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Porn Consumers More Likely to Choke Partners, Believing It’s “Safe” and Doesn’t Require Consent

This study found that consuming porn predicts the likelihood of choking a sexual partner, likely due to the normalization of sexual choking portrayed in porn.

By January 31, 2022No Comments

Decades of studies from respected academic institutions, have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. "What’s the Research" aims to shed light on the expanding field of academic resources that showcase porn’s harms in a variety of ways. Below are selected excerpts from published studies on this issue.

The full study can be accessed here.

Pornography Consumption and Sexual Choking: An Evaluation of Theoretical Mechanisms

Authors: Paul J. Wright, Debby Herbenick, Robert S. Tokunaga
Published: October 2021

Peer-Reviewed Journal: Health Communication

Abstract

Many researchers interested in the socializing effects of pornography have found heuristic utility in the sexual script acquisition, activation, application model (3AM) of mediated sexual socialization. Studies have emphasized overall pornography/sexual behavior associations, however, rather than mediating sexual beliefs that a 3AM perspective suggests should underlie such associations.

The present study used data from a campus-representative probability sample to examine whether linkages between pornography use and heterosexual-identified collegiate men’s choking of sexual partners is mediated by the belief that sexual choking is pleasurable, the belief that sexual choking is safe, and the disbelief that sexual choking requires consent from the person being choked. Sexual choking has been increasingly identified as a focal point of contemporary mixed-sex pornography as well as young men’s sexual behavior; it can also result in adverse health and legal consequences.

Results were consistent with a sequential model positing that consuming pornography more frequently leads to more exposure to pornographic depictions of sexual choking, which in turn predicts a higher likelihood of choking sexual partners through the belief that sexual choking is pleasurable, the belief that sexual choking is safe, and the disbelief that sexual choking requires consent from the person being choked.

Methods

The data for the present study are from the undergraduate student component of the 2021 Campus Sexual Health Survey (CSHS), a confidential online probability survey conducted at a large public U.S. university… Participants in the present analysis were 780 heterosexual-identified, sexually experienced, undergraduate men.

Results

Consistent with the scripting premise that pornographic actors’ eroticized and idealized experiences with actresses in pornography lead men to expect similar rewards if they engage in the same behaviors, the association between exposure to pornographic depictions of sexual choking and choking partners during sex was mediated by the belief that sexual choking is pleasurable.

Consistent with the scripting premise that pornography’s lack of depiction of harms to actresses from actors’ sexually aggressive behaviors leads men to believe that these behaviors are harmless, the association between exposure to pornographic depictions of sexual choking and choking partners during sex was mediated by the belief that sexual choking is safe.

Finally, consistent with the scripting premise that pornography’s omission of affirmative consent depictions coupled with its portrayal of women as sex objects leads men to minimize the need for consent, the association between exposure to pornographic depictions of sexual choking and choking partners during sex was mediated by the disbelief that sexual choking requires consent.

The full study can be accessed here.

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