Who uses pornography?


Melissa Killeen

A small snapshot of who uses sexually explicit material

It is important to understand who uses pornography as a complete picture before jumping to a conclusion that every person that views porn is a dirty, old man. The use of sexually-explicit materials differs greatly from men and women. Here is a small snapshot of who uses sexually-explicit materials (the scientific name for pornography).

A study of 433, 12-22 years olds in the U.S. found that 85 percent of the males and 50 percent of the females in the study reported having, either intentionally or accidentally, visited a sexually-explicit website. Within a sample of 506 U.S. college students, 59 percent of men and 34 percent of the women reported accessing pornography online for sexual entertainment purposes. Reported rates of intentionally using sexually-explicit material, including the viewing of multiple types of material such as online content, films shown in movie theaters, viewing DVDs and/or the reading of printed material, was researched with 813 U.S. college students. 87 percent of these participants were college-age men who viewed pornography, 50 percent of this group viewed porn weekly and 20 percent of them viewed it daily or every other day. 31 percent of the group were college-age women and they viewed pornography, as well.

A 2001 Forrester Research report claimed the average age of a male visitor to an adult web page was 41, with an annual income of $60,000. According to the same report, 19 percent of the visitors to adult-content sites, were both regular and repeat customers. Of that 19 percent group of repeat viewers, 25 percent were women, 46 percent of the group were married, and 33 percent had children.

Dutch research has documented that men and women use sexually-explicit material differently. This research reveals men consume more pornography than women.  Dutch males were exposed to porn at a younger age (13) than Dutch women (15), and this may be a reason for the male’s increased use. Men use porn most often in a room, in isolation, whereas women have indicated a preference for viewing it online with a romantic partner or engaging in interactive sexual activity. Furthermore, men are more likely to experience sexual arousal and masturbate while viewing porn, than women.

According to data taken from Internet users who took part in the General Social Survey for the year 2000, the following are predictors of online pornography use:

    • Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females.
    • Those who are happily married are 61% less likely to look at porn.
    • Those who are politically more liberal are 19% more likely to look at porn.
    • Those who had committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn.
    • Those who had engaged in paid sex are 270% more likely to look at porn.
    • Those with teen children are 45% less likely to look at porn.

How people access pornographic sites is changing as well, moving from the desktop to handheld devices. After an analysis of more than one million hits to Google’s mobile search sites, more than 1 in 5 searches were for pornography on cell phones and tablets. By 2015, pornographic content and services accessed on mobile devices is expected to reach $2.8 billion. Mobile adult subscriptions are now reaching nearly $1 billion, and the number of adult videos viewed on mobile devices or tablets will triple worldwide. The largest surge is in the adult market are the mobile phone applications that use GPS to find people with similar sexual interests within a certain geographic area. Bender, Grindr or Adam4Adam are such applications. Although not pornography as such, these applications are considered adult features, because the app requires subscribers to be 18 or older.

The next post in our series on porn addiction will look at the effect of pornography on the brain.

References used in creating this blog:

General Social Survey, a survey running since 1972 at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and is part of The National Data Program for the Sciences. Accessed at: http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/

Gert Martin Hald, (2006) Gender Differences in Pornography Consumption among Young Heterosexual Danish Adults, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36:577-585, DOI 10.1007/s10508-006-9064-0. Accessed at: http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Gender_Differences_in_Pornography_

CovenantEyes.com, a web site for Covenant Eyes, a pioneer of Internet accountability and filtering software, located in Owosso, MI .http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

Elizabeth M. Morgan (2011) Associations between Young Adults’ Use of Sexually Explicit Materials and Their Sexual Preferences, Behaviors, and Satisfaction

Boise State University, Scholarworks, Psychology Faculty Publications and Presentations, Accessed at: http://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=psych_facpubs

This entry was posted in Addiction, Pornography, Recovery Coaching, Research, Sex Addiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.