Macquarie University
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Cultivating a porn aesthetic: the role of Internet pornography in the sexual socialisation of contemporary emerging adults

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:34 authored by Shireen Bernstein
The primary aim of this study was to explore the role of Internet Pornography (IP) in the sexual socialisation of emerging adults, most notably the impact of IP on the acquisition or reinforcement of aggressive, sexual and gendered scripts, attitudes and behaviours. Also examined were whether such processes may facilitate hostility and aggression toward women by men, whether dissociation processes play a role, and gender differences. This research utilised an online survey and involved a sample of 278 young adults (aged 17-25 years) who completed measures of their initial recalled exposure to IP, their affective and cognitive responses to IP, global attitudes to IP and the influence of IP on their sexual beliefs and behaviours. IP usage patterns in terms of compulsiveness, tendency to isolate oneself and experience guilt concerning usage along with the propensity to dissociate when viewing IP also formed part of this enquiry. Specific hypotheses were based on theories related to sexual scripts, cultivation and social learning. These theories propose that immersion in an IP mediated world view can cultivate an analogous world view in its consumers, with possible impacts on both the sexual attitudes and behaviours of young adults. The results indicated that a high number of respondents felt their sexual behaviour had been changed by their IP use, and many were enacting some of what they had seen online. Whilst most felt they could control their use of IP a substantial proportion were concerned they were addicted to IP. Although a general acceptance of violence was rejected by most respondents, a small but robust link between IP and sexual aggression in the form of sexual coercion and physical aggression was noted in this study. This research has provided important insights into the role of IP in the sexual socialisation of emerging adults, and does so in the under-researched Australian context.


Alternative Title

Internet pronography and emerging adults.

Table of Contents

Introduction --- Method -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendices.


Empirical thesis. Bibliography: pages 83-103 Running title: Internet pronography and emerging adults.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Wayne Warburton


Copyright Shireen Bernstein 2017. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (ix, 133 pages)

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