Although research has been conducted over the last half century to test the hypothesis that pornography, or sexually explicit media (SEM), influences behavior, information regarding usage and its effect on men who have sex with men (MSM) is limited. It is important for researchers studying online risk factors for HIV to consider the relationship between SEM consumption and risky sexual behavior, particularly given the exponential increase in SEM exposure as a result of the near-compulsory use of the Internet. In this commentary, we review findings regarding this relationship from studies of international and heterosexual populations. We then suggest future directions for research regarding MSM in the United States and practical applications of such research if the results from other populations extend to them. Research suggests there might be ways to use SEM to create innovative approaches to online HIV prevention, particularly among such at-risk populations as youth and MSM of lower socio-economic statuses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments Understanding effects of Web-based Media on Virtual Populations was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health Center for Medical Health Research on AIDS, Grant number 5R01MH087231. All research was carried out with the approval of the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board, study number 0906S68801.
- Gay men
- Men who have sex with men
- Sexual behavior