Previous research has indicated that exposure to pornography, or sexually explicit media (SEM), can lead married men to express a stronger desire for sexual intimacy (Staley & Prause, 2013). However, SEM exposure has also resulted in decreased physical attractiveness ratings among men evaluating their spouses (Kenrick, et al., 1989). Only a small amount of research has investigated the effects of SEM on attraction among unmarried males. The current study examined the effects of SEM in a sample of 108 heterosexual, undergraduate males. Participants evaluated pictures of 15 unknown women’s faces for physical attractiveness. They were then exposed to five minutes of SEM, after which they re-evaluated the same 15 faces for attractiveness. This study also examined the association between Big Five personality traits and self-reported sexual attitudes. The relations between sexual attitudes and the effects of SEM exposure were also explored. Counter to the expected hypothesis, results indicated an increase in attractiveness ratings after SEM exposure, demonstrating a sensitization rather than a desensitization effect on attraction. The Big Five Extraversion trait significantly predicted increases in attractiveness ratings after SEM exposure. Personality was also a significant predictor of sexual attitudes in relation to the socio-sexual orientation facets of behavior and attitude, which constitute the number of casual and changing sex partners and attitudes towards uncommitted sex, respectively. Additional research is necessary to replicate and confirm novel findings in this study.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Orlando (Main) Campus
Eckstein, H. Christopher, "Generation Rated X: Personality Traits, Sexual Attitudes, and the Effects of Sexually Explicit Media on Attraction Among Men" (2016). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 71.