Pornography and Masculinity: How Mainstream Pornography Reinforces a Narrow and Destructive Conceptualization of Masculinity
Date of Award
Doctoral Research Paper
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Male gender role strain, Masculine socialization, Hegemonic masculinity, Problematic pornography use, Social learning theory, Sexual violence
In mainstream pornography, boys and men are indoctrinated with a profoundly problematic template for sexual intimacy. Both masculine gender role strain and problematic pornography use predict interpersonal and mental health difficulties. In this paper, the relationship between gender role strain and problematic pornography use was examined through the lens of social learning theory, which argues that individuals imitate and replicate others’ behavior in novel situations. Given that mainstream pornography depicts acts of sexual aggression, men who are exposed to pornography before their first partnered sexual experience may recall and imitate the aggressive acts when they later engage in sexual intimacy. Due to culturally supported, narrow definitions of masculinity, boys and men are drawn toward pornography in a misguided attempt to strengthen their sense of masculine identity. In pornography, men may learn that sexual aggression is not only acceptable, but is a normative or even desired component of sex.
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Received from author
Power, Seamus, "Pornography and Masculinity: How Mainstream Pornography Reinforces a Narrow and Destructive Conceptualization of Masculinity" (2024). Graduate School of Professional Psychology: Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 508.