Associations between adolescents’ pornography consumption and self-objectification, body comparison, and body shame (2021)

Body Image. 2021 Feb 11;37:89-93.

doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2021.01.014.

Anne J Maheux  1 Savannah R Roberts  2 Reina Evans  3 Laura Widman  3 Sophia Choukas-Bradley  4

PMID: 33582530

DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2021.01.014


  • Most teenagers (41 % of girls, 78 % of boys) reported viewing porn in the past year.
  • Porn consumption was linked with higher self-objectification and body comparison.
  • Porn consumption was not associated with body shame.
  • No evidence of differences by gender emerged.


Although prior work indicates an association between idealized media content and adolescents’ body-related concerns, such as self-objectification, body comparison, and body shame, few prior studies have examined the role of pornography. Even fewer studies have included adolescent girls, limiting our understanding of potential gender differences. In this brief report, we investigate these associations in a diverse mixed-gender sample of high school students in the Southeastern U.S. (n = 223, ages 15-18, M age = 16.25, 59 % girls) who completed computerized self-report measures. Controlling for demographic covariates and frequency of social media use, we found an association between frequency of pornography consumption in the past year and higher self-objectification and body comparison, but not body shame. No evidence of differences by gender emerged. Results suggest that both boys and girls may be susceptible to pornography-related body concerns, yet these concerns may not include body shame. Future research should examine both risks and benefits of pornography use among adolescents using longitudinal designs, as well as how body-related concerns can be incorporated into pornography literacy interventions.

Keywords: Adolescence; Body comparison; Body shame; Pornography; Self-objectification.