Men who view sexually explicit pornography where condoms are used are more likely to use protection when engaging in anal sex,research has found.
A study of 265 men from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, found their sexual behaviour was directly influenced by what they had seen online.
All of the men taking part in the research had viewed sexually explicit media in the past three months, during which time they had also had sex with another man.
Authors Eric Schrimshaw, from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Martin J Downing Jr, of Public Health Solutions, said: “Men who viewed more pornography containing condom use engaged in fewer condomless anal sex encounters.
“Even those who took part in compulsive pornography viewing were not more likely to engage in condomless anal sex.
“These findings have important policy and HIV prevention implications.”
Of the 92 per cent of participants who said they had viewed sexually explicit media containing condomless anal sex in the past three months, nearly half said it had directly contributed to them engaging in riskier sex.
Viewing the material had led 70 per cent of participants to act out what they had seen online, while over half said viewing the material made them seek out sex afterwards.
Dr Schrimshaw said: “The potentially negative consequences on behaviour, therefore, has policy implications for pornography directors, producers, distributors, performers, and viewers.”
The researchers noted how the study’s findings could support an argument for more availability of sexually explicit media containing anal sex in which condoms are clearly used.
“Indeed, our finding that viewing pornography that contains condom use is associated with fewer condomless anal sex encounters suggests that pornography may have a potentially important protective function by encouraging men to use condoms,” the authors said.
Condom use in pornography has been a subject of fierce debate, with government officials and sexual health organisations stressing the need for greater safety for actors while industry figures continue to argue that no one would watch their films if they featured condoms.