Chapter 12 Media Effects From Sexual Content
The Nature of Sexual Content • “Sexual” content • All types of media that either show or imply sexual acts or make sexual references or innuendoes • X-rated movies • R-rated movies
Pornography • “the graphic and explicit depictions of sexual activity” • 5 types of materials are classified as pornography: • Materials depicting sexual violence • Nonviolent sexual materials that depict instances of degrading activities • Nonviolent sexual materials without degrading activities • Materials that depict nudity • Depiction of children engaged in sexual activity
Obscenity • 3 criteria for proclaiming material obscene: • The material appeals to a prurient interest in sex • The material is patently offensive or beyond community standards • The material lacks “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”
The Extent of Sexual Content in Music Videos • “Sexually oriented suggestive behavior is portrayed frequently in music videos” • More than 50% of the 62 videos examined contained sexual content. • 80% of the videos that contained violence also contained sexual content.
The Extent of Sexual Content in X-rated Videos • Almost 450 sexually explicit scenes appeared in the 45 videos analyzed. • 4 major themes: • Domination • Reciprocity • Exploitation • Autoeroticism
The Extent of Sexual Content on Television • 56% of shows during the 1997-1998 season included sexual content • 23% depicted sexual behaviors • From 1985 to 1994, sexual content on soap operas increased by 35%.
The Extent of Sexual Content in Magazines • Increased 68% from 1970 to 1980 • References to extramarital intercourse, increased from 18% in 1950 to 26% in 1980.
The Extent of Sexual Content in R-Rated Movies • In a survey of 16 R-rated films, each film contained an average of 17.5 sexual acts. • In 84% of the sex scenes, it was unclear whether the man or the woman had initiated sex. • In scenes where sex was clearly initiated by one person, men were the initiators 55% of the time, and women 45% of the time.
Exposure to Highly Explicit Sexual Content • May result in : • Sexual arousal • Changes in attitudes and values • Behavioral changes
Sexual Arousal • Measures used: • Viewers asked to rate their level of sexual arousal after seeing sexually explicit material • Physiological measures • Classic conditioning studies have shown that sexual arousal can sometimes be learned. • Heavy consumption of pornography causes viewers to report less sexual satisfaction with their intimate partners.
Changes in Values and Attitudes • Repeated exposure results in desensitization of a person’s attitudes and values • Studies show that people exposed to sexually explicit material experienced the following changes in values and attitudes: • Less satisfaction with real-life partners • More accepting of premarital sex and extramarital sex • Less desire for marriage, monogamy, and children
Changes in Behavior • May be constructive or destructive • Disinhibition • A person becomes less inhibited about performing the sexual behaviors witnessed. • The relationship between sexually explicit materials and the occurrence of rape has been difficult to prove.
Effects of Erotica on Aggression • People who were exposed to sexually explicit materials were more likely to retaliate against someone who provoked them . • When the erotic material was pleasing and nonarousing the aggressive tendencies were calmed. • Zillmann and Bryant developed the Excitation-and-Valence Model
Importance of the Prevailing Tone • Prevailing tone • consists of contextual variables such as the context of the sexual content and the context in which the person is exposed to it. • Aspects of prevailing tone: • Seriousness or triviality of the treatment • Artistic value and intent • Whether the scene is necessary to the plot • Degree of explicitness • Context of viewing • Cultural context
Exposure to Sexually Violent Material • Researchers found that convicted rapists were aroused by viewing both rape and consensual sex. • The mixture of sex and violence has potentially harmful effects.
The Importance of Individual Differences • Studies have shown that a link exists between the viewing of sexual violence and a propensity to inflict pain upon females. • Differences in disposition cause people to react differently when viewing sexually violent media fare.
Sexual Violence in Slasher Films • Men become desensitized when they repeatedly watch slasher films. • Over time, the men found the slasher movies to be less degrading to women, more enjoyable, less offensive, and less violent.
Reducing the Negative Effects • Men were found to be most affected by learning that women are not responsible for sexual assaults against them. • By making men aware of the horrors of rape and the absolute inability of a woman to be able to enjoy it through debriefings, participants become less susceptible to rape myths.
The Study of Sex Offenders • Previously conducted correlational studies were reviewed to find a link between sexual aggression and the use of pornography. (1996) • Significant correlations do not exist • Data from experimental laboratory studies, field studies, and clinical case histories was examined. (1994) • Four-Factor Syndrome
The Four-Factor Syndrome • The four major effects of consuming pornography are: • Addiction • Escalation • Desensitization • Tendency to imitate
Correlation Between Sex Crimes and Sexually Explicit Materials • Zgourdies, Monto and Harris (1997) • Significant correlation between the use of sexually explicit materials and the commission of sex crimes • Allen, D’Alessio, and Emmers-Sommer (2000) • Sex offenders were more likely to become aroused and more likely to perform some sort of sexual act after consuming sexually explicit material.