Adult Social Bonds and Use of Internet Pornography


  • *Direct correspondence to Dr. Steven Stack, Department of Criminal Justice, Wayne State University, 2305 FAB Building, Detroit, MI 48202 〈〉. Requests for the data used in this study should be directed to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; this agency provided the data to the author under standard contractual arrangements with ICPSR member institutions. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, August 16–20, 2002, Chicago.


Objective. Sociological theories of deviant behavior have not been systematically applied to the problem of who uses and who does not use cyberpornography on the Internet. The present study contributes to the literature by providing the first systematic application of selected sociological theories of deviance to the problem of explaining use of cyberpornography. It tests a blended theoretical perspective, which includes measures from social control and opportunity theories of deviance, as well as measures of broader deviant lifestyles, as possible predictors of use of cyberporn. A key hypothesis is that persons with the strongest ties to conventional society will be less likely than others to use cyberporn.

Methods. Complete data on 531 Internet users are taken from the General Social Surveys for 2000. Social bonds measures include religious, marital, and political ties. Measures of participation in sexual and drug-related deviant lifestyles, and demographic controls are included.

Results. The results of a logistic regression analysis found that among the strongest predictors of use of cyberporn were weak ties to religion and lack of a happy marriage. However, past sexual deviance (e.g., involvement in paid sex) was also a strong predictor of cyberporn use. Overall the model explained 40 percent of the variance in porn use on the Internet.

Conclusion. Traditional theoretical perspectives on deviance are apparently applicable to this new form of deviant behavior.