Pornography’s Ubiquitous External Ejaculation: Predictors of Perceptions

Catherine A. Salmon, Jessica A. Hehman, Aurelio José Figueredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most contentious topics in the sexual arena is that of pornography. While some researchers focus on the costs and benefits of consumption, others focus on questions surrounding the objectification or degradation of women, with relatively little focus on the men involved, and the appeal of visual sexual stimuli more generally, including what that may tell us about the sexual interests of the consumers. In this study, we focus on what factors influence men’s and women’s perceptions of sexually explicit images, in particular the ubiquitous external ejaculation. Sex differences in perceptions of the images are examined as well as the influence of the emotional affect of the recipient of the ejaculation, the sexual orientation of the participant (are they looking at an image of their preferred sex or not), and a number of individual difference factors, including religiosity, Dark Triad personality traits, mate value, short-term mating strategy, and disgust sensitivity. Overall, the largest influences on perceptions were the direct effects of target emotional affect and sex, sex of viewer, sexual orientation of viewer, short-term mating orientation, and level of sexual disgust. In addition, substantial variation in perceptions was explained by the interaction between sex, sexual orientation, and target sex. The importance of positive affect in the images as well as the lack of association with psychopathy again suggests that the appeal (or at least the ubiquity of the images in pornographic material) is not rooted in degradation, but in some other aspect of short-term sexual psychology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-442
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Dark Triad
  • Disgust
  • External ejaculation
  • Pornography
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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