Self-perceived effects of Internet pornography use, genital appearance satisfaction, and sexual self-esteem among young Scandinavian adults


This study examined the associations among the frequency of viewing Internet pornography, beliefs about how realistically pornography portrays sex, self-perceived effects of one’s pornography use, genital appearance satisfaction, and sexual self-esteem in young adults. Online data were collected from four convenience samples of university students from Norway and Sweden, members of a queer youth organization, and readers of an erotic magazine. Because of cultural similarities and the comparable magnitude and patterns of the bivariate correlations among the samples on the study variables, they were pooled into a single sample (N = 1,274). The majority of men (81.1%) and a minority of women (18.1%) reported at least weekly use of Internet pornography on their personal computers, whereas using a mobile phone or tablet was less common. Most of the participants had sought mainstream pornographic content. Those with a stronger belief in pornographic realism were more likely to perceive the effect of pornography use positively. A hypothesized relationship between self-perceived positive effects of pornography use and a higher level of sexual self-esteem was found for men but not for women. This result was partially due to higher satisfaction with genital appearance among the men who mainly watched mainstream pornography. Genital appearance satisfaction was linked to higher sexual self-esteem for women, but it was not related to the self-perceived effect of pornography use. The results indicate that pornography may expand personal sexual scripts for both men and women, and may have a positive, although modest, influence on the sexual self-esteem of young male adults.

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Kvalem, I. L., Træen, B., Lewin, B., & Štulhofer, A. (2014). Self-perceived effects of Internet pornography use, genital appearance satisfaction, and sexual self-esteem among young Scandinavian adults. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 8(4), Article 4. doi:


Internet pornography; genital appearance; sexual self-esteem

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