Adolescents’ pornography use, gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs, negative attitudes towards homosexuality and the role of sex education
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Internet pornography is easily accessible for adolescents and is associated with adverse effects on viewers. To investigate potential adverse effects heterosexual adolescents’ gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs and negative attitudes towards homosexuality measured following their pornography use. Additionally, the potential attenuating role of sex education was examined. To investigate these associations the cross-sectional Dutch adolescents’ panel study from Sex under 25 II was used (n=6832). Results show that pornography use is associated with increased gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs and negative attitudes towards gay males in boys, but not in girls. Additionally, sex education has shown to be associated with decreased gender-stereotypical sexual beliefs in boys only, decreased negative attitudes towards gay males in boys and girls and decreased negative attitudes towards lesbians in girls only. However, sex education did not interact the relation between pornography use and the outcomes. These findings support the idea that pornography use can have adverse effects on (male) adolescents. They also support the idea that sex education can have a positive influence on adolescents. This underscore the need in future research to target gender and the potential diminishing role of sex education surrounding pornography use in adolescents.