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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.
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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.