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Internets pornography’s effect on sexual attitudes and behaviours: A Structured Literature Review revealing gender difference

Cope, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-4528-4268 (2017) Internets pornography’s effect on sexual attitudes and behaviours: A Structured Literature Review revealing gender difference. Counselling Australia, 17 (4). pp. 16-21.

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Background: A substantial portion of Australians view internet pornography (IP), coinciding with the widespread adoption of high-speed internet in Australian homes. However, the effects of viewing IP are only beginning to be revealed including the negative impact on the brain from viewing IP. However, what are the effects on people’s sexual attitudes and sexual behaviours?

Method: A structured literature review was undertaken to collate peer reviewed literature concerning IP’s effect on sexual attitudes and behaviours, synthesising and reporting on articles that met the inclusion criteria published within the last three years.

Results: The main result identified across the literature was IP as a gender issue. There was a significant difference between male and female IP use. Effects are greater for men, especially for frequent users who watch IP with violence and male patriarchal and dominance themes. However, female partners of male users are directly affected with many negative consequences to their sexual attitudes and self-belief.

Conclusion: The critical synthesis of the literature establishes IP's overarching adverse effect on sexual attitudes and behaviours. The review of the literature indicates IP’s consistent association with male patriarchal and dominance attitudes, permissive sexual scripts, riskier sexual behaviours and less relationship satisfaction and more distress. There is a clear gender difference in the use and effects of using IP. These effects combine to affect relationships with both genders reporting less relationship satisfaction and more distress. These findings reinforce the need for increased awareness of the effect of IP. Counsellors must address co-occurring problems in male individuals who are regular users and be on the lookout for IP as an underlying issue in relationship distress and dissatisfaction.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
Publisher: Australian Counselling Association
Copyright: © 2017 Counselling Australia .
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