Media Use, Body Image and Sexual Satisfaction in Emerging Adults
Brennan, Alison Leigh
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Emerging adults in America are avid users of media, including magazines and pornographic film. Use of this media is associated with body dissatisfaction and reduced sexual satisfaction. However, existing research has not examined media use, body dissatisfaction and sexual satisfaction within the same study. Additionally, the effects of pornographic film use on body image have not been extensively studied, and existing research does not adequately consider how reasons for use might relate to effects of viewing this type of media. The present study tests an integrated model of the relationships among media use, body dissatisfaction and sexual satisfaction and examines how reasons for use of pornographic film relate to emerging adults’ perceptions of their own bodies and sexual abilities. First, the proposed integrated model was tested separately by gender, using women’s magazine use as the media variable for women and pornographic film as the media variable for men. Pornographic film use was not a significant predictor in the men’s model. In the women’s model, magazine use had a positive, direct effect on sexual satisfaction. Second, chi-square tests were used to determine whether relationships existed between reasons for, and outcomes of, use of pornographic film. Regardless of gender, use of pornographic film for the purpose of “ideas, tips or instruction” was associated with engaging in body comparison. Reasons for use were not associated with reported reactions to engaging in comparison. T-tests were also used to determine if differences existed in BMI and body image among consumers who reported responding with negative self-evaluations versus those who did not respond negatively when comparing their bodies to the bodies of actors in pornographic film. When compared to those who did not respond negatively to body comparison, women who reported reacting negatively to body comparison were higher in drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction while men had higher BMIs, greater drive for low body fat, and greater body dissatisfaction. This study suggests that researchers must consider the possibility of positive effects and include consumer motivations and other dispositional factors as moderators of effects of viewing pornographic film and other media.