Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Dirty girls come clean: The experience of women who use sexually explicit materials and its link to their spirituality
by Hempel, Kari, Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2012, 345; 3509619
Abstract (Summary)

This feminist-based, mixed-method study of women who are consumers of sexually explicit materials (SEM) sought to address the complexity of positive and negative experiences women may have with these materials, including the possibility that SEM consumption intersects with spiritual/religious beliefs. An extensive 59-item online survey was completed by 645 women regarding their experiences with SEM and degree of alignment between their sexuality and spiritual/religious beliefs; a subset of 30 participants with spiritual or religious beliefs was selected to participate in qualitative interviews to provide in-depth understanding of the same areas of inquiry. The sample included more diversity of age, sexual orientation, relationship status, and region of residence than had previously published SEM research, but its participants consisted largely of White, liberal, well-educated women. These women were largely positively impacted by SEM use; they consumed SEM primarily alone to increase arousal, be entertained, and increase sexual knowledge; their media-type preferences were films, photographs, and short stories, but genre/content preferences were largely individual and did not fall into general women-preferred categories. These women's beliefs and actions related to SEM consumption did not support earlier either dualistic antipornography or anticensorship waves of feminist thought but did align with a newer, balanced feminist framework on SEM that depicts women as intelligent beings capable of identifying the potential benefits and harm of SEM consumption and making conscious choices to increase the former and decrease the latter. Many of these women were capable of integrating their sexual and spiritual lives, largely through maintaining personal spiritual, rather than traditional religious, belief systems. Fewer were able to extend the integration to their SEM consumption but appeared more likely to do so if directly asked to consider this possibility in some depth.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wade, Jenny
Commitee: Meana, Marta, Murnen, Sarah
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Pornography, Sexually explicit materials, Women's sexuality, Women's spirituality
Publication Number: 3509619
ISBN: 978-1-267-36284-1
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