Forbidden TV Fruit: Does Sexual Media Consumption lead to more Permissive Sexual Attitudes, especially among Religious Young Adults?
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The aim of this study was to examine whether watching sexual media images leads to more permissive sexual attitudes among young adults. Religious identity was investigated as a potential moderator, based on the forbidden fruit hypothesis. This hypothesis holds that the impact of sexual media images on religious young adults may be greater than for nonreligious young adults. A total of 96 Dutch college students (18 - 23 years old) participated in an experiment in which the students were shown either mainstream sexual media images or non-sexual media images. A questionnaire two weeks prior to the experiment and a questionnaire following the experiment both measured sexual permissiveness. Contrary to expectations, watching sexual media images did not lead to more permissive sexual attitudes. Religious identity was found to negatively predict sexual permissiveness, however young adults with a religious identity were not more strongly affected by the sexual images. Further research, especially on the influence of cultural differences in sexual attitudes is necessary to explain inconsistent findings in literature.