Can body image protect women from the effect of sexual explicit material on their sex lives?
The accessibility and use of sexual explicit material has increased the past decade extremely. Most previous research on sexual explicit material focused, till now, mainly on men. It is important to gain more insight about how sexual explicit material influences sexual satisfaction among women, for the sake of knowledge and the ability for women to enhance their well-being. Dutch female college students (n= 244), between the age of 18 and 30 years old, completed three self-report questionnaires online, about the amount of sexual explicit material they get exposed to, their body image during sexual activity and their sexual satisfaction. It was expected that exposure to sexual explicit material has a more negative effect on sexual satisfaction if women experience a negative body image state during sexual activities. However, this moderation effect was not found in this study. In line with previous research, there was a relationship found between body image during sexual activity and sexual satisfaction. A more positive body image during sexual activity was associated with more sexual satisfaction. There was also a relationship found between sexual explicit material and sexual satisfaction. More frequent exposure to sexual explicit material was associated with more sexual satisfaction, but this relationship was not significant when body image during sexual activity is included. Additional research is required draw any conclusions about this relationship among women. Finally, the amount of exposure to sexual explicit material had no effect on how women felt about their bodies during sexual activity. Based on this study, creating interventions with a focus on body image of women during sexual activity is advised. Due to the fact that this study cannot conclude anything regarding causality, longitudinal studies are desirable, as well as, more research regarding the influences of sexual explicit material and social media on women their sex lives.