The present study examined the effects of reading submission- and dominance-themed erotica on attitudes toward women and rape, ideal partner preferences, and subjective sexual arousal.
Heterosexual male (n = 241) and female (n = 240) participants read one of three erotic stories depicting male dominance, female dominance, or no dominance, or a fourth nonerotic control story.
First, we found that after reading about a sexually dominant man, women reported increased benevolent sexism compared to men, and men reported increased rape myth acceptance compared to women.
Second, men and women showed a similar level of preference for partner dominance after reading about a sexually dominant woman. This was in contrast to the typical pattern revealed in all other conditions, whereby women were more likely to favor dominant partners relative to men.
Finally, we found no evidence to support the hypothesis that the story describing male dominance would be the most arousing. Rather, all three erotic stories were equally sexually arousing compared to the control condition, and men and women did not differ in the extent to which the erotic stories aroused them.
Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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- a School of Psychology, University of Queensland
- b School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University
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