“What attracts audiences to pornography?” Study sheds light on online audience’s state of mind


The study was conducted within Charles Darwin University's Faculty of Health with co-author Dr Kim Caudwell.

The study was conducted within Charles Darwin University’s Faculty of Health with co-author Dr Kim Caudwell.

New research conducted at Charles Darwin University (CDU) is among the first to consider the role of ‘content creators’ within the modern pornography landscape.

The study from CDU’s Faculty of Health, recently published in Addictive Behaviours Reports, examined the relationship between people’s experience of loneliness, emotion regulation difficulties, and problematic pornography use (PPU).

Like other behavioural addictions, PPU is defined as a tendency to use pornography excessively or compulsively and has been linked to a range of negative consequences including low self-esteem, reduced productivity, low mood, anxiety, and reduced satisfaction in relationships.

The study surveyed people aged between 18 to 79 years, with nearly two thirds reporting at least weekly pornography use.

The results show individuals who are lonely may turn to pornography because of difficulty in regulating emotions.

Co-author and CDU Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Kim Caudwell said an intriguing finding was interacting with online content creators seemed linked to less PPU.

“To our knowledge this is one of the first studies to incorporate interaction with content creators while looking at PPU,” Dr Caudwell said.

“We found that people who were interacting reported lower PPU, but we didn’t find a link to emotion regulation or loneliness. We are conducting more research in this space to better capture ‘interaction’ so we can better understand its relationship with loneliness and PPU.”

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