As cross-sectional research on the predictors of behavior, this study demonstrates that within male groups, certain attitudes, violence against women and pornography are correlated, not whether pornography or sports participation causes violence against women or self-reported likelihood of rape.
While this study found that endorsement of rape myths was the strongest predictor of likelihood to rape, and that men who consume pornography more frequently express a greater likelihood to rape, it did not explore the role of pornography in supporting the formation of rape myths. It is no secret that mainstream pornography presents acts of physical aggression of men against women as sexually pleasurable1 and presents women as always sexually available. Other research has found that pornography contributes to the formation of “sexual scripts” that influence a range of sexual experiences,2 as well as men’s endorsement of rape myths and sexual aggression.3 Thus, the influence of pornography on likelihood to rape and actual sexual assault perpetration may be greater than these researchers surmised if pornography’s influence on formation of rape myths is taken into account.
Other research leaves little doubt that, “on average, individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in acts of sexual aggression than individuals who do not consume pornography or who consume pornography less frequently.”4