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Brown, Jane D. & L'Engle, Kelly Ladin (2009). X-Rated: Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with U.S. Early Adolescents' Exposure to Sexually Explicit Media. Communication Research, 36(1), 129-151.


Correlates of use and subsequent sexual attitudes and behaviors predicted by exposure to sexually explicit content (i.e., pornography and erotica) in adult magazines, X-rated movies, and the Internet were examined in a prospective survey of a diverse sample of early adolescents (average age at baseline = 13.6 years; N = 967). Two-thirds (66%) of males and more than one-third (39%) of females had seen at least one form of sexually explicit media in the past year. At baseline, being black, being older, and having less-educated parents, lower socioeconomic status, and high need for sensation were related to greater exposure for both males and females. Longitudinal analyses showed that early exposure for males predicted less progressive gender role attitudes, more permissive sexual norms, sexual harassment perpetration, and having oral sex and sexual intercourse two years later. Early exposure for females predicted subsequently less progressive gender role attitudes, and having oral sex and sexual intercourse. Implications for healthy sexual socialization are discussed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Communication Research


Brown, Jane D.
L'Engle, Kelly Ladin