Porn- "I know it when I see it:" Young adult perspectives on pornography



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The proliferation of Internet pornography has led to a large body of research examining pornography effects, especially among adolescents and young adults. However, a common critique for the study of pornography is inconsistency in operationalization of terms and poor construct measurement. Specifically, scholars define pornography in a variety of ways and research an assortment of pornography types, making it difficult to compare findings across studies. In order to better understand how young adults conceptualize pornography and contribute to improved measurement of pornography use, the current study used online survey methodology to explore what young adults think pornography is, which prevailing definitions of pornography used in the literature are the most accurate characterizations of pornography, which media content young adults believe is representative of existing pornography definitions, and demographic predictors of variance in reported perceptions of sexual media content. Results reveal that young adults vary greatly in their perceptions of what is pornographic, and that such variations are largely based on type of pornography content. Gender and religiosity of the participants was also found to be predictive of pornographic ratings of content. Implications of findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.



Pornography measurement, Pornography definitions, Gender, Religiosity, Young adults