Adolescent exposure to pornography and relationship intimacy in young adulthood
The hypothesis on the role of exposure to pornography during adolescence in predicting intimacy among young adults was tested using a sample of 544 Croatian college students (aged 18?25 years) who were surveyed online. Respondents provided information about pornography use at ages 14 and 17, perceived realism of pornographic depictions of sexual activities, attitudes towards recreational sex and relationship intimacy. Significant gender differences in pornography exposure, perceived realism of pornographic contents and attitudes towards recreational sex were found. No direct relationship was found between adolescent exposure to pornography and relationship intimacy in young adulthood. As hypothesised, the realism of pornography was related both to exposure and intimacy, but only among female participants. Furthermore, the association between the appraisal of pornographic realism and intimacy was shown to be mediated by attitudes towards recreational sex. In light of contemporary concerns over the normalisation of pornography use, particularly among young people, our findings do not support the view that adolescent exposure to sexually explicit materials is a determinant of relationship intimacy among young Croatian adults.