Last Updated: Friday, February 26, 2021

Young people’s attitudes to pornography, sex and relationships report: He’s the stud and she’s the slut (2014)

What is this?

​This study explores the experiences and attitudes of young teens in Scotland, regarding pornography and relationships. There are a number of recommendations including some for schools and policy makers.

Who is this for?

​Practitioners, such as teachers, youth workers and headteachers, as well as policy makers.

​Explore this resource

Link to full report

Young people’s attitudes to pornography, sex and relationships report: He’s the stud and she’s the slut (2014)

The report found that pornography and sexualised media were part of most participants’ everyday lives.

Although pornography and sexualised media were seen as problematic by many participants, they were not understood as isolated issues but as part of a broader pattern of sexism and double standards around sex and relationships.

Participants’ responses to sexualisation, pornography, relationships and sex were heavily impacted by these gendered expectations and stereotypes. This means that young male and female participants’ experiences and attitudes often differed.

Specific issues for female participants included:

  • Pressure both to engage and not to engage in sexual and/or sexualised behaviour, with a range of negative consequences for failing to negotiate the ‘appropriate’ balance.
  • Pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and resulting negative body image.

Specific issues for male participants included:

  • Pressure to conform to heterosexual male ‘norms’ of watching and approving of pornography, sexualising women and girls, and pursuing sex. Consequences of not fulfilling these include being labelled ‘gay’ or not adequately masculine.
  • Pressure to appear sexually experienced, which may lead to a rejection of sex education.

Specific issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender participants:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender participants were impacted differently than those who identified as heterosexual, including greater perceived exposure to sexualised material and feeling excluded from heteronormative sex and relationships education.

Significant numbers of participants thought that the information available to them on sex and relationships was inadequate.

How was the research carried out?