The influence of pornography on heterosexual black men and women's genital self-image & grooming

Shemeka Thorpe, Natalie Malone, Rayven L Peterson, Praise Iyiewuare, Destin L Mizelle, Candice N Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pornography consumption may negatively impact Black men's and women's genital self-image. Poor genital self-image is linked to negative mental health outcomes and sexual dysfunction. Despite this, little work has examined genital self-image among Black men and women, a group whose genital self-image may be informed by racist-gendered stereotypes and perceived expectations for genital grooming. The purpose of this multigenerational qualitative study is to examine how pornography impacts genital self-image and grooming for Black heterosexual men and women. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with participants (n = 20) across four generational cohorts. An inductive content analysis resulted in three categories and four subcategories. All participants reported pornography consumption at some point in their lifetime. The degree of influence on their genital self-image and grooming was categorized in four ways: no influence, perceived influence, and direct influence, and resisting influence. There were four subcategories within the perceived and direct influence categories: pubic hair grooming & preferences, designer vaginas, penis size, and partnered expectations. Black men and women differed in their reported influence of porn on genital self-image and grooming. Implications of findings for pornography creators, sex educators, and sex partners are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101669
JournalBody Image
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Male
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Erotica
  • Grooming
  • Body Image/psychology
  • Genitalia


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