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Viewing Sexually Explicit Media and Its Association with Mental Health Among Gay and Bisexual Men Across the U.S.

Viewing Sexually Explicit Media and Its Association with Mental Health Among Gay and Bisexual Men Across the U.S.
Author Information (click to view)

Whitfield THF, Rendina HJ, Grov C, Parsons JT,


Whitfield THF, Rendina HJ, Grov C, Parsons JT, (click to view)

Whitfield THF, Rendina HJ, Grov C, Parsons JT,

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Archives of sexual behavior 2017 09 07() doi 10.1007/s10508-017-1045-y

Abstract

Gay and bisexual men (GBM) have reported viewing significantly more sexually explicit media (SEM) than heterosexual men. There is evidence that viewing greater amounts of SEM may result in more negative body attitude and negative affect. However, no studies have examined these variables within the same model. A national sample of 1071 HIV-negative GBM in the U.S. participating in a larger study completed an online survey, which included measures of SEM consumption, male body attitudes, anxiety, and depression. Participants reported viewing 3 h of SEM per week, on average, and 96% of participants reported recently viewing at least some SEM. Greater consumption of SEM was directly related to more negative body attitude and both depressive and anxious symptomology. There was also a significant indirect effect of SEM consumption on depressive and anxious symptomology through body attitude. These findings highlight the relevance of both SEM on body image and negative affect along with the role body image plays in anxiety and depression outcomes for GBM. They also indicate a potential role for body image in explaining the co-occurrence of SEM consumption and negative affect. For interventions looking to alleviate negative affect for GBM, it may be important to address SEM consumption and body image as they are shown to be associated with both anxious and depressive symptomology.

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