Pornography exposure and access among young Australians: a cross-sectional study

Pornography exposure and access among young Australians

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Maree Crabbe, Michael Flood, Kelsey Adams



This article aims to explore the extent and nature of Australian young people’s pornography exposure and access.


Cross-sectional online survey of 1,985 young Australians aged 15–20 years, nationally representative of a range of demographics.


Exposure to pornography was reported by 86% of male and 69% of female participants. Most exposure occurred when participants were alone and at home, regardless of gender. Young men were more likely than young women to seek pornography out and to view it frequently, with over half (54%) of male participants reporting weekly use compared with 14% of female participants. On average, boys and young men saw pornography 3.2 years before their first partnered sexual experience, and girls and young women saw it 2.0 years before theirs.


It is common for young people to see pornography years before their first partnered sexual experience.

Implications for public health

Unintentional and deliberate exposure to pornography is common and frequent among young people. Public health strategies among young people are necessary to address the potential harms associated with pornography use, including gender-based violence and risky sexual practices.