPTER 1 0 Chebib. anger tends to dissipate.researchers have suggested that the aggression-reducing effect of nonarousing but usually pleasant erotic fare results from incompatible affective stimulation (R. sexy feeling. 1982). generally. A. 1974a.his anger dissiis would seemthat an explanation for the divergent findings resides in the differential arousal capacities of erotica. In contrast. On the other hand. they are then exposed to arousing erotica. after sexual stimulation. thus making it less likely that he will be driven to respond aggressively. The affective-arousal hypothesis is examined in more detaillater. has not been observe) for individuals not predisposed to behave in an aggressivefashion. 1977). According to Zillmann (1978. minimal residues of excitation are available to intensify subsequent aggression. 1974b. Zillmann & Sapolsky. the excitation transfer paradigm suggests that individuals would beexpected to behave more aggressively when (a) they are angered. the stronger the eroticstimulus.following exposure to highly arousing erotica. after exposureto less arousing. the greater shouldbe the . Aggression enhancement would not be expected (and. Sanford. 1973. EMOTIONAL INCOMPATIBILITY This hypothesis offers an explanation for aggression-reducing effects of mild sex scenes (Bandura. Once an annoyed person immersed in pleasant erotica. residues of excitation intensify feelings of anger and aggressivebehavior. Baron. mild erotica. Moresimply. 1986). According to thearousal perspective. McConaghy. the aggression-moderating effect of a communication a function its excitatory potential (Zillmannal.. A. A n important element in aggression facilitation is the emotional state the aroused individual:A n of aggressive disposition is first established (through provocation) and then later reinstated. 1979.They have argued that the elicitation hedonically oppoof site responses interferes withthe maintenanceof a particular state.exposure to erotica fosters increased sympathetic activity an accompaniment to more specific genias tal responses and. residues of the slowly dissipating nonspecific sympathetic excitation from sexual arousal are likely to intensify these experiencesand toenergize the hostile and aggressive actions incited by them. Zillmann & Sapolsky. Baron. is of et 1974). In the presence of a positive. 1972.and (c) (b) residues of arousal areavailable to energize the motivatedaggression when they are again confronted with anannoyer. 1974. In theory. 1974). 1977. 1977). Such scenes are usually experienced as pleasurable and create positive mood among a viewers that is usually incompatiblewithbeing angry (R.

3. Comisky..g. The enjoyment a viewer experiences while viewing a sex scene modifies the effect of any arousal that is also caused by it. the amount excitement caused of by watching sex scenes needs to be added to much such how scenes are liked to determine how theviewer will subsequently behave. & Medoff. AROUSAL-AFFECTMODEL As a means reconciling the apparent contradictory of findings. this hypothesis fails to account adequately for research findings that have shown that aggression can be enhanced after exposure to nonviolent erotica (Zillmann et al. A sex scene that is both highly arousing and found to be unpleasant can generatehigher level of aggression in a person a who hasalready been annoyed. 2. 1974). then.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 217 emotional incompatibility that is created. 1981. Unfortunately. According to this explanation. 197413) has beenmodified through the consideration affective reof sponses to eroticaemotionally compatible with annoyance and anger(e.. The arousal-affect model provides a number of predictions for the aggression-moderating effects of erotica based a consideration the comon of bined impactof the stimulus’ excitatory potential andits ability to create a positive or negative affective state: 1. the excitation-transfer paradigm has been modified through the recognition that affective response to an erotica stimulus may interfere with theaggression-facilitating effect of residual excitation. Likewise. Moderately arousing erotica inducing negative affective reactions would lead to an increment in aggression belowthat of Condition 1 due . highly arousing sex scene that a is found to be pleasant can have the opposite effect on an angry person. the emotional incompatibility rationale (R. a model has been proposed that integrates the arousal capacity and affect-eliciting qualities ascribed to erotica (Sapolsky & Zillmann. Highly arousing eroticainducingnegative affective reactions would lead to the higher level of aggression through the summation the of aggression-facilitatingeffects of residual excitation and compatible unof pleasant emotions. Taken together. Baron. 1981). Zillmann. Highly arousing erotica inducing positive reactions would facilitate aggression but to a level below that of Condition 1 due to the aggression-reducing effect of pleasant emotionscounteractingthe aggression-enhancing effect of high arousal. disgust and disturbance).In contrast. helping to dissipate their anger. A. the components excitation and of affective response are viewed ascontributing additively to thelevel of motivated aggressive behavior. Specifically. Bryant.

Moderately arousing erotica inducing positive affective reactions would maintain the level of aggression (relative to a control condition) due to the aggression-reducing effect of pleasant emotions cancelling out the aggression-enhancing effect of moderate arousal. 5. Exposure to the mildly and highly erotic stimuli reduced males' expression of annoyance. Nonarousingeroticainducingpositiveaffectivereactions would. A. the retaliatory actions of provoked males wereenhanced by arousing and disturbing erotica: a film ofprecoital behavior. Mildly erotic stimuli (pictures of nudes) and highly erotic stimuli (pictures of intercourse. Evidence supporting the arousal-affect model can be found in astudy by Zillmann and Sapolsky (1977) Direct measuresof excitation andaffective response were obtained. 4.218 CHAPTER 1 0 to areduced level of residual excitition combining with compatible unpleasant emotions.and X-coitus) facilitate such behavior. Donnerstein et al. 1975). One exceptionto this pattern is worth noting. Sapolsky and Zillmann (1981) exposed males to erotic motionpictures that ranged fromsuggestive to explicitly sexual (nudity. Rather. 1977. and X-coitus [explicit intercourse and oral sex]). Baron & Bell. lead to a reduction in of aggression due to the incompatibility pleasant emotion with anger of and aggression. and the erotica judgedto be were equally pleasing and nondisturbing. Nonarousing erotica inducing negative affective reactions would create an increment in aggression solely the on basis of the aggression-enhancing effect of negative emotions. in the absence residues of excitation. Elsewhere. A. Males reported positive affective reactions to thenudity and coitus films but not to the film depicting precoital behavior. nor did arousing erotica associated with positive affective response (R. This discrepancy may have resulted from Donnerstein using stimuli that evoked a less positive affective state. The erotica did not. Following exposure to pictures of sexual acts (intercourse and oral sex). 1974a. Baron. The precoitus and coitus films were found to be arousing. 197413. fellatio. affect retaliatory behavior. however.. Donnerstein al. The erotic stimuli thus possessed qualities that. suggesting a lack of strength of the behavior-modifying impact of exposure to mild erotica. (1975) did not observe a reduction aggressive beet in havior. R. Although the latter finding is projected by the arousal-affect . 6. precoitus. and cunnilingus) were found to be no more arousing than nonerotica. according to the two-component model. however. R-coitus [without genitalia showing]. would lead to a lowering of aggressive inclinations. studies found a reduction in retaliatory behavior after exposure to mild erotica (R. Nonarousing erotica eliciting positive affective response (nudity) did not reduce retaliatory behavior.

contrary to expectations. the level of retaliatory behavior subsequent to exposure to the remaining erotic films fails to conform to expectations. The erotic stimuli were chosen be to not very pleasing. One study is particularly relevant to the issue of affective response. arousing and pleasing erotica (such asfilms depicting fellatio. Displeasing. Also. This facilitory effect in evidence regardless of whether the stimulus was erotic was or nonerotic: nonarousing and pleasing erotica (such as photographs of attractive nude females in sexually enticing poses). Zillmann et al. It is presumed that observing a rape victim’s suffering elicits an . Displeasing and arousing erotica increased aggressiveness because of the negative affective tone of the material and its excitatory capacity. 1981).and (b) no decrease in aggressionfollowing the viewing of nonarousing-positive stimuli (nudity). Pleasing and nonarousing stimuli reduced aggression because of the affective incompatibility between pleasantness and aggressiveness. so as to match the nonerotic stimuli. nonarousing anddispleasing erotica (such as photographs of masturbating. nonarousing pleasing erotica were not shown to reduce the level of retaliatory behavior. assuming they had been arousedto behave aggressively in thefirst place.A film of rape with the raped female becoming sexually aroused by her attackerled to a greater level of retaliatory behavior by nonangered males towards a female target in alaboratory setting than did a film of rape culminating in the victim’s extreme distress (Donnerstein & Berkowitz. or arousing and displeasing erotica (such as filmsdepicting women fellating and masturbating animals. Zillman. negatively valenced erotica. The rape versions were found to be equally arousing. which further motivates aggression. Bryant. and unattractive women smeared with menstrual blood).nor following nonarousing. cunnilingus.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 219 model. (198 1) are consistent in finding (a) an increase in aggression after exposure to arousing-negative erotica but notafter arousing-positive erotica (coital behavior). The studies by Sapolsky and Zillman (1981) and by Zillmann et al. One explanation for the coitus films’ failure to produce an increase in hostile behavior may derive from the males’ habituation to strong erotica.negatively valenced stimuli. With pleasing and arousing erotica. and coition). heterosexual flagellation. and the painful deformation of genitals in sadomasochistic activities). highly pregnant women. no measure of affective response but were obtained. Comisky. the net on aggression depends on effect whether the arousing nature or pleasing nature of the material is dominant. (1981) did not find an increase in males’ retaliatory behavior following exposure to arousing erotica eliciting positive affective reactions. nonarousingerotica increased aggressiveness because of the displeasing affective quality of the stimulus. and Medoff (1981) also demonstrated an aggression-enhancing effectforarousing. The arousal and unpleasant aspects of these stimuli had an additive effect on aggressiveness of viewers.

1973). and attempts at replication have failed to support the catharsis hypothesis (Wells. If true. A. A n additional explanation the differential effects of exposure to erotfor ica on aggressive behavior is that of cognitive labelling (R. Heim. & the greater negative affect associated with the suffering outcome should prompt moreaggressive behavior from male viewers. arousal will more likely be labelled as anger. determines whether the source of arousal will foster or impede aggression. and the resulting aggressive behavior will be intensified. The coga nitive labelling process. and that certain personality types may be better equipped to achieve this effect than others (Gunter. 1980). 1979. whereas witnessing her experid encing sexual arousal invokes a pleasurable response in viewers. daydreaming. CATHARSIS The catharsis hypothesis posits that emotional arousal can be purged through vicarious experiences. In particular. If the affective response is positive. leading to a decrement in later aggression. 1971). Hence. In line with the arousal-affect model. Alin . 1955. on Experimental tests for cathartic reactions among viewers in the context of aggression discharge provided only equivocal evidence for type of reasons. This hypothesis has been discussed most usually in relation to aggression. According to this notion. in turn. Feshbach. If the affective response is negative. A weaker form the hypothesis has suggested that this vicarious release of of hostile urges is not possible for everyone.220 CHAPTER 1 0 adverse emotional response among viewers. A strong formof the hypothesis has been discussed most usually in relation to aggression.1961.catharsis became regardedas a formof skill or competence. Laboratory and field experiments conducted by Feshbach andhis colleagues yielded findings that were interpreted as providing evidence for aggression catharsis (Feshbach.but these results have not beenuniversally accepted. Copeland & Slater. White. 1979). Feshback &Singer. the label applied to experienced arousal is derived from the affective reaction to specific stimulus. this means that angered viewers watching a violent movie can obtain harmless release of their aggressive urges through vicarious involvement with the action screen. or fantasy play behavior. arousal will belabelled in apositive manner. The depiction of rape with a pleasurable outcome was observed to foster more positive emotions among audience the than a rape portrayal that concluded with the victim experiencing disgust (Malamuth. Other research corroborated this point. 1973. A strong formof the hypothesis has argued that individuals can release their aggressive impulses by observing mediated aggression. 1980). 1985). This capacity may be manifest as skills creativity. Baron. it was believed to be associated with an individual’s imaginative capacity (Biblow.

Individuals with highly developed imaginations tend to exhibit overt behavioral aggresless sion than individuals with lower imaginative competencies (Pytkowicz. whereas the inexperienced daydreameris more limited to the direct behavioral expression of his or her urges. and more likely. In this context. Wagner. Magazineor video consex tent.1956). canserve (in conjunction with masturbation) as an imperfect substitute for real sexual intercourse. A person who is skilled at using his or her imagination.Wilensky. reflected in lower levels of overt activity in general than in low fantasizers (Singer. highly skilled fantasizers are adept at utilising a fantasy experience to help in changing any negative mood states they might feeling to more positive moods (Biblow. for instance. especially when accompanied by violence. the catharsis notion argues that consuming media can relieve sexual urges. DISINHIBITION This hypothesis derives from behavioral research into media violence effects. 1966). in turn. 1973).HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 22 1 though thenecessary cognitive apparatus for these processes is available in all human beings. 1961. be The notion catharsis has been considered relation to of in audiences’ responses to sexual media stimuli. In the short term. 6r. possibility that disinhibition effects occur folthe lowing exposure to erotic media content. Singer. It also applies to the more specific form of violence in a sexual context. 1967. The practised daydreamer can turn to fantasy activity to work out or resolve anger-arousing problem situations. for instance. 1985). at least. which is. may also be better at entering into the dramaof an exciting media sequence. derives from evidence that repeated viewing of films that depict scenes of women being rapedcan change men’s verbally reported. The catharsis argument has been used to support the lessening of restrictions on availability of sexually explicit material in countries suchas Denmark (Kutchinsky. These mentalfaculties are notequally well developed in all individuals. tobecome vicariously involved with the action. McGraven. In the present context. viewing violence on screen inhibits ingrained social constraints against behaving violently. Townsend. it may not be equally developed throughoutall groups of individuals (Singer. 1968). witnessing the use of violence justified by a film character may legitimise its use in real life as well tor some viewers. better at identifying with the characters. therefore. Indeed. 1973. Attractive exemplars of the use of violence on screen serve to justify the use of violence by members of the audience. behavioral intentions towards performingsimilar acts themselves (Malamuth & . According to thedisinhibition hypothesis. High fantasizers have been observed to show greater control over their emotions and behaviors. & Sarason.

198 l a . male aggression against the female target is lower. Malamuth. & Feshbach.222 CHAPTER 1 0 Check. Rather. DESENSITISATION According to this explanation of media effects. Watching a scene in which a woman is raped and appears to become sexually aroused and experiences pleasure may reduce male inhibitions against committing such behavior themselves (Check. The aggressive cue perspective appears to accountfor heightened male exposure to pornography featuring violence against women. by his or her subsequent retaliatory aggression against that person may be ena in hanced by watching film clip which an actor who resembles that person in critical respects is depicted as a victim of violence. he inflict moreharm bemay cause of the female target’s aggressivecue value-her association with the victim in the film. repeated exposure certain to types of media content results in the audience becoming habituated to it. while contributing to an enhancementof aggressive behavior. are regarded as being as significant as its capacity to excite the audience ininfluencing the way viewers behave afterwards. Malamuth. In a situation in which an individual has been angered another person. is not seen as a necessary component. For example. in contrast. when a man views a film depiction of rape and is then given an opportunity to aggress against a woman who hadearlier annoyed him. 1983). most especially the types of actors involved. 1984. 1984). In contrast.1980. Haber. 1984). aspects of the sex scene. & Feshbach. AGGRESSIVE CUE MODEL With this model.A nonviolent erotic film.lacks aggressivecues that would lower the male’s inhibitions for inflicting harm against women and. the laboratory target is another man. . Arousal is also important in this context in that can facilitate the retaliait tory response and is therefore seen as interacting with the content of an erotic communication. There is also evidence tosuggest that noneroticstimuli featuring aggression against a femalecan facilitate male-on-female aggression (Donnerstein.The presence of aggressive cues and the sex of the target of aggression are centralfactors in this interacting rationale. Haber. 1983). in particular the portrayal of rape. therefore. an explanation of the differential effects is based on the proposal that an individual can assume aggressive cue value whenhe or she is associated with film-mediated violence (Berkowitz. 1980). the if aggression may be less pronounced because immediate connection no would be made between the film violence and the laboratory situation (Donnerstein. 1980. Check. The arousal capacity of the stimuli.

Both non-force-oriented and unclassifiable participants. also Mann. or control. et al. Ceniti and Malamuth(1984)classified 69 adultmalesintoforce-oriented.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 223 Any strong emotional behavioral reactions that itmay have caused inior tially become gradually weakened with repeatedexposure. participants were randomly assigned to one of three exposure groups: sexually violent. 1974) ex(197 posed married couples in four consecutive weekly sessions to sexually explicit filmsor.tononerotic films. Sexual activities were more frequent on exposure days than on the days thereafter. Those classified as force-oriented had shown relatively high levels of sexual arousal to rape depictions. andunclassifiable categories based on theirpenile tumescence when presented with portrayals of rape and consensual sex during a pre-exposure session. They tended also to be lessaroused by the postexposure nonviolent depictions. Exposure to erotica was found to stimulate sexual behavior only shortly. Sidman. Berkowitz. Those classified as non-force-oriented had shown relatively little arousal to rape depictions. The reduced arousal of force-oriented participantsappears similar to the temporary habituation effects frequently found instudies using nonviolent sexual material (Mann. Mann. but they had become aroused to consensual sex portrayals. More important to discussion was the finding that the transithis . inacontrolcondition. Soon after their exposure. Experimental participants labelled as unclassifiable had shown little arousal to either type of portrayal. however. and Starr 1. non-force-oriented. showed no significant effects of exposure. participants returned to the laboratory and were presented with depictions similar to the pre-exposure session. Following this classification. Attitudes about pornography were assessed initially and after treatment. participants recorded their sexual activities in diaries. Penile tumescence and self-reportedsexual arousal were measured again.. and written and pictorial depictions) over a of 4 weeks. Force-oriented participants. Does repeated exposure to sexually violent media content change people’s arousal by such stimuli? One study looked at this question. whether exposed to violent or nonsexually violentmedia. Sidman. sexually nonviolent. Participants in the control condition were not exposed to any stimuli. although this effect was considerably less pronounced. 1974. Berkowitz.became less arousedtotherapedepictionsinthe postexposure session than those in the control condition. During the treatment period. Thoseassigned to thesexually violent conditionwere exposedto 10 sexually violent stimuli (including feature-length films. 6r West. 1984). Zillmann 6r Bryant. Participants in the sexuperiod ally nonviolent condition were exposed to 10 presentations of sexually nonviolent activities only. Starr.

faded rapidly with repeated exposure. Analysis of physiological data confirmed these results. The couples did not readily adopt depictedsexual practices that were not already a part of their behavioral repertoire. male college students were given access to pornographic films. and a battery of self-perception and attitudinal measures was recorded following exposure. & Widmann. 1971) addressed the dissipation of sexual arousal more directly. would seem to suggest that exposure to erotica to exhibit failed sexual novelties for the participants of this particular investigation and that the lack of specific emulation might not generalise to more sexually naive persons. In fact. Howard. because their in inves- . After unrestricted exposure porto nography. Numerous measures of sexual arousal were taken during and after exposure to these films. together with the fact that couples were married at least 10 all for years. However. The sexual maturity of the participants might explain the findingno apprealso of ciable attitudinal change. The findings showed that the young men initially had a strong interest in erotic films. The findings by Howard et al. and in the last two sessions.224 CHAPTER 10 tory. and during time the parthis ticipants recorded their activities in regular intervals. There was decreased interest and increased boredom in erotic materials over time. Compared with responses to the pre-treatment film. but such atand tention was at comparatively low levels. In the following three sessions. sex-stimulating effect grew weaker over weeks and became the negligible in the fourthweek. This interest. see also Reifler. photographs. the original pornographic materials were replaced by new ones. exposure to an explicitly sexual film immediately after the conclusion of the longitudinal treatment produced diminished reactionsof sexual excitedness. however. Many dormant practices were revived. andreadings or were not given such access in a control condition. (197 1) emphasised that the stimulating effect was rather nonspecific. This finding. Liptzin. however. (197 1) highly are suggestive of habituation of sexual and autonomicarousal to eroticaas the result of massive and continued exposure. The experimental participants were to choose from among free these materials and from among nonerotic onesin the first 10 sessions. Mann et al. the nonerotic materials were removed. even the introduction of novel materials failed to revive initial levels of interest. Each session lasted 90 minutes. Both experimental and control participants were shown an explicitly erotic film. and Liptzin (1971. Lipton. O n 15 days distributed over a 3-week period. Erotic photographs readings received continued attention. such unrestricted exposure to pornography led participants toappraise their reaction to explicit erotica as boredom. An investigation conducted by Howard. Reifler. manifestingitself in a variety sexual activities with which of the couples werefamiliar. (197 1) and Reifler et al.

The participants returned to the laboratory 2 weeks after their final session of prior exposure treatment. In the no-exposure condition.all 36 films were nonerotic. In themassive exposurecondition. They assigned 80 male and 80 female students to four experimental groups. inviolation of instructions. exposure was both a measured effect and a potential cause for later effects). amount of exposure varied across individuals and was by no means massive throughout. and heterosexual intercourse. Three of the groups participated in weekly sessions over about9 weeks. Over the 6-week period. During the third week following the completion of the initial exposure treatment.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 225 tigation the longitudinal treatment was both an independent and a dependent variable (Le. as a percentage. participants saw three erotic films and three nonerotic films. The confederate treatment participants rudely and seemingly deliberately caused them pain when. (b) a sexually explicit film depicting fellatio. Participants in experimental groups met in six consecutive weekly sessions. Participants were later given the opportunity to retaliate in the same way. They watched six films of about 8 minutes duration and evaluated aesthetic aspects each movie. It also examined the extent to which habituation to erotica generalises to less explicit depictionsof sexual behavior and to portrayals of less common forms of sexual practices to which respondents are relatively unaccustomed. of participants saw six explicitly sexual films per session. Zillmann and Bryant (1984) presented astudy to examine habituation to erotica. they saw 36 erotic films. exposed not exposed to erotica. Among other things they estimated the portion of sexually active adults. ParticiAll pants reported their emotional reactions immediately after exposure to each film. common ones as well as uncommon ones. They saw a total of 18 erotic films in all. films were of 8 minutes duration. All participants were provoked by a same gender confederate.. Participants in all three treatmentgroups returned to the laboratory one week after their final session. At thattime. the portion of American adults performing particular sex acts. of . and then or provided with an opportunity to retaliate against their annoyer. The remaining groupwas a no-treatment control. They first estimated. he or she overinflated a blood pressure cuff and did not deflate it properly. participants who had received one of three treatments and the participants who hadnot received any prior treatment participated in afinal session. and (c) a film depicting both bestiality and sadomasochistic activities (such as a woman fellating and having intercourse with a dog and a man being whipped by a woman during cunnilingus). In the intermediateexposure condition. cunnilingus. all participants were exposed to three films in the following order: (a) a sexually suggestive film depicting heterosexual petting and precoital behavior.

there were no gender effects or interactions in the mediation of aggression. andbestiality. and reduced aggressiveness. and even by considered pornography less pornographic. heavy users mayexhibit perceptions of the real world that are consis- . heavy for users of television. up to 3 weeks after the end of the treatment. Indeed. Massive and moderateexposure produced a trend toward decreased motivated aggression. Sexual callousness towards women was expected to find expression in minimal prison sentences. become exposed this to distorted 'television world' more often than users of the medium. Interestingly. Participants were asked to recommended a prison term for the particular offence. both massively and moderatelyexposed participants reported being less offended pornography. . The effects of massive exposure to explicit erotica on repulsion and enjoyment were still in evidence 2 weeks after the termination of the initial treatment. The participants were then introduced to a rape case simulation. and more than the standard erotica condition. As a light result. The media offer disproportionate overrepresentations of some groups and behaviors and underrepresentations of others relative to their statistically established rates of occurrence in the world. group sex. decreased repulsion. Massive exposure to erotica produced diminished affective reactions to it over time. CULTIVATION EFFECTS The notionof cultivation posits that themass media. Habituation to erotica also resulted in reduced aggressiveness. and especially television and films. The rapist's jury conviction was reported. have a tendency to present a stereotyped view ofthe world in which certain social groups and patternsof behavior are emphasised the at expense of others. More generally. that generalisation occurred from one type of sexual content toanother. Moderate exposure hadsimilar a effect. example. The lengthof the term was considered to indicate disapproval or condemnation of rape. however. Individreal uals who are. but a sentence was not stated. exposure erotic films featuring less common to sexual activities produced more aggressive behavior than did the control condition. Physiological measures revealed signs of habituation to erotica over the duration of the study in the massive and intermediate exposure conditions. and of adults practicing anal intercourse. They read the newspaper coverage a hitchhiking that of resulted in the sexual offence. sadomasochism. There was no indication. There were some aggression modifying effects of exposure to explicit erotica. There was a close correspondence between decreased arousal. It also also should be noted thatfilms depicting sadomasochism or bestiality produced much higher repulsion scores as well and were much less enjoyed.226 CHAPTER 1 0 adults employing oral-genital stimulation techniques. however.

The cultivation argument here is that women and men tend to be depicted by television in stereotyped ways. relative to light viewers (Gerbner & Gross. television has also emphasised women’s physical attractiveness and tended to them as sex objects in use its advertising and its programming (Atwood. Venkatesan & Losco. & Signorielli. media influences are not tied to short-term immediate reactions to or individual portrayals of a specific character. Zahn. This emphasis is to be contrasted with traditional behavioral effects research that focused on the influences on viewers ofthe behavior of the perpetrator of violence. as much weight is attached to messages that are learned from the recipients of actions as fromthe perpetrators actions. 1976. in positions of authority. according tosome writers. crime-ridden place. for example. Instead. In relation to sexualportrayals. In of connection with depictions of violence. Furthermore. & Webber. subservient occupational roles. Most concern has been reserved for cultivation effects associated with portrayals of sexual violence in which women arethe usual victims. 1975). 1986). Exposure to portrayals of this kind may. as independent. researchers have been concerned with the effects of exposure to patterns of victimisation. In relation to the certain social on way groups are displayed. and pre-occupied by romantic and personal matters (see Gunter. Men and women are differentially represented in particular dramatic roles and tend to further stereotyped in termsdominant personality traits. A key feature of the cultivation hypothesis is that media influences are felt at a cognitive level rather thanprimarily at a behavioral level.assertive. Another of cultivation efform fect that may stem from prolonged exposure erotic entertainmentone to is that have implications for family values (Zillmann. The actors may have sexual engagements with many partners. 1994). whereas women have been placed more often in limited domestic roles.andcommanding. Morgan. Gerbner. create distorted beliefs among men about female sexuality (Malamuth. those viewers exposed to a regular diet of prime-time television drama programs that frequently depict portrayals of crime and violence may come to see the world as a violent. 1986. submissive. Gross. . 1995).Accordingtosome observers. 1986) The cultivation effect has been observed to occur in relation to gender-role perceptions and beliefs. Pornography depicts many sexual interactions among actors who have just sex The met. certain stereotypes have been identified that may have cultivationeffects on viewers. Hence. and shownas dependent on men. takes place outside of any kind established interpersonal romantic reof or lationship. be of Men have traditionally been depicted in successful professional roles. the emphasis placed is on long-term effects that arise from regular and repeated exposure to stereotyped patterns ofbehavior screen.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 227 tent with the television world.

In studies of young males’ and females’ reactions to repeated exposure to pornographic films. and child-raising. Women are depicted as eager to deliver sexual gratification to any man who happens along (see Brosius. Exposure to pornography also apparently weakened the desire to have children. and perceptions regarding the prevalence of rampant sexuality and own sexual performance (Zillmann. resulted in increased acceptanceof male and female promiscuity. Indeed. Nonexclusive sexual intimacy accepted to greater degree was a by those young adults who viewed a diet pornographic films in which casual of sexual liaisons were thematically central to the action. 1994).228 CHAPTER 1 0 and sometimes with multiple partners same scene. divorce. Zillmann and Bryant (1982. Prince. 1984.the researchers noted that one must not discount the attraction that pornography. The breakdown of marriage on grounds of sexual disinterest on the partone partner regarded as acceptable by a greater of was proportion of those individualsexposed to the diet pornography than of of those who viewed other material. pleasure-driven activity divorced . 1991. Sexdepicted as in the is an activity designedto deliver physical pleasure and little or nothing else. such exposurewas linked to increased acceptance of sexual relationships prior to marriage and with partners outside marriage. Prolonged pornography exposure was associated with the perception that an unrestrained sex life is healthy.1984) measured values and attitudes relating to marriage and personal happiness to investigate such cultivation effects. This research does provide evidence nonetheless pornothat graphic films that depictsex as a casual. may have for certain classes of individual who already hold cynical attitudes and beliefs about family values. outside the laboratory. beliefs about marriage. Young adults exposed to the pornography diet were much less likely than a matched group who viewed nonpornographic films to be supportive the of institution of marriage. It cannot be concluded that the beliefs and attitudes that were observed by Zillmann and Bryant among young adults exposed to a week-long diet of pornographic films were conditioned solely by their experimentalviewing experiences. Palys. whereas the continuation of a marriage despite either partner’ssexualunfaithfulnessreceivedgreatersupport among the pornography group. Cultivation o Sexual Values and Conduct f It has been argued that repeated exposure to such material may influence values relating to faithfulness and sexual promiscuity. Prolonged exposure pornography under controlled experimental to conditions. In particular. lasting about a week. Weaver. 1990). & Staab.



from any emotional involvement between sexual partners may reinforce antifamily beliefs. Further support for the cultivation of sexual issues through viewing of soap operas on mainstream television emerged from several other studies conducted during the 1980s and 1990s. Carveth and Alexander (1985) showed soap cultivationeffects among college students in relation to estimates of the numberof illegitimate children and number divorced men of and women. Burekel-Rothfuss Mayes (1981) identified a cultivation efand fect for an overestimate in the number women who havehad abortions of and in the number men and women who have had of affairs and, again, in estimates of the number of illegitimate children. Olson (1994) provided further evidence of the potential of television soaps to cultivate distorted perceptions of reality in relation to sexual issues. Content analysis of television soaps had indicated little, any, portrayal of if safesexpracticesandcontraception,butmanypregnancystories (Greenberg & Busselle, 1996).College students who reported regular viewing of soaps differed from those who were nonviewersexpressing less need in for contraceptives, higher rates of pregnancy, higher rates of adultery and higher estimates of sexually transmitted diseases in everyday reality.
Cultivation o Sexual Dissatisfaction f

Using the samemethodology as their earlier studies (i.e., Zillmann & Bryant, 1982, 1984),Zillmann and Bryant conducted further experimental studies to explore cultivation effects of exposure to media sex on individuals’ degree of satisfaction with their own sex lives. Participants were recruitedfromstudentandnonstudentpopulations.Exposingsome respondents to a diet of sexually explicit films resulted in lower reported satisfaction with the affection received from, the physical appearance, and the sexual performance of their real life partners, as compared to a control group whodid not see these films. Participants exposed to thesex material also regarded sex without emotional involvement being relatively more as important than the controlgroup. The viewers of explicit media sex exdid hibited greater acceptance of premarital and extramarital sex and gave lower ratings for marriage and monogamy. The explicit sex viewersshowed less desire to have children and greater acceptance of male dominance and female submission (Zillmann6r Bryant, 1988a, 1988b). This particular type of cultivation effect, however, may depend on the nature of the sexual material presented to individuals and theway they are invited tobecome involved withit. Evidence emerged froman earlier experimental study that participants who were to think about their told sexual partners before reading explicit passages about a woman’s sexual fantasies



laterratedtheirownpartner more sexuallyattractive(Dermer & Pyszczynski, 1978).This contrasting result indicate that may different types of sexual content, presented through different media, give rise to differmay ent levels of sexual fantasizing among consumers. some instance, the In sexual fantasies that are facilitated may produce a positive view of one’s own sexual partner, whereason other occasions the reverse reaction occurs. These ‘cultivation’ influences reflect the cognitive heuristic availmay of ability, whereby we judge frequency of occurrence of various activities by the the ease with which we can generate examples (Taylor, 1982; Tversky & Kahneman, 1973,1974).Recent vivid media instances can lead to an overestimation of such occurrences in the real world. Further explanationsof these effects derives from social comparison theory. Here, it is suggested that media consumers make comparisonsbetween role models seen on screen with people in their own lives.In a sexual context, individuals may compare their sexual partners, in terms of appearance and performance, with actors seen in sexually explicit sequences in films or videos. Men, in particular, seem prone to make these comparisons between their wives or girlfriendsand beautiful female models engaged promiscuous sexin ual activity in explicit pornography. In consequence, they mayrate theirown partners as less physically endowed, although this does not invariably produce lowered satisfaction with their ownsexlives(Weaver,Masland, & Zillmann, 1984). It may, however, affect the perceived depth of their feelings for their partner (Kenrick,Gutierres, &Goldberg, 1989).Further, in the short term, exposure of young men to sexually explicit videos can cause them to respond in a more overt sexual manner towards a female with whom they subsequently interact in the context interview, although this effect appears to of an be most pronounced among men who already hold stereotyped opinions about women (McKenzie-Mohr & Zanna, 1990).

Cultivation o Anti-FemaleValues and Beliefs f
Some theories have explored longer termeffects of pornography on the the public. A viewpoint put forward by antipornography feminists is that sex scenes in eroticfilms tend to promote sexist ideology and discriminatory a practices againstwomen (Brownmiller, 1975). Advocates of this model argue that sexually explicit material conveys an antifemale ideology. Erotica is seen as objectifying and dehumanising women, portraying women as servants tomen’s sexual desires, denying female sexuality, and promoting sexual and social subordination of and violence towards women (Brownmiller, 1975; Lederer, 1980). This theory has been substantiatedby empirical research findings from laboratory studies that found that repeated exposure ofyoung males to films



23 1

depicting violent and nonviolent degrading portrayals of women can shift male attitudes to women and rape in a more sexist and callous direction (Linz, 1989; Linz & Malamuth, 1993; Zillmann & Bryant, 1982). Furthermore, reported consumption pornography in which of women are shown in subordinate sex object roles is associated with greater acceptanceof rape myths and cynical attitudes towards women (Check & Guloien, 1989). Studies of media violence of a sexual nature suggest three conclusions according to Malamuth, Check, and Briere (1986): (a) Males act against female targets in the majority of the depictions (D. G. Smith, 1976); (b) although media sexual aggression has increased in the last 15 years, it is considerably lower than medianonsexual violence (Malamuth,1986; Malamuth & Spinner, 1980; Palys, 1986; Slade, 1984; Winick, 1985); and (c) sexual aggression isoften depicted quite differently from nonsexualaggression (Malamuth et al., 1986). Experimental research has observed connections between exposure to erotica and several adversarial beliefs about women. Exposureto sexually explicit materials has been linked to perceptions that one’s mate is lesssexually attractive (Weaver, Masland, & Zillmann, 1984) and to satisfaction less with one’s partner’s affection, physical appearance andsexual performance (Zillmann & Bryant, 1988). Experiments havealso observed that exposure to erotica leads men tobe more accepting of violence towards women and less sympathetic towards women’s viewpoints and feelings inthe sexual andnonsexualarena (Zillmann & Weaver, 1989). Prolonged experimental exposure to sexually explicit materials is associated with increased acceptance of violence against women (Malamuth & Check, 1981b), increased aggressive behavior against women (Donnerstein Berkowitz, 1981),increased acceptance & of rape myths in both men andwomen (Malamuth & Check, 1985), and less compassion for rape victims and recommendations lighter sentences of for rapists (Zillmann & Bryant, 1982). Advocates of the feminist social responsibility model argue that these beliefs and attitudes may ‘justify male dominance and female submissiveness,’may be ‘rape supportive,’ and may be associated with a ‘broader acceptance of violence in nonsexual situations’ (Linz & Malamuth, 1993, p. 47). Survey research provides some limited support for this model. Malamuth and Check(1985) reported that reading men’s magazines such as Penthouse and Playboy was positively related tobeliefs that women enjoy being raped. Burt (1980) noted thatexposure to media treatment of sexual assault was linked to acceptanceof rape myths. Preston(1990) found that exposure to mainstream soft-porn magazines and X-rated videos was related to male college students holding more sex-role stereotypes. Other research, how, ever, located no connections between exposure to explicit material sexually



and several adversarialattitudes towards or beliefs about women (Demare et al., 1988; Padgett, Brislin-Slutz, &Neal, 1989). Researchers have offered theoretical explanations for the connection between exposure to sexually explicit material and hostile views about women and rape myth acceptance. Zillmann and Bryant (1989),for example, suggested that negative depictionsof women in sexually explicit media content may become the basis for schemata or scripts about women and sexuality that direct thoughts and behavior (Fiske & Taylor, 1984). Social learning theory suggests that therewards inherent inexposure to erotica make the content likely to be learned and imitated. Malamuth more et al. (1986) suggested that erotica’s effects on sexual aggression are indirect. Accordingto their model, exposure sexually explicit media content to affects how peoplethink about women and rape, whichthen influences behavior. Experimental research on sexual violence has demonstrated that college men’s frequency of reading sexually explicit material correlated positively with their beliefs that women enjoy forced sex (Brier, Corne, Rintz, & Malamuth, 1984; Malamuth & Check, 1985). In another experiment, subjects exposed to a ‘positive rape portrayal’ were less negative in theirresponses to a second rape portrayal (Malamuth & Check, 1980a, 198 Malamuth, Haber, & Feshbach, 1980). a similar 1a; In vein, Linz (1985) found that males exposed to sexually violent films were less sympathetictoarapevictiminasimulatedtrial (see also Linz, Donnerstein, & Penrod, 1984).

Viewing Motives as Mediating Variables
Evidence has emerged that the cultivation effects of mass media can be mediated by the motives underpinning media consumption. Much this work of has been conducted in relation to opera soap viewing and is therefore of relevance to any discussion of media cultivationeffects in relation to beliefs about sex and sexuality. Other work hasbeen conducted with explicit erotic materials. The uses and gratifications perspective holds that exposure to media content provides only part of the explanationfor media effects. According to this perspective, people are active because they select media content for specific reasons. People’sreasons for using media content influence attention levels, how they interpret content, how actively they use the content, and attitudinal and cognitive effects (Katz, Blunder, & Gurevitch, 1973; Levy & Windahl, 1985; Rubin & Perse, 1987). Regular soap opera viewers have been found to watch primarily for excitement,to relax, to pass time, and for companionship(Greenberg, Neuendorf, Buerkel-Rothfuss, & Henderson, 1982). In addition to these motives, soap operas have been regarded sources of advice on social isas



sues and as having social utility by giving viewers something to talk about with others (Compesi, 1980). Adolescent have reportedusing soapsto girls cheer themselvesup, forget about problems, and get away from theirfamilies (Woods, 1998). Evidence has emerged that thesex in soaps is a key aspect of theirappeal for some viewers. Babrow (1987) askedsurvey respondents to their reasons for viewing television in general and more give especially for watching or avoiding soaps. Many of the reasons for watching soap operas were common to those mentioned for television in general. Three reasons uniqueto soaps viewingwere the serial format,with never-ending or unpredictable story lines; character development over time; and the sex and romance. Motives for viewinghave been discriminated in broader terms between ritualised and instrumentalreasons for watching. Viewing as ritual reflects nondirectional, habitual forms of viewing for no specific reason. Viewing for instrumental purposes means that media consumers are directed and goal have specific reasons for watching specific programs (Rubin, 1985). Research conducted by Rubin on consumption of television soaps revealed four viewing factors: orientation, avoidance, diversion, and social utility. Orientation referred to theuse of soapsto explore aspects of reality and to learn lessons or strategies in how to deal with other people, situations, or problems. Avoidance referred to watching soaps for escapism and filling time. Diversion referred to the entertainment value of soaps. Social utility meant the use of soaps to acquire things to talk about with others. These four categories of gratification were highly and positively correlated with affinity with soaps and, to lesser degree, with involvement with them. There a was no indication, however, that of soaps for of these reasons, and in use any particular for social utility purposes, was linked to actual levels of social interaction amongviewers. Loneliness has been found to relate closely to soap operaviewing. Perse and Rubin (1990) foundthat chronically lonely people amongregular soap viewers perceived soaps as more realistic. Such individuals viewed soaps mainly to kill time, rather than to stimulate social interaction with others. Whereas people who are alone temporarily in a particular situation may turn to soaps fordistraction and entertainment, the chronically lonely tend to obtainfewer satisfactory escapism experiences from theirsoaps viewing (Canary & Spitzberg, 1993). Elsewhere, more direct attempts have been made to assess the signifiH cance of soap-related gratifications as mediators of cultivation effects arising from these programs. The cultivation hypothesis predicts that heavy television viewers willmake estimates as to the frequency of specific groups and behaviors that are more in accord withthe frequency of television portrayals than theirreal-life frequencies. Such cultivationeffects were found in relation to amount soap opera of viewing, but in more pronounced a way



for viewers who watched soaps for ritualistic reasons rather than instrumental ones (Carveth & Alexander, 1985). A subsequent study added the variable of involvement with or perceived importance of watching television soaps among adolescent females. The prevalence of different relational problems and the perceived usefulness of soaps were correlated notonly with overall reported soap viewing, but more significantly with adolescent girls’ perceived involvement with soap operas (Woods, 1998). Further research in this vein has examined how viewing motives might mediate cultivation effects of more restricted circulation explicit sexual and materials. Perse (1994) surveyed college undergraduates (two-thirds female) about their use of erotic or pornographic material-magazines or X-rated videos. She established respondents? principal reasons for using such material and related usage data tomeasures of gender-role stereotyping and rape myth beliefs concerning women. From the outset, males exhibited more stereotyped gender beliefs than did females. To what extent, role however, werethese beliefs linked with reported usage of pornographic media content and thereasons for using such material? Four categories of pornography usage motivation emerged. These were labelled sexual enhancement (using erotica to enhance mood or for information about sexual technique); diversion (escape, relaxation,relief of boredom); sexual release (sexual fantasy and release); and substitution (as a replacement for a sexual partner). Males and females differed on two of the four motives for consuming sexually explicit material. Males were more likely to report using erotica for sexual release than were females. Males also scored higher on substitution thandid females. One of the objectives of Perse’s study was to explore the feminist social responsibility model that holds that exposure to sexually explicit materials is linked to adversarial views about women. These might take the form of extreme sex-role stereotyping or hostile beliefs about women, particularly in relation to rape. Perse found considerable support the feminist social refor sponsibility model. Two ofthe ‘functional’uses ofsexually explicit materials were linked to negative beliefs about women. Sexual enhancement was directly linked to holding adversarial views about women. Males who used erotica for sexual stimulation andforeplay with their partners were more likely to reportmore traditional and conservative beliefs about women and sex. It was reasoned that because erotica depicted asexist view of women (Brownmiller, 1975;Smith, 1976),use of these materialsto stimulate one’s female partner might cause, reinforce, or out ofviews that dehumanize grow women and see them as objects that need to ‘turned on.’ According to be Perse, although advocates of the liberal model often argue that sexual enhancement is a beneficial use ofsexually oriented content, sexual enhancement had significant indirect influenceon rape myth acceptance through a



its connection to gender role stereotypes, sexual conservatism, and exposure, all significant predictors of rape myth acceptance. The use of erotica for substitution was significantly and positively related to rape myth acceptance. Although motive was not strongly endorsed this by the students this study, using in erotica as a replacement a sexual partfor ner was associated with greater acceptance of rape myths. Sexual release was a significant negative predictor of rape myth acceptance, adding support for the liberal model. Using eroticafor solitary fantasy and sexual release was related to lower levels of rape myth acceptance. ‘If this motive reflects one ‘safe’approach to this use of sexually explicit media content sex, may not pose a risk for women or society’ (p. 507).

Malamuth (1996b) offered a theoretical model within which to consider the impact of explicit sexual material based on evolutionary psychology. An evolutionary model can be used to explain differences between gendersin their consumption media sex. The type of sexually explicit media content of preferred by each gender reflects their wider sexuality strategies. Males prefer erotica that reflect the short-termism of the male sexual strategy. Femalesprefer erotica that emphasise the long-term orientation of their mating strategy. According to its protagonists, evolutionary psychology provides a framework for the analysis of gender differences (Buss, 1995). In some respects, males and females can be expected to have common psychological mechanisms, such as ‘... in domains wherenatural selection has focusedthe same solutions to adaptive problems for all humans regardless of their gender’ (Malamuth, 199613, p. 13).In other domains, where males and females have had to contend withdifferent problems over time, different psychological mechanisms have emerged. Sociobiological models that incorporateingredients from psychology, sociology, genetics, and evolution acknowledge the importance of environmental factors in the developmentof the character not just of individuals, but of entire species. Such models place much emphasis on the notion that individuals are ‘hard wired’ biologicallyand psychologically to display certaindominantcharacteristicsor behavioral orientations. Although these attributes are endowed to a degree by genetic inheritance, their intrinsic nature determined by the environment expeis riences of earlier generations (Cosmides &Tooby, 1987). The genetic codes that are handed down from one generation to the next, therefore, contain a kind of ‘memory imprint’ of the experiences and knowledge of past generations that predetermines individual members of later generations of the spe,

particularly women who were highly fertile. This may have beenparticularly the case if men’s sexual strategy had been inclined to monopolise femalesexuality andmighthaveresultedin aggression againstpromiscuousfemales (Malanmth. For males. In ancestral environments. 1996a. The actof conception. Partly because men’s reproductive ability is less highly correlated with a particular a strategy age. Smuts. and behavioral orientations (Berkowitz. emotions. therefore. while for females. that emphasised short-term mating with many young men could actually have been quite disadvantageous. Wilson & Daly. 199613). having intercourse with a large number of fertile females wasmore conducive reproductive success. Differing natural selection processes for males and femaleshave resulted in ‘sexual dimorphism’ inrelevant psychological mechanisms. 1993). These psychological mechanisms include cognitive associative networks that are believed to represent connections between perceptions. and (b) minimise commitment and investment in single woman. usually initiof ated by the male. 1995. it is more adaptive to For invest in each offspring by carefully selecting a mate with successful characteristics who will participate in raising the offspring. 1993). females. a sexual strategy that emphasises quantity of reproduction is uppermost.236 CHAPTER 1 0 cies toprefercertainbehavioraloptionsoverothersindifferent environmental circumstances.gender-specific codes may produce different psychological mechanisms that orient each gender somewhat differently in they way they approach and respond to different classes of environmental stimuli (Tooby & Cosmides. whereas pregnancy lasts for many months. Instead. Female ancestors did not face such issues. 1992). One of the core elements of this genderdifference is the degree of investment required of males and females in the production offspring. They adopted a different sexual strategy-one that was more advantageousfor them. man’s reproductive success would have ina creased (other things being equal) he had been if able to (a) gain sexual access to a larger number of women. to Females are able to bear a limited number of children. across generations. Thus. any so as to enable access to other fertile women (Buss & Schmidt. one that emphasises quality is more important. These distinct. whereasmales can sire literally thousands of offspring should they wish to. females’ adaptive problems includedidentifying men who had the ability and will- . For males. men andwomen adopt differing sexual strategies. there may be differences in the genetic codes that in result each case. ideas. requires only a few minutes to achieve. One area where a difference in evolutionary development can be expected is sexuality.For example. 1990). men may establish cognitive networks that predispose them to process information differently and to adopt different behavioral strategies from women (Malamuth. underpinned by distinct psychological mechanisms. resulting in different kinds of environmental experiences. Where different roles have been adopted by each gender in past generations.

1995. At the same time. Singh & Young. find that. The types of content preferred by males shows casual sex with numerous accessible women who display fertility cues through their age. to be moresexually aroused by. Male-Targeted Sexually Expliczt Medza (1) Partner number problem (2) Sexual access to women problem -+ (3) Identifying fertile women problem -+ + (1) Numerous women depicted (2) Women eager to ‘service’men sexually (3) Youthful women with ‘shapely’bodies (cues associated with fertility) (4) Minimizing investment problem Females’ Long-Term Mating Problems + (4) Casual sex withoutinvestment Content.. and the Internet. including magazines. Female-Targeted Sexually Explicit Media (1) Problem of identifying man who is able and willing to invest in her -+ (1)High status man who desires and eventually loves only her Man is powerful. men are more likely to seek out (even when alone or with a same-sex friend).70 ratio) corresponds exactly to the ratio found most attractive by men of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds (Singh. such a ratio the most reproductively optimal is across the range of female body weight and size. Research on body shape has found so that the type of ‘waist-to-hip’ ratio featured regularly in male-orientedsexually explicit magazines such as Playboy (i. often ‘brutish‘ towards others by end of story (2) Physical protection problem (3) Problem of identifying man with good parental abilities and skills + (2) + ( 3 ) Man becomes kind and gentle with her Note: Arrows show correspondence between adaptive problems and media content. in comparison to women. to consume more regularly. It was also important that such men provide physical protection.e. particularly during the period of increased vulnerability associated with pregnancy child rearand ing.1shows similarities between major adaptive problems and contents of sexually explicit media. which abilities and the skills to help nurture offspring. 1995). itwas important to mate with a man who possessed as suggest potential parental such attributes sensitivity and kindness. and on. body shape.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 237 ingness to successfullyinvest in them and their offspring. movies. Table 10. Moreover. 1995. . to have TABLE 10.1 Similarity Between Evolutionary Adaptive ProbIems and Content o Sexually Explicit Media f Males’ Short-Term Mating Problems Content. Many survey and laboratory studies focusing on various media. Singh & Luis. a 0.

and to react with negative affect to less portrayals featuring nudity of the opposite sex or sexual acts devoid of relationship context (Abelson. may be stimulated to follow a media actor’s lead. Hence. Thus. such as aggression. In considering the theory of media sex effects. Pomeroy. Exposure to media sex has also been linked to nonsexual audience responses. Kinsey. Martin. may be applied in the context of depictions of sex and more especially. 1994). CONCLUSION I Social scientists who have investigated media sex offer variety of explanaa tions for its impact on media audiences. 1953.Diefenbach. Gagnon.. Mann. The link between media sex and audience aggression is too surprising given explicit sex scenes not that are combined with violence in some media sex output. Rinlm. & Michaels. sexual aggression. Heaton. Kessler. Laumann. regardless of whether thematerials to be used in such studies are described as hard. Dahl. Another observation that confirms the different sexual orientations of the genders is that women areless likely to volunteerfor studies involving sexually explicit media. Individuals who watch sort of material may experience a this weakening of social inhibitions against behaving similarly.g. 1986). 1971. 1971. Bryant & D. Knape. Cohen. Kling. Michael. and may experience a reduction of concern about the consequences such conduct. Women show a preference more often than men forviewing erotic filnls with ‘loving’ themes as compared to purely lustful hard-core sequences (Kenrick. Wagenhals. and desensitisation. scenes involving coercive victimisation) can be conceived to influence viewers through such psychological mechanisms as disinhibition. research has shown that films with erotic scenes that were contextualised within a romantic story line. & Gebhard. Brown. 1994. 1989. & Ransdell. & Elias. triggering. This nonspecific physiological response be can psychologically interpreted in more ways than one and hence gives rise to a variety of subsequent behaviors among observers. This does not mean that women universally dislike consuming erotic sexually explicit materior als. originallydeveloped toexplain the effects of media violence. other psychological modelsof behavior.Hsu. in which emphasis was placed on the emotional relationship of a man and woman.& Starr. Stauffer & Frost.238 CHAPTER 1 0 more favorable attitudes towards. 1994. are more a likely to arouse female members of the audience (Mosher& MacIan. Indeed. of . it is apparent that the effects themselves arenot invariably sexual in nature. certain categories of media sex (e. 1995.or soft-core. Stringfield. They do exhibit different thematic tastes and preferences from men. sexual scenes in themedia may excite and arouse media consumers in sexual and nonsexual ways. & Suder. 1976). Sidman. Indeed.

whereas for others it a substitute is for the real thing. a number of prominent programs of research have faced serious challenges from critics who questioned theirvalidity. Although theories provide a crucial organising framework for any empirical research. and validity of the research itself.In the specific context of their application in the field of media sex. There must also be trust in the veracity. Research media sex on has not been accepted uncritically. explain differences in their preferences for and enjoyment of media sex portrayals. reliability. The principal methodologies of surveys and experiments havewidely established limitations. associated with the degree of investment each gender makes in process of procreation. For some individuals media sex is a diversion. and create distorted impressions about the ‘normality’ of unusual or exaggerated sexual practices. shift moral codesand values towards greater acceptanceof sexual promiscuity. Methodologies must truthfully measure what they set outmeasure. A regular diet of explicit media sex maycondition inaccurate beliefs about femalesexuality.HOW CAN MEDIA EFFECTS BE EXPLAINED? 239 The effects of media sex mayoccur not at a behavioral level. The reactions of media consumersto media sex and thedegree to which their social attitudes. Such the biological differences are manifest in different sexual behavior patterns among men and women and may. Thus. . not everyone responds the in same way to sexually explicit portrayals. beliefs. and perceptions are influenced by such content are mediated by other factors. but also just at a cognitive level. knowledge enhancement does not proceed through the acceptance or rejection of hypotheses on which theories are built. The nature and instrumentality indiof viduals’ consumption of media sex are closely linked to whetherexplicitly sexual media content is usedfor purely entertainment purposes and whether itperforms some other deeper-seatedpsychological function. that havebecome imprinted as distinct geneticcodes. in turn. The debate that has ensued on this subject is examined in the next chapter. there are gender-related distinctions to be drawn between the nature and explanation of media consumers’ responses to media sex. to The findings that are produced in anystudy must be judged in terms of their internal coherence and external relevance. As with anything sexual. Evolutionary psychological theory points to long. There are biological reasons why women are stereotypically selective in choosing a sexual partner and men areless discriminating.established differences between males and females in the nature their inherent of sexuality.

In this chapter. In the latter case. violent sexual themes emerge that. the blending of violence with has been makers. as a particularly damagingform of entertainment. Videos have been identifiedas a source of immoral influenceby depicting. a topic that has achieved a far higher public profile. sex socially and psychologically. This is probably because it has been overshadowed concerns about theeffects of televised by violence. Itis important toconsider the methodological limitationsany research before findings can be confiof dently used in the context determining policy guidelines or codes of pracof tice for television producers. The evidence for the impact of sex on television has so far been fairly thin. scenes of explicit sexual behaviorthat canbe degrading to women anddeeply offensive to thegreat majority of the public. though muchmilder than those found in pornographic videos. Even with movies and some television programs. atreally titudes. have nevertheless been thought by some experts to capable of cultivating the wrong be ideas about women in a sexual context. Sex in the 240 . consider whetherthe results of research carried we out to date onmedia sex can be accepted at face value. in vivid detail.11 Can We Trust the Research on Media Sex? Do depictions of sexual behavior in the media affect sexual values. or censors. Movies have been criticised for regarding graphic sexual portrayals as an essential ingredient of box office success. or behaviors in society?Television has been accused of becoming increasingly obsessed with sex.

& Colvin.1996.. Public opinion about sex in the media has been measured primarily through surveys. enhance men’s acceptance of rape myths (Linz.and increase men’s direct physical aggression against a woman a in laboratory setting (Donnerstein &Berkowitz. REPRESENTATION OF SEX The analysis of sexual representations in the media has depended primarily on content analysis in which sexual behavior has been defined according to an a priori analytical framework. 198l). in videos. not all the evidence that has emerged so far has been consistent either in the strength or direction of media effects that have purportedly been demonstrated. The impact of sex in the media has been measured either with surveys or experimental methodologies.This type of framework specifies the unit of analysis (i. the research into the effects of sexual violence has represented extension an of earlier research into theeffects of violence in themedia. In considering the efficacy ofresearch evidence to date about the representation of sex in the audiovisual media and its effects on audiences.e.. 198 1)Distinctions have also been made between physical sexual displays and verbal references to sex (Fernandez-Collado et al. The reason for this may partly be explained by the fact that sexual portrayals in films made originally for theatre showings or video distribution have tended to be more explicit than those usually shown on mainstream television and also because of the blending of violence with sex in those two media. through kissing and intimate touching. content analysis studies of sex on television. Sexual behaviors may. Although evidence has emerged that exposure to violent sex scenes can cause men to fantasize about rape (Malamuth. each case. has received more attention than sex on television as an area for investigation by media effects researchers. therefore. there are important In issues that need to be closely examined aboutthe way data were collected in order to establish the robustness of the research and its findings and recommendations. Sprafkin & Silverman. Hence. 1977. 1981). for example. and videos.the evidence these apparently dramatic effects can be challenged for on methodological grounds. itis necessary to consider the validity and reliability of the methodologies that have been used. 1978. Counting procedures have been adoptedto quantify and classify the occurrence of sex in films. These have derived from content analysis methodology. .. Thus.what is to be counted on screen) and the attributes according to which on-screen events are further classified. television broadcasts. have distinguished between different types of sexual behavior largely in terms of degree of intimacy displayed.rangefromembracingand hugging. Furthermore. 1989).CAN WE THE TRUST RESEARCH? 24 1 movies and.Kunkel. Cope. more especially. to oral sex or sexual intercourse (Franzblau et al.

Media effects evidence can indicate how viewers might respond subsequently after exposure to a diet media sex. videos. content coding frames need be into formed either by public opinion or media effects evidence.. To be really useful. however. the more extreme is the nature of the audi- . 1999). attitudes. These content analyses of the occurrence sex in films. Researchers have also catalogued occurrences of sex offending and sexual violence (Sapolsky & Tabarlet.. Evidence for this observation derives from findings that showed increases in thelevels of sex on television (Greenberg. emphasis is given to the kinds of sexual depictions to which individuals are exposed. such as soap operas. it is important that such analyses are informed by the latest public opinion evidence. 1988). 1986. Over the past two decades.they represent purely descriptive accounts that cannot demonstrate anything about theimpact or acceptability of media sex. for example. and their impact on Values. equally one might find a relaxation feelings of about less explicit depictions of sex in mainstream media. Lowry & Towles. 1993. Stanley. This observation is especially true of public opinion towardsthe representationof sex in themedia. Kunkel et al. for example. 1993.In part. Sancho-Aldridge. More usually.242 CHAPTER 1 1 Greenberg.. has been emphasised by other work (Greenberg et al. interest may center on the impact of sheer volume exposure to of sex in the media. Kunkel et al. J. In the of latter case. people have become more tolerant nudity simuand lated sex scenes in cinemafilms and television programs. D. 1999).. Public opinion seldom remains stable over time. On their own. et al. and teleof vision programs have provideduseful evidence of the prevalence and nature of sex in these media. 1991. perceptions.. The form of question wording that used to explore attitudes towards the representais tion of different kinds of sexual content on television. 1999). and tolerant public opinion concerningsex channels on television (Gunter.The more directly a formof questioning addresses an issue relating to the depiction of sexual content in themedia. increased availability and consumption of sexually explicit videos (Showers. the measurement of public opinion about mediasex can be influenced by methodological artifacts. Brown. People exhibit shifting attitudes towards the media and their contents.Sex as depicted in specific categories of programs. 6rBuerkel-Rothfuss. 1994). however. lic opinion is probably responsive to media producers who push back taste barriers and test public tolerance for more and more explicit sexual depictions. Although significant numbers of people may personally find offence in explicit pornographic materials. Public opinion data cangive some indicationas to thekinds of portrayals ordinary people find acceptable or offensive. Kunkel et al. As we saw in chapter 3. 1994). In the context investigating the representation sexin the audioof of visual media. and behavior. can make a markeddifference to theprofile of opinion obtained.

1986). and sexuality orientations and preferences across the genders.for example. beliefs. sexual relationships. This argument been made with has some conviction in relation to the debate about mediaviolence. to of While individuals may display varying tastes and preferences for media sex. and attitudes about sexual behavior. the question of its impact on them a separate one. this last point is probably just as pertinent in relation to the analysis of media sex. 198 Depictions of violent sex in laboratory session 1). Research evidencehas shown here not only that violent portrayals can be differentiated in terms of how they are perceptually rated by people (Gunter. the impact of media sex can be defined in many different ways. emotional. There has been concern that certain ofexplicit sexual detypes pictions can act to loosen public morals and challenge established institutions such as marriage and the family. 1989) and cause them to fantasize about rape (Malamuth. 1981).Although notinvestigated to the same extent. Even more concern has been reserved for the possibility that explicit media sex (especially certain kinds of pornography) can influence sexual behavior. Where is evidence exists that specific typesof portrayal may produce a particularly adverse audience reaction.1984). Van der Voort. (b) correlational analysis ofaggregated . they may be less likelycall for an outright ban that content. can apparently cause young men to show increased propensity to display hostile actions against a female target (Donnerstein & Berkowitz. THE IMPACT OF MEDIA SEX As earlier chapters havealready shown. and behavioral reactions they can trigger (Wilson et al. but also according to the different cognitive. Although some research has considered whether exposure to sexually explicit material renders viewers more sexually active.Further research has indicated that repeated exposure to diet of media sex in which a marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity are emphasised may cultivate the view that such behaviors are far more prevalent and more acceptable than would otherwise be the case (Zillmann &Bryant. much more attention been has paid to the links between exposure to extremeforms of pornography and sex offending. Research has shown that depictions of rape may increase men's acceptance of rape myths (Linz. perceptions. Three types of impact methodologycan be distinguished: (a) surveys of offending and nonoffending groups. Although members of the public may indicate personal offence in response to certain categories of sexual depiction on screen.. 1982. 1996). such data need to be taken into account by descriptive analyses of media sex. Sexual representations in the media may shape public values. 1985. This evidence therefore provides pointers towards the kinds of attributes of sexual portrayals media content analysts should be examining.CAN WE TRUST THE RESEARCH? 243 ence's response.

also. If such links exist.1989. The choice of methodology rests in part on the nature research question of the being investigated and in part on whatever may be available or obtaindata able of relevance to that question. Scott & Schwalm. researchers may be interested in examining questions with special groups among whom experiments arenot possible. Furthermore. . 1988a). pornography) and the onset ofof fendingamongconvicted sex offenders (L.. Varying rates of availability of explicit sexual material does not guarantee varying rates of pornography consumption. then one sex would expect to find higher ratesof such crimes in regions where pornography is more readily available. The fact that pornograof phy is legallybanned from a region does not mean that not available or is it that itis not being consumed. Baron & Straus. between the variables. Given the knowledge that certain geographical areas have observed more controls than others over the distribution of explicit mediasex. surveys have been used to explore possible connections between exposure to explicit sexual materials (Le. Survey and Archival Studies Although not equipped to demonstrate causal connections betweenvariables. The problem with this type of research is that such studies seldom collect data on rates of exposure to pornography. 1994). One would need to observe extreme caution about conducting manipulative experimental research with suchpotentially dangerous individuals. and (c) experimental studies. such methodologies are appropriate where the researcher is interested in examining historical links. In some cases. societal level. Furthermore. Hence. If the availability of pornography does cause offending. such databases do notshow whether sex offenders in the regions being compared exhibited different rates pornography consumption. there are concerns not just sex offendthat ers may be susceptible to antisocial influences media sex. if any. surveys and archival analyses may provide broad indications about where causal connections could lie or suggest the possibility that causal links may exist. Kutchinsky. 1991. This would be particularly so where one might be interested infinding out if such individuals’ offending could be triggered by pornography.244 CHAPTER 1 1 statistical data from archival sources. but that the of general availability of mediated sexual materials-especially those of an explicitnature-couldbelinked to overall changes in sexual mores (Zillmann. it shouldbe possible to compare these areas in termsof levels of relevant offending over time. 1994) and overall levels of criminal offending (Cline. then an obvious policy recommendation would be to control or restrict the production and distributionof media sex. One a wider.

1980. Bryant. Berkowitz. & Carveth. 1978. consider the following results.THE WE TRUST CAN RESEARCH? 245 Experimental Evidence To investigate cause-effect relationships. this is a critical weakness of experiments (Harre& Secord. it is generally acknowledged that experimental methodologies are best because they enable researchers to manipulate potential causal variables in advance. The men could also be tested beforehand for their attitudes and compared afterwards on attitudes and behavior. therefore. Thus. other investigators have shown that even repeated exposures to full-length sexually vi- . In complete contrast. experiments take place under artificial conditions that do not generally match those that exist in thereal world. 1981). 1972). The behavior would involvealaboratorysimulationratherthan real world behavior (e. & Linz. Not all the findings to date have been in a consistent direction (Fisher & Grenier.toincrease men's acceptance of rapemyths(Donnerstein. 1986. experiment could set up in an be which different groups of men arefed varyingdiets of filmsor videos-some erotic and others not.Almost inevitably. Donnerstein.. 1994). 1989). several investigators showed that evenvery brief exposure to violent pornography is sufficient to cause mento fantasize about rape (Malamuth. These fairly dramatic effects of exposure to violent pornography were produced by experimental contact with such material which in no case exceeded 5 minutes' duration. and toincrease men's direct physical aggressionagainst a woman a in laboratory setting (Donnerstein & Berkowitz.g. Much of the criticism of media sex research has centered on the application of experimental methods to investigate the impact of explicit sexual materials. cited in Linz. Forsome. including violent pornography. Zillmann. Donnerstein & Barrett. we are interested if in establishing whether a diet erotica leads to ashift in male attitudes of or behavior towards women. One the problems with experimentsin this area is that of researchers must avoid contravening ethical guidelines and principles that place restrictions on the manipulation participants' psychological condiof tion thatmay carry over into thereal world with unfortunate and undesirable side effects. 198 1). To convey the level of inconsistency seen in research on effects of exposure to violent pornography. 1981). In oneresearch line. How Consistent I s the ExperimentalEvidence? There are now numerouspublished studies that have indicated that exposure to violent sexual material presented on film or video is associated with undesirable changes in young men's attitudes towards women rape and and is apparently linked to actual displays of violence against women in laboraa tory setting.

With explicit sexual materials. Controlled laboratory experiments may provide opportunities an artificial range of available responses to media for sex. thus removing any semblance narraof tive or character development.. in actuality. In particular. Cyifique of ~xpeUimer7t.. they significantly distQrt the experience of real life media consumption and thus make generalisations to theworld beyond the laboratory difficult. or physical aggression against a woman in a laboratory setting (Malamuth &Ceniti. Yet.Pre-existing attitudes towards sexual violence could create interest in pornography and in violent sexually behavior-any relationship found between pornography and sexual viuse olence would then be spurious.depictions of sex are decontextualised. A number of such limitations have been identified (Fisher & Barak. in fact. 1986). One approach to understanding inconsistencies in the research findings involves identifying methodological and conceptual problemsthe in research.g. call into question the validity of the findings.In relation to research that has adopted experimental methodologies in which participants are placed in a researcher-controlled environment for exposure tospecific portrayals of sexual behavior. Briere et al. constitute apre-existing attitude effect (e. 1994..1991). Inthe presence of a significant association between these two variables. removed from their original context and detached from their function(sexual arousal. forcing participants to react in ways they would not have chosen in more ‘natural’settings.simulatedrapetrialverdicts (Donnerstein. 1986). It is widely acceptedamong media researchers that experimental studies based on random assignmentof participants to experimental conditions provide the best methodology for assessing cause and effect relationships in the laboratory (see Neuman. Another problem withresearch into sexually violent media content involves the co-variation betweenrespondents’ endorsements of rape-supportive beliefs and their reporteduse of pornography. Experimental conditions do not reproduce real-world conditions. 1989.s. Some studies used onlythose scenes that were sexually explicit. 1984. there are problemsthat may. . Linz et al.Wimmer & Dominick. experimental studies are significantly limited in their external validity. in some instances.246 CHAPTER 1 1 olent films had no effect on men’s rape myth acceptance. Garcia. it is unclear whether a pornographic effect may. masturbation). endorsementof the use of forceinsexualrelations. 1984.self-reported likelihood of raping a woman. the results of this work on the question of the impact of media depictions of sex are empirically mixedand anlbiguous.These failures to find effects of violent pornography occurreddespite repeated exposures to two or more full-length feature films involving sexual violence. 1988). 1994).

in part. therefore. by In the typical pornography experiment. where behavioral measures are concerned. but survey researchon the association the two . Any effects of pornography may. 1994. Many of the laboratory-based studies that have served as a basis for concluding that violent sexual scenes in films and videos can cause anti-female thoughts. there was no report the identificationof even a sinof gle suspicious participant in the Malamuth (1981). Nevertheless. consumers of pornography maynot be angryat the time they see such material. a In Malamuth‘s (1981) research. and what appear to effects of violent pornography may have been efbe fects of participant awareness and compliance with the experimenter’s perceived purpose. for example. for instance. participants were exposed to violent pornography and were then instructed the experimenter to by choose alevel of electric shock to deliver tofemale target. Berkowitz and Donnerstein (1982) disputed the notion that experimental participants spend their time trying to guess what the study is about or succeed in doing Despite the high so. arise fromthe limitations or confinement of responses imposed the experimental procedure. of course. Laboratory experiments oftenprovide evidence of a link between violent pornography and of anti-female aggression. is Orne. or Donnerstein andBerkowitz (1981) studies. Check and Guloien (1989). in which exposure to brief violent pornography caused men to fantasize about rape. them to for give the experimenter the results he or she looking for (Fisher &a Grenier. Participants a may have perceived the experimenter’s purpose in eachof these studies. however. These so-called ‘demandcharacteristics’ may.CAN WE TRUST THE RESEARCH? 247 Participant Awareness. Doubts have been cast on laboratory studies because participantsmay be given sufficient clues as to what the study is intended to achieve. the only response usually allowed is administration of electric shock to an the experimental confederate or the display ofaggressive attitudes. and actions appear to be highly vulnerable to participantawareness problems. with modes of behavior adoptedby viewers that are quite different from the kind of behavior encouraged in laboratory setting. Furthermore. attitudes. Clearly. the use ofthe electric shock measure offers participants a rather narrow range of response. In Donnerstein and Berkowitz’s (1981) research. In thereal world. participants were exposed rape themes or scenes heterosexual consentingsex and to of were asked a short time later to generate an arousing sexual fantasy. likelihood that thesefairly obvious experimental procedures would result in considerable participant awareness. participants are drawn into this behavior by being angered first by the experimenter’s assistant. researchers have ethical responsibilities to ensure that they do not unwittingly encourage or cause realistic aggressive impulses to be acted on by experimental participants. 1962). be expressedquite differently in the real world.

Consequently. 1972). only the men in the pornography exposure condition exhibited increased self-reported likelihood of raping a woman across the duration the experiof ment. Linz (1989) pointed out that research on effects of pornography often involves the administration large number of a of dependent variables and the detection of a few significant effects. participants are selected from aroster of students. Chunce Findings. Another problem with experimentsof this sortis that selective attrition of experimental participants may have created effects that appeared. However. Goldstein. the pornography exposure group suffered a 14% attrialso tion rate across experimental sessions as participants dropped out through their distaste for such films. Langevin et al.and whose opinions may not have been shaped in the first place by the violent pornography per se (Check & Guloien. Nonrundom Sumples.’ Although few participants may actually have much interest in trying to guess the experimenter’s hypothesis. 1989). It is possible. Mostexperimentalstudieshaveused nonrandom samples of college students. they may nevertheless want to look good to the researcher. Although participants may be randomly allocated to experimental conditions. At the very least. thereis reason for concern that some reported effects of violent pornographymay be chance findings among a preponderance of null effects. An associated concern aboutexperiments is ‘evaluation apprehension. 1988. There is for or evidence thatthis desire of experimental participants to please does occur (Weber &Cook. the men who wereleft (and among whom the major ‘effects’of violent pornography were measured) were individuals who were any case highly tolerant of viin olent sex scenes and callous towards women.. They may therefore try to impress the experimenter becausethey believe they are being tested their competence morality in some way.they are originally extracted from nonprobability sample that is not representative a of the wider population either in terms demographics or in terms of releof vant psychological profiles (Brannigan & Goldenberg.g. that in the end.. Selectiue Attrition. In typical social psychology and media experiments. usually in introductorypsychology or communications classes.248 CHAPTER 1 1 innaturalsettingshas rarely indicatedalink (e. they may not wish to look bad. 1988). 1987a). In one analysis of this problem. at first glance. therefore.1973. researchers found that when young males were allocated either to watch violent pornographic films across a numberof sessions or to a condition where they watched nothing. to derive from exposureto violent pornography. Marshall. .

Perhaps the most serious problem for most of the experiments that have been carried media sex is that laboratory on out procedures for studying effects of explicit sexual materials are reprenot sentative of conditions in natural settings. Critics argue any findings that emerge fromsuch artithat ficial conditions are unlikely to begeneralizable to thereal world. 1987a. 1989. the literature may overestimate the impact of violent pornography. Related tothe problem of chance findings. in which failures to confirm effects of violent pornography may contradict strongly held moral. The standardlabo& ratory method for studying effects of violent pornography on aggression against women. If such effects of exposure to violent pornography are simply chance findings. In every case. 198713. reactions were measured to very brief scenes and in an artificial setting where the usual societal rules of conduct . and philosophical views. Moreover. prejudice against publication of null findings may be especially pronounced in the current instance. 1980. Experiments conducted in a laboratory do not represent the natural. involves artificial behavioral constraints that usually require male research participants to engage in some level of antifemale aggression. 1991).CAN WE TRUST THE RESEARCH? 249 Malamuth andCheck‘s (1980a) findings for ‘undesirable cognitive-perceptual changes’ following exposure to 5 minutes of violent pornography rests on a multivariate analysis of variance maineffect with asingle significant univariateeffect among four dependent variables and a further such analysis with no significant main effects that was nonetheless followed up to disclose a single significant univariate effect for six dependent variables. 1976). Strickland. for example. The measurementof aggressive behavior in a laboratory context has always occurred in highly contrived circumstances. Several researchers have pointed out that laboratory procedures for studying the effects of the media are so unrepresentative of conditions in natural settings that they reveal little or nothing about relationships between media and behavior in the real world (Brannigan & Goldenberg. Aboud. political. Fisher & Barak. Even in such experiment-driven disciplines as psychology. the widespread reliance on experiments has been regardeda serious shortcoming (Gilmour as & Duck. there is also considerable prejudice against publication of null findings. everyday surroundings in which people behave. and findings for effects of such material may be unreliable. Ecologicd Vullidity. the reporting of chance findings and the prejudice against publication of null findings would make even the considerable inconsistencies that appear in the literature underestimatesof the actual degree of unreliability in effects of violent pornography. Taken together. Gergen. Preference for Rejection of Null Hypothesis.

the standardlaboratory method for studying effects of violent pornography on aggression against women has tended to involve artificial behavioral constraints thatrequire male research participants to engage in some level of antifemale aggression (Donnerstein & Berkowitz. time in Men who have been angered and shocked woman.250 CHAPTER 1 1 were suspended. Meyerson. 8-year-old boys and girls were provided with an opportunity to punish a peer for mistakes made on a joint task. using a slightly modified version of the Buss Aggression Machine. In the standard laboratory method. or they are treated equitably Male by her. These laboratoryaggression were then related to an independently validated indexof each child’s customary aggressiveness as rated by the children’s classmates. and have seen by a who violent pornography. for longer durations. The ecological unrepresentativeness of laboratory procedures for studying pornography and aggression may help explain why laboratory findings for a pornography-aggression link (e. & Eron. research participants are then shown violent pornography or comparison stimuli and are told by the experimenter to send some level of electric shock to the woman each she errs a subsequent experimental task. and with greater frequency did their less aggresthan sive counterparts. 1967). 1984.g. are open to them. In the context of aggression measurement. generally send higherlevels of electric shocks to her than do men who have seen comparison stimuli or who have been equitably treated. and it is not atall clear that even provoked men who have seenviolent pornography would aggress at any level if they had the opportunity simply to escape the situation to reor spond to the female provokernonaggressively. 1973. however. there is conflicting evidence. Goldstein. 1988). Inthis case. Even on this count. tell us little about how men might respond in natural settings where nonaggressive response options. Donnerstein & Berkowitz. 1988. laboratory measures have been found correlate to withaggressionmeasurestakenbeyondthelaboratory(Williams. suchas speaking to the woman or simply walking away. The ecologically invalid constraints of the laboratory methodology in question guarantee that some level of antiwoman aggression willoccur. however. 1968). male research participants are angered by a female confederate who delivers hostile verbal feedback and painful electrical shock to them. These findings. .. The youngsters of both sexes who were seen by their peers as being most aggressive in their daily social encounters administered significantly more intense punishment on the laboratory apparatus. For example. Leventhal & Allman. 1981).Thisresult was replicatedelsewhere(Shemberg. Langevin et al. 1981) are notalways replicated in research on theuse ofviolent pornography and the commission of sexual aggression in natural settings (Abramson & Hayashi. Marshall..

A single study as such could not detnonstrate or prove the extentof generalizability of its findings. A distinction needs be made between two to different research objectives: tests of the accuracy of statements about specific instances and tests of the universality of findings across a range of different types ofpeople and situations (Kruglanski. then large scale survey with a representative sample a of individuals should be adopted. and Zillmann came under fierce attack in the late by critics who offered challenges to the 1980s veracity of their findings on methodological grounds(Gross. Gross (1983) challenged the findings of Zillmann and Bryant (1982). 1987. Mould. While focusing on methodological issues. and unwarranted undertone that the researchers had been selective in the way they reported their findings because of a political agenda (Christensen.CAN WE THE TRUST RESEARCH? 25 1 Do these criticisms totally invalidate experimental research? Can experiments havereal value even thoughthey tend tobe conducted underartificial conditions? Some defenders of the method have argued that they can (Berkowitz 6r Donnerstein. then an experimental methodology is more appropriate. 80 male and 80 female undergraduates from large eastern unia versity wererandomly assigned to four conditions.cunnilingus. 1983). and the 'massive exposure' group saw only erotic films (a total of 4 hours and 48 minutes of heterosexualactivities. Should a researcher wish to make broad claims about the status. In three these. The fact is that experimental researchhas placed great emphasis the active on cognitive nature of participants and the varying interpretations they may place on situations and experiences. 1988). Methodological Critiques of Violent Pornography Work. mainly fellatio.coition. AccordingtoBerkowitzandDonnerstein(1982). but they may be shown to have wider applicability with subsequent tests (Bass & Firestone. Reviews of large numbers of laboratory experiments and field studies have concluded that theremay be little difference of any social significance between the two types of study in the externalvalidity of their findings (Dipboye 6r Flanagan. However. for a second group half of the films were erotic andhalf nonerotic. T h e work of Donnerstein.theissue of generalisablity needs to be put into perspective.For one group all the films seen were nonerotic. Itis not the case. 1975).In this study. 1982). as many of its critics would claim. Bryant. 1980). someof these critiques also conveyed a more serious. during which they saw films. 1979). the main interest and is the if aim testing of a specific causal hypothesis. Linz.of relationships between variables in the wider population. that the experimental method treats participantsas if they were unthinking automatons. Itis important to recognise that nonrepresentativeness of sampling does not mean that the results are nongeneralizable. particiof pants took part in experimental sessions of about 1 hour each. Malamuth.andanal .

any conversations experimental participants in case might have this held about thefilms they saw in the study merely reflected what onewould expect under more natural viewing conditions. one might expect real individuals to talk to others about explicitly sexual films they have seen. The purpose of the research was elaborated fully. Thus. Mould (1988) wrote a painstakingly detailed critique of experimental studies by Malamuth and Check(1980a) and Donnerstein and Berkowitz (1981). Zillmann and Bryant felt it was unlikely from the conditions the experof iment that any participants could have second-guessed what questions would be asked of them afterwards. itseems entirely reasonable to argue that there was no reason to believe that exposure to pornographic films per se would have led viewers to expect questions about recommended sentences for rapists and other offenders. Malamuth and Check‘s workattempted to demonstrate that sexually explicit rape depictions portraying the victim experiencing sexual arousal have an antisocial effect by changing the perception an actual of .252 CHAPTER 1 1 intercourse). Gross (1983) was unconvinced by the findings. Participants may also have talked to each other about the films and experiment outside the experimental sessions. The dependent variables in the study were derived from responses to questionnaires administered several weeks after the exposure treatment. The debriefing procedure was rigorous. including thewidely reported question what prison sentence the of participants would recommend for a convictedrapist. Participants were fully informed about the study immediately afterwards. Zillmann and Bryant argued that in life situations. as young people. particularly if. The criticism that participants sex may have talked to each otheroutside the experiment and that this may have contaminated the results was also dismissed. it is difficult to see how this phenomenon could invalidate theresults. Once again. Indeed. Participants also were apprised of likely effects of exposure to eroticmaterials. though. He felt that experimental participants could have guessed what the study was about andobliged the experimenters by giving them the results they wanted to obtain. He also raised ethical concerns about attempts to manipulateparticipants’ attitudes and questioned whether adequate debriefing sessions had been run to ensure that any attitude. The results indicated that the ‘massive exposure’ participants recommended lighter sentences than did subjects in the ‘mixed’ and ‘nonerotic’film groups and in the control group that saw no films at all. or belief. they often watched such films in the company of others anyway. Zillmann and Bryant (1983) responded. They confirmed that an ethical committee had been consulted in advance anddeliberated about their had study. It was noted that noneof the erotic activities entailed coercion or the deliberateinfliction or reception of pain. behavioral disposition changes could be undone.

Donnerstein and Berkowitz made a numberof predictions: (a) anonaggressive erotic movie would elicit a stronger attack on the male target than on the female target. The research question in this case was: Are those men high in rape proclivity more like rapists than those low in rape proclivity? Mould suggested that an alternative questionmight be better: Are those high inrape proclivity more like rapists than they are like those low in rape proclivity? Mould argued that no research up to that point had demonstrated that menhigh in rape proclivity held attitudes towards women as callous as those of actual rapists. film and the violent erotic film with a positive ending and female target would . Arousal among participants themutually desired in sexual intercourse condition was not significantly different from those in the rape depiction group. victim abhorring rape. the main experimentaleffect from the rape abhorrence tapewas suppression of participants’ subsequent arousal rather than the rape arousal facilitating it. In thesame study. mutually consenting sex). Mould went on to challenge experiments reported by Donnerstein and Berkowitz (1981).CAN WE TRUST THE RESEARCH? 253 rape experience to one in which the victim is seen as being minimally damaged. however. He claimed they shared about 9% this variance only-a weak association. (Experimental participants heard audio depicting three types of tapes scene: victim becoming aroused through rape. Malamuth and Check compared the reactions of men high and low in rape proclivity as measured by a technique developed by Abel et al. showed no significant differences between rape arousal and rape abhorrence conditions on this measure. but was disputed by Mould. Penile tumescencemeasureswere linked to self-reported arousal. A significant correlation was reported by Malamuth and Check (1980a). Mean levels of arousal within each experimental group the rape-crifor terion tape were substantially higher than arousal to the pre-exposure tapes. even though high proclivity male attitudes towards women were generally more callous than those of lowrape proclivity men. (1977). Post hoc analyses. (b) a violent erotic film with a positive ending and a female target would elicit more aggression than the nonviolent erotic with a female target. The latterinvestigated whether the behavior exhibited by the women characters in erotic differentially affects subsequent agfilms gression against male or female targets by angered male participants and what sorts of differential effects could beelicited by varying anger as well as film content in subjects’ aggression against female targets. as well as helping maintain therape myth that women secretly desire to be raped. According to Mould. The proportions of men who would rape if placed in the same circunlstances as the perpetrator in the tape were greater after exposure to the rape rape arousal tape as compared to exposure to therape abhorrence story or the mutually desired story.

it would be expected that in the positive ending. A second experiment showed that violent erotica in which the woman enjoys being rapedwould produce more pronounced reactions against a female target. constituting the a failure at convergent validation. he pointed to findings from Mann et (1974) that althoughmarried couples were more al. There were significant effects for filmand an interaction between gender of target and film type. However. The first hypothesis was validated. Of these. (c) with female targets. tive outcome would lowertheir inhibitions against attacking women. they would evidence greater aggression than in either the erotic or neutral conditions with a of male target. this did not facilitate greater amounts of sexual behavior more generally. It was also suggested that exposure to suchbehavior couldelicit similar behavior among participants.(b) the posi. Theincrease in aggression in the violent erotic positive outcome condition was attributed to participants believing that somehow behaving aggressively towards female targets would have a payoff. and(c) the female target’s sex-linked association with the victim of the assault on the screen would facilitate attacks on her’ (p. little clarity asto thefactors producing the experimental effects. the erotic conditiondid not facilitate aggression against the male target (or female target) compared the neutral condition. Whether this difference is significantor not is not reported. and thereare no significant effects for rewarding behavior of the participants. film.they were disposed predisposed toward agor gression. 7 12).254 CHAPTER 1 1 draw moreaggression than the same film condition with a male target. the violent erotic with the negative ending and the film violent erotic film with the negative ending and a female target elicit would more aggression than the same film with a maletarget.In doing so. The researchers whose work Mould challenged mounted a vociferous defence. Furthermore. inasmuch the experias mental participants were angry. Couples shifted their sex behavior to those occasions when they watched the erotica. Donnerstein and Berkowitz’s rationale for predicting higher aggression against the female target in the positive-ending violent condition than either the female target in the erotic condition or a male target in the positive-ending aggressive condition was that ‘(a) the aggressive content of the sex film would evokestrong aggressive reactions from the angry viewers. Malamuth (1988~) responded by pointing out many inaccuracies in Mould’s arguments his representation of earlier research. This reaction would be especially strong among angered males in the audience. the last two are sex specific. violent condition with amale target. The authors attributed this to finding to unusually high shock levels in the neutral male target group. therefore. likely to have after watching erotic sex movies. Consequently. There is. Mould disputed this as well. Mould disputed this explanation on the grounds that other studies had found similar shock levels under similar conditions.whereas the first is sex neutral. The inhibiand .

Mould regarded these as the two mostimportant items reflecting a callous attitude. Indeed. The lack of difference between the erotic and neutral conditions was explained by high aggression levels among participants in the neutral condition. Mould minimised fact that in the the Malamuth and Check (1980a) study. Male participants exposed to violent pornography acted more aggressively towards a femaletarget than a male target. Coleman. several items showed correlations between likelihood of rape ratings and reactions to the rape and the rapist. and did so more vigorously than males shown an erotic or neutral film. This appears to be based on the presumption that convicted rapists would score below the midpoint. Mould attempted argue that likelihood of rape to ratings had not been shown to relate to sexual arousal to aggression. They stated that noevidence existed to support any such claim. Feild. 1978). significant relationships were found with penile tumescence. Donnerstein and Linz (1988) challenged the suggestion that they designed their research to fit with certain public policy requirements. Studies with convicted rapists had not shown this to be true (Burt. 1986). note that in other studies by the same authors (Malamuth &Check. the rape-related attitudes those of high in likelihood of rape should be belowthe midpoint. The reinterpretation by Mould of the rape proclivity data was dismissed as unhelpful. This reason not readily accepted by Mould. Contrary toMould’s claim. and demand characteristics. there was no point at which significant differences were reported between variables that did not actually exhibit such differences. Malamuth pointed out that convicted rapists often exhibited wide variance in respondingon many measuresand in some instances show profiles similar to those on nonrapists (Feild. But why was this the case? Rather questionable arguments were then made that constructvalidity would require that. of They reiterated the findings of Donnerstein and Berkowitz (1981) and roundly rejected Mould’s critique. He argued that the that significant corfact relations were not found with perceptions of the victim’s pain and trauma seriously weakensthe findings. 1983) and in those of other investigators (Murphy. 1980. but his attempt to was discredit it by averaging shock intensity scores across both sexes was dismissed . was consistent with experimental hypotheses. they had warned policymakers to beware of the shortcomings of experimental research in terms sampling. Although their work had been involved political debates.CAN WE TRUST RESEARCH? THE 255 tion of sexual arousal by rape abhorrence. Whereas Mould argued that one should examine whether those high in rape likelihood are more like rapists than those low in rape likelihood. external validity. 1978). Linz and Donnerstein reported in that they had openly challenged some the interpretationsplaced by poliof ticians on their own work and similar work by others. He emphasised that the correlations with penile tumescence did not reach statistical significance in the Malamuth and Check (1980a) He failed to study. on an absolute scale. & Haynes. for instance.

Zillmann and Bryant (1987) responded to these criticisms by arguing that their researchhas been misrepresentedalong with thatof Linz and his colleagues. there was confusion because the findings on the effects of nonviolent pornography had been omitted from subsequent publications (e. could produce subsequent aggressive responding. 1984). In defending their own position. Christensen challenged the claim that pornography in general had been shown to cause increased callousness towards women. Indeed.. Christensen (1987) argued that aclaim made by Zillmann and Bryant (1986) that pornography has been shown to cause callousness toward womenis flatly false (p. also indicated an inconsisthey tency in the reporting of their findings by the Linz-Donnerstein group. but had failed to notice that in the literature. It was misleading because shock intensity scores against female targets were low in the neural condition. Donnerstein. study involved portrayals Linz of violent sexual acts. This pointcenbeen tered on adebate that hadraged during the 1980s about whether violence in media sexual displays was necessary to facilitate subsequent aggressive responding among male viewers. Mould not like the use of did cognitive processing to explain the results. According to Christensen. He further accused the authors of presenting misleading evidence toback up this claim. Linz. whereas Zillmann and Bryant’s study used nonviolent sexual stimuli. & Penrod.g. there no unequivocal evidence was from these studies that sexual material alone. Linz. Donnerstein. In another scathing attack on pornography research. Linz and Donnerstein (1988) joined this particular dispute by offering further clarification on some of the points discussed about their research. However. 1984) by Zillmann and Bryant (1986). the et the absenceof any violence. violent X-rated films. 186). Exposure to all those materials produced reduced sympathy for rape victims compared to a control group. in which from experimental conditions involving violent data pornography when nonviolent pornography had used. Further. They indicated that results from two different experimentsof theirs pro- . Thus. & Penrod. media theory during1980s had movedon to embrace the this form of explanation. and nonviolent X-rated films wereparallel. He further hinted that thereason for these authors making such aclaim may have been politically motivated. findings in questionwere the not found in Linz’s (1985) doctoral dissertation either. Zillnlann and Bryant (1987) noted that Check (1984) reported that men’s self-acknowledged proclivity to commit rape increased after consumption of nonviolent pornography just as significantly as after consumption of violent pornography. Donnerstein and Linz were also drawn into thedispute with Christensenas a consequenceof a reference to their work (Le.256 CHAPTER 1 1 as questionable.. A summary of Linz’s results by Donnerstein (1984) showed in no uncertain terms that the effects of R-rated slasher films.

nor the any change in verdict or defendant sentencefollowing prolonged exposure to degrading pornography. The Check study was not unique inusing newspapers ad- . those exposed to the dehumanising materials were more likely report that they might commit rape if assured that to a no onewould know and that they would not be punished. belief in conservative sex roles. In onestudy. Therewas no assurance that these varying time periods varied randomly across participants. Further. may resulted in participants judging a victim later portrayed in a videotaped re-enactment of a rape trial as less physicallyand emotionally injured as compared with control participants. These researchers exhibited less agreement about the interpretation results froma study by Check (1984). Second. These criticisms were not totally convincing. participants were recruited through newspaper advertisements and hence represented a self-selected sample. no sign of participants’ willingness to excuse the defendant in rape trial. though (Zillmann & Bryant. A second experiment found that participants’ empathy or sympathy were affected by exposure to slasher films that combined sex and violence. but not by prolonged exposure to pornographic films (with no violence). X-rated violent pornography. They also failedto find significant effects on scales designed to measure endorsement of force in sexual relations. given the tendency of such films to depict women as sexuallyinsatiable and the willing receptacles for any male sexual urge. however. Bryant and Zillmann were broad agreement in with Linz and Donnerstein. and the tendency to view women as sexual objects. The latter’s of study assigned student and nonstudent participants to three conditions in which they watched either nonviolent dehumanising pornography. First. Compared to control participants. O n this issue. Third. and X-rated pornography was not that overtly violent. participants were told that their evaluations of pornography would be used by their government (in Canada) so that theirresponses may have beeninfluenced by social desirability factors. There was no indication that participants in the exany of perimental conditionsfelt less sympathy for the rape victim.CAN WE TRUST RESEARCH? THE 257 duced varying results. but have been demeaning to women. Linz and Donnerstein (1988) identified three problems with this study. there was no evidence for the assignment of greater accountability to the rape victim. Exposure to nonviolent pornography could hypothetically be expected to produce a change in men’s perceptions of women on certain dimensions. or nothing. Results showed that exposure to pornography affected participants’ later self-reports aboutcertain antisocial behaviors. ideas may turn Such in create a psychological mindset aboutwomen more accepting of the use of force in sexual relations. nonviolent erotica. prolonged exposureto R-ratedslasher films. thetime periods during which participants viewed the stimulus materials and the interval between last film viewing the session and completionof postviewing tests varied across participants. 1988~).

Hence.g. There is no inherentinconsistency in failing to find an effect on laboratory-based aggression effects (e. whereas in others the attribution of responsibility was far less clear. Christensen highlighted a numberof specific results that derived from experimentalresearch on pornography for which more than one interpretation in his view.258 CHAPTER 1 1 vertisements to obtain participants (see Malamuth & Ceniti. Zillmann and Bryant ( 1 9 8 8 ~argued for clarification regarding depend) ent variables in pornography experiments. . it was unambiguous as to theresponsibility of the perpetrator. Although the latter based their conclusions on scientific research evidence. Christensen focused in particular on the conclusions reached by Donnerstein. Zillmann & Bryant.g. available. this could clearly have an important mediatinginfluence on male viewers’ judgments about the defendant andplaintiff. The sexual cynicism supposedly cultivated by exposure to pornography was operationally defined in terms of verbal measures of attitudes and perceptions concerning rape and rapists and the severity with whichsexual offences against women should be penalised. believing that on this occasion such views would carry more weight. and Penrod (1987). Equally. Linz. Where doubtsexisted as to whether. Malamuth & Ceniti. Young men exposed to pornography characterised by purportedly degrading depictions of women were found to recommend more lenient sentences for rapists. as compared to those recommended by similar young men not exposed to pornography (e. The knowledge that theresults would be reported to government have enmay couraged some participants be extra critical of the pornographic material to if they personally found such material offensive. and theircolleagues. theopinions of these participants could have balanced out in the end.. however. Another challenge to theveracity of research findings on theeffects of pornography was launched by Christensen (1990). arape had been committed. Christensen (1990) argued that therewere subtle biases in their interpretationsof the scientific evidence. re-enactments. be banned. in consequence. Feminists had argued that pornography was degrading and therefore offensive to women. it should. Linz. male viewers’ reactions may depend upon intrinsic factors within the re-enactment videotape In some of the rape itself.. In making his case. 1986). 1986) and changes inattitudes towards rape. He argued that value judgmentshad entered the debate about pornography and should not be allowed to cloud objectivity in reaching conclusions about whether pornographyis socially harmful or not.O n this occasion hefocused moreon thework of Donnerstein. usually was. for example. others who enjoyed pornography may have been inclined to offer more liberal views to argue against the introductionof strict censorship. Even inthe contextof rape myth effects. largely derived through experimental research. It is clear that various dependent measures have been to show that exposure to pornography can change used male attitudes or behavior.

if sexual anxieties are reduced. as not such a tragedy after all” (Christensen. A predexisting aversion to the idea of sexually liberated women lies at the root the opinions peasured in these experiof ments. In addition.. contingent upon regular diet of pornography. The difference of opinion among young men exposed or not exposed to pornography may be explained by rape being perceived as more comparableto other crimes.CAN WE TRUST RESEARCH? THE 259 1982). men and womenare more usually portrayed as sexual equals-both being likely to instigate sex and bothenjoying the experience.Christensen argued that such a might be explained other than result simply as a manifestation of a pornography effect on inale attitudes about the seriousness of rape. the amountcompassion felt for a victim would of be linked to thedegree of suffering they apparently experienced.. that the balance of power between males and females in pornographic films is inequitably distributed. Christensen (1990) also disputed the way a decrease in respect for women. Instead. For thing. Christensen (1990) went on to question the implicit in so much of view. that compassion for their victim is warranted. Rather. rather than by some loss of compassion for women. The impact that pornography may have on perceptions of female sexuality must be examined in the wider context of existing social and moral values that establish what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ conduct. was explained. 1990. [may come to be seen] . the victim may beregarded as having suffered less. this would not necessarily mean the same a loss of compassion as for serious crimes. thesexual component of a rape crime may come to have less significance for individuals’ judgments about the crime: “. because that is the way they are often shown in pornographic films. the literature. the degree of harm suffered by a rape victim may also viewed be differently. even if anxieties about sex are desensitised through exposure to pornographic portrayals. Christensen challenged the reasoning that observing women engaged readily in a variety of sex acts with a multitude of partners would lead viewers to believe that such women might .. Hostility towards uninhibited female sexuality is a pre-set value that encourages contempt towards women who enjoy an active and open sex life. He questioned the view that female sexual subordination is the norm in pornographic materials. 354). One should therefore not rush to conclude that pornography is a primary cause of such changedbeliefs or opinions. Both sexes are depicted as equally sexually uninhibited.. the metaphysical loss of “virtue” . p. The a explanation offered here rested on the assumption that regular consumers of pornography come to regard women as naturally highly sexed and easy conquests. one However.. and that offenders should be severely punished. Christensen argued that the of the opinions about female root sexuality should feature more prominently in any explanation supposed porof nography effects here. Instead. The solution to this problem would be education whereby individuals are taught that rape remains aserious offence..

1984). comparisons are usually made between experimental and control groups. a loss of respect for women should be equated with not increased perceptions of women as sexuallydisinhibited (such as the way they are often shown in pornographic films). who have respectively been exposed or not exposed to pornographic materials. In this context. that it was a moot pointas to whether the sentence typically awarded by the experimental group (usually between 5 and 6 years) can be regardedas trivial or lenient. what ought ought is not tobe felt or done’ (p. Onceagain.260 CHAPTER 1 1 not mind beingraped. Perhaps comparisons should be made of the perceived seriousness of rape with other crimes. The participants had been found to consume pornography fairly regularly anyway. 1985). Weaver (1987) reported thatafter viewing sexually explicit materials. for rapists or offenders found guilty of non-sexual crimes? . Is there a pre-exposure to post-exposure shift in the sentencing recommended. According to Christensen. therefore.. the measure of the recommended length of prison sentence for a convicted rapist was discussed. Perceptual changes on relevantmeasures did not occur in the same directionor to the same extent for different categories of women in Weaver’s studies (differentiated in termsof their perceivedassertiveness or promiscuity). Among those who did.beliefs about things like other people’s attitudes and or behavior are taken as claims about what good or bad. with experimental of treatmentparticipantssuggestingsentences of shorter duration. consensual behavior with rape. Christensen argued that not all Weaver’s measures producedresults in the same direction. Christensen argued. Hence. for example.scientists have an obligation to speak out on moral issues.Accordingto Christensen (1990) ‘. 361).however. despitebeing less than the sentence typically awarded by controls ( l o + years). However. could the limited exposure offered further by the experimentreally be expected to make much difference to theirbeliefs? Christensen noted that only the highest consumers of pornography showed an increase on the likelihood-to-rape scale. He argued that we should not lump together various types of pleasurable. A ‘pornographic effect’ is operationally defined as the significance of the difference in recommended sentences the two groups.. Findings from pornography research were further criticised for mixing up descriptiveandevaluativemeasures (see Linz.The experimental evidence underlying this finding was questioned. Another finding on which Christensen focused the increased likeliwas hood that men exposed to pornographic materials would commit coercive sexual acts if they thought they would not get caught (Check. But they must do so in a responsible fashion and be sure of their facts before doing so. his students perceived women in general to be a bit more sexually permissive.

1986). 1989. 1987b.CAN WE THE RESEARCH? TRUST 26 1 Concepfuul Limifafionsin Pornogruphy Research. . 1989. 1974). For example. 1989. It must emphasised. attitudes. They argued. its effects can gain increasing power (Check &Malamuth. 1986. violence. among such portrayals can be found a wide range different types of sexual conduct. There are problems of definition relating to different types of pornographic portrayal. however. of In some cases. Mould. and the ‘unmanly’ofact harming women-that it may prove to be a particularly weak influence on behavior (Fisher & Barak. Malamuth. & Phares. 1987a. relax their inhibitions about doingso.1991) criticised this conceptualisation as an implicit ‘monkeysee. and Briere (1986) theorised that exposure to violent pornography may teach menhow to perform antiwoman acts. The notion that brief andtransitoryexposuretoviolentpornographycanmovemento antiwoman thoughts. 1991. 1989. and that are at acts profound variance with the remainder of their learning history is regarded as highlyoversimplified and na’ive (Fisher & Barak. Equally. in contrast. defined by the form of the behavior. has beenargued that violent It pornography may have particularly strong effects because it reinforces antiwoman values that are pervasive in our society (Check 6r Malamuth. scenes of violent rape may indeed be justifiably regarded as debasing to women. Chance. Although references are made in theresearch and by social commentators to depictions that are classified as debasing or demeaning to women.that violent pornography so obvibe ously offends so many fundamental social values-concerning decency. that the human observer of violent pornographyis a cognitively active person who interprets incoming stimuli and who has lifetime of learning experiences concerning a acts that are socially permitted andthose that aresocially proscribed (Rotter. 1991). 1988). But can the same be said of scenes in which women are shown as willing and enthusiastic participants in sex driven by purely hedonistic motives?There is clearly a need to derive a more comprehensive taxonomy of sex scenes. 1977. Skinner. Fisher & Barak. the nature of the participants and their motives and relationships with one another. as exposure to violentpornography accumulates across time. 1986). 199 1). Certainly. The conceptual basis for expecting effects of violent pornography on men’s attitudes and behaviors towards women has itself been questioned (Brannigan & Goldenberg. it must be recognised that reinforcement for self-restraint and behaving decently can also accumulate across time and may do so with greater strength and consistency than is true for vicarious or actual performanceof sexually violent acts (Fisher & Barak. and condition them to experience sexual arousal in relation to such acts. 1953. monkey do’ theory of media effects and pointed out that human behavior is not thesimple equivalent of all the models that human beings may have observed. Fisher and Barak (1989. Check. 1991).

Measures of postexposure sexual fantasy included direct and indirect assessments. they would seem to be vulnerable to effects of such adiversity of media-ranging from violent pornography to evening news broadcasts-that it would be impossible to keep such individuals from contact with harmful media messages. In an initial experiment. 1988. and how much sheappeared to enjoy the activity. 1981). 1987. Fisher and Grenierargued that transient exposure to violent pornography is unlikely to produce changes in a direction that is at profound variance with important and well-learned values to thecontrary. which assessed self-rated sexual arousal on a five-pointscale. it must be emphasised researchers have generally that not found that exposure to violent pornography is a correlateof sexual aggression againstwomeninnaturalsettings (Becker 6r Stein. Fisher and Grenier (1994) tested the unreliability of effects of violent pornography by exposing men to violent pornographic stimuli of the type and duration often employed in this research area (e. such as those who have pre-existing tendencies toaggress against women or those who possess fewinternal restraints against antisocial behavior (Check & Guloien.. Although such individuals certainly exist. 1989. however.Measuresof .which assessed self-rated physical excitement ona five-point scale. Respondents were asked to take a few moments and write down an arousing sexual fantasy. it has beenproposed that violent pornography may have especially strong effects on some individuals. They used a 9-minutesexually explicit violent film clip as master tape. Goldstein.262 CHAPTER 1 1 Finally. Th' was IS donetocreateconditionsthat shouldproduceantiwomanthoughts. and antiwoman if violent pornography indeed acts. or (c) a nonviolent male-female sexual interaction. 1988). Malamuth. and methodological checks were employed to ensure that stimuli had the the desired impact and were perceived as intended. Berkowitz.g. reliably produces sucheffects. then produced different versions of this in which there was (a) a violent male-female sexual interaction that ended with an ostensible positive outcome for the female. Effects of these stimuli were then assessed on dependent measures of fantasies and attitudestoward women. and theSelf-Report of Sexual-Physiological Reactions (Fisher & Byrne. including ratings of how well the woman participantwas perceived as being. 1978a). Langevin et al. Measures of sexual arousal to the experimental stimuli included the Sexual Arousal Self-Report Grid (Fisher & Byrne. 1991. (b) an violent sexual interaction with a negative outcome for the female. 198 1. Empirically. & Linz.. The film clip itself was rated in each on 13 five-point Likert type scales. male participants exposed to violent porwere nography or to comparison stimuli. They also answeredquestionstoaThematicApperceptionTest. antiwoman attitudes. 1978b). 1986). Check & Malamuth. 1973.Donnerstein. Donnerstein & Berkowitz. Marshall.

the Women as Managers Scale. 1987) and men’s physical aggressionagainst women in a laboratory (Donnerstein & Berkowitz. After male participants were angered by the female confederate. men’s acceptance of rape myths (Donnerstein et al. This design followed that of Donnerstein and Berkowitz (198 1). exposed to violent pornography. because nonaggressive response options were available. 1981) inwhich. including acceptance of rape myths and acceptance inof terpersonal violence against women. However. In a second experiment. Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence Scale. 1981).. thesedifferent stimuli produced no effects on attitudestowards womenor rape. The violent pornographic stimuli was similarin content and duration to stimuli that inprevious research appeared to increase men’s fantasies about raping awoman(Malamuth. similar level exposure to A such material in the Fisher and Grenier study produced no such effects on any of the measures of attitudes towards women.CAN WE TRUST RESEARCH? THE 263 postexposure attitudes towards women included the Attitudes Towards Women Scale.positive outcome pornography. Although Malamuth (198 1) reported that exposure to 4 minutes and 20 seconds of violent pornography was sufficient to cause nearly 36% of his male subjects to fantasize about rape. experimental procedures diverged from the usual paradigm in that the men were provided withnonaggressive as well as aggressive options for responding to thewoman who had provoked them.It was hypothesised that exposure to violent pornography would not be a reliable cause of laboratory aggression against a female target when nonaggressive response options were available to men in the experimental situation. The stimuli were significantly sexually arousing and they were perceived as differentially coercive in the manner intended. not a single man in the Fisher and Grenier experiment created such a fantasy following exposure to similar stimulus materials. they viewed a violent pornographic stimulus that portrayed a woman who has been sexually assaulted but who eventually appears to be aroused by the assault. and exposed to violent. male participants were provoked by a woman..g. they chose to engage in little arguably no laboratory aggression against and their female provoker whennonaggressive response options wereopen to them. Donnerstein and Berkowitz (1981) found that exposure to roughly 4 minutes of violent pornography was sufficient to cause men to increase their endorsement of rape myths or to engage in physically aggressive behavior against a woman. and Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. At this point.1981). 100% of men who not had seenviolent pornography aggressed against a female experimental con- .and given an opportunity to aggress against the woman or toengage innonaggressive responses to her. Donnerstein & Berkowitz. Theseresults can be compared to findings from standardlaboratory research in this area (e. This study found that evenwhen men are provoked verbally and physically by a woman.



federate. InFisher and Grenier’s study, just two participants opted to send electric shock back to the female who had provoked them. Bothof earlier these individuals had expressed considerable interest in using the electric shock machine when they were first introduced to it and before they were shown the violent stimulus.

This chapter examined the questionof how much trust can be placed in research on media sex. The research on this subject can be divided into studies of the representationof media sex, public opinion about media sex, and the impact media sex. The representation of sex in the of media has been investigated through content analysis. As with mostresearch of this type, the contentdefinitionsand categories areproduced by researchers. The meaningfulness of content analysis data, however, needs be defined in reto lation to audience response. The reasons for conducting content analysis research go beyond the objective of producing adescription of the way the media depictthings. It is important toknow whether the media emphasise themes or images that arelikely to produce a specified audience response. This point has been recognised in relation to long studies of media violence (e.g., Gunter, 1985; Wilson et al., 1996). It applies equally to the study of media sex. Research into public opinion about media can indicate the status sex of public feeling about sexual themes as entertainment at particular points in time. Opinions as such are linked to public values and mores, but arelikely to shift over time. Opinion profiles concerning media (as with media sex violence) may vary at one point in time with the type of questioning that is used. Questions that media consumers indicate their ask to views about media sex with minimal prompting may lead to an apparently lower level of concern than questions that take the form of sweeping generalisations about themedia. Furthermore, although individuals may take personal offence at certain kinds of sexual depiction in the media, may not necesthey sarily also demand a total ban on that offensive material. Most of the methodological debate about media research has focused sex on research into media effects. Experimentalmethodologies has been closely scrutinised and the validity of their findings have been challenged for lacking external validity and leading participants to respond narrowly in defined ways. The debate about experimental research into pornography has, at times, been unnecessarily vitriolic. Scholarly debate should be conducted in a civilised manner andfocus on objective, impersonal analysis of the scientific evidence. Veiled and unfounded accusations of researchers being drivenby political agendas are irrelevantand unhelpful.




Defenders of laboratory experiments have pointed out that some experimental findings have been externally validated through survey research. Furthermore, laboratory behaviordoes not take on the sameform as real-life behavior for sound ethical reasons. Even an artificial aggressive response within a laboratory setting may indicate an intention to commit harm.Despitetheseclaims,moreproblematicevidencefor experimentalists has derived from a modified form of the classic design that offers participants an expanded choiceof behavioral responding beyond a specific aggressive response. In this situation, even previously antagonised participants may be much more likely to choose a nonaggressive response option overan aggressive one, evenif the targetperson hadpreviously annoyed them. Evidence for physiologicalarousal to sexual materials in a laboratory setting may come closer to real-life responding, because of the autonomic nature of that type of response. Furthermore, attitudinal shifts following a controlled diet media sex may also of represent a response, albeit a temreal porary one. Shifts in behavioral response tendencies, however, may be much more difficult to demonstrate through experimental research conducted underhighly artificial conditions. In previous research on violent pornography and antiwoman aggression (e.g., Donnerstein & Berkowitz, 1981) men were provoked by a woman,exposed to violent pornography or to comparison stimuli, and thentold by the experimenter to send electric shock to woman, ostensibly to evaluate her the performance. Men were not permitted to make nonaggressive responses to the woman who had provoked them. Generally, men who had been provoked by a woman and who had seen violent, positive outcome pornography sent the highest level of electric shock to her (Donnerstein Berkowitz, 1981). & Fisher and Grenier(1994) argued that these results mayhave been shaped by the experimental constraints placed on theparticipants. In the event exof perimental participants being offered nonaggressive response options as well as aggressiveones, there is a strong tendency to choose the former over the latter, even among those individuals who earlier have been made angry. While one might be persuaded by the argument that even artificial laboratory measures of overt aggression may indicate real underlying hostility,the suggestion that aggressive responding in lab context may not be the response the of choice places a much more significant question mark overthe veracity of laboratory-based research evidence. Taking a wider viewof the scientific research on theimpact of exposure to the most explicit forms of media sex, some reviewers have identified limitations thatembrace not so much specific methodological techniques,but the failure to consider the circumstances under which serious real life effects are likely to occur (Lyons & Larsen, 1990; Showers, 1994). Although some of the empirical research has indicated thatostensibly normal males



may experience attitude shifts following exposure to pornography, there are certain subgroups of the population who may be especially vulnerable to such effects. Teenagers and sexually deviant personality types may, for varying reasons, utilise pornography inthe service of specific needs and gratifications. Furthermore, many types of media sex may be enjoyed as harmless fun, but certain categories of hard-core pornographydisplay highly disturbing scenes and may be most likely to produce adverse side effects. In addition, the effects of highly explicit media sex may build up gradually over a long period of time. Regular exposure to pornography in thelong term and use of it as a sexual stimulant may cultivate strongly conditioned deviant sexual attitudes and practices. For various ethical and practical reasons, these are difficult phenomena to investigate. Nevertheless, these are arthe eas where the most severe and socially unwelcome effects’of exposureto media sex are likely to be found.

How Effective Are Controls Over Media Sex?

This book has addressed a numberof important questions regarding the representation of sexin media such as films,television, and video. These ubiquitous audiovisual media provide major sources of entertainment for millions of people. The growth of electronic communications and information technologies in thepast 10 years has brought vastly increased choice for mediaconsumers and greater controloverwhatandwhentoconsume. Indeed, although such developments regarded as largely welcome most people, are by there are concerns about the handing over of control to the marketplace. These concerns become especially acute when attention turns to the provision of material of a salacious nature. With the establishment of multichannel television environments in which content is beamed directly to homes from sources beyond a country's own national boundaries and with the rapidly growing popularity the Internet of through which consumers access macan terial from international sources, there are increased opportunities for reaching individuals with material that would once have been banned at least or centrally controlled in terms of its nature and distribution. These communications technology developments have given rise to specific concern about the distribution of erotic or pornographic material. Compounded with this concern is the criticism mainstream movies and of television for joining in a trend towards the depiction of increasingly graphic and realistic erotic portrayals. As the boundaries what is apparof ently deemed by the media industries to be tasteful and appropriate for



mass consumption are pushed back further, some observers have questioned the freedom that given to producers of such material (Dunkley, is 2000). Much of this critical argument stems not from any assessment of public opinion, but from the conclusion that ample scientific evidence now exists to demonstrate thatsalacious, pornographic materials are not just offensive but harmful. The case of harm being caused pornography by or, indeed, by mainstream media portrayals of sexual behavior and the kinds of relationships associated with that behavior, has experienced a mixed reception, however. The review of research evidence providedby this book has indicated that, whereas some studies appear to offer convincing evidence of harmful effects caused by exposure to pornography, especially violent pornography,other studies cast doubt on the veracity of this relationship. The question of whether more controls are needed over the availability and accessibility of sex in the media doesnot have a simple answer. Consideration mustbe given to public opinion and theveracity of research evidence concerned with the harms that sexual depictions in the media might have. The need for regulation, control, and censorship must be balanced against the entitlementof most people to choose for themselves the kinds of entertainment to which they wish to be exposed. Consideration must then be given to the different forms of sexual representation in the media and the different channels of communication through which such material can be accessed. There is an important distinction to be made, for example, between a medium, such as open broadcast television, to which everyonehas free access, and encrypted televisionservices,videos obtained fromspecialised stores, and films shown in art house theaters. In each case, different standards may need to operate. Even with productions that are put on restricted release and explicitly labelledas suitable for certain markets only, it would be unwise to allow a free-for-all; certain legal standards must be observed, and clinical evidence regarding the possible role of extreme forms of sexual representation in the genesis of psychological disorders that are associated with the commitment of sexual offences must be given appropriate weight. In examining the issue of control over in themedia, it is important to sex draw a broad distinction between the representation of sex in mainstream media such as television and the production of pornographic material for film be or video release on a more restricted basis. A further area that can included in this discussion is the potential value of educational and therapeutic applications of sexual material. Explicit sexual depictions have beenused to draw attention to adverse sexual practices and representations that may give rise to distorted or inaccurate perceptions of male and female sexuality, especially the latter. Such materials have also been used as visualsexual stimuli in the context of the treatment of sexual dysfunction, such as impotency (Robinson, Scheltema, Koznar, & Mantheir, 1996; Wagner, 1985).



Sex is part of life. would beunrealistic to expect the It mass mediato ignore it. Whether it causes offenceor harm to the public depends critically on how it is portrayed, and on how it is used by individuals. Blanket controls or restrictions may appease some political or religious lobbies,but may not be welcomed by many other people and will not necessarily result in a diminution of society’s ills. The types of controls applied and theway they are applied must be sensitive to the type of medium being considered. Controls also reflect a particular school of thought about the influence of sex in the media. Conservative, liberal, and feminist theories about the impact pornography, for of example, represent different perspectives that would endorse different forms of regulation and control over media depictions of sex.All three theoretical orientations, however, are based on values and assumptions that cannotalways . be empirically tested (Linz & Malamuth, 1993). Hence, any systemof control will ultimately be steered by prominent value systems about the kinds of sexual depictions that asociety regards as socially acceptable. Feminist groups have argued that it not the depiction sex per se that is of is offensive in the media, but rather the women are way objectified in sexual contexts. Controls of particular forms of media sex are called for, rather than a blanket banning erotic entertainment. Indeed, may not be unof it reasonable to state that such might be more accepting of explicit macritics terial in which sexual relations are depicted from a feminine perspective than of less explicit material in which women are shown as sex objects. Equally, concerns have been raised about dangers inherent in moves toany wards more restrictive regulation over the publication and distribution of sexually explicit media content. Any such censorship could be conceived of as the thin end a wedge that might eventually lead to adangerous degree of of constriction of freedom of speech. Commenting on this tension, Cowan ( 1992) observed:
Censorship and the growth of conservative forces within society have become increasingly salient. Liberal feminists, along with liberals in general, are concerned about the proliferation of censorship as the solution to media. Along with censorship of media that oppress women, conservative forces are attemptingto censor material that is only distasteful to some and material that presents nontraditional orientations. Anticontrol liberal feminists’ legitimate fears of the oppression inherent in the right wing antiwoman, anti-sexuality agenda in pornography control must be addressed’ (p. 176).


A distinction can be made between content in mainstream media such sex
as films on general theatre or video release, open broadcast television, and the more explicit materials available on video throughspecialist outlets or



on subscription cable and satellite television channels. This may be regarded by some asa distinction convenience. In of reality, some critics argue that sucha distinctionis artificial as increasingly explicit sexual images appear even in mainstream media (Dunkley, 2000). There are, course, plenof tiful examples of explicit sexual depictions in cinema films on general release and infilms, plays,and drama series made specificallyfor television. Moreover, sex channels canalso be found on encrypted satelliteand cable television services containing material that might reasonably be classified as soft pornography. Such channels are openly offered at premium rates within the channel portfolios provided by many cable or satellite television operators. In some of these cases, scenes of real sexual intercourse are depicted, although not in the same degree that one of detail would find in pornographic films and videos available only through video stores or mail sex order services. There are three important areasof media regulation and control tobe considered in this context. First, are currentregulations very clear and explicit? This question is, in part, concerned with whether thosebodies responsible for regulating films and television have detailedand practicable guidelines that are implemented to ensure that adequate and appropriate standards for a particular medium are maintained. is a further considThere eration of whether existing legislation is adequate. This has been a subject of some debate and enquiry in relation to controls over pornography. Second, is the public satisfied that enough beingdone to protect inis its terests through the nature and implementation adequate mediaregulaof tions? Public opinion about media was examined in chapter Whereas sex 3. that chapter concerned with the measurementthe boundaries of acwas of ceptability of media sex to ordinary people, in this chapter, evidencewill be considered on what views the public holds about way media sex is reguthe lated. Suchopinions have been measured respect of sex on mainstream in media and in pornography. Third, how much is done to help media consumers decide what to watch? Are comprehensible and effective systems in place not only to classify film and program content, but to ensure that the public knows what these classifications are and whatthey mean? Linked to this second question is a concern about whether content classifications really work in the way they are supposed to.

It is convenient to consider the regulation and control sex in mainstream of media and sex made available through more restricted circulation channels under separate subheadings. Well-established systems exist for the control

for games. Most developed nations have bodies with the responsibility for the vetting new filmsprior of to theirgeneral release and systems in place to control. and given responsibilityfor the development of a voluntary industry code of practice for the classificationof filmsin terms of ageappropriateness. media content ratings systems exist for films. Attempting to . broadcasters who operate within their national boundaries. Films wereinitially rated as G (suitable for general audiences). media producers mustbe free to publish whatever theywish. reflecting differthe ent political. even within the Europeanregion. provided that by doing so they do not break criminal law. but parental guidance) and then PG. or advertising.which comprised group of film industry profesa sionals. television broadcasts. varying degrees of national tolerance can be found. in most Western nations. To assist consumers. videos and broadcast television material. Whereas Muslim cultures have zero tolerance for nudity in films. Obtaining an MPAA rating is voluntary. andthe Internet. usually. The first rating system was devised by the motion pictureindustry in the 1960s. in terms of its suitability for various age groups. A PG-13 (recomto mend parental guidance under 13) category was added in 1984. is comprisedof industry professionals. (restricted under 16. restrictions are relatively light. Under this legislative system. by inciting members of the audience to commit offences. These ratings systems supply advance information to the public about media content in terms of what kinds material are featured more of or. television. Equally.Jack Valenti was appointed head the Motion Picture of Association of America (MPAA).CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE 271 of cinema films. Regulation of Mainstream Media In the United States. and X (no admission if under 17). for example.and the age X designation was changed to NC-17 in 1990. however. for the use of nudity inadvertising (ITC. The Classificationand Ratings Administration (CARA) was created in1968 to provide the public with advance information about the content of films. Having made that broad distinction. media consumers should be free to consume whatever they wish. The amount and type of regulation varies across different countries. religious and cultural value systems that exist around the world. 1995). The M rating was later changed to GP (general audiences. Appointees to theCARA board are nonindustry individuals who a use reputedly complex.In 1966. which reviews disputed decisions. however. in varying degrees. yet ambiguous set of guidelines in the rating process. M (suitable for mature audiences). The appeals panel. need parent or R guardian present). regulation of media content must tread fine line bea tween protecting the interests of media consumers and not breaking constitutional rights of freedom of speech.

legislation was introduced in 1996 encouragnew ing the television industry to create voluntary code for rating programs or a to have one imposed by the industry regulator (Federal Conmunications Commission). MPAA president Jack Valenti headed the commission that developed an initial age-based television program rating system. The television industry responded to these concernsagreeing to add by content-based descriptors to the age-based advisories. TV-G (suitable for all audiences). during the 1997-1998 television season. These additional descriptors included S (sexual content). While was a the analysis provided a quantitative count of sexual acts in programs. Salvosa. media experts. andTV-M (unsuitable for children under age 17). TV-PG (unsuitable for younger children). the National EducationAssociation. This technology installed within TV sets enables viewers to block out reception programs ratedas having unof suitable content for children. were each considered. Content proponents also noted that the age-based system could not allow fordevelopmental variability. along with violence and bad language. Stutman. individual characteristics such as developmental as opposed to chronological age. Lobbying by parent groups. Proponents of a content-based system believed that differences in backgrounds. 1996). TV-14 (suitable for children under age 14). Although sex. FV (fantasy violence for cartoons). These researchers content-analysed a randomly selected composite week of television programming on 11 channels.272 CHAPTER 12 bypass the system and release a film without a ratingunusual. and the American Psychological Association persisted in supporting a content-basedsystem for television ratings (Cantor. and family standards were not addressed inan age-based system. it . 1997). L (language). The ratings devised at this stage were: TV-G(suitab1e for all children). & Duran. The age-based system's categories were considered to be overly broad because they encompassed significantly different developmental levels. andD (dialogue with sexual innuendo. In the United States. a further sample of prime-time programming on the major broadcast networks compiled covering further 3 weeks. and child advocacy groups such as the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). In addition. as the memis bers of the National Association of Theatre Owners have agreed not to show films without a rating. V (violence). U s e o Television Ratings by Broadcasters f Kunkel and his colleagues (1998) explored how effectively the new TV rating system had been applied during its first year in operation. the television rating system was specifically designed to be used in conjunctionwith the V-chip. TV-Y7 (for children over age seven).

Such programs may contain explicit sexual activity and crude or indecent sexual language. The six ratings were: TV-Y.4 sexual scenes per show. TV-Y7. Proand grams rated as TV-G should be found by most parents to suitable for all be ages. and TV-14 shows. Finally. For example. TV-PG. This means that some sexual situations and sexually suggestive dialogue are likely to be featured. and TV-MA. Programs with a PG-14 rating are likely to contain some material that most parents would find unsuitable for children under 14years of age. the study found age-based ratingsare being suppliedin that a way that reasonably reflects the content of those programs. Almost three quarters (72%) of all TV-G shows had no sexual dialogue at all. In general. TV-PG. The rating system also provided forcontent descriptors (V for violence. though such programs maynot have been produced with a child audience inmind.HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTROLS? 273 also took into account the degree of intensity of the depictions and the context in which they were shown. The purpose of this exercise was to compare the amount and nature of violent. Of shows rated TV-G. Such programs are deemed appropriate children with adfor equate developmental skills to distinguish between fantasy reality. The principle interest inthis book is on thefindings for sexual content on television. with some intimate touching or passionate kissing. D for sexual dialogue. but these were the exceptionratherthanthe rule. and FV for fantasy violence in children's programs). sexual and bad language content across programs with different age-based classifications. TV-G. Nine per cent of TV-G shows did contain sexual situations. the contentof programs with theseratings fell largely within thebou'nds of the definitionsof those ratingsas provided in the guidelines. Programs rated as TV-Y7 are designed for children age 7 and over. Again. averaging 1. S for sexual behavior. programs rated as TV-MA are designed to be viewed specifically by adult audiences and may therefore be unsuitable for children under 17. L for adult language. Nine outof ten (91%)TV-G shows contained no sexual behavior. Programs rated as TV-Y are designed to be appropriate for all children and therefore are expected to contain effectively no sexual content. programs with this rating would be expected to contain little sexual dialogue or behavior. The TV-G rating is defined as indicating aprogram with little or no sex. Sexual behaviorand sexual dialogue were analysedand measures wereused to evaluate levels and explicitness of such conduct. Programs rated TV-PG may contain material that parents could find unsuitable foryounger children. This meansthat intense sexual situations and intensely suggestive sexual dialogue are likely. 28% did contain . mostly consisting of physical flirting. The study also identified programs that received questionable if not inappropriate ratings in regard to sexual depictions and dialogue.TV-14.comparing across TV-G.

case two Although the sexual content found in programs generally matched what would be expected on the basis of their age-based descriptors. Fifty-six per cent contained sexual behavior and contained sexual 82% dialog. a content-based label is needed. Anlong TV-PG shows.followed by V (violence) at lo%. More than eight out ten (83%) shows with sexual of dialog did not receive a D content descriptor. Among general audience programs. These shows averaged 2. Amongchildren’sprograms. T h e most frequently used content descriptor on general audience shows was the rating D (sexual dialog).’ Another factor was that movies originally made for the cinema and broadcast on TV can be presented withMPAA ratings instead of new TV ratings. most of the sexual behavior in shows without anS consisted of acts suchas passionate kissing. These shows averaged2. In addition. D to 13%.4 sexual behavior scenes and sexual dialog scenes. although many contained scenes in whichsexual intercourse was depicted or implied. . For this.) Age-based ratings do not indicate the level or degree of explicitness of sexual content in programs. content descriptorswere not being used in a majority of programs that contained sex. 11% receivedacontentdescriptor. not all sensitive content in TV-PG and TV-14 shows received a content descriptor.L (adult language) at and S (sex) at 3%. and S to 4% of nonexempt shows. A number of reasons were identified as to why programs may not have received content descriptors. More than nine outof ten (92%) shows with sexual behavior did not receive an S content descriptor.8 scenes of sexual dialog. But also. V was the most commonly used content descriptor.1 scenes per show featuring talk about sex. under therules.1 scenes of moderate sexual behaviorper show.9 of explicitness was higher than in the of the other classifications. In prime-time programming the on major networks. These shows averaged 2 scenes of sexual behavior and 3. with a moderatelevel of emphasis in the scenes. The level 4. but again with only moderate or low levels of explicitness. averaging 2. Some TV-PG and TV-14 programs were identified that contained substantial amounts of sex. which was applied to 12% of nonex5% empt shows. but did not receive an S rating. TV-14 shows were more sexual.274 CHAPTER 12 sexual dialogue. In general. ratings guidelines deliberately allowed some sex to go through and would only label a program if the depictions were categorised as ‘intense. 28% contained sexual behavior and 68% contained sexual dialog. The NBC network declined to use content descriptors at all.9) scenes of moderate sexualdialogue per show. 23% received acontent descriptor. L was applied to 16%. (The same point was true also of violence and language. In some cases. appliedto 18% of nonexempt shows. These shows averaged nearly four (3. TV-G programs are not required to have content descriptors anyway.

For allfour areas of content assessed in the study. and the greatest level or intensity sensitive content found TV-14 programs' (p. the V-chip technology will offer parents only a modest degree help in of identifying programs that are unsuitable for their children. 89). television. this rule is gradually relaxed. withan executive board of senior managers being accountable a to . For this.m. Although there is a others need to protect the interests of younger viewers. for example. Ratings have been used for many years to classify cinema films and more recently videos. 1996. Although Britain does not have freedom of speech legislation as does the United States. principles The of the Family Viewing Policy and 9 p. do not. Mifflin. 1999). 'In terms applying the of age-based ratings. on themainstream terrestrial channels in Britain. have employed restrictive scheduling practices for many years.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE 275 According to Kunkel and his colleagues (1998). Watershed centre on the need to achieve a balance between protecting the interests of children and catering to theneeds of the adultaudience. Britishbroadcasters. The British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) is self-regulated. Before 9 p.there are many households in Britain that are occupied by adults only.. after 9 p. additional content-based ratings are needed.Unless more effective deployment of content-based ratings occurs. the evidence from this study indicates that the television industry is generally differentiating well across the basic levels of the system. More specific program labelling systems are also used. and video-are all regulated to ensure that their contents do not cause offence or harm to consumers. Kaiser Family Foundation. no programs may be broadcast that are unsuitable for children (under 16 years)..m. In Britain. Public opinion surveys have shown that most parents strongly prefer content-based ratings over age-based advisories (Cantor et al. The regulatory picture for broadcast television services is more complicated. Regulation o Media Sex in Britain f The established audiovisual media in Britain-cinema. somewhat higher levels found in TV-PG shows.m. 1998. Broadcasters have also adopted cinema ratings systems or derivatives to classify televised films. Most British parents seem to be aware of this regulation (ITC. 1997). the classification of films for theatre distribution and video productions for sale or rent is carried out by the British Board of FilmClassification (BBFC). there is a hierarchical progression with the lowest levels of sensitive material in programs with a TV-G rating. these alone reveal relatively little directly about the nature of sexual content in programs. thererecognition in its media regulations is a and regulatory practices that not everyone has the same maturity or tastes. of in Although there was no problem with the application of age-based ratings. Some people may find media sex offensive.

cable. No cuts were made to new films offered that year for reasons of sex or sexual violence. The degree of explicitness of sex scenes permitted depends on theclassification of the film.However.649 video trailers.9%) features.7%).1 shows what each of these classifications means as far as sex content is concerned. and 124 video advertisements classification. Cuts were madeto 15 (3. The one case of film was forre-release of the movie. 58 short films. andjust one advertisement (0. a This film contained the prolonged sexual abuse and forcible artificial insemination of a woman. Indeed. ‘12’ (suitable only for persons of 12 yearsand over). many regulators have adopted increasingly liberal views about the control sexual images in screen enterof tainment. Gay sex. Cuts were madeto 224 features for (7%). the BBFC (1998) its noted the significant increase in the number unlicensed sex shops in Britof ain from whichillegal and unclassified material canbe obtained. there is tolerance for some sex scenes within films classified as There is greater concern andvigilance. over the combination of sex and violence. another body. is treated similarly to heterosexual sex.8%). scenes of simulated sex in films rated with an 18 certificate is generally accepted by the public. In the same year.1 2 Board of Governors. Table 12. Pink Fhmingos. one short film (1. The guidelines adopted by the BBFC in Britain are shown in Table 12. but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children). In 1997.1%). has also been legally charged with handling viewers’ complaints on matters relating to the tastefulness or offensiveness of broadcast television content and with conducting audience research into such matters. In addition. ‘PC? (parental guidance-general viewing. Despite best efforts. 18’ (suitable only forpersons of 18years and over). Commercial television services. The deals with complaints from BSC viewers that concernall television services-BBC and commercial alike.3%). Turning to broadcast television. Most of these were for 18-rated films. however.276 CHAPTER.1. In Britain. 41trailers (6. films for theater showing are classified as ‘U’ (Universal-suitable for all). reasoning thatthecinema-going public hasbecomemore accepting of such material. and ‘R18’(to be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years). however.192 video features. Within the context of cinema films. are licensed and regulated by or theIndependent Television Commission. however. 15.the BBFC was presented with 382 feature films. the Broadcasting Standards Commission(BSC). by John Waters.‘15’ (suitable only for persons of 15 years and over). and 356 trailers for theatre showing to classify forgeneral release. the BBFC made 44 cuts to remove scenes of sexual violence. in Britain the BBC is self-regulating and commercial television is regulated by the Independent Television Commission (ITC). In Britain. satellite. and only one was for nonvideo material. whether transmitted via terrestrial transmitters. and 19 trailers (5. the BBFC received 3.During 1997. the Broadcasting Standards Commission ( .

There may be some mild sexual innuendo. Casual sex scenes will be brief. ‘PG’. ‘15’. Nudity in a sexual context will be brief and discreet. ‘ 12’ .1 British Filtn Classifications and Sex Content ‘U’. but without any physical detail.SUITABLE ONLYFOR PERSONS OF 2 8 YEARS AND OVER Nudity Extensive full frontal nudityis acceptable in a sexual context. sometimes in a sexual context. ~ ~ ~~ ‘18’. Sexual references may bestronger and less ambiguous than in ‘PG‘films and videos. but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children Nudity There may be occasional nudity in a non-sexualcontext.TABLE 12.PARENTAL GUIDANCE Generalviewing. but will not include intimate physical detail. character or theme.SUITABLE ONLY FOR PERSONS OF 15 YEARS AND OVER Nudity Full-frontal nudity may be shown. Sex scenes will be justified by context and will usually further plot. Sex There will be no sexual behavior or references. Sex Sex may be suggested.SUITABLE ONLYFOR PERSONS OF 12 YEARS AND OVER Nudity Occasional nudity is acceptable. especially in a comedy context. but should be discreet and infrequent. and sex will mainly illustrate developing relationships. There may be strong sexual references. as long as there is no undue focus on genitals. Sex Sexual activity may be implied. Sex Sexual activity may be shown.UNIVERSAL Suitablefor all Nudity There will be little or no nudity. Close-up detail will be avoided. but should not be nudity for this the sake of it. (table continues) 277 .

35). . vaginal.LICENSED SEX SHOPS TO PERSONS OF NOT LESS THAN 18 YEARS The ‘R18’category is a special and legally restricted classification for videos where the focus is mainly on real sexual activity. however. 1998. There must be no explicit sight of penetration.2). there must be limits to whatis shown. as may a broader range of mild fetish material. covering televisionand radio (see Table 12. and are likely to be mindful of the effects on children’ (clause80. of which there are about 60 in the UK. The BSC advises against unjustified explicitness and for the depiction of relations between the sexes within a clearly defined moral framework. period (see Table 12. Broadcasters are further advised to observe sensitivity to scheduling of sexual matters around the Watershed. They must also be legal. Erections may be shown. The Broadcasting StandardsCommission has a code thePortrayal of on Sexual Conductfor broadcasters. oral. or anal. It does not allow for indiscriminate or gratuitous inclusion of sex in programs.278 TABLE 1 2 . represents anotherbody to which the public can turn to complain about of in broadcast standards. 1 (continued) CHAPTER 12 Sex Scenes of simulated sex are allowed. According to the (1998). Ejaculation must not be shown. from Group sex is allowed. ‘R18’ . and there is parity as between homosexual and heterosexual sex. ‘Radioand television have to meet the BSC expectations of wide audiences which will encompass a spectrumof tolerance towards the portrayal of sexual relationships. However. ‘R18’ videos may not by supplied by mail order. p. but sex scenes may be limited because of length or strength. Even with encrypted channels. with channels being bound in their depictions of sex by laws relating to hard-core pornographyand obscenity.m. The ITC Code permits inclusion sex and nudity entertainment and dramaprograms. Such videos can be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. There are no limits on length and strength apart those of the criminal law.TO BE SUPPLIED ONLY IN. even those unlikely to be offended themselves may be concerned about viewing some programs in the company of others. Images of real sex must be brief and justified by context. Any such material should be pertinent to the plot. The sex scenes in all ‘R18’ videos must be nonviolent and between consenting adults. both in theacts portrayed and in thedegree of explicitness shown.3). Context may iustify exceptions. depictionssexual interof course are restricted to the post-9p. Furthermore. Note Source: Brltish Board of Fl11n Classlficatmn. but threats or no humiliation or realistic depictions of pain are permitted.

but the aim should not be to offend. Representation of sexual intercourse should be reserved until after pm. not Much of the world’s great drama and fiction has been concerned with love and passion. BSC (1998) makes refThe erence to the Protection of Children Act 1978. but this does justify mere crudity.and of nudity. However. and must be approved by the licensee’s most senior programme executive or the designated alternate. stories with sexual aspects should not be presented without due consideration having been givento thescheduling of the program and thelikely presence of children in the audience thetime of transmission. film. at Although it is legitimate to deal with subjects such as sexual relationships between adults and children. and it would be wrong (if not impossible) to require writers to renounce all intention to shock or disturb.] 1. Exceptions to 9. Explicit sexual acts between adults and children should not be transmitted. 1 General Requirement Section 6 (1)(a) of the broadcasting Act 1990requires that the ITC does all it can secure to that every licensed service includes nothing in programmes which offends against good its taste or decency is likelyto encourage or incite to crime orlead to disorder or be or offensive to public feeling. Even in factual programs. They may advise children of the dangers of abuse and advise them of the help available. or video-recording of a child under the age of 16. contemporary drama must account of the ease take TABLE 12.3 Sex and Nudity Popular entertainment and comedy have always reliedto some extent on sexual innuendo and ambiguous (or suggestive) gesture and behavior.00 this rule may be allowedin the case ofnature films. or involve a child under 16 in a photograph recording which is or itself indecent-even if the child’s role in it is not. The inclusion in programsof subjects such as incest or child abuse may have apublic information role and can be justified on thatbasis. realistic. [Remainder of this sectionrefers to code giving guidance on the depiction of violence.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE 279 The depiction of sexually explicit scenes before the Watershed on television fiction should be a matter ofjudgment atmost senior levels with the the broadcasting organisations concerned. programmeswith a serious educational purpose.2 ITC Code on Sex and Nudity on Television ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~~~~ I . . being mindfulof not just the morality but also the legality of certain kinds of behavior. needs to be defensible in context and presented with tact and discretion. which makes an it offence to take an indecent photograph. or where the representation is non-graphic. The portrayal of sexual behavior. ~~ Note. 1991. the treatment of such topics must be thought through very carefully. Source: ITC.

Discussion and ‘Phone-in’ Programmes There is a wide difference ofattitudes. towards the open debateof sexual topics. broadcasters cannot assume a universal climate tolerance but towards sexually explicit material. Offence may be given by making public and explicit what many people regard as private and exclusive.The broadcast of sexuallyexplicit scenes before the Watershed shouldalways bea matterfor judgment at the most senior levels within the broadcasting organisations. But the depiction of sex is bound by the law relating to hard-core pornography and obscenity. nor theparticipants to objects. When a scene involves rape or indecent assault. Radio andtelevision have tomeet the expectations of wide audiences whichwill encompass a spectrumof tolerance towardsthe portrayal of sexual relationships. Broadcasters have a duty act to responsibly and reflect the fact that relations within and between the sexes normally reflect moral choices. be measured the broadby caster against the time of day at which they are transmitted and the likely presence of children in the audience. But producers should ask themselveswhether an explicit representation is justified. particularly betweenthe generations. However. The youth andphysical attractiveness of the participants are no justification for explicitness. in any case.TABLE 12. Encrypted subscriptionand pay Per View services offeringexplicit sexual content cater to self-selected adult audiences. careful consideration must always be given to achieving the dramatic purpose while minimising the depiction of the details.O n radio. broadcasters must take into account the likely composition of the audiencebefore scheduling more explicit portrayals of sexual activity.Other factual programmes deal with a variety of sexual themes. Programmesneed tobe scheduled with care and labelled to give warning of their likely content. particularly imis portant for items involving sexual matters. Broadcasters should provide straightforward labelling in clear language and sufficient warnings about programmes containing explicit material. Fiction Broadcasters must ensure that actual sexual intercourseis not transmitted. 280 . Factual Programmes Where a news story involvessexual aspect. andare likely to be tnindfulof the effects on children. even those unlikely to be offendedthemselves may beconcernedabout viewing some programmes in thecompany of others.3 Broadcasting Standards Commission Code on the Portrayal of Sexual Conduct Research shows that audiences in Britain havegenerally become moreliberal and relaxed of about the portrayal of sex. especially within the hour around the Watershed. Audiences should be reduced not to voyeurs. Sensitive scheduling. The relative explicitness ofsuch reports must. it a should be presented without undueexploitation.

The treatment should not suggest that such behaviorlegal or is is to be encouraged. or even unlawful. Explicit sexual acts between adults and children should be transmitted. andmay also take them as role models. Children A sexual relationship between adult and child or between under-age young people an a can be a legitimate theme for programmes: it is the treatment which may make it improper. even in programmes directed at older children. to Care is needed therefore inthe scheduling of risque programmesand programmes whlch would not normallv be exDected to contain material of this kind. while sensitivescheduling and labelling are also called for in radio. 28 1 . material of this kind should be accompanied by clear labellingof the programme’s content. Even or is in is when legal advice judges material to be on the right side of the law. justiis The fication must come fromthe intention and the merit the individual programtne itself. The appearance of the nude human body can have justifiable and powerful dramatic effect and be a legitimate element in a a programme. it shouldbe subjected to careful scrutiny at the highest level over the need to include the sequence in the programme. awareness ofthe Where a play or film takesincest as its theme. including children.even if the child’s role it not.Rape should not be presented in a way which mightsuggest it was anything other than a tragedy for its victim. involve a child the or below 16in a photograph recording which itself indecent . not The Protection of Children Act. This applies even when the child is played hy an older actor or actress. Note Source. 1978. and advising them of the help available. These programmes may also playa legitimate role in warning childrenof the dangers of abuse. It may passover the heads of the young. Butit can also be disturbing and cause offence. Incest and Child Abuse The inclusion of these subjects in well-established serials or single programmes may be justified as public information. may identify characters or actions with their own circumstances. makes it an offence to take an indecent photograph. of Innuendoes Sexual humour and innuendomay cause offence especially if broadcast when there are children and young people in theaudience. Animals Explicit sexual conduct between humans and animals should never shown and should be be referred to inprogrammes only after consultations at a senior level. Broadcastmg Standards Conmussion. but may nevertheless cause embarrassment older people watching or listening with them. providedit does not exploit the nude person. 1996. film or video-recordingofa child under age of 16. especially where it appears that there no clear editorial rationale. Nudity There is now a greater relaxation about the human body. there should be particular relative ease with which some people. In television.

the codedeals with sexual innuendo and humor that cause offence when there are children young may or people in the audience. 1997). too. care is needed over when to schedule programs with potentially controversial sex content. are perceived forbidden fruit by those members of the audience as for whom it is deemed to be unsuitable. for by If. THE UTILITY OF CLASSIFICATION AND RATING SYSTEMS Media content ratingssystems succeedto the extent that media consumers are aware of. If the ultimategoal of ratings is to provide information that can be used to control access for vulnerable individuals. There is recognition that thepublic. Thus. as a result of their ratings. Media ratings have been characterised by controversy and confusion about their purpose since the inception movie ratings in 1969. specifically children. Surveys have indicated that parents are of and use film ratings to make iniaware tial determinations about whether a is suitable for children (Wilson et film al. Furthermore. The BSC notes that there is a fairly relaxed attitude towards nudity. then it is important to consider both whether control warranted and whether that stated is is goal usually achieved. take them as role models.282 CHAPTER 1 2 with which certain viewers may identify with events and characters on screen and may. however. The BSC code contains a reminderthat explicit sexual conduct between humans and animals is outlawed. Even so. there may be a boomerang effect . even when their principal goal is ostensibly to be informational.. There are importantissues surrounding the way media content ratings are used media consumers. When discussing programs with their children. example. Research anlong American parents indicated that program ratings and advisories lead parents todiscourage their childrenfrom watching content labelled as age-inappropriate. may cause embarrassment older people viewing It to with them. 1990). about how to limit access to such content. There is little consensus. warnings about sex (and violence) result in parents making more disparaging remarks about such programs. certain films. a rating indicating the age-appropriateness a program appeared to have of n o r e force than a mere verbal warning about sensitive content (Krcmar 6r Cantor. There ever of is a loose consensus that content that is not appropriate for certain segments of the population. this is not true of everyone and some viewers may still take offence at certain types of portrayal. Finally. Opponents to rating systems warn that mandatorysystems are a form of censorship. understand. has more relaxed attitudes about it. therefore. and use the ratings and also to the extent that the guidelines are enforced by producers and distributors. is present in today’s media.

from the legal. but may bean important consideration for teenagers. the potential influence violent of pornography (defined as depictions of women victims enjoying sexual assault or rape) and sexualised violence (defined as less sexually explicit depictions. explicit sex earns morerestrictive ratings than extreme violence. they are considered together collectively at this point because their principal objective was to produce recommendations concerning censorship and control of pornographic publications and productions. Research on the influence of explicit sexual portrayals on sexual behavior in children and adolescents has beenlimited by the lingering taboos about asking children about these topics (Strasburger. medical and education professions. which implies that exposure to explicit sex in media presentations is more harmful than exposure to extreme violence. and the United States review laws on to obscenity. and usually commissioned original research or reviews of existing research literature to inform their deliberations. if their parentsalready manage their media choices. several important commissions of enquiry have been launched by governments in countries such as Australia. 1996. Harrison. 1997). When is combined withviolence. 1995. Media ratings have been more sensitive to sexual content than to violent content. but with more violence such as torture) have raised concerns (Wilson et al. In particular. . c m a r .. 1996. These enquiries received evidence from various sections of society. Harrison. sex the effects may be different. Wilson et al. One of the critical features of these enquiries was the relative weight they attached to evidence concerning public opinion and values about and evidence the on potential harms that might be caused by extreme forms of sexual representation. rape offenders. Can&k tor.. 1995). & Nathanson. Sexualised violence is prevalent in many films and television programs. Canada. and female sexuality. Britain. among whom parental control is likely to be more relaxed or even nonexistent (Cantor. Although references have been madeto research reported under some of these commissions of enquiry earlier in this book.HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTROLS? 283 whereby the appeal of the restrictedfilm is heightened (Bushman& Stack. In most cases. however. REGULATION AND CONTROL O F PORNOGRAPHY Turning from sex in mainstream media to pornography. Kunkel. The limited information available suggests that sexual portrayals in themedia have limited independent impact in terms of prompting sexual behavior in adolescents (Strasburger. 1998). 1990). depictions of violent sex or rape can shift male attitudes towards female victims of a significant body of research literature reviewed in earlier chapters indicated. This may be less problematic with younger children. Furthermore. 1990).

sexual or nonsexual deviancy or severe emotional disturbance’ 58). by everyone. One of the Commission’s studies found that exposure to pornography was associated with promiscuity and sexual deviance (K. further conmissions of enquiry were launched into pornography in Britain (Longford. Critics accused the commission of being overloaded with anticensorship civil libertarians (Eysenck &Nias. 1974). This recommendation based on the mawas jority conclusion that therewas ‘no evidence that exposure to or use of explicit sexual materials play a significant role in the causation of social or individual harms suchas crime. Concerns about the conclusions and recommendations of the 1970s Commission did not emanate only from politicians.S. other findings that supported a ‘no-harm’ position were accepted at face value when. The finalreport (U. Commission on Obscenityand Pornography. they were based on dubious self-report measures (Cline. It also reviewed existing pornography control laws and was charged with producing recommendations approof priate legislative or administrative action todeal with pornography. 1985).284 CHAPTER 1 2 The 1970 U. 1970) recommended stronger controls on distribution tominors. E. One problem stemmed from observation that notall the evidence had the been given equalweight. In the end. This conclusion was not accepted (p.Yet. but anabolition of all limits on access by adults. There were some social scientists who expressed doubts about the credibility and validity of the evidence and the way it had been interpreted (Cline. 1974). the Commission’s conclusion appeared to be strongly influenced by value judgments on the partof the majority of its members (Cline. the of Commission members chose to not discuss the findings with appropriate caveats inwhich suchlimitations were highlighted (Eysenck. 1972). Then. Davis & Braucht. Eysenck. 1972). There were findings that could be interpreted as providing evidence for negative effects of pornography. Instead. 1974. 197 la). which was against relaxing controls over pornography. Manyof the surveys and otherstudies commissionedby the 1970 enquiry into pornography suffered from the characteristic shortcomings such methodologies. The Williams Committee in Britain Over the next decade.S. 1979) and Canada (Special Committee onPornography and Prostitution. 1972. in fact. delinquency. Pornography Commission The 1970 U. 1978). Commission on Obscenity and Pornography established was by President Lyndon Johnson analyse the distribution and to effects of consuming sexually explicit material. though.S. its majority conclusions were rejected by the new conservative Nixon administration. but these were played down or ignored. Williams Committee.The .

were claimed to be instigators to crime. ignored by jurors in decidwas be to ing obscenity cases. O n a more general level.' Despite this presumed test. The definition of harm chosen was a very narrow one. 160). such as to deprave and corruptthose who arelikely. With respect to thefirst typeof evidence. the Committee rejected this type of evidence as inconclusive. 'if taken as a whole. It in this context that Williams Committee began work. In otherwords. and (c) experimental social psychological evidence. as in North America. Before the law can intervene. Considerable problems the interpretation the prevailin of ing standards led to fewer convictions and tosome dissatisfaction with lax judicial enforcement. (b) statistical trends in crime as a function of the availability of pornographic materials.see. . in particular. 1972). the law had noright to suppress such material. It reached the was no conclusive evidence that exposure to sexually explicit material triggers harmful responses. wherepornographic materials. Consequently. in fact. As the Committee noted. was the its One of the Committee's majorcriticisms was that the deprave-and-corrupt test ambiguous and tended.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE 285 Williams Committee in Britain was set up to undertake a fundamental reconclusion that there view of the laws relating to obscenity. that it caused the commission of sexual crimes. The Committee recommended the removalof all censorship of pornography inasmuchas it is 'neither immediatelyoffensive nor capable of invoking . the Committee recommended.court interpretations tended to focus on the determination of offensiveness to general communitystandards. harms' (p. or hear thematerial contained or embodied in it. the Committeefelt that unless it couldbe shown that specific harms arose from exposureto obscene materials.. must it be demonstrated that pornography likely to havesome effect on human is behavior. to read. it is exceedingly difficult to prove that these crimes would not have been committed had the defendants not been exposed to pornographic material.. the Committee considered infamous British criminal cases such as the Moors Murders and the Cambridge Rapist. having regard to all relevant circumstances. supposedlyfound in the possession of the defendants. the Committee came to the conclusion that any new comprehensive legislation should be basedon considerations of the harms that could stem from exposure to obscene material. The major piece of legislation governing obscenity at the time was the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. Three types of evidence were consideredthe Committee in evaluating by by the potential harms caused exposure to pornography: (a) evidence from particular court cases. which employed the statutory test of whether theeffect of the material in question was. particularly in light ofwhat was perceived to signifbe icant increases in the volume and explicitness of adult material (Wilson.

) The Committee also rejected the notion that rising trends insexual assaultin GreatBritain in the 1960s and 1970s were the result of greater availability of pornographic materials. sexually explicit materials had been produced (Penrod &Linz. 1978. A. mid to These studies had indicated potential harmful effects of explicit sexual material (R.In the latter instance.S. Zillmann. Donnerstein. 1984). Feminists warned that images of male-female relationships were becoming explicitly perverse in the widespread pornography trade.S. three substantial developments had occurred.. Zillmann & Sapolsky. Second. Blanchard. and was viewed as indicating no relationship between greater availability of pornography and the commission of sex-related crimes. 1978. There was a marked trend in the coupling of sex and violence (Malamuth & Spinner. Barbaree. A. & Guild. 1980) in men’s magazinesand also in movies (Penrod & Linz. pornography commission’s report in1970 until theWilliams report in 1979. Other clinical work had also demonstrated the sexual arousal of rapists to specific sexual stimuli (Abel. By the latterpart of the 1970s. the Committee could not recommend further suppression of such material. Donnerstein. 1974a. including some research presented to the U. the nature of pornographic materials themselves had changed. From the time of the U. R. 1977.g. They concluded that. Finally. 1978. 1980 that was rejected by the Committee.286 CHAPTER 12 Second. 1977. this failed to take account of the findings of experimental studies conducted mostly in the United States during the late1970s. Donnerstein & Barrett. . The Getaway and Swept Away).1984). & Einsiedel.First. & Lanthier. (See also detailed research by Court. & Evans.Although the Williams Committee commissioned a literature review. 1974b. since much disagreement existed among experimenters the as to effects of pornography on behavior. on the effects of aggressive. the Committeereviewed conflicting research on the relationship between the availability of pornography in Denmark in the 1970s and rape during the same period. The conclusion that therewas little empirical evidence to demonstrate that exposure to pornography causedharm was challenged.but also in some films available on wider general release (e. Marshall. and scrupulously careful. Finally. detailed. Baron. 1978. Baron &Bell. The Committee reports of rape and attempted concluded that the research in this area conducted by Kutchinsky (1973. 1977). Feshbach & Malamuth. Cantor. Barlow. trend could be witnessed just in this not limited distribution art house filmsor X-rated videoreleases. many people were becoming concerned at what they felt was both anincrease in violence and changes in the nature of pornographic materials. 1979). particularly experimental social psychological research. 1975. public concern with these materials had increased. the Committee considered the experimental research that had been undertaken up to about 1976. a new body of social science research. commission) was comprehensive.

feminist. in which the mere representation of women as dehumanised and demeaned was sufficient to deny women full equality. A coma mittee examiningthe issue of sexual abuse had completed investigation its only a year before the Fraser Committee ended its work in 1985 (Government of Canada. recommending criminal sanctions for child pornography and sexually violent pornography. a perspective that demanded thatclear and definite link be demonstrated between a pornography and harm to specific individuals. Volume 1. the Canadians recognised the difficulties that the Williams Committee had incurred in specifying intent to arouse as a cornerstone of its definition. the committee decided to concentrate on identifying classes or types of representations and recommending criminal sanctions where these were deemed appropriate. Furthermore. There was also dissatisfaction with regulatory provisions in the Criminal Code with regard to obscenity and the difficulty in applying consistent criteria (Government of Canada. Under this legislation. and conservative-required different standards for the demonstrationof harm. In Canada. the committeefelt. Researchers whose work had been cited were also invited to testify. and no public display for nonviolent pornography. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services). The conservative approach espoused concern a . feminists accused pornography of denigrating women. The liberal view saw freedom of speech as the highest value. pornography. This view. The committee arrived at a three-tier classification system. observing that the terms obscenity. The committee noted that three distinct points of view-liberal. The feminist view was regarded as arguing for a broader interpretation of harm. In adopting this approach. the committee clearly adopted the antipornography feminist position that differentiated between erotica and pornography. who conceivedof it as a harm rather thanmoral issue. made less stringent demands of research findings. Instead. 1985). The Canadian pornography commission decided not to attempt to define pornography. 1984). The Fraser Committee relied on a research review of the literature to guide its examination of the effects of pornography (McKay &a Dolff.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE The Fraser Committee in C a n a d a 287 Canada’s Fraser Committee was created in response to increasing debate over public displays of sexual explicitness. but also rights relatnot ing to equality of treatment among different sectors of society. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services. Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution. as in the United States. Report of the Special Committeeon Sexual Offenses Against Children and Youth. 1985. Incorporation into the Canadian constitution Charter Rights and of a of Freedoms embodied only freedom of speech rights. there was growing and active opposition to pornography by some feminists. erotica all and had an elaborate web of various meanings. Pornography and Prostitution in Canada.

1986) to ‘determine the nature. The feminist view was accepted. dismissing correlational studies unequivocally and casting doubt also on laboratory studies. consistent with of the constitution (Paletz. pornography commission in 1970 to the mid. U. 1994).1980s. new social scientific evidence had emerged during early 1980sthat cast doubt on the the conclusions reached by the 1970 Reportof the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography.Edwin Meese. 15 [ 19731). Problemsstemmedfrommethodologicallimitations of social scientific studies.288 CHAPTER 1 2 for the sanctity of the family as the cornerstone for the larger social whole. appealed to . but this view extended of beyond the scientific evidence. the Committee concluded that the importancepornography as a factor in commission of of the sexual crimes had not been established.S. Pornography was regarded as of depicting women in a degrading fashionwas contrary toCanadian valthat ues. In addition. Attorney General. A fairly stringent test of obscenity was put in place in 1973 inMiller w. In examining evidence about sexual offenders.’ The enquiry was to produce recommendations for the control the spread of pornography. Although arguing that the research evidencewas inconclusive. and impact soon ciety of pornography in the United States. applying contemporary community standards. despite reservations aboutthe social science evidence on the harms pornography. California (413 U. the material.S. Commission on Pornography From the time of the first U. Communications technology developments in form of the penethe tration of cable and satellite television reception and home ownership of video-recorders made sexually explicit materials available in the home more readily. instigated anew enquiry into pornography (Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. the committee nevertheless stated that pornographycould impact on the fundamentalvalues of Canadians. In thiscontext. 1988). Hence the notion social harm was accepted.S.S. The Committee concluded that the available research was of little use in addressing questions of harms tosociety and to individuals caused by pornography. The research review commissioned by the committee was very harsh. extent. There had been an increase in sadomasochistic themes and the linking of sex and violence-themes that were relatively rare in 1970. taken as a whole. There had also been a significant increase in the production of pornographic videos and films (Showers. The encouraging sexual relations outside this of context-as pornography was perceived to do-was considered an assault on the family unit. a number significant changes were noted in the natureof exof plicit sexual media. The 1986 U. Material was defined as obscene if it fulfilled all the following criteria: (a) tothe average person.

Commission on Obscenity and Pornography had given pornography a clean of health.4 (Koop.S. nonviolent. and nudity. artistic. Despite being constrained by limited funds. analyse obscenity laws. the enquiry nevertheless produced asignificant volumeof evidence for consideration. and 18 of appointed commissioners-plenty of resources to facilitate a large amount of work.HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTROLS? 289 prurient interest. This evidence was debated over one weekend and the main conclusions are presented in Table 12. incontrast. The material has to fail a 1three testsbefore it can found obscene the 2 be in eyes of the law and any penalties prescribed. The major source for social science input came from a Workshop on Pornography and Public Health organised by Surgeon General C. degrading sexuallyexplicit materials. 1987). Thus. (b) the work depicted or described sexual conduct in a particularly offensive manner. was less well funded. political. The U. but it suggested four tiers of sexually explicit materials: sexually violent materials. Given the growth in production. Commission. who separately organised this event toassist the AttorneyGeneral’s enquiry (Wilcox. No original a its research was funded. Few social scientists were called upon as expert witnesses. some of which derived from its review empirical research. This Commission had a budget $2 million. The Workshop invited 19 leading researchers in the field to contribute and present papers based on their own work.000 and staff of nine to complete mandate. I n the dozen or so years that the Miller standard was in place. the number of obscenity prosecutions declined (32) for reasons that included difficulties in defining what was obscene as well as greater overall public tolerance for sexually explicit materials. nondegrading materials. Commission avoided the production of a definition of pornography. Everett Koop. a staff of 22. 1987). however. nonviolent. if deemed necessary to regulate the flow ofpornographic materials. or scientific permit. TheSurgeon General organised his independent enquiry because he believed that pornography had received insufficient attention as a social issue. bill The 1986 Commission was financially not as wellendowed as the earlier 1970 U. The 1986 Commission. taken as a whole. distribution and availability of pornography in America. It had a budget of $400. something could be labelled as ‘pornographic’ but still not be legally obscene. lacked serious literary. and make recommendations.S. The 1986 Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography held public hearings in sixmajorcities around the country. . A significant amount of space of was also devoted in final report to consideration of legal recommendations its and descriptions of potentially problematic media imagery and content. Modest fundingmeant that an economic method had to be adopted to collate relevant evidence.The latter had a mandate to the effects of porstudy nography and obscenity on the public.S. and (c) the work. the conservative Reagan administration called for another examinationof pornography 15 years after the first U.

Moving forward from stereotyping effects. 228-229). Nevertheless. Some critics the Comof . I n laboratory studies measuring short-term effects. Koop. For ethical reasons. Pornography that portrays sexual aggression as pleasurable for the victim increases the acceptance of the use of coercion in sexual relations.This activity was regarded asa route to later involvement inprostitution. It may thereforelack some external validity.2. Such a stereotype could encourage some men tobelieve there is nothing wrong with using violence in sex. Films and videos that depict women being forced to havesex against theirwill. evidence has emerged that men will display more ‘aggression’ towards female after being shown a a film of sexually violent behavior. Under controlled conditions. pornography was ‘material (that) is predominantly sexually explicit and intended primarily for the purpose of sexual arousal’ (pp. In otherwords.4 Main Conclusions of Surgeon General’s Workshop on Pornography Children and adolescents who participate in the production of pornography experience adwerse. The Commission considered the issue of pornography and harm and distinguished between harm that may be caused directly to consumers of pornography and spin-off (or secondary) harms that might be caused to others with whom pornography consumers interact. however. It was also noted that some research had indicated that exposure to pornography could cause changes men’s attitudes towards women and increases in agto gression towards women in a laboratory setting. repeated use of pornography can cultivate in users a distorted perceptionof reality leading them tobelieve that the behaviors depicted in pornographic materials are actually quite normal. According to the 1986 Commission. enduringeffects. exposure to wiolentpornography increuses punitiwe behavior towards women. The Commission expressedspecial concern about sexually violent pornography. this observationassumes that changes in beliefs about women’s sexuality mayproduce behavioraleffects wherebymen introduce violence into sexual relations with women. 1987.90 CHAPTER 12 TABLE 12. which was observed to be on theincrease. Acceptance of coerciwe sexuality appears to be related to sexual aggression. 230). andthat it might be indicative of possible effects in thewider sphere (as reinforced by the results of some survey studies). this kindof research can only be conductedusing simulated behavior.experts attending theworkshop believed that this conclusion could drawn about the results of be laboratory-based research. child Prolonged useof pornography leads consumers believe that less common sexual practices to are more common than they really are. The Commission covered a wider range of material than would traditionally be subsumed under these headings. Note Source. but who then become sexually aroused nevertheless and appear to enjoy themselves. Obscenity was defined as ‘material that has been or would likely be found to obscene in the context a judicial probe of ceeding employing applicable legal and constitutional standards’(p. may cultivate the myth thatall women enjoy coercive sex.

However. compared with which effects of mass the media are trivial. the Williams Commission conducted its enquiry before much of the experimental research referred to by the Canadian andU. Differences in research traditions between Britain (or Europe) and North America may account for the more ready dismissalof laboratory-based research in Britain. it of also recognised that nonviolentsexually explicit materials did not result in the same effects. The Miller U. California. 1987). Unlike both the British and Canadian commissions. it remained be demonstrated to as to whether the cultivation through viewing pornography of callous attitudes towards womenled.S.S. The data sexually for vioIent were lessequivocal. Regulators and policymakers need tobe mindful of public values and public opinion as well as the possibility that genuine h a m may be caused by sexually explicit material. also concluded thatexposure to such It material could lead to greater acceptance rape myth beliefs. One reason for this lay with the greater consistency of material used in such studies. butdespite these limitations.the U.S. in turn. preferring instead to retain the current definition set forth in w. to enhanced propensity to commit rape offences (Linz et al. Furthermore.. commissions was published. . The limitations of research were noted. television programs. the effects of mass media have been the studied by experimental social psychological approaches in which influence of a single factor is magnified. The European approach tends to regard social problems as stemming from a range of factors indigenous to the culture.HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTROLS? 29 1 missionreview of evidenceadvisedcautioninthe way the existing literature should interpreted. especially when mixed with violence. there were consistent reactions stimulus materials through self-reto ports and physiological indices. According to Einsiedel(l988). commission made no recommendation to eliminate ‘obscenity’from legal use. or videos is a separate consideration from publicattitudes towards such material. the varying evaluations of social science in these three different cultural contexts may indicate differences in the role of research in public policymaking in each case. However. commission relied to a greater degree than the othertwo commisdid sions on social scientific evidence. The evidence was not totally consistent on be whether sex alone or sex plus violence was essential to produce attitude shifts or antisocial behaviour. concludingthat the research did show a causal relationship between exposure to sexually violent material and aggressive behavior towards women. the Commission was still prepared to accept some of the evidence. In the United States. PUBLIC OPINION AND REGULATION OF MEDIA SEX The issue of harm that might caused by sexual content in be films. In addition.

Furthermore. 1984). Perceived Harms and Need for Control Public opinion about the need tighter controlof media sex has tended for to be driven by beliefs that such material can have harmful on coneffects sumers. 1992). have indicated broadly liberal attitudes towards the showing of sex on television. gratuitous sex was frownedupon. Although the occasional sex scene mightbe acceptable. for example. between television and video. Surveys in Britain. Reflecting a climatethat welcomes greater choice and the need to cater to a of tastes. 1992). they shouldbe allowed to do so (Gunter et al.292 CHAPTER 12 The public has opinionsnot just about sex in themedia. Concerns about harmful effects of media sex have been investigated among American feminist groups. Such apparently liberal attitudes did not mean thatBritish public was the prepared to accept on their television screens under any circumstances. This disposition is reflected in opinions about the regulation of such content. There was a general perception (among 60%)that thebroadcasters operate a clear policy on such matters and do not allow sex to be shown inan uncontrolled fashion.. a clear majority of British viewers (61%) felt that it was less acceptable to have sex shown all the way through a program. pornogra- . sex nor was there universal acceptance of all forms of sexual behavior being shown in programs on mainstream channels. 1994). themajority of British television viewers (78%) agreedthat people shouldbe allowedto watch on televisex sion if that is what they want. This perception usually linked to more is explicit representations of sex and has been especially strongly focused debates about the depicin tion of women. Most viewers (83%) agreed that more explicit sex can be shown in videos than on broadcast television (Millwood-Hargrave. Some feminists have arguedthat pornography infringes the civil rights of women by depicting them as powerless and subordinate to men (Mackinnon. distinguishing feminists who support and who oppose greater legislative control of pornography. distinction A was made. Although feminists regard much pornography as degrading and offensive to women. Twoopposing positions have become established. however. For example. another survey reported a variety majority of British viewers as endorsing the opinion that people want to if pay extra for pornographic TV channels. An even bigger majority (88%)agreed that people who do not watching sex on television can always switch the set like off (Millwood-Hargrave. Mostviewers (65%) felt was important that scenes it sex should have an important and integral part to play in telling the story in a drama. During the early 1990s)for instance. but also about the way it is controlled or regulated. opinions about what stepsto take relatingto censorship or control vary.

National public opinion surveys in the United States (Abelson et al. theaters showing moviesthat depict sexual violence (68%)) and sale or rental of video cassettes featuring sexual violence (63%) were much higher than the percentages of respondents willing to ban magazines that show adults having sexual relations (47%)) theaters showingX-ratedmovies (42%))sale or rental of X-rated video cassettes for home viewing (32%). however.Willis. 1983. 1987. 1984. 1971. In-depth interviews were used to probe the attitudes of these women towards pornography. Linz et al. Further evidence about different political and moral standpoints on the acceptability of explicitly sexual media content emerged from a study with self-identified fundamentalists and feminist women (Cowan et al. 1989). exhibited uniformly negative attitudes towards pornography and the belief that pornography is related to violence towards women. 1983).and. The percentages of respondents willing to banmagazines that show sexualviolence (73%). 1987). 1985) have shown that substantial proportions of their respondents believed that pornography hasnegative effects. The traditional value system in which femalesexuality was tied to monogamy andthe family narrowed the range of acceptable options for expression of female sexuality (Russo. even more so. such as causing sex crimes or reducing respect for women. and anticontrol or procontrol feminists.. such as improving the sex lives couples.Vance. 1988). Anticontrol feminists tended to have a greater concern for individ- . liberal feminists fear that increased censorship of pornography could disadvantageous to women and be could lead to other legislative restrictions on women’s rights and freedom in other areas including sexual relations and abortion (Killoran. allowthem for so long as there is no public display. denied that pornography has positive effects. Some reof searchershavedrawnadistinction for theirrespondentsbetween depictions of nonviolent and violent sex and found that public opinion is considerably harsher towards depictions of sexual violence (Gallup.. One gtoupwriters adopted an even of more extreme position. Respondents were then invited to give their views on whether they thought laws should totally ban any of these forms of activity. Gallup. Fundamentalist women werealso uniform in their support pornography conof trol. The fundamentalists. 1991). or impose no restrictions at all for adult audiences. Feminist women were split. with some opposing pornography control. Tong. Opposing this position. or at least. 1985.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE 293 phy promotesinequalityandviolenceagainstwomen(Dworkin & Mackinnon. respondents were told that the interviewer was going to read them several descriptions of adult entertainment. magazines that show nudity (21%). In the 1985 Galluppoll. opposing antiporn lobbies and arguing that pornography served to release women from a male-dominated culture in which sexual expression among women was repressed..

nondegrading material to be pornographic. Fisher. Cowan (1992) concluded that virtually all feminists have negative attitudes towards ‘pornography. 304 (23. (b) full female nudity. (e)highly degrading or dehumanizing explicit sexual activity(e. and about one third supported censoring nonviolentsexually explicit movies (32%) and videotapes (28%. Of 1.5).294 CHAPTER 12 ual rights and freedom. nonviolent. . Summarising the responses of the 119 recipients of the National Organization for Women (NOW) newsletter. about half (47%-54%) supported censoring nonsexual violent media.291eligible adults contacted. Only a few found either full female nudity (13%) or partial female nudity (8%) to be pornographic. on The results of the Cowan 992) study are limited some extent by her (1 to procedure of asking respondents ‘to only degrading or use sexually violent material as the[ir] definition of pornography’ when responding to questions concerning pornography control (p. In another study. orthreat of force. Substantial majorities (7 1%-77%) supported censoring sexually violent media. Also. sex in which one partneris depicted as unequal and/or exploited or presented an object to be used) . Once again. 170). nondegrading (d) explicit sexual activity. sampling onlymen and women identified ‘feminist’by their membershipin NOW did not as allow a comparison between the attitudes of feminists and other members of the public. A procontrol orientation was positively correlated with negativefeelings towards pornography. and that men are adversely affected by exposure to suchmaterial.5%) completed the interview. see Table 12. violent. They were primarily concerned about the directharms pornography wrought women. and they associated supof port for censorship with right-wing groups. thosein favour of tighter controls of pornography were less concerned about free speech and the costs of censorship to women’s rights. use of force. An overwhelming majority of respondents found degrading material (96%) and violent sexually explicit material (95%) to be pornographic. whereas procontrolfeminists and fundamentalists were more concerned with responsibility for the welfare of others.. beliefs that women are portrayedunfavorably. because they also were concerned about the harmcensorship.g. sexually violent media through a and random-digit dialling survey of a sample in Florida. noncoercive. and Shirkey (1994) assessed willingness to ban various forms of sexual. Around one in three (33%) found other sexually explicit. (c) male nudity. Cook. In this study. Those who labelled more of these materials as pornographic more strongly agreed that pornography should be legislatively controlled. Cowan assessed attitudes towardssix classes of pornography: (a) partialfemale nudity.’but many did not support controlof pornography through legislation. and (f) violent sexually explicit as activity such as rape.

sexual conservatism. At thesame time. gender. whereas nearly half would censorgraphically violent or slasher films. respondents were much less likely to support censorship of nonviolent sexual media than they were ofthose depicting sexual violence. and concern about sex pornography’s effects. Concern about pornography’s effects was the best single predictor of support for censorship of sexual and violentmedia. role stereotyping.HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CONTROLS? TABLE 12. Belief that pornography has harmful effects may beone manifestation of ‘cultural fundamentalism. The combination of sex and violence was critical. Fewer than one third said they would censor nonviolent. authoritarianism. although they are also correlated in some degree.’ a worldview that favours adherence to traditional norms. 1994). When violent and nonviolent forms of pornography were distinguished. an for ascetic lifestyle. Support for the censorship of sexual media showed substantial correlations with age. religiosity.5 295 Percentages of Respondents Who Favoured Various Level of Restriction of Different Forms of Adult Entertainment Entertainment Forms Levels of Restriction Magazines that show nudity Sexually explicit magazines Sexually violent magazines Sexually explicit movies Sexually violent movies ‘Slasher’ films Graphically violent movies Sexually explicit videos Sexually violent videos 25 47 56 43 19 50 19 29 37 50 24 18 9 3 16 8 16 77 32 71 54 47 28 65 15 20 9 This study found generally lower levels of support for censorship. respect family and religious authorities. but similar levels of support for censorship of sexual and sexually violent materials to a survey conducted by Newsweek (cited in Fisher et al. . Support for censorship of violent media and support for censorship of sexual media are clearly distinguishable attitudes.. sexually explicit films or videotapes. more respondents would ban sexually violent media than would ban nonsexual depictions of violence.

Both interpretations are consistent with Fisher et al. 1981.People who hold negative attitudes about sex have also been found to avoid sexual situations (Gerrard6r Gibbons. . Indisex vidual differences inauthoritarianism. 1974. These arelevel of sex guilt and authoritarianism. Fisher. Fisher’s feminists were more liberal than were Cowan’sfeminists. Fisher and colleagues also found that feminists were relatively tolerant of sexual media. 1982). more religious. and to accept rather than to reject. 1985a).296 CHAPTER 12 and a moral outlookon life (Wood & Hughes. 1982). Indeed. 1994). Mosher. 1983). authoritarians may label erotica as badper se. more sexually conservative. Individual Differences and Tolerance for Restrictions Attitudes torestrictions on the production and distribution of explicit sexual mediacontent are not uniform across all individuals.. Two specificindividualdifferencevariablesare connected with attitudes towards erotica. of The concept of pornography adopted by Cowan’s respondents may have been more negative than that adopted by respondents in Fisher’s study (Fisher et al. and female respondents. Lamberth.’s findings that concern about pornography’s harms is greater in older. Indeed. According to this theory. the latter’s respondents were allowed to use their own definition pornography. 6r Mitchell. 1983). High authoritarians are more intolerant of sexual expression and exhibit stronger desire control the a to freedom of others to express themselves in a sexualway (Kelley & Byrne. In addition to differences of opinion linked to peer group membership and values system affiliation. However.sexualexperience. 1973) Social Behaviors Sequence Theoryoffers an explanationfor the disgust some individuals experience with sex. there is evidence that the most stringent official restrictions on pornography are advocated inby dividuals who fit the pattern of high sexual authoritarianism and high sex guilt (Kelley. This fact emerged in studies of the varying opinions about pornography held different femiby nist groups. 198513. In the United States. personality variables have been linked to liberal versus conservative attitudes concerning and media sex. conto sexual tent (Byrne. Kelley. 1984). People who express positive sexual attitudes are morelikely to approach rather than avoid.andanxiety about sexuality may all play a part in influencingan individual’s opinions about pornography (Byrne. repressed attitudes about sex may produce in individuals stronger objections porto nography (Kelley &Byrne. Byrne 6r Kelley. as compared with religious conservatives.Cultural fundamentalism and belief in the harm pornography results from a setof socialisaof tion processes and represents the expression of strongly heldcultural values.

& Penrod. a number cases have been brought trial in which the commitof to ment of a sex offence was causally attributed to pornography. 1984). will cause harm.. to of for example. Nutionul Broadcasting Company. and the strengths and weaknesses of survey andexperimentalresearch (e. Donnerstein. it retainedits protecan tion under the freedom speech law.g. that thespeech in questionwas intended to incite legal or harmful actions (Krattenmaker & Powe. there has been an uneasy tension observed between evidence the collected by social scientists concerning the harmful effects of pornography and willingness of the lethe gal system acceptthis evidence in a court law. The case was eventually dismissed on the grounds that the program was protected speech. Given themethodological limitations of much social science research. Even where the social scientific evidence has been accepted. beyond reasonable doubt.had triggered a groupof juveniles to inflict injury on her by raping her with a bottle. 1986). 1978). With the debate thathas ranged around the veracity of social-psychological evidence on media effects. Friedrich-Cofer & Huston. have been challenged court causes of harmful actions. methodological doubts have undermined the statusaccorded to thescientific evidence in a court of law. . particular. even those depictions that include violence. 1986. Freedman. it is likely to prove extremelydifficult to establish unequivocally that explicit sexual content. This ‘incitement standard’ emerged of in othercases in which various kinds of speech. the courts Yet have generally refbsed to find in favor of the plaintiff in such cases. Inasmuchas the sexual depiction under examination not set out did deliberately to incite others to perform illegal act.In the United States. w. courts haverebeen luctant to endorse greater censorship of erotic materials or tighter restrictions on their distribution because would conflict with thefree speech this rights of individuals under the First Amendment (Linz. minor brought a civil suit against NBC claiming that a television drama. Berkowitz & Donnerstein. any erotic depictions must be demonstrated to have produced direct. a In the case of Ohia N. (1978). was alleged that the perpetrators had It viewed a similar incident in the program and that had causedthem toperform a this similar act against the girl. Inc. mass mediated and otherwise. Such cases in as have served further to reinforce the need to establish. and identifiable harms before they lose the protection afforded to any speech by the First Amendment.1982.CONTROLS? HOW EFFECTIVE ARE SOCIAL SCIENCEEVIDENCE AND THE LEGAL SYSTEM 287 Regardless of whatever public calls there may be fortightening regulations relating to the distribution of explicit sexual materials. 1984. In the context of media sex. Born Innocent. under the First Amendment.

One of the reasons for the courts’ reluctance to adopt a more role in restricting poractive nography has stemmed from anxiety that this would be the thin endof an the wedge. If restrictions were placed on theseforms of free speech. In this instance. 1985). but ‘high-risk‘ groups would also affect the great majority of law-abiding citizens whose First Amendment rights would belimited by any bans placed that mateon rial.The question thatpolicy makers mustthen ask is. There is additional concern about causing offence to social values (Government of Canada Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution. the law has exhibited concerns about pornography go beyond the need that to protect the public against harmful effects. of their right to view forms of violent material if only avery small percentage of these individualwill become criminally violent? (p. side the implementationof tighter censorship rules by policy makers would remain a difficult decision to take.S. however. This can be contrasted with the position adopted by legislators in Canada. or that features under-age performers would cease to enjoy First Amendment protection. then prediction models based on social psychological variables will tend to ‘overpredict’the number individuals who commit of will an illegal violent act. cases would be brought elsewhere restrict other forms of free speech. Although material that is libelous. inciting to crime. or evensome persons. free Within the United States. evenassuming that the scientific evidence canunequivocally prove acausal link between exposureto media content andantisocial behavior. The conto sequence would be the effective loss of free speech. Serious criminal acts tend to belimited to small numbers of individuals. 133) . This effect would have far more severe and wide-reachingimplications for society than inconclusively proven harmsof pornography. despite the lingering doubts about the social scientific evidence on harmful effects. therefore. its As Linz and his colleagues (1984) noted: If regulatory lawsare designed to prevent criminal acts andthe base rate of criminal if acts anlong regulatedgroups i s low.298 CHAPTER 12 There is another problem with which legislators must contend. Evenif the methodological problems associated with social scientific findings are put to one or are overcome. no matter graphic it may be how or how much some individuals find it personally offensive. Are we prepared as a society to deprive all persons. In Canada. courts. the First Amendment rights of individuals have been treated as paramount. any benefits in terms of decreased crime from a legal endorsement of increased censorship would need to weighed be against the concomitant reduction in the speech rights of the majority. given implications for free speech rights. insulting. The introduction of legislation and accompanying regulations designed toprevent exposure to such stimulus material among those small. explicit material that does not break the law in any of those ways is unlikely to be censored by the U. who have shown greater willingness to regulate pornography morestringently.

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N... 234. 300 Atwood. K..321. M. 309. 212. J. 330 Alan Guttmacher Institute. 18. 198. 249. 31 1 Atkin. 163. W. 200. 227. 253..37. 90. 10. 261. S. 59. I..300 Bancroft.. 178. 216. 173.308 Anderson. M. 189.82.300 Baker. 318 Adamson. A. 143.. M. S.238. S. 206.300 Baldwin.. S. D. 166. D..94. 138. 16. 9. L. E. 327 Alvaro. C. 324 Ahern. 215. 322 40. 115. 8. 173. E. 300. 114. 300 Aidman.44.305 Alexander. 201.300 Bandura.. H. E. 195. 15.299 Ageton.300. 115.332 8. 113. 189... 14.315 Allman.246. 301.. 132. 200. 300 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. 244. D. 17.95.49. 233. 189. L. 201.Author Index A Abel.308. 170. 58. 299 Baron. 249.329 Abramson. 286. N. 59.. 31 1 Abelson. M. H. 173. 229.. 326 Barak.. 10. 137. 212. K. 318 Athanasiou. 10... H.299 Ahelman. 216. L. 94. 198.322 Anning. C. 36. J. 309 Baran. 300 Alcohol Sports. 241. 94. M. 200.300 Axelrod. 166. 178. A. A. 204. 313 Archer. S.299 Abel. A..37. 215. A.. 306 Barbaree. E. 70. 301.. 81. J. 286. H. R.85. 293.300 Arluk.300 Anderson. 22. 152. R. W. 8. 288. 195. 300 Atkin. 300 Alexander..301 335 .. 250. 212. 300 203. 198. 164. 9. Adam. 112. 169.299 Agrest. A..59..... B Babrow.320. 300 Anloroso.. 169. C. Barlow.300 Baker. J. 253.. 215. R..301 Bannert. 286. 93. G.. 87. S.. 23. 300 Alder.. S. 250. 162. J. J.299 Aboud.299. 6. D... D..... 178. E E. l? R. D.85.

304. D. 236. C. 81. A.303 Brown.. J. G. 232.316 Bigler. F A. 5. 14. 302 Berkowitz.. 250. L. 145. 206. 214. D. L. 310. 139. 246.322 Black. 6. 191. R. 223. 66. 7. 323 Broadcasting Standards Commission.300 Brownmiller.301. 253. 81. 38. 245. 184. 225. 18..230. 242. A.330 Bentley.. 202.90.. E. M. 218.302 Brannigan. 302 Beschloss. 262.259. 5.. 153. 241. E. 301. R. C. 250.. 94.88. 111. 136. 217.242. E. G. G. 185. L. 220. 74.281.. 146. D. 195. 133... 79. 127. 30. 304 Buvat.302 Braverman. 144. 190... 173.304 Byrne.. J.24. 218. 31 7 Berkowitz. Biblow. E. 286. 7.. 222. 190.303 Bronszkowski. 167. 176.334 Brandt..320 Brislin-Slutz. 206. E.. A.. D. 315 Blut. 37. 75..40. 220. 297. 186... 195. C. M. 191. 2 12.301 BBFC. A. 283.257.64. 15. 86. 3 16 Belch.. 89. 247. 178. 169. 318 Brown.. 101.299 Blanchard.303. 59. M. 119. 302 Bordner. 152. 106.303 Brown.278. 219. V. 111.304 Buss.302 AUTHOR INDEX Borchert.. 112. 97. 279. 73. 4. 144. S.303.. 99..330 Brosius.. E A. E... 202.320 Berscheid.325 Buerkel-Rothfuss... 253. l? K. J. 286.333 Buckhart.. 95. 301 ? Bello. 255. 223. 148. 232. 203.. 173. M..313 Brannigan. D. G. 31. 94. 203.312. 187. 8. 219. 8.302 Bogaert. l? B.. 229. 238. 82. 26. R.302 Benet. 243. M. 17. B.317 Braucht.. 195. M. 115..304 Busselle. 231. 31 1 Butler. D. 135.89. 245.45.5. 261.304 Bushman.336 Baron. 101.315 . 301 Bass. L.88.85. 248. E. 261. A. 31 7 Blackwell.. 169. J. 301. 166. 221... A.242. J. J. 195.. 10. 202.308.234.42. N. 32. 228. 150. 196. D. 301 Becker. G. K... G. M.301 Bassett. 296.. 182.. K. J.. 212.. M. 88. D.301 Barrett. 64. M. E. 216.N. 114... 9. A.. 252.258. 232. 302 Briere. D. 150. 189. 42. 307. 159. 302 Blumenthal.24. O.229... 302 Bern. 137.307 Blanchard. 308 Barrios. 4. 203. 180. 238. 214.303 Bryant. 314 Boddewyn. 262. J. 126. G. 245. 216. 35. J. L. 255.43. D. 204. 286.. 15. Bretl.302 Biely. J. 114. 232. A.37. J. 188. 59.. H-B.. 29. 74. J.42. 319 Billy.J.301 Baxter. 18.252. 202. 231.284.327 Brown.. 127.45. 99. 78. A.286. 243.301 Becker. 198. B..303... 65. M. 302 Beuf. 133. 139. A. B. 114. 75. 256. 251.. V.. 254. K. S. G. G.31 1. 15. 217. 142. D. B. 175. 303 Bross. 262. J. K.302 Billings. 262.313 Bowman. 177. 100. 136. 89.302 .327 Belch. 329 1 Burdeck.272.. 7. R. W. 198. 251. 302 Biocca. 133. R.323 Brown.. L. 304 Buvat-Berbaut. 203.299 Burgess. 302. 231. 189. 327 Bell.N.275.. 276.301 Beckett. R. 309. I A. D. 312 Buerkel-Rothfuss. 183. J. 145. 248. 231. 307 85. 235. T.. 148. L.. 167. 158.. 263.3 16. 191.91.299 Becker... 331 Baxter. 44. J. 251. 161. A. 151. 304 Burt. R.. 278. 185. 6.301 Bartell. 178. 198. S. 300 Bart. 236. 265. 232.. 10. 35..331 Blumler. G. 95. 178.318 Beezley. 136. 5. 24. 228. 264. 212.3 19.. 115. 25. 141. 178. 302. 41. 229. 5. 243. 307 Ben-Veniste.

255.. 154. 8.299 Ceniti. 122. 216. 199..H. 115.303.91. E M. 5. 305 Daley.. 36. H. 181. 174. 106. 95. 196. 236. 197.. 246. A. E . 330 Cline.238. 305 Court. 241.. 170. 160.. E. 258. 25. S. 117..307 Cohen.39. E.324 Charting the AdultVideo Market. J. 114.305 Costlin.. 245. 306 Chance. Crank. Corder-Bolz. R. 2 17.M.307 Check. 300 Daniels.244. 318 Cohen.229. 76. 202. S. C.269.331 ? Carnes. 114. 307 Colgan. 249... 294. 257. 295. 36. 283. 101. Caballero.319 Cosmides. 257..43. M. 322 Davis... J. R.. 306 135. 304.. 223. 306 Cantor. M.AUTHOR INDEX 337 Comisky. 59. M. 261.318 38. C. R. 117. Chase. A. X. R. H. 246. D... 162. A. 92.. 113. Carrol. 89. 133. K. 166. T. 94. 286. W.. 236. 256. 201.. 330 42. 259.200. 10. K.. Crum... 202.302. C. l C. 132. 231. G. 253.305 Davies. 88. 124. 238..307 127. Cushing.. 101.333 Colvin. 85. M. L.. 9. J. 309 305. 293. 8..323 Day. 59... I. 133.. 159.. J. 75. 133. J. G.. K. 135. 166. 189. 8. 67. D..3 I 2 Cowan.261. 89. 41. J. 8. E. 306 Day. 305 Dahl. 119. 177. 214. 222.. Cook. 286..30. J. C. 127.306.. 206. 333 Corman. 106. 305 Costa. 159.44.114. 86. 88.. R. 168. 59.. Coleman. J. 158. Corne. 181. E.. A. 220. R. J. 302 305. 258. 79. M. 255. 125.259. 306 Cantor. M. Carns..M.305 Covert. L. 18.35. M. 195. l? VU. 318 Courtright. R... 74. 272. E.284. E . C. E.299 Chebib. 300. C. 78.. 64.. V H . 216.40. 306. 235. 11 1. 104. I J.303 D'Alessio. D. J. R. E.306 Canary. R. 201. 178. 146. 127. 329 Ceulemans. 15. 232. A. 188. 142.. 9.. Cuvelier. 131..301 C . 86. R.299 Davis.306 Campbell. 10. 293. 150. J. 167..305 Daly. Crabbe..305. 35. E.316 Carstarphan. 325 Copeiand. 42. D. 82. 14. 332 Christenson.. 85. Jr. 115. 216. 59.333 Commission on Obscenity Pornography. 314 Chaiken. 153. G. 325 Courtney.31 1 Christensen. 16.. 111.. 187. 247.201. E S. 135. J. 29. A.. 34.306 Carveth. 184. 173. D.320 Chestnut. 163. 101. 117. 251. 59. 200. J. 42.305 Cook.. 305 242. 256..V. 233.310 Dambrot. A.316 De Riemer. 27. 89.305 Davidson.. 212. M. E H. 184. 304 16. 143. 91.334 190. 195. 158. E . 315 Christensen. K.325 Churchill.34. 111. 215.. K.262. 150.. 158. 305 Cope.305. J.. 305 D Childer. 307 Colman. G. 196. A.284. K. 241. 130.. 127. 204.306 116. J. C. H. 202.272.. J.326 Davis. D.. 196.45. 219. 306 Chaplin. G. 3 16 Childers. 195. A. 307 ? Christensen. 143.. 75. 15. Dannemiller.L..275. K. 303 Committee on SexualOffences Against Campbell. R. 215.316 Cook.293. 16. 233. 134. 141. 137.312 151. W. T D. 64.304 Compesi. 232. 282. 326 248. 306 Champion. S. T. 214. 306 Children Youths. J. 252.294. 162.306.319.. K. 7. 64. 248.306 234..306 Chapin. 296. 87. A. V B. S. 163.. 217. 25. 26. 307 Colman.. 307 191. 112.

107. 214.. 310 Freedman. 287. 308 Elias. 59... T M. l? E..304. S.328 Et-on. 43.. J. 12. 222. 174.302. 127. B. 15. 2 14. D. 181..3 Dorr. 29. 18. S. 297.303 Diefenbach. 86. 268. 218.. 230. 291.. 138.84.265.. H.300 Engel. T. 296..214. 251. 307 Dinero. 242. 95. 82. 222.. R. 310 Flanagan..232. 200. 308 Dow. 114. 75. 66.90. J.258. 310 22. F. Frazier. 132. 272.308 Donovan.307 Evans. 246. 316 AUTHOR INDEX Eccles.40. S. l?.35.308 Downs.. 142.38. D. J. 308 Donovan.309 F Fabes.327.. 77. 232... 153. S.316 Dipboye. 261.. 14.245.329 Duck. 250. R.306 Fox. 4. 153. 29.38. 270.. 88. 59. 314 Family Planning Perspectives. R. 308 Einsiedel.307 Devaney.66. 8. 5.D. 275. 247. J. M. J. 163. 205. 297.35. 116.307 Demare. 112. 152. S. 246. 213. M. 162.231.. 74. 262. C. A. 26. R.. 310 Franklin. M. 301 Fisher..262. 308 Dunn.59. 247.265. 186.307 Diamond. D.255. 79. J. E.308 Forest.. 315 Fosen.. 286. 195. 196. 246. 2 1.. 314. M. J.218. M. J. 145. D.9.37. 144. 195. A. 245.89. 145. L.309 Feingold. 249. 30. 64. E.177. 124.308 . 291.. 191. A.263.307 Dietz. 308 Downs.. 93.. 14. 275. 144.87. J.284. 295.. 8. 17.241. 9. 144. G..307 Diamond. 6.252. M. K. 90.309 Fisher. 170.309 Fiske. 318.186..307 Dermer. 214. S. W. J.309.86. 308.257. 131.. S.302 Evans. 251. A. R.. K. 186.307 Dodd. 95.. 166.33 1 Etzel. 296. 238... 198. D. L.. M..176.... M. 232.90.311 Ferrante. 329 Fairchild. 176.314 Fernandez-Collado. 78. C.. 332 Donnerstein. 308 Dworkin. 117. T E. 203.30. L. 264. 321 Domenech-Rodriguez. 220.. R. R.89. 214. 232. J. 6. 130. 16. 73.314 43. W. 112. 66. J. J. 81. 272. H. 159.331 Donnerstein.326 Franzblau. 249. 95. C. 215.293. D..31 1 Duf&. 80.308. L..310 E Earls... 76.308 Everard... R. 314 Elkind..321 Draves. 132.. 198. 67... J. C. W. 151. K. 116..309. A. 177. 163..307 Foerch. B. 250. H. W J. A. D. 133. 309 Farinola.. 146. 125. 253.255.. M. 122. 173. 201. A. 106.43. 308 Dykers..332 Earnest. 184. 134.309 Feshbach. W..320 Firestone.D. 81. 158. 64. 104. 316. 16. B. E. 218..307 DiClemente. 117.. L. I.304 Durkin.251. 202.316 Farinola..308 Emmers. 31 6 Farrell. 214. C. 301. F. 116..317 Dunkley. 69. 286. 307 Duran. 133. 195.. 298.. R. M.. 241.40.317 Eysenck. N. H.307 DHSSNelsh Office. 137.. 111. 147. J.308 Dolff. 198.60.338 Debevec.185. E. C. 112. 238. M. 309 Fauconnier. 286.. 320.. R. 12 Dorfman. 6. 251. 243. 294. 219. S. C. 272.305 Feild. 242. 112.314.304 Fisher. 307 Dietz. D. 86.314 Dienstbier. S.. 195. 26.H. J. Feshbach. 7. 136..91. 154.91. 7. 83.. B..325 Dominick. K. A. 158.286. 293. 78.242.. 150. V.

133. M. 171.311 Granello. A.204.309. I?. 261. Hansen.. K... 328 Greendlinger.312 Gross. 171. 134. 58. 58.. 95.303. C..301 Frenzel. 310 Gebhard. L. G.66. 321 Green. T. 310. 86. L. 201. 49. T. 84. 89. 95. 49. G.31 1 Gilmour.3 1 1 Gibbons. C. J... 144. 312 Hall.262.248. 150. 105. R. N.84.52. 31 1 Godenne.. 154. D. 196.. 253.. M.. H. Gutierres. M. 72. 163. I. S. 108..AUTHOR INDEX Freeman. 232. A.31 1 Goldstein. 215. 313 . 5. 323 . F.. 308 Hardy. M.. 104.. V. L. 93. 3 10 Friendly. E X. 7.312 104. 22. 328 Frueh. 230. 329 Gerrard. 153. 208. 8. 310.31 1. 167. 3 17 Hansen. 227. S. 16. 74. A. G. 286.304 Harrison. 262. 5. J. J. 242.. 106. 161.262. 24.. R. 292. H. 14. 307 Hartman. 94. 177.37.310 Friedrich-Cofer. 167.320 Hall. 3. 3 1 3 Hawkins. 227. V.305. 109. 312 G Gagnon. 82. M.84. 38. 186. K.. 84. 3 15 Goldstein. 2..312 Grenier... 308 Harry. G. 73. J. R. 10. 250.. 37. 198. 195. 246. 79. 23. 296. 238. 95. 315 Guttman. 312 Hallam... R. 8. 238..49. 181.311 Harmon. 245... 81.. S. B... 169. 249. 132. 242.67. 230. 3 . 313 Harrison. 283. 262. 243. 71..316 Gitlin. 321 Furnham. J.3 19 Gerbner.. 71. K. T. F E.3 1 1 Gilpin. 8.311 Gilligan. 35.331 H Haber.300 Geer. J.. 159... 247. C. 84. 160. Frost. C. 158. 59. L.. R. E. Guild. L. E. 212. 112.3 12 Greeson. S. 64. 3 13 Harris.315 Gurevitch. D. 173. J. A. 310 Furniss. 330 Handy. 178. G. E. A.250. 81.310. 202.31 1 Greenberg. 84.. 88. 248. 229. W. 55. 109. 310 Gander. 1. F E. 220. H. J.. 252. 310 Gergen.332 Gunther. 265. 248. L. 204. 309 Gross. 308 Hamilton..3 14 Gow. Jr. 160. S. Furstenberg.80. 202. 207. 113. K.. O.310 143. 82. 249. R. 54. H. 192.310 Geis.. 37.. 158. T. 248.313 Harre. 251. J. J.310. J. 60. 241.. 302 Goldman.. 325 Gagnon. E.. 153. 115.81. B. 238. A.36.. 332 Harman. 81.. 312..327 Geer. 3 12. 152. 312 8. 3 17 Freund.L....324 Garcia. A. 312.264. 176.. E.321 Goodchilds... D. 106.. 143. 160.299 247. 5. 25. W. C.. 324 T. 126.310 .3 Goldberg. B. 56. 169. 297. D..325 Harvey. 185. 264. H. 310 George. 82.144. 15.317 Gallup. R. B. R.. 195. 11 21. 75. 31 1 Graef. 100. C. R. 31 1 Glassman. 159. 105. L. 4 . D. M.. E H. D. 3 1 1 Green. 153.312 Harcar. T.. 42. K. Guloien... 227.316 Gebhardt.318 339 Grazer. 31 1 Gray. Fuson. 8.. 245.. R.311 Gondoli. 94. L. D. 198. 161. B. 158. 170.232. T. 102. 72.305 Gunter. 133. J. 231.310. 61.. 243. H.3 15 Goldenberg. 296..43. R.323 Geis. 222. S. 74. 81.312 232.. 103. 2 12... 313 Harris Associates. 88.. 195. 250. Furstenberg. J. 199.. 39.. 141.78. 262. I. 163.. 248. 141.

315 73. W. B. 158.340 Hawkins.212. L. C. 171. 313 Hirsch. 5. 14.. R. 314 Jessor.. 215. E.44.. Jr. 75. 10. 199. 161. 134.. D. 242. 6..314 Johnson.315 Kenrick. J. 84. 160. R. 86. H.307 Kessler. 314 Jakobovits.315 Judd. S.315 Jones. E M. J. 111.104. 212. A.... 142. B. 207. H. S. 332 Hodges.313 Heaton. B. 315 Henthorne. E..324 Kernan. 201. J.. 198. M. 300 J Jackson-Beeck. 275. 2 12..3 12 Heilbrun.. C. R.315 Kerin. 106.313 Hodgson. 204. 82.. 307. 201. 161...314 Iritani.230. L. 238. 250. 324 Hogan.279. L.314 Intons-Peterson. Y. L.. B.3 14 Johnson. 315 Katz. 314 Jeffries-Fox. 181. L. B. 158.. B. M. E.. 3 14 Johnson..159. G. 328 Henderson. 315 Hopkins. 195. D.313 Herman. 49. 195. 162.M.. K. 112. J. D. 214. 212. 143... 159. 112.. J. T. M. 296.144. 113. 238. 314 Horn. 202.. 113.. 153. 150. 206. . M.314 Horton. 209. 114. S. 301 Hollabaugh. 313 Heim.. 79. R. 17.. 314 AUTHOR INDEX Independent Television Commission. 314 95. 186. R.313 Holgerson..201. 37... 232.. S. D. 72. 238. J.. W. H. 195. 216. 95.309 Haynes..314 Hughes. L.3 1 1 Kelley. 190.. Kennedy. 3 13 Hazen. T.. 206. L. A. 84. 82. 325 Howard. 8. 195.L. 182.. J. 201. M. Jessor. S. 200. G. 8. 159. 314 Hoyt. 95.315 Jones. K... 10. 95.224..328 Impoco. 35. 300. 314. 310. 167. 160. 180.E.238.313 Haynes. 314 Keesling. B. 313. 88. 313 Heintz.. M.. R.. 214. E. 5..322 Hazelwood. C. B. J. 195.. 158.... J.. H. S.311 Juvenal.31 1 Kantner. 40. J.. E. 112. 315 Kant. B. 313 Herold. 212. K.313 Heeter. 3 15 K Kahle.313 Herold. S. A. B..A. 5. 315 Joseph.. 59. M. R.. K. 3 15 Kamins. 241. 322 Katz. E.210. 224. 330 Heintz-Knowles. 3 17 Hill... 174. 232.. E.299 Hayes... 296. L. R. 78. 112. E. 329 Hayashi. 3 17 Herman. 59. 23. R. 166. 201. 21.3 14 Independent Broadcasting Authority.....330 Kaiser Family Foundation.203.332 Huston. 10. 160.313 Helmreich. E A. S.3 13 Henshaw. J.A.. D. 84.. 320 Jaffee.. 312 Hendren. W. K. R. J. C. 76. L. A. 41. 311 Kant. M. 320 Heinberg. 310 Jessor. 84.. S. 106. 313 Head.. 324 Kahneman..230.. 217. 28. J. J. 196. R. L.43. J.. L.220.. 314 Jaffe. 15. 304. 80. J..93.322 Homer. 315 Judd.. D.315 Joint Select Committeeon Video Material. 297. 25. 314 I Ickes.. 315 Katz. 333 Hsu.315 Kannin. 8. 309. 327 Howard. 201. 151. 52.. 212. 255. 116. H. M. T. H. J.299 Hebditch. S. 315 Kahn. Jr.275..59. D. R. L.. 6.. A. 293.310 Jaeger... S. H. 95. 180.314 . K. 144.271. L..332 Kaplan.

43. 293. 232. K. 92. 49. 127. 115. 189. 60. L.307 Levy. 114. 232. 145... 180.. 191. 195.. 315. J. 113.. 112.318 Landini..43. 6. 238. 212.313 Longford. 178. 118.317 Lahey..33 1 Kunz. 78. 320 Koznar. 142. 35.. M. J.316 Krcmar.301 143. 269. A. E. 282. 195.. 115. D. 78.286. M. B. J. 164. 334 Kitagawa. 325 Kline. 323. J. 149. 59. 313 Klein. 158. 297. R. D. 291. 275. 59... 130. 78. R. L.AUTHOR INDEX Kibler. D.313 Kling. D. G. D. O..37. 241.. R. 304 Lenderking.317 Larsen.. M. 198.. 176. K..301 Korzenny. 31 1 Koss.3 18 Klemmack. 89. 250. S.80.. 3 16 Klein. 59..3 18 Longino.. 189. 317 Kurzbard. 194. 152.. 194.. 272.. 153...44. 6 38.81.. 103.317. Kimes.325 Liptzin. 246. 191.H. 258. 39. R. 25.. 39. N. 100. . 196. D. 86.. 231. 318. E.45.328 Kutchinsky. M.201. J. A. 318 Leonard. 286. M. C. T. 75. 198.331 Lance. E. W. 30. 316 Lears.316 L.317 . 224. 304 Lambiase... A. C. C. 298.. 148.. 307 Lipton. 119. 8.317 Laws. 176. 106. 148. 137. 164. 238.. A. R. B. 165.305 Laflcy. 7.. E.317 341 Lamberth. L.322 Laws.. R. A. A. 25 1 . 159. 196. H. R..45. 60..308. 196.262.. 241. H. M.. 212. 74.316 Kirby. 41. 14. 95.. 264. 212.317 Lang. 243. Klemmack.. 198.301 10.. 125.. 177. 325 Loftus.250. 72. E. 163.. 127. E. G. S. 316 Kingsley. 84. L. 152.316 Killoran.332 Lipkin. 268. 117. 127..316. 136.. S. 191.314 Knill. 297. 144. 238. 149. 197.34. 224. 245.. 66. 151.316 Kimball. 153. 180. 86. 6 9 . 119. 283.. A. A. J. 60. 256. 304. 60. 286. 3 14. 125. 18.314 Knape.C. 15. R. 198.. B.44. E. R. 257. 319 Kirkpatrick. S. 250. 195.3 17 Lanthier.. 316 23. M. 23. A. S.. 197. E.317 Langevin. J. 307 Lemare. Levy. 81.. 301 Leventhal. J. 293. 260. 16.. M...296. 3 17 Lazarus. 284. 59..D. 230. W.G..36. 316 Kruglanski. 78. 179. 283.221.95. D. 325 Krafka.244. 241. 300 Kimmel. 37.302 Kupperstein..316 Kline.308. 289.. C.309. 91. 263.316 Kunkel. M. LaPlante...309 Kinsey. M. 168. M. 143. 117. 116. 325 Lambourne. 255. E. 262. J. 195. 26. K.33 1. 283..317 Laumann. 41.29. 180..327 Lederer. 119. 265. R.93. 10. 5.3 18 Lin. D. 165. 147. R.. 72..312 Linz.. 162. 32. 138. 161. 248. 9. E.. 167.3 16. D. 197. A. 232. 18. 264. 242. 316 Koop. M. 185. 102. 243. 40.318 Liebert.317 Lachance. M..3 16 Koppman.316 Krattenmaker. 319 L Laan.316. C. 306 Kilbourne. 182. 318 Leslie. 112. 318 Lips..3 19 LaTour. R. 122. 315 5 Linders.94. 301 Lang. 190. 59. 290. 150. 241. 306.40.327 B. 248...318 Land. M. J. 281.45. A. D.. M.. H. 248. 238. K. L. 212.242. L. 316 Kuchenhoff. E.. K.. L.42. 318 Lee. 117. 198. M.. 83. K. 161.. 315. 139. 15.31 7 Lawrence. 172. L. 202. 22. 42. 318 Lincoln. 132.. M.49. Linsangan.

.308. 83. 116. 166.. A. 60. 21. 215. 204. 150. 3 14. I?..321 McCormick.246.307 Michael.330 Morgan.. 53. 287. E. 76. W. 144. 143. J. Mitchell. 250. R.. 201. 250.63.78. 58.304 Meyerson.R. J.324 . 78.319 Losco. 69. 322 Martin. 319 T. 182. Mathews. 330 Louis Harris Associates.. 237. M. Moffit. 220. S. 215.. 64. 191.. H. 16. L. 10.331 Madden. 111.320 Mackinnon. 136. 321 286.321 247.320. J. 126. l? N. N. S. 122. 113. 202. 106. 214.. 82.299 Medoff.342 Lopez. 95.91.. 196.. E. 66.. A. R.217.296. 181. 72. 304 Lyons. 249. 37.. 255. J. C.. K.. D. 184. N. 325 Mann. 179. A.330 McCall. 333 Masland. 238. E. 135. 3 18..68. Lowry.69. J.293. 310.. 173. Mifflin. C. 175. 269.125. 237. 186. V..321 McKenzie-Mohr. 215.. L. 304 257. 188. 167. 143. 216. B. A.M. 318 McConaghy. J.. 105. Michaels. 130.321 McGhee. 153.. 58.3 1. 248. C.64... Milkman. Miller. N.333 M a c h . 7. 170. 23.13. 39. 51. 195.254. T. 196. Miller. 84. J.. Mould. 64. 3 2 7 75. 322 Maxwell. 175. 151. 252.. 8. 133. 132. 327 McKay. W. S.. T. 321 149...32. 190.. 324 McGaugh.32 1 Myers. 258... 178. M. Molitor. 168. 67.302. 172. 252. 81. J. 189. C. 304 75.. 303 36.. 33 1 Mundray.310. 166.. 262. 146. 221. 79. 81.. 212... H. 251. 320 Morrison. 227. V. J. 322 286. L. 325 Mosher. 18. 223. 222. 321 M Mechanic.E.323 Mathes. T. 275. 78. 261. 321 322 Melnyk. 144. 66. I. 117.308 Meyer. 40. 238. 90. 316 Mundorf. 309. 112.. 84. 68. 145. 142. 227. 223. 177. 191. 268. 261. 50.39. 232. 238.310 McGraven. 55.37. J. 229.89. I?. 67. 40. A. 332 Muehlenhard. 108.319 Lubenow. 2 9 3 Lovdal. S..219. 112.T. L. 292. 70.322 Murphy. G. 321 131.. 104. 321 Mangan..23. C. 78. D. S. 263.305 Luis. A. 94. E. 167. 319 AUTHOR INDEX Mazzarella. 187. 59.320 Moore. 72. S. 3 17 McDaniel.. 89.319 Love. 6. 323 Manes. 321 174.L.321 Mantheir.324 McNeil. L.39. B. 235. 3 19 Meyberg. 198. Meischke. Namuth. 321 31 9. 197. 245..37. G. 236. 230.324 Lubitz. 112. 328 Lumpkin. A.. D.. Marhsall.321. 241. T.322N Mayes. 296.321 McGhee. E. 3 17 Malamuth. H. 74. 15..311. D. 2 14. 145.. D.. 3 14 Mayerson. I? A.. 243. 127. 153. I?. M.. 173. Marcolin.. 52. 196.... 321 Miller. M. 169. 134.326 255. 204..230. 196. J. 227. 253.. 148. B.24... 75. N. M.326 Mackinnon. D. 265. 62. E E. 305 101. 310. 122. L..301. Murray. 180. 254.. 74. 212. 262.. 106.320 Morgan. 72. L. N. 112. 321 139.321 McMullen. D. A. K.201. 78. I?. 58. T. 238. 82. H. 82..89. D.204. 85. 37.70.. 71. 231. 238. 189.322 170. Millwood-Hargrave. G. 60. J. 238.300 Murrin. L. I?. M.. L..32I Madden. R. 305...112. 231.

99. H. 75. 229.324 158.228. 114.324 Potter. 297. 191.328 Propper... 99. Pitts. 44. G. 323.T S. 190. M. 112. 117. 324 Pettey.. B.316 36. G. E. 118. 304 Paletz. 196.. Pingree.326 Peters. 304 R Rachman. 293. M. 3 16 Postman. K.. 159. L. 247. 149. 325 .323 Paisley. 201...215. 192. M.324 0 O'Brien. 195. 303 Phares. 212. 264. 104.297. H. L. 283. N.T. 196.324 Porter.31 1. J.. 196. 130. 8. 22 1.. 114. E. D. A. 324 343 Peterson... 162. 163. 202. 300. 189. 202. 194. 307 122. 283. C..304 Neal. 323 Neuendorf. 78. 324 Prince. 77..81. 232. J. 23. L.300 Pruesse. 323 Orne. 195. J.. D.. J. 7. B.. 72.. 181. J. 325 Reep. M. J. W. W T.327 Rak. E.323 PerlofY. 178. D.. 238. 178. 323 Oros. 315 Peterson. 316 Pope. 136.324 Petley. L.. 323 Pearson. 204... 215.323 Percy. L. T.323. 291.299 Persch. 231. R. 198.308. J. 74. 323 Q Quinsey. T. 158.. M.323 O'Grady. A. A. H. M. 97. 196. 261. 95.. 286. S.39.. 95. 323 Peck. 145. 324 Principe. 203.44.323 Oliveri. 158. 204.. L. A. 232. O'Connor. W. 256. A. E.. 201.E . S.. 16.233.325 Rapaport. 166. 232.. 228. 3 17 Planned Parenthood of New York City.94. G.300 Pines.329 O'Donogue. 159.324 D. D... J.324 Randall. 323 L. 138. D. R. K. J. 112. 10. 167. 115. S. 49..306 Padgett. 230. 329 81. 327 143.. 316 Olson...68..303. C..60.AUTHOR INDEX Nathanson.. 246. A. L. M. A.325 58.. 284.. 78. C. 37. Reichert. 232. Jr... 196. 17.. 323 Norris. H. 324 Potneroy.. 67. M.W. D.. 324 Preston. 309 Nikopoulou. 199. 212. 158.303 Penrod. 33 1 Ransdell.322 Ogden.312 Perry. V L. R. 316 Perry. 4. 302. D. 312 Neuman. 325 Pilkey. C. C. 70. 246. 7..23 1.298. 3 IO. Reed. R. J.310. 119. 331 Powe. 151. 8. 173. E. 117... K.. 323 Nystrom. E.. 15... 148. Y. 7. 37...324 Radtke. O.. 243...323 Patzer. 199.324 Polskin.90.. E. 238. 324 Quittelier.. 136.316 P Pacht.. 232. 58. 169.. A.. 281. B. 88. 316 Press.263. M...324 Pribram. Nias. IIIC. R. 116. 173. L. 258. S.318. Perse. 94. A. 106.316 Pyszczynski. 115.. V R. 122. T. L.. J. 159.. B. Pursey. 323 K. 176. 131.303 Norris.324 Reese... 17. 196. 11 1. 8. 81.. J.322 Newcomer. 137. 315 Rapaport. 64. 234. 197. 157.. 94. 288. K.. S. 106. W. 115. Pa1ys. M. 307 Pytkowicz.

327 Sherr.L. 59.327 Shemberg. 181.84..317 Sidman. 14.312 86. 52.316 215.. 206. 217. 60. E....329 Shaw. 233. 88. 202. B. J. 303 99.326 Sapolsky. 310. 184.. 246. 70.T. 325 201. N. 214. C. E. 333 Singer..88.. 180.265. 310.325 Rockwell. 112. 197. 325 Salvosa... 60. W.. H. H. 268.. 23. E.. 15.. H.. 10. 301 Sintchak.295. 21. 72. Sherif. 330 250..314. B. 43. 241. D. R. 89. 327 Singer. 122.. 3 18 Scott. 242. 326 Russo. 161. 326 Schwalm. 66. M... L. 181. L. 151. 81. 328 Singletary.299 "I.327 Sherman. B.327 Severn. 133.38. 294. 236. A..300 Shaw.30.. 163. 196. K. 325 Schmidt.333 Singh. 113..325 Rimmer. 215.. 238. 49. 296. 23. Richins. 21. J. D. G. 167. 162. 219. B. 70. 327 Silverman.333 Sarason. 326. 180.. Silbert.327 Simon.3 14. 198. 320 Siemicki. 41.. 17. 305 Shirkey. 242. 100. Seif. 115. M.326. 327 Shibley-Hyde..326. 3.. D. 112. 215.. 143. 180.302 133. Schmidt.. 194... D. E.. 44.31 1 Richards. J.. L. 95.317 Scott. 153..227. 244.. E. 202. 26. 223. 24. 21.299 Rothblatt. A. 178.. C. 3 12 23. B. 33..326 Schumann.313 Senn. l?. 242. N. 215. 254. 326 Scheltema. W.. M. 206. 15. 89. M. J. J. L.3 13 Seeley. 158.91.35. 325. 9. 163.. 160. 324 Satow. 29.. 201. 191. H. 78. 9.242.328 Silverman-Watkins.J. 41.73.. 221. 204.299 Seeley. L. N. 326 Rubin. 218.. 78.. 216. 9. 95. Shaver. 49. 43. Salmon. 245. 40. T. H.327 Schorin. 119. C. I. 106. 192. Robert. M. 59.T. C. V.. 83. 327. 293. M. 178. S.88. A. C. 71.327. A. J. D. R.326 Sancho-Aldridge. 176. 117. 286. 11.299 Rouner. 59. S. 189. 67. 326 Schwartz. 232.304 E. M. E M. B. W. 64. 212. E. E. D. 328..327 S Sadd.288. 196. 166. 159. 84. 325 Reinfeld. 318 Shatzer. 72.317 Rubinstein. G. 75. L. E.... J. 33. 12.321. 150. 221.325 Roberts. A.244.327 Russell. 9.. J. D. 325 Robertson. Sitnpson. Signorielli.. 242. 166. 184. 5. 237.82... 204.309 Shirley. 215. H. 224.. 323 Roth. 113. C. 181. 35. G. 268.299 Roskos-Ewoldsen. Sigusch. 329 Reifler. M.331 Sibrel.. B. M. Richmond. K.. 162. 191.327 Shafer. R.. K. M. 197.N.312 Sandford. 151.325 Rubin. 150. 212. A.. L.327 Shaw. G... 82. 94. 232. R. 325 Rimm.. 115. 212.204. D.. 8.J. 325 Riley. 70.327 H. 326 ? Secord. 327 Report of the Special Committeeon Pornography Prostitution. 315 Rossiter. B..L. D. 325 Rice.91. Y. I E . K. M. 83. 117.32 1 Rotter. 272. 216.323. 142. 1. 81.E. 329 72. 10.. 143. G. 178. 216.327 Shuker.. D. C. D. D. 292. 9. 3 14 .241.326 Schafer. E. 34.. J. 86. 1.. 314 Rosoff.. 205. 42. 74. 303 Romano. 133. 327. 325 Rouleau. 93. R. J.326 204. 325 Rintz.. S.. 327 82. A.. 143. Rothschild. L. J.. 238. 32. M. 22. 325 Robinson. J. J.. Schwartz. 135. 326 AUTHOR INDEX Schaefer. E.. 261. 80.310 212. A. 314 Showers.206.. C.344 Reid..241.

320 Spitzberg. 328 Steadman. C.320 81. 21.82.328 Special Committee on Pornography Prostitution. R. 59. J.306 Slater... G. 328 Snook-Luther..164. G. 231.329 Strouse. J. 243. 162. C. J... S. 119. 329 Stipp.. B. 90. 144. 212.328 Steele.43..80. H.. A. 84. 194. 328 Stice.. 103. 233. 23.. S. Sullivan.. 'X. 202. 166. E. E.. 194.. 199. S.314 345 Strickland. 220.312 E Soldow.304 Stahly. J. 17. J. J. J. 116. 40.. S.35. E. 284. K. 328 Starr..330 . Tomkins. 98. 144. 306 B.. 198.301 Straus. L. 113.329 11 Thomas. 204. 236... 24.61... 113. S. C. M.. A. 330 Tuchman. G. 320 Soderman. 68. . G. J. 39.. 306.327. 195. 283.R. B. 86. 119. 58. 254. 59. E. A.. C. 37.AUTHOR INDEX Sirkin. 6. Commission on Obscenity PornOgraphy. 330 11 Turow. R. 112. 3 17 Snyder. I... 242. J. 84. 23... J.45. 264. 231. 302. 318 Sprafkin. 123. 194. 55.315 Strouse. 115.310. 236. E. Suder. 329 67. L.163. 114. 329 Towles. D. 321 Svennevig.. 182. 205. J. 238. 242... D. 302 Upfold. 328 Slater.332 Smith.. 67.326 Tan.80. 223.. K. 106. 173.. 32 1 Taylor. A.312.330 Trachtenberg. G.309. 304 Sprafkin.328 Skinner. 234. 201. M.. 100. 79. C. L. 181. 228. Smith. H. 44. 249.328 Sockloskie. 200. N. 113. S. M. 330 U Udry. 69. J. 117..241. E.. 172.43. 201. N. 196.. 283. L.3 13 10. 197.329 Stringfield.329 Tavris.. 39. 201.329 Stoller. 64. 328 Steele. D. S. H.. E H. 284.328 Soley.93. 301 Steinem. 9. 3 13. Tong.93.95.. D. C. 56.241. 81.. D. 54. 95. M..329 Tannenbaum. 314 Thomas.. 230. 126.. H.330 V Van der Voort. 24.. 125. 322.. 238. 262. 293. 180. 331 Smuts. 244. B. 293.299 10.V. 43. A. 329 170. 328 Soley. 325.328 Spinner. 325 Smith.329 Tooby. R. 221. M. R. 72.330 Tversky. 150. A. 328 Spence. 329 Swan.330 Vance. 7.. 134. 298. 118. 329 Strasburger. R. E. 293. 241. 102.. M. D. 304. 310 Tedesco. 22.. 112.. B.. S. 78. 329 Taylor. 307 Snyder.328 Staab. S. 202...91. 90. 6. D.. C. 197. 162. 329 T Tabarlet.329 272. J. 232. 331 Stock. J. Stanley.. 204. 1.. 201. J. M.201. 85. J. 202. 107. O. 53. 196.147. 243.. 303 Stack. 49. D. 44.. A. G.242.. 212.. 33. 94. R. D. 318 Taylor. J.91. 293. 329 Strate. 151.. 85. 177.. 329 Tinkham. 21. 231. 87. Smith. 238. 328 200. D. G.304 Stutman.328 39.. 71. 330 Trussel.. 261. 55.328 Stein. 12. 9. D. 329 Tjaden. E G. R. 41. 113. 117. 52. A. 312.. 287. G.. G.. 303.E. L. 99..L.324 US. 324 Straus. 23.E.. 185... T. 21. 196.... 238. J. 1. 235. 10. J. 325 Slade. M. Stauffer..34. 319 Townsend.313 Thompson. Thornburg. Stengel.S. A. 286. S.. 329 Sunderwirth. 303 Steenland. 328 116.

. S.. B. 331 West. Volk.36. 332 Young.. 232. J. 285. 81. 119. 182. 73.. 332 Yang..313.. J. 145.321 Zavoina.. 330 Walsch-Childers. 81.268. K. D. B.. 3 12. E. 325 Zelnick.325 E. M. 130.324 Walker. 293. 139. 161. 16.224. 251. R. 331 Wilson. 230. 13. 225. C.57. G. 147. G.R.. S..74. W. 195. 315 5. 245. 203. C. 248. 331 Watson.40. C. 113. 243.. 324 Wells. I. 145... J. 332 Winstone. 218..39. C. 256. G.331 Webber. R.. G. 158. 238. 44.315 Wagner. 330 94. 212. G.346 Vanden Bergh. 84. 15. 33 1. 303 89. 33 I Widmann. R. K. L.231. W. 204.. 223. E. 173.... J. Watson.45. 194.. 33 1 Williams. C.303. 116.301 Ward.. M. D. 228.300 Wartella. Weidemann-Sutor. 214. 283. Walsh Miller. R. Wallace... 332 84. 246.328..330 Wallace. 250. D. 39.324 Venkatesan.38. 99. W. 244. 292..326 Wagner. E. 195. 191.305 AUTHOR INDEX Wiley.. 316 Wydra.332 Wylie. 184. 122. 173. 192.310 Walster. 331 Wilson.331. M. 41. 163. 66. 117. A. 331 Williams Committee Report. Walsh. 330 Waszak. 163. 199.. 262. A. M.. 233. 3. Wunderlich... J. D.3 10. D. 260.330 Wehmer.326 Varney.330 Villareal. 331 Wilensky. 332 Wilson. 201. 59..305..330 Warwick. 84. 206.328 z Zabin. 133.. 212.39. B. E .. D.J..52. 312 Willis. 242... 220309. N. M..330 Ware. E.. 216. D. 230. 227. 104..N. B..257. Zahn. 144. 281. 221..306 White. E. R. 200. S. C. 332 Wolmuth.300 Weber. 33 1 Wilson.330 Wagner. 159. L. 296. B.. 202. 197. 119. 227. M..332 Woods.330 H. S. L.315 Whipple.206. 198.. 221.. 254. 223. 180. 18.3 17 Wulf.. 217. 42. 214.. 259.. 64. 331 Wimmer.89. 95. Zanna. B. 252. 300 E.314 Wilcox.. 86. 6. R. 231. 17. E. D.327 Y Yaffe. 106.. 140. R.332 232. 27. 74. 286. 65. 137. 191. 303 White... G.. E. T. Inc. 204.330 Wattleton.. 177. W. A. M. 208. G. 231. 326. 289. D. 229. H. 207..333 .302 Walters.230.57. 6. E.. 264. 84. 70. 79.. J. 236. 178. 84. A.332 Wood. 284. 212... 118. 122. 2 13. 219. C. B. 331 Williams. 12.330 Waller.40.. C. H..327 Weingartner. M. 250. 228.. 312.318 Windahl. 195. 248. 59. 115. A. S. 320 Westoff. 332. 227. 75. 115. Winick. D.. 4. Weaver. 332 w Wagenhals. G.332 Wright. 312 Wober. 17. 258. C. K. A.. 237.. 332 Wilson.333 Weaver.317. 112. 220. 180. R. B.332 Zillmann. 32. 113.. 331 59. 137. Wilcox. 231.330 88. 75. 5. 331 18. 105.. 215. 78. 205. 89. 301 Vincent. C. 114. 139. 64. M. S. 331 West. 234. S.. 35. 243.. 81.

AUTHOR INDEX Zuckerman. 275. D....333 Zurcher.314.316 347 . 272. L. L. 112.334 Zwanin. A. 59. M.

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provocative. 132-136. 170 Addiction. 187-188 explaining media sex effects. sexual and link to pornography. 216 arousal-affect model. 172 Aggressive cue model. 166. 160 sexual behavior. 35-36. 196-1 99 social issues. 217-220 catharsis. 261-264 cultivation effects and media sex. 91. 2 15-2 16 trusting media sex research. 75 Archival studies. 250.43 soap operas. 253 Arousal-affect model. 181. 179.188-190 erotica viewing.206 Aggression -attitudes link in male nonoffenders. 203-205 use of sex. 144-145 male response to violentsex scenes. 185-186. 171. 200. 24 Adult entertainment. 9-10. 256-257.230-232 interactive erotica. 244 Arousal model erotica and nonoffenders. audience. 5. 93 Acting out.11-12. 59. 215. see also Teenagers/young adults erotica and sexual deviance. 258 -sex link and XXX-rated home videos. 273-274 Advertising future. 298 Antisocial deposition.181-182. 2 17-220 Attention. 294. 4 1 Attitudes changes and viewing of sexually explicit materials. 194 Age. 259 Antisocial behavior. 75-76 trusting media sex research. 51. see also Attitudes conceptual limitations in pornography research. 180. 23. 137 44 349 . 222 AIDS. 108.91 Antifemale attitudes.92.Subject Index A Abortion. 254. 183-185 media sex effects arousal. 160-161. 220 media sex research. see also Advertising Attire. 170 Adolescents. 212-213 sexual imagery. 295 Adult language.

201 Britain regulation of media sex. computer erotica. 146-149 Attractiveness. advertising audience impact. 75. 163 Brand recall. see Body-isms Body self-image. 37. 248 Audience commercial impact of sex. 206. see also Television Canada. 95 Body-isms. see Classification and Ratings Administration Catamenial devices. 205 Beliefs. see also Standards Complaints. 196 Attrition. 41 Conditioning. 293. 271. 258 Bisexual sex. selective. see also Advertising Bondage. 275. 200. 220 Cognitive listing procedure. acceptability. see also Advertising Body parts. 2. 55. television ratings. 94 Children. see British Broadcasting Corporation BBFC. 199-205 consumer opinion. 65 BET.272 Cognitive labeling. 150-154 media sex influence on teenagedyoung adults. 287-288. 60-61. 276. 205-2 12 future of sex. 89 public opinion of acceptability of sex. 37 stimulation beyond the laboratory. 42 Blacks. 198-199. 199-203 social impact of sex. 202 Cognitive responses. 2 15 Consumerism. SUBJECT INDEX BSC. 91. 270. 106 Content-stimulated processing. 182. 113 sex-related and television. 50 British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). 274 Classification and Ratings Administration ( C A M ) . 3 1-32 public opinion of acceptability. 85. 275-282. 93 Counseling clinics. 209 Comprehension. 6-7. 205-2 12 Content analysis. 292 pornography. 3-4. 4 Commercials. 295 Character realisms. 204. 17-18 Commodities. 242 Content-centered processing. 119 Bookstores. 220-221 Censorship. 9-10 Consumers harmful effects of sex. 179. 52.298 C A M . 26. 203-204 Bestiality. 275 Broadcasters.62-63 Contraception consumer opinion about sex in advertisements. 191 Counting method. sexual. 197-198 Commission on Pornography.279.277-278 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 199.108 Bias. 202 Concept videos. 188-190 intervention sessions. 284-286 sex on television. 196-199 Community standards. see British Board of Film Classification Beer commercials. 3-4.350 commercial impact of sex. 200 erotica and nonoffenders.282 . messages. see Broadcasting Standards Comtnission C Cable television. 296 B BBC. 106 Context. 272-275 Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). 169 Authoritarians. 44 Black Entertainment Television (BET). 207 risks/responsibilities and media sex. 20-2 1 53 puritanical and pornography. see Black Entertainment Television Beverly Hills 902 IO. 145-146 Commentators. 292 opinions. adult. 173. 27. 90.278. 93. 203-205 Australia. 12 Catharsis. 168. 198. 2 12-2 13 representation of sexual imagery. 124. 91-93.

196 Drama programs. 4-5 .SUBJECT INDEX Courts. 201-202 Dehumanizing pornography. 195 portrayal of women in sexually explicit material. 115 trusting media sex research. 248 Evidence clinical. see also Pornography Denmark. 73-74. 125 sex portrayal and acceptability. 295-296 35 1 beneficial effects. 58-61 exposure and early studies of sex offenders.249-25 1 Education. 64 Double entendre. 138 Erotophilia. 221-222 Domestic roles. 74 trusting media sex research. 82-85 Cultural fundamentalism. 177-181 violent and aggressive behavior. 111 socialization and script theory. 190 Emotional incompatibility. 253-254. 195 Exposure heavy-dosage cultivation of antifemale attitudes. 259 Deviancy. 58 Evaluation apprehension. 143-149 media sex effects antifemale values/beliefs and cultivation effects. 190-192 consumer attention and advertising. 149 pornography distinction. 160 gender and individual responses. see Media sex. 119. 278 Erectile dysfunction. impact consistency social science and effectiveness of controls of media sex. 220-22 1 Decency barriers. 66 impact on sexual behavior in nonoffenders. 235-238 Excitation transfer theory. 2 16-2 17 Etnotions sex-role stereotyping in media. 2 17-2 19 desensitisation. 144 Erotophobia. 13-14 Decorative models. 255 use and sexual deviance. 115. 191 Erection. 157 Cultivation effects. 285 Desensitisation attitudes toward women. 116. 181-189 interactive effects. 73-74. 166-172 experimental exposure to violent pornography and sexual deviance. Dominance females as sex objects in advertising. 39. 1 1 1 12 1. 135-136. 44. 195 debates. 222-226 portrayal of women in pornography. 180 Erotica availability and offence to public taste. 226-235 Cultivation theory. see also Individual entries Daydreaming. 147. 51-52. 68-72 Empathy. 22 1 motivational factors for use in maledfemale.137 D Date rape. 298 Criminal behavior. 136. 169-170 viewing and male attitude toward rape. 104 Exploitation. 23 1 arousal model. 137 Encrypted channels. 172-174 consistency. 116 sexual personality. 119. 2 16 violent and disinhibition. 297-298 Evolutionary theory. 44. 138 explaining media sex effects. 161-163 Deprave-and-corrupt test. 144 Ethnicity. 224 emotional incompatibility. 15-16 films/videos and attitudes. see Sexual deviance Disinhibition. 2 16 arousal-affect model. 137. 230. 22 E Ecological validity.

68-72 Gender-role stereotyping. 17. 2 15 attitudes toward erotica. 64 Hostility. 71 Fidelity. 124. 85-88 Feminists cultivation effects and media sex effects. see also Aggression I Idealised pornography. 198. 63. 126-127 sexuality and the sexes. 205 differences in depictions of sexual behavior. 176 G Gallup poll. 66 sexual activity and role of television. 198 Family. 96-97 sexual scripts. 292-293 Femme videos. 11-12 Heterosexual sex. 275 Fantasies catharsis in explaining media sex effects. 203. 15-16 media sex portrayals on nonoffenders. 22-23. 123. 44 Heterosociality. 174. 227 Family hour. 27-30 Family planning clinics. 233 erotica debates. 133. 199 Faces.226 soft-core pornography. 276.171 sexual and erotica impact in nonoffenders. 298 Forced sex. 113 erotica damaging. 208 Family Viewing Policy. 15 sexual personality. 203. 69-72 social/sexual implications and media sex. 30 Films arousal model. male. 44. 158-159 Extramarital affairs.277-278 sexually explicit and influence. 86. 65 Health. see also Rape Fraser Committee. 6. 184-185 responses to sex scenes.89 slasher. 142. 287-288 Fundamentalists. 113-122 self-regard and pornography. 82-84 Germany. 7 1 Homosexuality. 204 degrading by media sex perceived impact of portrayals. see also Pornography . 293. 74 viewing violent and aggression. 293 F Face-isms. 17. 164 H Habituation beneficial effects of erotica. 58-61 implicit sexual portrayals and message comprehension. 223. 66-67 script theory. 121-122 First Amendment rights. 169. 180 Females advertising. 177-178. 33-34 individual responses to sex scenes. 125 public opinion surveys on regulation of media sex.352 erotica impact on sexual behavior in nonoffenders. 70. 179. 179-180 pornography and early studies of sex offenders. 223. 224-225. 6-7 television role models. 220. 131-132 pornography use and sexual deviance. 123. 207. 221 instigation of aggressive in males. see also Surveys Gender commercial impact of sex. 116. 13-14. 191-192 explaining media sex effects. 80. 113 SUBJECT INDEX perceived impact of degrading portrayals of women. 60. 123-126 portrayals in more explicit materials. 106-107 regulation of media sex in Britain. 297.

160. 203. 179 individual responses to sex scenes in X-rated videos. 297. 132-136 do effects vary with portrayal types. 85-88 wrong ideas and media sex cultivation of antifemale attitudes.96-97 sexual scripts.see also Individual entries Marriage. 187. 228 Married couples. 108 Males erotica viewing. 297-298 Likelihood of rape (LR). 223-224 Mass media. 282-283 Media images. 24. 204 sex-role stereotyping. 2. 71 sex portrayal in media and acceptability. 84 Media models. 260.94. see also Individual entries Longitudinal studies. 7-9 family values and institution of marriage. 1. 202 Innuendoes.35. regulation. 74-76 pornography and sexual offences. 196 Internet. 53 Incarceration. 167 Incest.87 Immoral behavior. 178. 24 Kitchen-sink dramas. 70. see Independent Television Comtnission 353 Mainstream media. 9-10 social and sexual implications for women. 149-154 ITC. 117 . 165 Learning. rating systems. 69-72 television role tnodels. 80-81. 3-5 sex and consumerism. 6. 3-4 regulation of media sex. 6 Information processing. 85-86. 166. 131-132 interactive erotica. 271-272 Male-female relationships. 42 Lovemaking. 106. 8-9 sex in advertising. 21 Masturbation erotica. 60-61. 141-143 effectiveness of intervention sessions. 11 L Laboratory research. 64 Media consumers. 279-281 Infidelity. sexual. 183-186 nature of response to violent sex scenes. 136-141 instigation of aggressive fantasies. 6-7 J Judgment. 5-6 offense to public taste. 112 sexual activity and role of television. 33 LR. 23. 178. 66.95 Intercourse. 149-154 experimental research. see Likelihood of rape Lyrics. 85-88 Media sex concerns causal agency in sexual offenses. 255. social learning theory. 119 Incitement standard. 93 Marital rape. 141 K Kissing. punitive. 95. 41 M Magazines. 143-144 Intervention. 6 impact on young people. adult. 161-165 Love. 182-186 Laws. 276. 134. 25 International markets. 23. 106 Legal system. see also Standards Independent Television Commission (ITC) media sex and offence to public taste.SUBJECT INDEX Identification. 23. 143-149 Marital infidelity.

40-43 pornography. see Film Motivation. 245 methodological critiques of violent pornography. 100-101 Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). 249 selective attrition. 57-58 Nonoffenders erotica beneficial effects. 25 1-260 nonrandom samples. 35-36 outside the United States. 86 television and media sex influence. 159.272 Motion pictures. 32. 294 National Survey of Children. 20-2 1 risks and responsibilities. see also Television Music videos. 271. see Music television Music television (MTV). 246 ecological validity. 297-298 television ratings use. 105. 168. 247-248 preference for rejection of null hypothesis. 81 Methodological artifacts.354 control effectiveness need for tighter regulation. 40-42. 248-249 conceptual limitations in pornography research. 269-270 mainstream media regulation. 221-222 emotional incompatibility. 222-226 disinhibition. monkey do theory. 242-243 Miller v. 200 Messages comprehension and media sex. 248 survey and archival studies. 244 movies and video. 2 16-2 17 evolutionary theory of gender orientation. 275-282 public opinion and regulation. 3 1-33 soap operas. see Motion Picture of America MTV. 235-238 impact consistency chance findings. 220-221 cultivation effects. 25 social learning. 197 sexual on soap operas. 190-192 experimental studies on sexual behavior. 39 what is. 169 Monitoring. 104 N National Organization for Women (NOW). 282-283 explaining effects aggressive cue model. 33-34 marital relations and sex. 226-235 desensitisation. 291-296 regulation and pornography. 14-19 quantifying. 283-29 1 social science evidence and legal system. 40-41. 36-39 television. 30-3 1 violent portrayals. 272-275 utility of classification and rating systems. 10-14 Memory. 288-289 Molesters. 95-96 Naturalistic studies. 249-25 1 experimental evidence. 177. California. 222 arousal model. 43 music videos. 39-40 explicit videos. see also Pornography New Zealand. 261-264 critique of experiments.99-100. 261 Mood states. 23-27 study. 22 1 Moral rules. 88 MPAA. 88 Morality. 2 1-23 SUBJECT INDEX family hour.109 sexual imagery in advertising.18l violent and aggressive behavior. 271-272 regulation in Britain. 27-30 gender differences in depictions of sexual behavior. 2 17-220 catharsis. 43-46 films aimed at teenage audiences. 248 participant awareness. 188-190 Neurochemistry. 2 15-2 16 arousal-affect model. 166. 20-2 1 Monkey see. 181-186 .

62. 163. 120. 171 Perceptions degrading portrayals of women. 88-89. 196.S. 195 consumer opinion. see also Magazines. 114-1 16 depiction in restricted videos. 158-159 sexual deviancy. 117-122 perceived impact. 14-19 nonoffenders. 297 Oral sex. 154 longitudinal effects. 1 13-1 14 cataloguing degrading. Pornography Commission 1970. 195 Physical force. 228 home videos. 139. 186-188 naturalistic studies. 83. 126-127 sex offender studies. 269 perceived impact of degrading portrayals of women. 126 PZayboylPlaygirl. 1 11 Persuasion. 125. 158-161 Olivia v. adult Politics. see National Organizationfor Women Nudity films aimed at adolescent audiences. 200-201 consumer attention. 64 slasher movies.223-224 heavy exposure and sexual values/conduct. 64 P Pain. 287-288 U. 125 pornography. National Broadcasting System. see also Pornography Pornographic television. 142 media sex. 161-165 magazines.208-2 12 representation of sexual imagery. 245-246 regulation and control Fraser Committee in Canada. 68. 165-174 portrayals of women. 11-12.288-29 1 U. 1986. 7-8 sexual scripts.65 rape association and consistency of experimental research. 285 Obscenity. 194-195. 294 sex in advertising. 124. 143 Paraphilias. 291 Offenders. 180 Personal hygiene products.SUBJECT INDEX individual differences in responding.97-98. 206 Personality.S. 114. 116-1 17 defining the problems. 198 Obscene Publications Act. 290. 196. 166 Participant awareness.197 sex portrayal in media and acceptability. 71-72 0 Objectification. 126 NOW.284 Williams Committee inBritain. 134. 261-264 desensitisation. 204-205 Pornographic magazines. 43 public opinion surveys on regulation of media sex. 122 Null hypothesis. 163 male attitudes toward women.188-190 Nonrandom samples. 126 Peers. 284-286 self-regard in women. 248 Nonreciprocated sex. 222 conceptual limitations in research. 1959. 47-48 Passivity. 123-126 gender-role. 175-1 76 offenders. see Television Pornography aggressive cue model. 123 preferences for viewing. 153. 227 impact of media sex. Commission on Pornography. 134. 43-46 intervention sessions. 93 . 63. see Videos Permissiveness.females effectiveness of controls of media sex. 116 sex in advertising. 249 355 Performance videos.

168. 58-61 individual differences in responses to sex scenes. 141-143 Pregnancies. 218-219. 160 pornography link to sexual deviance. 119 quantifying sex in themedia. 244 Responsibility. 222 pornography sexual deviance.260 Rape index. 291-296 representations of sex in media. 118. 147 media sex effects. 181 male attitudes toward women.356 teenagerdyoung adults. 91 Premarital sex. 150-153 perceived impact of degrading portrayals of women. 1 15. 279 Public acceptability attitudes toward explicit erotica. 147 Rapists early studies of pornography effects. 161. 64 social learning theory. 131-132 viewing and male. 116-1 17 violent sex and attitudes towards explicit erotica. 89 Primetime networks. 186 attitudes and erotica in nonoffenders. 233 Reception theory. 117-122. see also Videos Retaliatory behavior. 19 nature of Britain. R-. 77 1 Protection of Children Act 1978. 149 intervention sessions. 86 Restricted videos.255. 37-38. 130. 3-5 SUBJECT INDEX trusting media sex research. see also Television Print media. 257 methodological critiques. 170-171. 252-253. 60. 275-282 mainstream media. 54-58 Reputations. 200 Program environment. 98 Regulation legitimacy and media sex. 222 Risks R R ratings. 125-126 perpetuation and portrayal of women in pornography. media sex and trust impact consistency. 166-168 social/sexual implications for women. 132-133. 138. 25 1-260 Portrayal of Sexual Conduct. impact consistency representations of sex. 45 Rape victim. 250. 163-1 65 viewing hy teenagerdyoung adults. 202-203 Promiscuity. 158. 271-272 use of television ratings by broadcasters.278 Portrayal types. 65-74 mediating effects of others. 229. 196-197. 5. 269-270 pornography and impactof degrading portrayals of women. see Media sex. 139. 99. 22. 2 1. 190 Research. 145. see also Individual entries aggression fantasy instigation.173 violent pornography exposure. 49-58 types of media portrayal. 75-76 Rape myth. 108 Recipient-initiator ratios. 101 trusting media sex research. 169 Rape likelihood scale. 165-166 Rating systems.169. 219-220. 242 taste. 40 Rape. 77 nature of male response. 241-243 survey and archival studies.231 interactive erotica. 7 . 21 sex portrayal in media and acceptability. and XXX-rated videos. 74-76 sex on screen. 118-1 19 Regression analysis.258. 140. 76 X-. 245-246. 272-275 need for tighter. 124 Reliability. 61-65 opinion regulation of media sex. 282-283 Reality. see also Individual entries cultivation of antifemale attitudes. 4. 101 portrayal of women in restricted videos.

90. 67-72 Self-esteem. see Survey Sexual attractiveness. 86. 107 portrayal types. 67-72 model and influence of media sex. 196-199. 200 Sexual behavior depictions in film. 106-107 Script theory. risks/responsibilities. 72. 2 gender differences. 144 Role models. 139 . 173 Sexual attitude survey. see also Videos Role enactment. 241 Sexual scripts. 126 Serial dramas. 30-3 1 Sex-role stereotypes advertising. 84-85 Sexual acts. 67 Sexist videos.202 Sexual offences. 33-34 impact of media sex on young people. 107-108 television. 65-74 Sex on TV. 127 Sex Talk series. 81. 241 Sexual coercion. 90-93 Rock videos.202 discrimination. 13 Schema theory. 111 self-regard in women and pornography. 178-180 television influence. 116 education program. 23 1 media. 97 Sexual submission. 97. 42. 85-88. 206-207 Satellite television. 181 Safe sex AIDS crisis. 1 Scheduling restrictions. 73. 229-230 Sexual experience. 88-90 sexual activity engagement by teenagers and role of television. 104 Sexual imagery. 180 Scandals. 105. see Television Satiation effect. 61-65 role inventory. 158-161 pornography longitudinal effects. 87 scheduling restrictions on mainstream. 89. 118. 204-205 antifemale valuesheliefs and cultivation effects. 204 Self-regard. 161-165 offenders and violent. see also Surveys Sexual Path Preferences Inventory. see also Videos 357 Sexism. 169. 90-93 Sexual representations.91. 292 individual responses. 30 role models and young people. 99. 96 R-rated videos. 126-127 Self-role perceptions. 65. 106 Sexual socialisation individua1responses to sex scenes. 115 Sexual deviance early studies with offenders. 28. 36-3 7 risks/responsibilitiesin sexual relations. initiation. 145-146 scenes acceptability and public opinion surveys. 84. 75 Sadomasochism. S Sadism. 7-9 Sexual opinion survey.93 Sanitary protection. 69 Sexual personality. 23 types. 165-174 Sexual dissatisfaction. 42. 98-100 Family Hour on television. 143 Sadistic motives. 45.96-97 erotica and nonoffenders. 113 Sexual arousal. 36-39 -responsibilities and media sex. see also Videos Sexual activity engagement trend in teenagers. 57 5 television beliefs cultivation.SUBJECT INDEX sex-related and television. 13 soap operas. 73-74 Sexual relations. 12 comprehension of media messages. see also Television Sex appeal. 57-58 judgment. 94-95.

see Films Soap operas. 101 problems with sexuality. 132-133 Sexually transmitted disease (STD). parental. 93 Situation comedies. 49-58 attitudes towards explicit erotica. 92. 272-275 cultivation effects and media sex effects. 59 exposure to media sex and male ideas. 130 sexual attitude. 126-127 Subordination male response to sex scenes. 290. 90. 226-227 cultivation theory. 14 sex-related risks. see Advertising Social learning messages. 100-103 Television age-based rating system. 12-13 morality perceptions. 99-1 00 infidelity. see Evidence Socialisation inadequate and sexual deviance. see also Television Slasher movies. 16-17.100 cultivation theory. 296 Social conditioning. 88-90 social learning theory. 268. media sex influence. 244 Sweden. 146-147 trusting media sex research. 104-105 pornography. see also Television cultivation effects and media sex. 95 Sophie’s Sex. 259 types and what is media sex. 25. 94-98 risks/responsibilitiesand sexual relations. see Messages Social learning theory erotica rewards. 233 Social science evidence. 37 Social behaviors sequence theory. 81. see Restricted videos Standard pornography. 85-88 television sex and morality perceptions. 93-94 music videos. 36. 198-199 Stag films. 68-74 media sex influence on young people. 28 what is media sex. 50-51. 232 media sex influence. 9 1. 236 sexes.SUBJECT INDEX Sexual values. 100-101 . 89 television. see also Pornography Standards. 125 restricted videos. 148-149. 229. 23-27 sex talk and what is tnedia sex. see also Adolescents comprehension of media messages. 77. 57-58 Sports events. 81 Socioeconomic status. 13-14 Sexually explicit materials. 105-109 cultivation of beliefs about behavior. 26. 120 slasher movies. 289. 113 teenage probletns. see Sexually transmitted disease Stereotypes. 232-234 cultivation of beliefs about sexual behavior. 85-88 rape and link to pornography. 80 Surgeon General’s Workshop on Pornography. 90-93 sexual socialisation. see also PornograPhY Surveys acceptability of sex on screen. 179. 170 gender and individual responses to sex scenes. 100-101. 121 trusting media sex research. 35 sex on television. 228-229 Sexual vignettes. 14 Teenagerdyoung adults. 164 T Talk about sex erotica and nonoffenders. 96 Social issues. 166-168 Social responsibility tnodel. 82-86 mainstream and media sex. 259 Supervision. 270 STD. 130. 98. 227 Stories. 82-85 impact on youngsters. 67 perceived impact of degrading portrayals of women. 180 sexual socialisation theory. 102-103 Sexuality differences in evolutionary development. 94-98 trusting media sex research.

114. 7 1. 44 see also Pornography . 104-105 pornography and sexual deviance. 3 public opinion of acceptability of sex. 8. 104-105 Visual sexual stimulation (VSS). 191-192 Three-tier coding system.181 instigation of aggressive fantasies in males. 171 portrayal of women. 134 erotica debates. 67 perceptions and television influence. 206-212. 198. see also Pornography XXX-rated videos. 35. 120 Tolerance. 30 sex on television. 121 Therapy. 121-122. 84 pornography characterization. 284 sexual deviance. 43-46 performance. see also Britain United States consumer opinion about sex in advertising. 59-6 1 conceptual limitations in pornography research.24 V V-chip technology. 163 Themes. 275 Victimisation. 117. 227 Videos. 165. 176. 163. 232-235 Violence acceptance and cultivation effects. 270 sex outside the United States. 4 1 pornographic and viewing by young people.199 Violent sex attitudes towards explicit erotica. 69-70. 58-61 availability of sexual. 296 Trends public opinion of acceptability of sex. 39. 191 VSS. 131-132 media sex impact on young people. rape. sexual. 140 359 Viewing motives. 293 television. 6 music videos. 40 attitudes toward explicit erotica. 112. 133. 39 XXX-rated home videos. 17 sports events link to advertising. 2 home and explicit sex. 284-286 X X-rated videos. 45 Visual sex.36 soap operas. adult. 21-22 satellite. 99 w Williams Committee. 28-29. 242 Tension. 273-274 individual responses to sex scenes and females. 197 sex on television. 49-58 quantifying sex. 4. 139. 51 sexual imagery in advertising. 164 public opinion of acceptability of sex. 3 1-33 teenage sexuality. 23 1 age-based television rating system. 26 1-264 cultivation of antifemale attitudes. 23. 96 Theatres. 130.35 Trial. 16 impact on sexual behavior in nonoffenders. see Visual sexual stimulation U United Kingdom. 49 Unmarried partners Family Hour programs. 101 Viewing habits. 25-26.SUBJECT INDEX offence to public taste. 95 trend toward increased sex. 206 pornography regulation and control. 122 public opinion surveys on regulation of media sex.