The globalization of technology, specifically the Internet, has raised debates on the effects of exposure to pornography. In particular, the relationship between pornography and sexual aggression, marital satisfaction, and risky sexual behaviors has been debated in the literature for decades (see Beech, Elliott, Birgen, & Findlater, 2008; Malamuth, Addison, & Kross, 2000; Seto, Maric, Barbaree, 2001). In addition, previous research discusses the impact of exposure to Internet pornography on children and adolescents (see Flood, 2009; Flood & Hamilton, 2003; Owens, Behun, Manning, Reid, 2012). However, Internet pornography includes a wide range of sexually explicit materials, both deviant1 and nondeviant. Deviant and nondeviant pornography are readily available on the Internet, yet few empirical studies analyze the relationship between nondeviant (e.g., adult pornography) and deviant (bestiality, child) pornography use.
Interviews with child pornography users suggest some offenders experience a level of desensitization to mainstream pornography which results in a need to collect more extreme pornographic materials (see Quayle & Taylor, 2002; Quayle & Taylor, 2003). In addition, child pornography users may collect sexual images of children, not because of an underlying paraphilia or sexual interest in children, but because the images are easily accessible via the Internet (Basbaum, 2010). Finally, Endrass et al. (2009) studied the pornography collections of 231 men charged with child pornography possession; the results indicated the collections included a wide range of sexually explicit materials, including other deviant forms of pornography, such as bestiality. Overall, there may be a relationship between desensitization to nondeviant pornography and the need to compulsively collect deviant pornography for some child pornography consumers. The question, then, becomes what factors put someone at risk for transitioning from a nondeviant pornography user to a deviant pornography user (see Seigfried-Spellar & Rogers, 2013)?
Empirical research is slowly uncovering the factors related to people’s decisions to consume various genres of Internet pornography. The majority of the research has focused on a small number of personality traits while employing an overall measure of general pornography use or self-reported exposure. Some research suggests individuals exhibiting psychopathic (Barnes, Malamuth, & Check, 1984; Paul, 2009; Williams, Cooper, Howell, Yuille, & Paulhus, 2009), antisocial (Fisher & Barak, 2001; Shim, Lee, & Paul, 2007), or sensation-seeking dispositions (Hald, Kuyper, Adam, & de Wit, 2013; Weisskirch & Murphy, 2004) may be more likely to consume pornographic materials. Personality characteristics are also predictive of Internet child pornography consumption. Bogaert (2001) found that men who prefer sexualized images of children are more likely to possess aggressive and dominant personality traits, and Seigfried, Lovely, and Rogers (2008) found Internet child pornography users were more manipulative, dishonest, and less likely to make decisions based on personal moral values compared to non-users of child pornography.