Aim: Online pornography may influence offline sexuality in multiple ways. Even though women watch porn too, only limited research on the effects on body image and sexuality has been conducted. The aim of the current study was to make a first effort on researching these topics.
Method: In February 2014, 53 female students participated in the current pilot study. The self-constructed questionnaire comprised information about porn consumption, motivations and feelings, and statements about the impact of porn consumption on body image and sexuality.
Results: The majority of women rarely watched porn. Most reported motivations to watch were curiosity and arousal, but feelings of shame, discomfort and aversion were also mentioned. Women reported that online porn consumption led to increased self-criticism and pressure to perform. This was highest in women who watched porn more often or watched together with their partners.
Discussion: Previous scholars stated that the influence of sexuality by pornography is mediated by body image and sexual socialization. Both pathways were confirmed in the current study. The constraints of the current study design however prevent strong statements.
Conclusion: Body image and sexuality in women seem to be associated with online pornography consumption. The current study aims to put the subject on the clinical and research agenda.
In this article, the author looks back on some publications on (women and) pornography that appeared in the Tijdschrift voor Seksuologie and the Tijdschrift voor Vrouwenstudies in the early 1980-ies. Ways in which research and knowledge have improved over the years are reflected upon. Some crucial scientific insights gained on women and pornography are considered. Some limitations of the body of research are identified as well and lead to desires for future studies. In addition, the author stresses that pornography research faces the challenge of gaining insight in diversifying erotic and porn practices in increasingly mediatised societies.