Attitudes Toward Erotica Questionnaire

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títuloAttitudes Toward Erotica Questionnaire
fecha de publicación23.10.2015
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Attitudes Toward Erotica Questionnaire


Ilsa L. Lottes,1 University of Maryland Baltimore County

Martin S. Weinberg, Indiana University

The Attitudes Toward Erotica Questionnaire (ATEQ) was developed by a University Task Force on Pornography. At a Midwestern university, a student was arrested for showing a sexually explicit film to raise funds for his dormitory. The arrest sparked controversy and brought the issue of pornography into sharp focus among students, faculty, and administrators. Subsequently, a task force was appointed to investigate attitudes toward sexually explicit materials by the student body.

The ATEQ includes scales measuring attitudes about harmful and positive effects of erotica, as well as attitudes toward its restriction and regulation. Because of the wide variety of sexually explicit material, the questionnaire is not designed to investigate attitudes toward erotica in general. A social scientist can adapt the questionnaire to examine attitudes about the type of erotic material most appropriate for her/his research—either a specific medium (e.g., Playboy) or a general form (e.g., X rated motive).


For each type of erotica, nine items (numbered 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 20, and 21) assess its harmful effects and form a Harmful scale; seven items (numbered 5, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, and 19) assess its positive effects and form a Positive scale; and five items (numbered 2, 3, 8, 14, and 16) assess its restriction and form a Restrict scale. In the study at the university in the Midwest, 663 students (52% female) responded to items about four types of sexually explicit materials―magazines like Playboy, magazines like Hustler, adult bookstore magazines, and X rated movies and videos like “Deep Throat” (Lottes, Weinberg, & Weller, 1993). From a varimax factor analysis with an orthogonal rotation of the 84 responses (21 per erotic type) of these students, one major factor emerged. This factor accounted for 63% of the variance with all factor loadings having an absolute value greater than .71. Thus, although properties of the individual Harmful, Positive, and Restrict scales are presented here, analysis based on one large random student sample (70% response rate) suggests that attitudes toward erotica are organized along a simple binary good/bad dimension.

The response options to each item are one of the 5 point Likert-type choices: strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), no opinion (3), agree (4), and strongly agree (5). This questionnaire is designed for a college student or general adult population. Obscenity law is strongly linked to community standards and the ATEQ is a tool to assess such standards.

1Address correspondence to Ilsa L. Lottes, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 5401 Wilkens Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21228; e-mail:


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