This study investigated how frequently a group of young heterosexual Australians (ages 15 to 29) saw a range of behaviors represented in pornography over the previous 12 months. Participants were recruited to an anonymous online survey. Those who reported having viewed pornography in the past 12 months (n = 517) indicated how frequently they saw each of a list of 17 behaviors when they watched pornography in the past 12 months. Men’s pleasure (83%) was seen frequently by the highest proportion of young people surveyed, followed by a man being portrayed as dominant (70%). Women were more likely to report frequently seeing violence toward a woman (p < 0.01). Men were more likely to report frequently seeing heterosexual anal sex (p < 0.01), ejaculation onto a woman’s face (p < 0.01), women portrayed as dominant (p < 0.01), a man being called names or slurs (p < 0.01), and violence toward a man that appears consensual (p < 0.01). Younger age was significantly associated with frequently seeing women’s pleasure (p < 0.05), violence toward women which appeared consensual, and all types of violence (p < 0.01). Older age was associated with frequently seeing men’s pleasure (p < 0.01) and heterosexual anal sex (p < 0.05). Our findings draw attention to the gendered ways that behaviors in pornography are seen and identified by young heterosexual audiences.
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The authors would like to acknowledge AMP’s Tomorrow Fund for their financial contribution to this work. Angela Davis is supported by an Australian government National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship. Megan Lim is supported by the Jim and Margaret Beever Fellowship. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution to this work of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program received by Burnet Institute.