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Pornography Use: Who Uses It and How It Is Associated with Couple Outcomes


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Very little is known about how pornography use is related to the quality of committed relationships. This study examined associations among pornography use, the meaning people attach to its use, sexual quality, and relationship satisfaction. It also looked at factors that discriminate between those who use pornography and those who do not. Participants were couples (N = 617 couples) who were either married or cohabiting at the time the data were gathered. Overall results from this study indicated substantial gender differences in terms of use profiles, as well as pornography's association with relationship factors. Specifically, male pornography use was negatively associated with both male and female sexual quality, whereas female pornography use was positively associated with female sexual quality. The study also found that meaning explained a relatively small part of the relationship between pornography use and sexual quality.
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Pornography Use: Who Uses It and How It Is Associated with Couple Outcomes
Franklin O. Poulsen and Dean M. Busby
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University
Adam M. Galovan
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri
Very little is known about how pornography use is related to the quality of committed
relationships. This study examined associations among pornography use, the meaning people
attach to its use, sexual quality, and relationship satisfaction. It also looked at factors that
discriminate between those who use pornography and those who do not. Participants were
couples (N ¼617 couples) who were either married or cohabiting at the time the data were
gathered. Overall results from this study indicated substantial gender differences in terms of
use profiles, as well as pornography’s association with relationship factors. Specifically, male
pornography use was negatively associated with both male and female sexual quality, whereas
female pornography use was positively associated with female sexual quality. The study also
found that meaning explained a relatively small part of the relationship between pornography
use and sexual quality.
To date, research focused on the effects of pornography
on committed relationships is fairly sparse (Manning,
2006), and, with few exceptions, the existing literature
is limited to studies using therapy samples. Marriage
and family scholars have done little, if any, research in
this area, and, to our knowledge, there are only a few
studies that have explored pornography use at the cou-
ple (dyadic) level. The purpose of this study was to
explore how the use of pornography in a committed
relationship is related to the sexual quality and relation-
ship satisfaction reported by each partner.
Review of Literature
Theory and Ideologies Attributed to Pornography Use
As accessibility to pornography has increased, mostly
due to the Internet, there has been a subsequent increase
in research focusing on the effects of pornography. A
simple search of the PsycINFO database resulted in only
161 peer-reviewed articles from 1970 to 1990 that
included pornography in the title (implying a primary
focus on the subject). In the two decades since then,
more than 370 peer-reviewed articles with pornography
in the title have been published. Along with this uptick
in research, there has been an increase in the use of
theory, such as social exchange (Kontula, 2009), The
Sexual Behavior Sequence (Fisher & Barak, 2001), and
erotophilia=erotophobia (Fisher, Byrne, Kelley, &
White, 1988) to explain how or why pornography use
may impact individuals or relationships. One particular
theoretical perspective that can apply to pornography
use in the context of relationships is symbolic interaction,
which recognizes meaning and interpretation as central
to an individual’s behavior (Snow, 2001). In Blumer’s
(1969) Symbolic Interaction Theory, he asserted that
people interpret their world through the lens of mean-
ing, and that this meaning is constructed based, in large
part, on contemporary social values. Gecas and Libby
(1976) extended this theory to sexual behavior, indicat-
ing that it is predominately a reaction to social scripts
that define parameters for behavior in sexual contexts.
More recently, Gagnon and Simon (1973) argued that
all sexual behavior—including pornography—is socially
scripted and that pornography, in particular, is a word
and behavior that is laden with divergent meaning.
Furthermore, they have theorized that people derive
through social experience interpersonal scripts that
provide a structure for representations of self and other,
and that these scripts facilitate the occurrence of a sex-
ual act, as well as the antecedents and consequences of
the act (Simon & Gagnon, 1986). Utilizing these
theoretical frameworks, we would assume that the
relationship between pornography use and sexual
quality varies, in large measure, depending on the
meaning individuals attach to the use of pornography.
Correspondence should be addressed to Franklin O. Poulsen,
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, JFSB 2082, Provo,
UT 84602. E-mail:
JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH, 50(1), 72–83, 2013
Copyright #The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
ISSN: 0022-4499 print=1559-8519 online
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2011.648027
In modern society, although there is likely a great
deal of variation in the meanings individuals and cou-
ples attach to their personal or their partners’ pornogra-
phy use, there are nonetheless two broad ideologies that
individuals utilize to construct meaning about pornogra-
phy. One of these is the idea that pornography use is a
form of sexual expression through which individuals
can broaden their understanding of sexuality (Warner,
2000), or that it is a behavior that can create an erotic
climate (Daneback, Traeen, & Mansson, 2009) in which
the couple can experiment and enhance the sexual
The second major social script—consistent with the
existing clinical literature—implies that pornography
use is a form of infidelity (Schneider, 2002) in the
relationship, or that pornography is deviant and objecti-
fies women (Schneider, 2000). Individuals who adopt
this perspective would likely be in opposition to the idea
of pornography as expression or as a means of creating
an erotic climate. This is consistent with literature that
links lower usage of pornography with religious beliefs
that categorize pornography use as sinful or destructive
to relationships and spiritual health (Sherkat & Ellison,
Although much of the literature investigating por-
nography use in a couple context takes the perspective
that pornography is destructive, substantial usage sug-
gests that it may be turning into a normative behavior.
Furthermore, because this literature is primarily from
a clinical perspective, it may not represent the poten-
tially positive influence of pornography on a relation-
ship. In this study, we tested how these social scripts
may explain the effects pornography may have on com-
mitted heterosexual relationships, and we accounted
for the influence of religiosity by using it as a control
The Potential Impact of Pornography Use on
Couple Relationships
Studies attempting to identify how prevalent
pornography use is within a population have not used
consistent measures or definitions in terms of how they
conceptualize pornography use. Consequently, statistics
on the use of pornography in the United States and else-
where are not easily interpretable. The following studies
are nonetheless helpful. According to research by
Cooper (2004), 20% to 33% of Americans used the Inter-
net to view sexual content of some kind. More recent
research of pornography use among a sample of 18- to
26-year-old college students showed that 87% of male
respondents and 31% of female respondents reported
using pornography at some level (Carroll et al., 2008).
In a random sample of 10,000 Norwegians, 83% of the
respondents said they had read a pornographic maga-
zine, 84% had watched a pornographic film, and 32%
had watched pornography on the Internet (Træen,
Nilsen, & Stigum, 2006). Because of how pervasive
pornography use has become in the United States and
around the world, it seems logical to investigate its
potential impact on committed romantic relationships,
especially because most Americans will enter into at
least one marriage (Axinn & Thornton, 2000) or coha-
biting relationship in their lifetime.
One of the more common findings in the pornogra-
phy research literature is that sexual quality is often
related to pornography use. Schneider (2002) found that
pornography use by the male is often associated with
disinterest in physical intimacy with the partner for both
the using and the non-using partner. Researchers have
also found that consistent exposure to pornography
may influence an individual’s satisfaction with their
partner’s affection, physical appearance, sexual curi-
osity, and sexual performance (Zillmann & Bryant,
1988). Thus, is seems that using pornography may
impact the users’, as well as the partners’, sexual experi-
ences. Because of the strong correlation between a cou-
ple’s sexual satisfaction and the overall relationship
satisfaction reported by the partners (Christopher &
Sprecher, 2000)—such that increases in both the quality
and quantity of sexual intimacy in a relationship
correlate well with the increase in general relationship
satisfaction (Aron & Henkemeyer, 1995)—the prior
findings identify sexual quality as a potential pathway
for pornography to negatively influence a committed
As most of the literature on pornography use and its
effect on couple relationships has come from therapy
research, the findings typically reveal negative effects.
However, there is also some empirical support for an
increase in sexual benefit associated with pornography
use. One study—which used a random, non-therapy
sample—looked at pornography use in a couple context
and showed that couples who explicitly used pornogra-
phy together as a means of enhancing their sexual
relationship tended to report having more positive com-
munication about their sexual relationship, less arousal
problems for the male, and less negative views of self
for the female (Daneback et al., 2009). Two other stu-
dies provided results suggesting that some women do
not see pornography use as having any negative effects
on their romantic relationships (Bergner & Bridges,
2002), and that men and women who use pornography
believe doing so has mostly positive effects on their sex-
ual relationships (Hald & Malumuth, 2008). Further-
more, the increasing use of pornography in modern
society suggests that individuals may see it as beneficial
in the process of sexual expression or to create an erotic
Beyond both positive and negative associations with
sexual quality, researchers have also shown that upon
discovering their partner uses pornography, many
women question whether their partner loves them or is
still committed to them and the relationship (Bergner
& Bridges, 2002), that both men and women see online
sexual activity as an act of betrayal (Bridges, Bergner,
& Hesson-McInnis, 2003), and that Internet pornogra-
phy is significantly correlated with emotional infidelity
(Whitty, 2003). These studies have isolated meanings
that individuals attach to pornography use, which
could, in turn, explain the impact of pornography on
couple dynamics. Furthermore, Stack, Wasserman,
and Kern (2004) found that happily married people
are 61% less likely to report using Internet pornography
compared to those who report being unhappy in their
marriage, suggesting there may be a link between por-
nography use and happiness in marriage. Because this
body of research is thin, it is fertile ground for a deeper
Patterns and Predictors of Pornography Use
Although pornography use in a couple context has
historically been considered a mostly male behavior—
and, therefore, likely to impact a relationship only when
the male uses it—our study looked at use by the female
partner as well. Recent research has shown that,
although women do indeed use pornography at a much
lower rate than men, female pornography use is on the
rise, with nearly one-half of female adolescents using
some form of pornography in the last six months (Peter
& Valkenburg, 2006). Research conducted in Sweden
highlights this trend, showing that only 4% of women
aged 50 to 65 years reported having watched pornogra-
phy on the Internet, whereas about 25% of women aged
18 to 34 years reported having done so (Mansson,
Daneback, Tikkanen, & Lofgren-Martenson, 2003).
Interestingly, although female pornography use seems
to be on the rise, there are different use patterns for
men and women, with women typically viewing
pornography with a partner (Mansson, 2000) and men
usually doing so alone (Seidman 2004).
Another important aspect of pornography use that
has been largely overlooked by researchers is the issue
of what factors contribute to an individual’s patterns
of use. Based on the limited research, it seems that
gender is one of the strongest predictors of pornography
use, with men being far more likely to use pronography
than women (Fisher & Byrne, 1978; Regnerus, 2007).
Religious factors are also strong predictors of use or
non-use. Specifically, individuals with strong ties to reli-
gion are less likely to report pornography use (Stack
et al., 2004). Another possible predictor of pornography
use is high sexual desire. Research conducted across
Europe suggests that—especially for males and, to a les-
ser extent, females—higher levels of sexual desire is cor-
related with greater pornography use (Kontula, 2009).
There is also a body of research showing that, for
certain men, exposure to violent pornography is asso-
ciated with an increased risk for sexual aggression
(Donnerstein & Linz, 1998; Malamuth, Addison, &
Koss, 2000). Some authors have also found non-violent
pornography to be associated with acceptance of violent
or aggressive behavior toward women (Allen, Emmers,
Gebhardt, & Giery, 1995; Ramasubramanian & Oliver,
2003). Because this study focused on the context of a
committed relationship, we infer from this literature that
pornography use may also be linked to negative forms
of communication (e.g., criticism, contempt, and defen-
siveness) in a relationship. Although the aforementioned
factors seem to be the only variables that have been
explored with any frequency, there is also evidence that
extramarital sex and participating in paid sex (Stack
et al., 2004) are associated with online pornography
use. Based on this latter finding, we extrapolate that sex-
ual promiscuity as manifested by multiple partnerships
and sexual intimacy early in the relationship may be
associated with pornography use in a committed
Beyond these limited findings, there is no clear indi-
cation of what factors may discriminate between those
who use pornography and those who do not. However,
there is research revealing predictors of other sexual
behaviors. For example, Danziger (1995) found that
close family relationships were related to later age at
first sexual intercourse. Miller, Sabo, Farrell, Barnes,
and Melnick (1998) showed that family cohesion was
related to older age at first intercourse, as well as lower
frequency of intercourse and fewer partners. Because
these other sexual behaviors are often associated with
pornography use (Carroll et al., 2008), we anticipated
that family of origin (FOO) processes and quality may
be directly related to pornography use.
Research Questions
This study adds to the body of research literature on
pornography by using dyadic data to explore what
factors may contribute to pornography use and how this
use is related to couple relationship quality in a
non-clinical sample. The theory cited earlier suggests
that social scripts from which people derive meaning
about pornography use may explain how it affects their
relationship. We used measures of attitudes about por-
nography use, which, although not scripts themselves,
certainly reflect the social scripts that individuals have
personally adopted. Because prior research has ident-
ified religiosity (Sherkat & Ellison, 1997), relationship
length (Greeley, 1991), and general Internet use
(Whang, Lee, & Chang, 2003) as possible moderators
of pornography use and sexual quality, we controlled
for these variables in the structural equation modeling
(SEM) analyses. Based on our reading of the aforemen-
tioned literature, we put forward the following research
RQ1: What factors are associated with pornography
use versus non-use?
RQ2: Is pornography use in a committed relationship
associated with lower sexual quality and relation-
ship satisfaction?
RQ3: Are the social scripts, as reflected by respondents’
stated attitudes about pornography, associated
with scripts such as pornography as an expres-
sion of sexuality or the creation of an erotic cli-
mate, or are they associated with scripts such as
pornography as infidelity?
The sample was gathered in 2009 and 2010 as part of
the RELATionship Evaluation (RELATE) question-
naire project ( with data on
pornography use beginning in February of 2009. The
RELATE project recruits couples to the Internet site
from a variety of settings, including college professors,
marriage and family therapists, Internet and newspaper
ads, word of mouth, and relationship educators familiar
with the RELATE instrument. RELATE was designed
as a tool to help couples evaluate their relationship
and engage in healthy discussions to improve their
relationship. The validity and reliability of the measure-
ment scales have been established in previous studies
(for details, see Busby, Holman, & Taniguchi, 2001).
The total original sample included 1,523 couples in a
variety of relationships. Because this study was inter-
ested in couples with a certain level of commitment,
we excluded all participants (N¼742) who did not
identify as currently married or cohabiting. One couple
self-identified as homosexual in response to a question
about sexual preference. This couple was also excluded
from the analysis. Furthermore, because the RELATE
project is more commonly administered in the Western
United States where some religious denominations are
overrepresented as compared to national norms, we
excluded, at random (N¼125), individuals who ident-
ified as Latter-Day Saints to maintain a sample more
consistent with America’s religious population (Pew
Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2007).
Participants in the final sample were 617 heterosexual
couples (1,234 individuals); 221 were married and 396
were cohabiting at the time of the study. Couples indi-
vidually completed the questionnaire online, and their
results were matched using a couple code. Religious
affiliation was 35% Protestant, 21% Catholic, 4%
Jewish, 4% Latter-Day Saint, 1% Hindu, 1% Buddhist,
1% Islam, and 2% ‘‘other.’’ Thirty-two percent reported
no religious affiliation. Participants were predominantly
White, non-Hispanic (83%), and the majority were well
educated, with 56% of the men and 57% of the women
having a bachelor’s degree or higher. The age range of
respondents was 17 to 58, and the median age for
respondents was 32 for males and 29 for females.
When asked how they heard about RELATE, about
34% of the men and 37% of the women reported they
were referred by a therapist, 24% of men and 37% of
women reported they were referred by instructors, about
9% of both genders said they were referred by clergy,
about 16% of men, but only 5% of women, said they
had been referred by family, and 14% of men and 6%
of women reported that they were referred by friends.
The remainder of respondents reported that they found
the site through some type of advertising via Web, news-
paper, magazines, and so forth. Thus, the sample is one
of convenience, composed of individuals who were
referred to the site through a variety of sources and
likely for a variety of reasons.
This study used measures from the RELATE question-
naire (Busby et al., 2001). RELATE is a 300þitem ques-
tionnaire designed to evaluate the relationship between
romantically linked partners. We discussed the specific
measures from the RELATE instrument used in this study.
Pornography use. Pornography use was measured
with a single item that asked, ‘‘During the last twelve
months, on how many days did you view or read por-
nography (i.e., movies, magazines, Internet sites, adult
romantic novels)?’’ Response options were on a 6-point,
Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (never)to6(almost
every day).
Sexual quality. This scale was made up of two
items; the first item asked respondents to indicate how
satisfied they were with the physical intimacy they
experienced, and the second item asked how often
intimacy=sexuality had been a problem area in their
relationship. For these items, response choices were
gauged on a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging from 1
(very dissatisfied)to5(very satisfied). For this scale,
Cronbach’s a¼.70 for men and a¼.67 for women.
Meaning of pornography. The meaning people
attach to pornography use was measured using four
items that asked respondents to indicate their attitudes
about pornography use. The items included, ‘‘Porno-
graphy is an acceptable way for couples to ‘spice up’
their love life,’’ ‘‘Viewing pornography is an acceptable
way for married adults to express their sexuality,’’
‘‘Pornography objectifies and degrades women,’’ and
‘‘Pornography is a form of marital infidelity.’’ The last
two items were recoded to maintain consistent direction
in the measure. We used these measures as reflections of
the social scripts that individuals have subscribed to,
based on their individual cultural, religious, and even
socio-political leanings. The two scripts of pornography
as expression or to create an erotic climate and
pornography as infidelity or degrading of women are
encapsulated in the scale and are differentiated simply
as low (infidelity=degrading) or high (expression=erotic)
scores. Each item was measured using a 5-point,
Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree)to
5(strongly agree). Cronbach’s a¼.80 for men and
a¼.83 for women.
Religiosity. Religiosity was measured with a three-
item scale. Two of the items were measured on 5-point,
Likert scales ranging from 1 (never)to5(very often).
These questions asked the respondents if spirituality
was an important part of their lives and how often they
prayed or communed with a higher power. In addition,
one question assessed the frequency of attending
religious services on a 5-point, Likert scale ranging from
1(never)to5(weekly). Cronbach’s a¼.91 for men and
a¼.90 for women.
Relationship length. Relationship length was mea-
sured using two items: One asked, ‘‘How long have
you and your partner been married,’’ and the other
asked, ‘‘How long has it been since you first started dat-
ing your partner? (If married, how long did you date
your partner before marriage?)’’ Both items were on a
scale ranging from 1 (0–3 months), 2 (4–6 months), 3
(6–12 months), 4 (1–2 years), 5 (3–5 years), and so on,
to 11 (more than 40 years). These items were then
summed so that the item would include both time
married and time dating before marriage for the cur-
rently married respondents and total time dating for
the cohabiting respondents.
General Internet use. General Internet use was a
measure of how often individuals use the Internet, in
general, outside of work. The item asked respondents
how often in the last three months, on average, parti-
cipants used the Internet other than for their employ-
ment. Response options ranged from 1 (less than an
hour a day)to7(more than 8 hours a day). The item
was recoded so that higher numbers meant more use.
Relationship satisfaction. Relationship satisfaction
was measured on a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging
from 1 (very dissatisfied)to5(very satisfied). The scale
included five items to gauge how satisfied respondents
were with how conflict was resolved, the love they
experienced, amount of relationship quality, quality of
communication, and the overall relationship with their
partner. Validity and reliability of the measure has been
established in previous studies (for details, see Busby
et al., 2001). For the relationship satisfaction scale,
Cronbach’s a¼.87 for men and a¼.84 for women.
Timing of first sexual intimacy with partner. This
was a single item that asked respondents how soon they
had sexual relations with their partner. There were 10
response options that included, ‘‘We had sexual
relations before we started dating,’’ ‘‘We had sexual
relations on our first date,’’ ‘‘We had sexual relations
a few weeks after we started dating,’’ ‘‘We had sexual
relations from 1 to 2 months after we started dating,’’
‘‘We had sexual relations from 3 to 5 months after we
started dating,’’ ‘‘We had sexual relations from 6 to 12
months after we started dating,’’ ‘‘We had sexual rela-
tions from 1 to 2 years after we started dating,’’ ‘‘We
had sexual relations more than 2 years after we started
dating,’’ ‘‘We have never had sexual relations,’’ and
‘‘We had sexual relations only after we married.’’ Our
sample did not include any respondents that chose
‘‘We have never had sexual relations.’’
Number of sexual partners. This was a single item
that asked respondents to indicate how many partners
with whom they had sexual relationships in their lifetime.
Sexual desire. This was a single item that asked
respondents, ‘‘How often do you desire to have sexual
intercourse with your partner?’’ Response options
ranged from 0 (never)to6(more than once a day).
Negative communication. Negative communication
was measured using the contempt=defensiveness and
the criticism scales, which were combined to create a
general construct representing negative communication.
Items were scored using a 5-point, Likert scale ranging
from 1 (never)to5(very often). Criticism was a three-
item scale asking the respondents about using tactless
choice of words when they complain, not stopping once
they started complaining, and not censoring complaints
and letting their partner have it full force. Contempt=
defensiveness was a four-item scale that asked respon-
dents about having no respect for their partner when
discussing an issue, getting upset and seeing the glaring
faults of the partner’s personality, warding off com-
plaints of the partner, and feeling unfairly attacked
when the partner is being negative. Cronbach’s a¼.92
for men and a¼.93 for women.
Romantic relationship history. Romantic relation-
ship history utilized four items that gauged the extent to
which respondents considered romantic relationships safe,
secure, and rewarding, whether they had trouble dealing
with matters from their past romantic relationships, and
if they felt at peace about anything negative that happened
to them in their past romantic relationships. Items were
measured using a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging from
1(strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree). Cronbach’s
a¼.74 for men and a¼.79 for women.
Family of Orgin (FOO). Items for FOO were mea-
sured using a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging from 1
(strongly disagree)to5(strongly agree). The scale included
four items to gauge the extent to which respondents
agreed with statements concerning the following: whether
they considered family relationships safe, secure, and
rewarding, whether they considered their family life to
have had a loving atmosphere, whether they had trouble
dealing with matters from their family experience, and if
they felt at peace about anything negative that happened
to them in their FOO. Cronbach’s a¼.77 for men and
a¼.85 for women.
Analysis Strategy
First, we computed a discriminant analysis to predict
group membership for those who used pornography and
those who did not. This analysis was conducted using
the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version
18 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL). Next, we used SEM (see
Figure 1) to examine the effects of pornography use
on committed relationships. The model was analyzed
using Mplus Version 6 (Muthe
´n & Muthe
´n, 1998–
2007). As exploring the association between pornogra-
phy use and couple functioning was central to the study,
the analyses included both the male and the female
paired reports for each variable. An Actor–Partner
Interdependence Model (APIM) was used to analyze
the interplay between each partner in the dyad (for
details, see Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006). To account
for the non-independence of the data, we followed
Kurdek’s (2003) methodological suggestion for married
couple analyses by correlating error terms between
partners for all measures.
Although there were very few missing values in the
predictor (N¼3), to deal with missing data in all vari-
ables, we used maximum likelihood (ML) with robust
standard errors estimation in Mplus (Muthe
´n, 1998–2007). Methodologists regard ML esti-
mation as a missing data technique that is more accurate
and more powerful relative to other missing data hand-
ling methods (Schafer & Graham, 2002).
Descriptive Analysis
Female pornography use was very low, with 64%
reporting no pornography use and 30% using pornogra-
phy once per month or less. Thus, 94% of our female
sample used pornography very little, if at all. Less than
2% of women reported using pornography more than
once per week. Pornography use among men, although
still low (27% reporting no use), showed more varia-
bility, with 31% using once per month or less, 16% using
two to three days per month, 16% using one to two
times per week, and 10% using three or more days per
week. A paired-samples ttest was conducted to evaluate
the differences between male and female pornography
use. The test was significant, t(613) ¼20.085, p<.001.
On average, males used pornography more (M¼1.55,
SD ¼1.33) than females (M¼0.450, SD ¼0.646). Males
and females also reported significant differences in the
meaning they attached to pornography use, t(610) ¼
6.26, p<.001, with males (M¼3.30, SD ¼0.97) attach-
ing more of an expression=erotic meaning than females
Figure 1. Actor–Partner Interdependence Model representing the relationship among pornography use, the meaning partners attach to the use,
sexual quality, and relationship satisfaction. Notes. N¼617 couples. Bias-corrected pvalues: p<.05. p<.01. All factor loadings for latent vari-
ables were above .65. To allow for readability, correlations accounting for shared method variance between spouses are not shown. Religiosity,
relationship length, and general Internet use were included as control variables.
(M¼3.00, SD ¼1.02). These averages further revealed
that, on the whole, women were neutral in the meaning
they attached to pornography use, whereas men, in
general, attached a slightly expression=erotic meaning
to pornography use.
Discriminant Analysis
Observing the usage patterns for each gender, we
conducted separate discriminant analyses to determine
how accurately we could predict pornography use and
non-use. For both male and female partners, variables
included in the analyses were religiosity, sexual desire,
timing of first sexual intimacy with partner, number of
sexual partners, negative communication, romantic
relationship history, and FOO. For men, the overall
Wilks’s lambda (.84) was significant, v
(6, N¼439) ¼
73.83, p<.001, indicating that, overall, the predictors
differentiated among the two groups. Box’s Mtest was
significant (p<.001); therefore, equal variance was not
assumed. For detailed means comparisons, see Table 1.
Pooled, within-groups correlations between predic-
tors and the standardized canonical discriminant func-
tion revealed that religiosity, timing of first sexual
intimacy with partner, and number of sexual partners
predicted group membership better than other variables.
Pornography users were more likely to have reported
low religiosity (M¼2.74), earlier sexual intimacy
(M¼3.61) with their partner, and to have more sexual
partners (M¼12.92), as compared to those who did
not use pornography (religiosity, M¼3.56; timing of
sexual intimacy, M¼4.61; and number of sexual part-
ners, M¼6.91). To a lesser degree, but still significant,
pornography users reported using more negative com-
munication with their partner, experiencing lower qual-
ity FOO, and having lower quality relationship history
as compared to their non-using counterparts. Sexual
desire did not significantly discriminate between the
two groups when considering the other predictors.
In our attempt to predict male pornography use
group membership, we were able to correctly classify
323 individuals (74.1%) in the sample, and this
accounted for a 91.2% accurate prediction of pornogra-
phy users and a 33.3% accurate prediction of non-users.
The same analysis conducted for female pornography
use was also significant (K¼.94), v
(6, N¼439) ¼27.14,
p<.001. Box’s M was significant (p<.001). Pooled,
within-groups correlations between predictors and the
standardized canonical discriminant function revealed
the same trend as male pornography use, such that
religiosity, timing of first sexual intimacy with partner,
and number of sexual partners were the strongest pre-
dictors. Female pornography users were more likely to
have reported low religiosity (M¼3.10), earlier sexual
intimacy (M¼3.59) with their partner, and to have
more sexual partners (M¼9.50), as compared to
females who reported no pornography use (religiosity,
M¼3.52; timing of sexual intimacy, M¼4.33; and
number of sexual partners, M¼6.43). Furthermore,
female pornography users reported significantly higher
sexual desire (M¼3.62) than their non-using counter-
parts (M¼3.28). No other variables discriminated
between female users and non-users.
In our attempt to predict female pornography use
group membership, we were able to correctly classify
301 individuals (69.1%) in the sample, and this accoun-
ted for a 16.4% prediction of pornography users and a
95.5% prediction of non-users. This difference in the
extent to which our selected variables predicted male
and female pornography use was substantial. Further-
more, the selected variables effectively classified use for
the men, but non-use for the women. So, for example,
low religiosity seems to be the most effective way to clas-
sify male pornography use or at least male self-report of
use, whereas high religiosity does not as effectively
explain non-use. Our findings revealed the reverse effect
for females. High religiosity predicted self-report of
non-use better than low religiosity predicted self-report
of use.
SEM Analysis
To test the direct and indirect relationships among
pornography use, the meaning individuals attach to
Table 1. Estimated Means and Standard Deviations of Pornography Users and Non-Users
Male Female
Variable Pornography Users Non-Users Pornography Users Non-Users
Religiosity 2.751.10 3.561.10 3.101.10 3.521.10
Timing of first sexual intimacy with partner 3.611.70 4.612.40 3.591.70 4.322.20
Number of sexual partners 12.9216.10 6.9010.60 9.5011.40 6.436.20
Relationship history 3.700.79 3.990.67 3.61 0.81 3.74 0.91
Family of origin 3.770.78 4.000.78 3.59 0.94 3.68 0.85
Negative communication 2.470.86 2.270.81 2.48 0.81 2.41 0.91
Depression 2.110.69 1.950.63 2.31 0.64 2.35 0.69
Sexual desire 4.07 1.10 3.96 1.20 3.591.00 3.321.20
p<.01 (representing a significant difference between users and non-users of pornography).
pornography use, sexual quality, and relationship
satisfaction, we constructed a SEM. In the model, por-
nography use was associated with sexual quality, which,
in turn, was associated with relationship satisfaction.
We included the meaning of pornography as a mediat-
ing variable and religiosity, relationship length, and gen-
eral Internet use as control variables (see Figure 1). The
model had acceptable fit: v
(412, N¼617) ¼1,125.744,
p<.000, Tucker–Lewis Index ¼.922, comparative fit
index ¼.939, and root mean square error of
approximation ¼.053. For the sexual quality variable,
squared multiple correlations for men was .11 and .14
for women. Squared multiple correlations for the
relationship satisfaction variable were .43 for men and
.42 for women. Of the 16 interpreted path coefficients
in the model, 12 paths were significant and are denoted
with an asterisk in Figure 1. To test mediation, we
employed the bootstrap estimator command in Mplus
´n & Muthe
´n, 1998–2007) to extract 1,000 boot-
strap samples. This allowed us to get bias-corrected sig-
nificance levels for the direct, indirect, and total effects
(see Table 2).
In the model, significant path coefficients indicated
that under the conditions of variance in religiosity,
relationship length, and general Internet use, the actor
effect of male pornography use on sexual quality was sig-
nificant and negative (b¼.17). The partner effect of
male pornography use on female sexual quality was also
negative and significant (b¼.17). Analysis of female
effects of pornography use revealed no significant
partner effect from female pornography use to male
sexual quality. However, the actor effect of female
pornography use on sexual quality was significant and
positive (b¼.13). Interestingly, male and female por-
nography use seemed to have some opposite effects in
their relationship with sexual quality.
Based on this, we wondered whether the different
viewing patterns of males and females might provide
some explanation for this differing relationship between
pornography use and sexual quality across genders. To
test this interaction post hoc, we used an item that asked
respondents to indicate what percentage of the time they
used pornography by themselves versus with their part-
ner, and inserted this into our SEM analysis as a mediat-
ing variable. Response options for the item were ‘‘never
use pornography’’; 100% alone, 0% with partner; 75%
alone, 25% with partner; 50% alone, 50% with partner;
25% alone, 75% with partner; and 0% alone, 100% with
partner. We divided responses into three groups—those
who did not use, those who used with their partner to
some degree, and those who used entirely alone—and
called the variable ‘‘viewing pattern.’’ Higher numbers
indicate a pattern of couple use.
We then tested this variable as a mediator in the SEM
to see if viewing patterns explained the relationship
between pornography use and sexual quality in the
APIM. Baron and Kenny (1986) defined a mediator as
a variable that explains the relation between a predictor
and an outcome. Using the model indirect command in
Mplus with the bootstrap estimator revealed that the
standardized indirect (mediated) effect of female por-
nography use on female (b¼.09) sexual quality was sig-
nificantly different than zero (p¼.03), and was only
mediated by female viewing pattern. The path coeffi-
cients from female pornography use to female viewing
patterns was (b¼.52), which indicated that female por-
nography use was associated with using pornography
together as opposed to alone, based on reports from
the female respondent. Furthermore, the inclusion of
viewing pattern in the model rendered the relationship
between female pornography use and female sexual qual-
ity insignificant, suggesting complete mediation (MacK-
innon, 2008). Viewing patterns did not significantly
mediate any of the other relationships between por-
nography use and sexual quality.
An analysis of RQ2—‘‘Is pornography use in a com-
mitted relationship associated with lower relationship
satisfaction?’’—revealed there was no direct actor or
partner effect of male pornography use on relationship
satisfaction, nor were there any direct actor or partner
effects from female pornography use to relationship
satisfaction. However, male pornography use had a sig-
nificant mediated effect on both male and female
relationship satisfaction, such that higher male por-
nography use was indirectly associated with lower male
(b¼.10, p<.01) and female (b¼.10, p<.01)
relationship satisfaction. Female pornography use also
had a significant mediated effect on male but not female
Table 2. Decomposition of Effects from Structural Equation
Modeling on Sexual Quality and Relationship Satisfaction
Variable Direct Indirect Total R
Effects on male sexual quality .11
Male pornography use .17 .01 .20
Female pornography use .10 .00 .10
Male pornography as discovery=erotica .13 .13
Female pornography as discovery=
.08 — .08
Effects on female sexual quality .14
Male pornography use .17 .02 .22
Female pornography use .13.02 .12
Male pornography as discovery=
Female pornography as discovery=
.07 — .07
Effects on male relationship satisfaction .42
Male sexual quality .21 — .21
Female sexual quality .35 — .35
Male pornography use .06 .09.15
Female pornography use .05 .06.11
Effects on female relationship satisfaction .40
Male sexual quality .39 — .39
Female sexual quality .17 — .17
Male pornography use .01 .10.11
Female pornography use .06 .05 .11
p<.05. p<.01 (bootstrap bias-corrected).
relationship satisfaction, such that higher female por-
nography use was indirectly associated with higher male
relationship satisfaction, through female sexual quality,
(b¼.06, p<.05).
RQ3—‘‘Are the social scripts, as reflected by respon-
dents’ stated attitudes about pornography, associated
with scripts such as pornography as expression of sexu-
ality or the creation of an erotic climate, or are they
associated with scripts such as pornography as infi-
delity?’’—was analyzed by inserting the meaning indivi-
duals attached to pornography use into the model and
testing it as a mediator. The two scripts are encapsulated
in the scale and are differentiated simply as low
(infidelity=degrading) or high (expression=erotic). This
test revealed no significant mediating effects. Thus, the
meaning that individuals attached to pornography use,
as measured in this study, did not explain the associa-
tions between pornography use and sexual quality.
In this study, we sought to understand the factors
that may be associated with pornography use and how
pornography use may have implications for couple rela-
tionships. We found a number of factors associated with
use and non-use. We also observed that the factors asso-
ciated with pornography use for men and women were
different. Furthermore, we found that pornography
use was associated with couple relationship quality,
and that associations were different for men versus
women. Contrary to our hypothesis, the meaning attrib-
uted to pornography played a very isolated role in the
way use affected couples’ relationships. We discuss each
of these findings next.
We were able to provide new and unique information
about the variables associated with individuals’ reports
of pornography use. For both genders, the variable with
the strongest association with non-use was religiosity,
closely followed by the timing of a couple’s first sexual
union and the number of sexual partners reported by
individuals. Based on these findings, it seems that these
sexual behaviors have a strong connection, and that por-
nography use often leads to, or is a product of, sexual
permissiveness. The discriminant analysis also revealed
that there were substantial differences between male
and female pornography use profiles. Specifically, the
variables selected were able to categorize male por-
nography use very well, but were not as effective for
female use. These variables, however, were better predic-
tors of non-use for females. This means that low religi-
osity, a high number of sexual partners, and early
sexual intimacy were better predictors of male pornogra-
phy use than the inverse of these variables for non-use.
However, for females, being highly religious, having
few sexual partners, and waiting to experience sexual
intimacy until late in the relationship were much better
predictors of non-use. Interestingly, whereas negative
communication, parents’ marital effort, FOO, and
relationship history were significant factors predicting
male pornography use or non-use, none of these vari-
ables were significant predictors for women. Although
there may be several possible explanations for this dis-
parity, it is likely that, due to low usage patterns among
the women in our sample, the power of the statistical
procedures was limited, whereas the male sample offered
more variability and, thus, more power to isolate differ-
ences with the selected variables. The difference in how
these variables predicted male and female use may sug-
gest that the impetus behind pornography use is very
different for women than it is for men.
One final, interesting finding from the discriminant
analysis was that sexual desire significantly discrimi-
nated between female pornography use and non-use,
but not male pornography use and non-use. This is
not to say that high male sexual desire does not predict
pornography use, as previous research has suggested
(Kontula, 2009). It only means that, in this sample,
desire did not seem to discriminate between males who
use and males who do not use. This is likely because
of the fact that most men in our sample used porno-
graphy at some level. It is possible that for pornography
to be an attractive activity, it requires a certain threshold
of sexual desire, which most men possess. However,
female pornography use is generally low, as is female
sexual desire, when compared to that of men. Thus,
for women, high sexual desire (relative to other women),
or sexual desire more similar to that of men, may be
necessary to induce a woman to use pornography. This
is consistent with the Dual Control Model of sexual
response, which proposes that ‘‘sexual arousal and
associated behaviors depend on the balance between
sexual excitation and inhibition’’ (Bancroft & Janssen,
2007, p. 197).
In regards to these findings, we acknowledge that a
possible limitation to the results is the self-report nature
of the data. Because pornography use has the potential
for, and often is viewed as, deviance, it is possible that
incidence of use within our sample was underreported.
These findings should be considered in view of this
Results of the SEM analysis showed that male
pornography use had a consistent, negative association
with both male and female sexual quality. This finding
was consistent with expectations that male pornography
use would be negatively associated with female sexual
quality. Although the association between male por-
nography use and male sexual quality was the strongest
association of interest, this was unanticipated. Hald and
Malumuth’s (2008) findings suggested quite the
opposite, showing that men who used pornography
believed doing so had mostly positive effects. Further-
more, research has shown that the majority of, at least
college-, men view pornography use as an acceptable
way to express sexuality (Carroll et al., 2008) and a valu-
able means of becoming educated about sex (Boise,
2002). Thus, in this study, the result may be due to the
fact that the female partner knew of and did not
approve of her partner’s pornography use, and subse-
quently withdraws from the sexual relationship. Such
circumstances are not uncommon, as indicated by
Schneider’s (2000) clinical study, showing that disap-
proving partners are often repulsed by the behavior
and may lose interest in sex. Another possible expla-
nation is that males who use pornography lose interest
in relational sex. Schneider (2000) found that more than
one-half of compulsive pornography users’ spouses
reported that their partner—the compulsive user—had
lost interest in relational sex.
One shortcoming of this study is that it is not
known whether the female partner was aware of her
male partner’s pornography use, or vice versa. To an
extent, this limits what can be interpreted about why
male pornography use has a negative association with
sexual quality. Additional limitations resulting from
the non-representative sample may also be influencing
the results in unknown ways. What is clear, however,
is that male pornography use seems to be associated
with lower sexual quality.
The story of female pornography use and its effects is
an interesting one. Female pornography use had a
slightly positive association with male and female sexual
quality. As indicated in the Results section, this associ-
ation was explained by a pattern of using pornography
with a partner instead of individually. Thus, couple por-
nography use—not female pornography by itself—
seems to be driving higher sexual quality. This finding
is consistent with a study by Daneback et al. (2009),
showing that couples who are complicit in their use seem
to avoid negative effects and may see some benefit to the
sexual relationship. Furthermore, as indicated in the dis-
criminant analysis, women who used pornography had
higher sexual desire than females who did not use; thus,
using pornography with their partner may be one way
women express this higher sexual desire.
The second interest we had was to see if after
accounting for prevailing social scripts—as reflected by
respondents’ attitudes about pornography—the associa-
tions between pornography use and sexual and relation-
ship quality were still significant. Results were that
neither male nor female meaning, as measured,
mediated the relationship between pornography use
and sexual quality. Rather, pornography use seems to
be associated with sexual quality in a committed
relationship, regardless of the meaning people attach
to it. In addition, because we controlled for religiosity,
these findings suggest that there is more than just
religious values at play here. Thus, contrary to our
assumption, social scripts—as we measured them—did
not adequately explain the associations between por-
nography use and the sexual quality couples experience.
It is possible, at least for men, that pornography use
changes perceptions of female partners, the sexual
relationship, or both such that they are less satisfied with
the sexual experiences in the relationship, whereas for
women—as discussed earlier—the relationship between
pornography use and sexual quality is explained by a
pattern of couple use. It would seem that interpersonal
sexual scripts of self and other (Gagnon & Simon,
1973) that respondents have adopted have little bearing
on why pornography use is related to the sexual
relationship. Future research that employs a longitudi-
nal method may shed additional light on how meaning
is associated with pornography use and its effects on
the relationship. This study cannot, with certainty,
establish the direction of these associations.
Finally, this study helps us understand something
about the power of pornography use on the relationship,
as it was found that male pornography use had a signifi-
cant, indirect association with relationship satisfaction
for both men and women, and female pornography
use had a significant, indirect association with relation-
ship satisfaction for males. Furthermore, these findings
speak to how important the sexual relationship is to
overall relationship quality.
There exist several limitations to our findings and to
this study overall. First, the cross-sectional nature of
the data only tells us what is happening at a single point
in time and, thus, precludes us from inferring anything
about how pornography may impact relationships as
they grow and change. Furthermore, cross-sectional data
do not allow us to establish, with any certainty, the direc-
tion of the relationship. We acknowledge the possibility
that the way in which the relationships are modeled
may be reversed and that, for men, poor sexual quality
may lead to more pornography use and explain the pat-
tern of solitary use. It seems perfectly reasonable that
individuals unsatisfied in their sexual relationships, for
whatever reason, may turn to alternative means, such
as pornography use, to satisfy their sexual desires or per-
ceived needs. For women, we expect the relationship is
different. Poor sexual quality is not likely the predictor
of lower pornography use but, rather, as the discriminant
analysis suggested, it is sexual desire that drives the use.
Thus, lower sexual desire in a women would likely lead
to lower pornography use. We recommend, and are in
the process of conducting, longitudinal studies to further
explore causation for both men and women. Future
research in the area of female pornography use specifi-
cally would be helpful in increasing our understanding
of how female pornography use is unique in both its nat-
ure and its influence on the relationship.
The sample itself was also limited, as it was a con-
venience sample and is composed of many individuals
(about 35%) who were referred to the RELATE
instrument by therapists. Thus, although the sample was
not, strictly speaking, a therapy sample, it did contain a
substantial number of individuals who may have had a
baseline level of relationship problems that were higher
than the general population.
Another limitation to the study concerns some of
the measures. Although sexual quality, as measured
in this study, captured sexual problems and general
sexual satisfaction, it was not a comprehensive measure
of sexual quality. Using a more established and com-
prehensive measure, such as the Global Measure of
Sexual Satisfaction (see Lawrance & Byers, 1995),
would be useful to more accurately asses couples’ sex-
ual quality.
The measure of meaning was also fairly limited in its
scope, as it only captured a small portion of the attitudes
and meanings that individuals may attach to pornogra-
phy use. As the idea of these scripts as mediators to por-
nography use has received little research attention, this
study is exploratory and adds to the current body of
research in this area. As we come to better explore this
area, we will indeed need more and better measures of
these scripts.
Implications and Conclusion
This study has several implications for educators,
therapists, and researchers interested in how pornogra-
phy use might impact marriages or other committed
relationships. Perhaps the most apparent finding in this
study is that pornography use by a husband or male
partner is associated with lower quality of the couple’s
sexual relationship. This study also shows that this
association may exist among cohabiting couples, as well
as married couples, and that the association may persist,
regardless of personal attitudes toward pornography.
The data suggest that male pornography use may be
an issue that needs consideration when and if a couple
experience problems or dissatisfaction concerning their
sexual relationship and their relationship overall. In
regard to female use, the results suggest that if females
use pornography, their use is likely to occur with the
partner, and that this pattern (i.e., viewing pornography
together) may benefit the sexual relationship, but not
necessarily the relationship overall. Clearly, the implica-
tions suggest that those working with couples where
pornography is an issue will need to explore the nature
of pornography use by both partners and allow each
couple to explain whether this use is solitary or mutual
and how it may influence their relationship. In addition,
because, in so many cases, pornography use is by the
male partner and is solitary in nature, exploring aware-
ness of use and the impact this use has on both partners’
attitudes about self and the relationship would be
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... It seems that women who feel guilty of pornography use have less sexual desire in romantic relationships with their husbands (19). Also, the results of studies on the relationship between female sexual desire and pornography use have been contradictory (20,21). Copyright Marital satisfaction is an important factor in predicting the continuity of a couple's relationship. ...
... Perry and Schleifer's study also showed that there was no significant association between different acts of religiosity (attending religious services and views on the Bible) and the use of pornography in women (29). However, the results of other studies showed that people with a history of pornography use reported low religiosity and non-religious People reported higher use (11,21,45). In the present study, all participants were Muslim and the mean score of religiosity in women with a history of pornography use was 7.45/10. ...
... The results of the present study showed that the mean score of sexual desire in women with a history of pornog-raphy use was statistically significant higher than women without a history of pornography use. The results of various studies showed that women's use of pornography is significantly associated with higher sexual desire (21,43,44). While the study of Bennett et al. showed that the use of pornography is not significantly related to sexual desire of the partner (19). ...
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Background: Increasing access to various forms of pornography since the advent of the Internet has provided a new context for couples' sexual experiences, but the possibility of adverse effects of pornography on couples' romantic relationships is a concern. Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare sexual desire and marital satisfaction in two groups of married women with and without a history of pornography use in Rafsanjan, Iran. Materials and Methods: This descriptive study was performed on 254 women with children covered by comprehensive health centers in Rafsanjan by convenience sampling in 2020. Data collection tools included demographic characteristics form, Enrich Marital Satisfaction Questionnaire, Hurlbert index of sexual desire and sexual pornography use questionnaire. Data were analyzed by chi-square, two independent samples, and multivariate analysis of covariance in SPSS software version 21. the statistical significance level of p-values considered at 0.05. Results: There was a positive and significant relationship between sexual desire and the use of pornography (P = 0.043). The mean score of marital satisfaction in the group of pornography users women was lower than the nonusers group, but this relationship was not statistically significant. Of the nine components of marital satisfaction, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups only in the component of financial management (P = 0.037). There was no statistically significant relationship between demographic characteristics and use of pornography (P > 0.05). Conclusions: It seems that the use of pornography in married women is related to sexual desire, but in the present study, no relationship was found between the use of pornography and marital satisfaction. More studies required to reveal the relationship between pornography use on sexual features of women and their partners.
... This gives rise, therefore, to multiple and complex realities, identifying mainly five nonexclusive options [16]: (a) non-use, (b) individual use, (c) partnered use, (d) separate use, and (e) shared use. In both men and women, religiosity appears to be a particularly strong factor associated with the non-use of pornography [17][18][19]. More men than women report individual use of pornography, while there appears to be no gender-related Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. ...
... Some studies have observed that pornography use has no impact on relationship satisfaction [35], while other studies have highlighted certain associations between these factors. For example, some studies have suggested that male pornography use seems to have a significant indirect association with relationship satisfaction in both genders [17]. Female pornography use seems to have a significant indirect association with relationship satisfaction for males, through female sexual quality [17]. ...
... For example, some studies have suggested that male pornography use seems to have a significant indirect association with relationship satisfaction in both genders [17]. Female pornography use seems to have a significant indirect association with relationship satisfaction for males, through female sexual quality [17]. Moreover, men have shown lower levels of interpersonal satisfaction (more specifically, sexual and relational satisfaction) in regard to pornography use. ...
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Purpose of Review The present review focuses on relationships between pornography use, problematic pornography use, and their possible effects on partners and relationships. Recent Findings Pornography use has been examined in the setting of marriages and other partnered relationships. Aspects considered include pornography-use patterns, perceptions of a partner’s pornography use, relationship satisfaction and happiness, relationship quality, partner’s problematic pornography use, infidelity/extramarital sex, and relationship stability (breakup/divorce). Summary Studying potential effects of pornography use in the context of dyadic relationships appears important with respect to understanding both marriage and divorce and the quality of couples’ relationships. More research is needed, particularly in the context of problematic pornography use.
... Previous studies on the effects of pornography use on sexual satisfaction show conflicting results. A highly cited study by Poulsen et al. (2013) indicates that higher pornography consumption is associated with lower sexual satisfaction in heterosexual men. In the same study, a positive relationship between sexual satisfaction and pornography consumption was observed in the sample of heterosexual women. ...
... Authors speculate that men use pornography to achieve sexual satisfaction or that higher pornography consumption decreases their sexual satisfaction in real life. On the other hand, women may use pornography to better understand how to satisfy themselves and their partners during sexual activity (Poulsen et al., 2013). ...
... These last two materials were salutary in bringing us into contact with a much wider range of empirical studies initially investigated. Carroll et al. (2016) use quantitative research techniques such as factor analyses to assess the impact of couples' stages of commitment and rates of pornography use, a method also adopted by Busby, Poulsen and Galovan (2013), who study how pornography use relates to couples' sexual quality, and Paul and Shim (2008), who focus their studies on the motivations for use. ...
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Pornography sites receive up to 75 million daily visits and digital technologies have made explicit sexual content more visible and accessible than ever before. Its intense consumption revived the interest of researchers in understanding what would justify the audience’s demand for pornography, as well as its possible effects, because, conceiving such relationships have direct consequences in the regulation and standardization of their production and circulation. In this sense, we seek to understand the motivations, the uses of the pornography by the audience, through a literature review that privileged the approach of the theoretical tradition of Uses and Gratifications. It also sought to expose our main findings: (i) manipulation of physiological reactions; (ii) social interaction; and (iii) self-awareness. In the end, we theoretically established the relationships between the uses and the possible effects of pornography on its users.
... Among men currently in relationships, regular use of pornography was found to be associated with a lack of interest in sexual contact with a partner, lower satisfaction level in the sexual aspect of the relationship, lower satisfaction regarding partner's feelings, lower estimate of partner's attractiveness, lower curiosity and sexual efficiency (Poulsen et al., 2012;Perry & Davis, 2017) also underline a bigger chance of a breakup in romantic relationships in people who regularly use pornographic content. It primarily applies to relationships started by unmarried men who used pornographic materials online continuously, and long-termly. ...
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Research indicates that men and women have different preferences and patterns of sexual behavior and the use of pornographic content. It is commonly found that men use porn more frequently. A recent study found sex differences in motivations behind porn use. Authors speculated that different motivations might lead to different outcomes. The presented study aimed to compare sex differences in the associations between pornography use, sexual satisfaction, and occurrence of psychological symptoms between high and low pornography users sampled from the general population. A sample of 179 participants between the ages of 18 to 37 completed the questionnaire containing questions about demographic data, manner, and frequency of porn use and two psychometric scales: the General Functioning Scale GFQ-58 (assessing broad psychological symptoms) and the Sexual Satisfaction Scale SSC. In general, females in the study obtained higher scores on the General Functioning Scale, presenting more psychological symptoms. Still, when considering the frequency and manner of porn use, it is men in which increased porn use was found to be associated with psychological symptoms. Presented data provide evidence that men and women might have different motivations, leading to varying outcomes of porn use. This further supports the hypothesis that it is not porn that is inherently harmful, but rather why and how you use it.
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Resumo Sites de acesso à pornografia chegam a receber 75 milhões de visitas diárias e as tecnologias digitais fizeram do conteúdo sexual explícito mais visível e acessível do que nunca. Seu intenso consumo reavivou o interesse de pesquisadores pelo entendimento do que justificaria a procura e a exposição da audiência à pornografia, bem como seus possíveis efeitos, isso porque conceber tais relações têm consequências diretas na regulação e normatização da sua produção e circulação. Nesse sentido, nosso trabalho de pesquisa buscou compreender as motivações, os usos da audiência da pornografia, por meio de uma revisão de literatura que privilegiou a abordagem do tema pela tradição teórica de Usos e Gratificações. Além de explicitar nossos achados principais: (i) manipulação de reações fisiológicas; (ii) interação social; e (iii) autoconhecimento; estabelecemos teoricamente as relações entre as motivações de uso e os possíveis efeitos da pornografia sobre seus usuários.
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Objetivo: El objetivo de este estudio es identificar la relación entre el consumo de pornografía y los comportamientos de riesgo. Material y Métodos: Se evaluaron comportamientos sexuales de riesgo y el consumo de pornografía. Muestreo tipo bola de nieve, tuvo 245 participantes, los cuales accedieron participar voluntariamente. Los datos se recolectaron mediante un cuestionario en Google Forms. Los participantes dieron su consentimiento informado después de leer la descripción del estudio, donde se indicó el anonimato de la encuesta. Resultados: Para el análisis de razón de probabilidades se encontró que las mayores probabilidades de ser positivos para VIH se asociaron con ser LGTB, con no tener la percepción de la pornografía fomentan el sexo sin condón. Los individuos que consuman pornografía se asociaron con ser LGBT y con no tener la percepción de que el tipo de pornografía que visualiza influye en sus relaciones. Las mayores probabilidades de haber tenido sexo anal sin condón se asociaron con ser LGTB, con tener una educación superior, con tener un salario mensual mayor al sueldo mínimo y con tener sexo en grupo. Es necesario investigaciones futuras que nos permitan estudiar más a fondo los efectos de la pornografía en la vida sexual de quienes la consumen. Conclusión: Se encontró que los participantes LGBT tienen mayor riesgo de tener VIH, no usar condón, ver pornografía y sexo casual. Las ITS se relacionaron con educación superior y tener pareja estable.
This study identified profiles of pornography motivations and outcomes and assessed differences between profiles on three measures of social well-being: social support, fear of intimacy, and loneliness. Latent profile analysis and group comparisons were conducted using cross-sectional data from college students (N = 389). Results indicated four profiles: low motivation/average distress, porn for enjoyment, high motivation/average guilt, low motivation/high distress. Those in the high motivation/average guilt profile reported more social well-being difficulties relative to the other profiles and non-pornography consumers. Results suggest that individuals who report varying pornography use motivations and negative outcomes may report difficulties with social well-being, with implications for intimate relationships.
Pornography use is a common-but-controversial activity that many people object to or morally disapprove of. Despite this, there is a limited understanding of the reasons for such moral opposition. Although some prior research has assessed characteristics that influence moral opposition to pornography, most research has done so using various forced-choice methods. The present study aimed to better understand the reasoning behind moral-based opposition to pornography by using open-ended questioning and exploring the relationship between these reasons and pornography use habits. To achieve these aims, we analyzed data from a nationally representative U.S. sample, specifically studying individuals who reported moral beliefs opposing pornography (N = 1,020). Results revealed 14 general themes (e.g., religion/spirituality; concerns about abuse; disgust) in the reasons participants reported for their moral disapproval of pornography, many of which were related to individual difference variables such as gender, age, religiousness, and political preferences. Implications, limitations, and directions for future research are also discussed.
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Recent reviews of the pornography literature have called for the development of valid and reliable measures that assess multiple facets of pornography use. Moreover, despite pornography use having important implications for romantic relationships, there are currently no self-report assessments of pornography use specifically within the context of romantic relationships. To address these limitations, the current paper reports on two studies regarding the development and psychometric evaluation of a 38-item multidimensional measure of pornography use within the context of romantic relationships: the Pornography Use in Romantic Relationships Scale (PURRS). Study 1 (n = 739) reports on an Exploratory and Confirmatory Factor Analytic approach to determine the factor structure of the PURRS. Study 2 (n = 765) reports on the cross-validation of the factor structure of the PURRS, before assessing the criterion validity of the measure. The PURRS exhibited good internal consistency, construct validity, and criterion validity. The findings suggest that the PURRS is best modeled by 13 first-order factors, though a higher-order factor structure comprising four broad factors may also be used. The PURRS significantly extends on past assessments of pornography use, and in particular, advances the assessment and study of pornography use within the context of romantic relationships.
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In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This book introduces the entire spectrum of sexual issues with its desires, pleasures, problems and disorders. The available information is based on systematic national sex surveys and other reliable national and international sources of information of sexual patterns and sexual values. Findings in Finland are compared to sex surveys in ten European countries. Surveys enable to summarize the evolution in sexual desires and activities in Finland during the last 40 years and in sexual initiation even as far as till the 1940s. In addition to empirical results a number of sexological theories are presented and discussed. They provide different frameworks to assess the origin of sexual desire and variations in sexual patterns. Theories are adopted and assessed also while discussing the most significant empirical results of the national sex surveys. In addition, verified sexual problems and disorders are discussed in the framework of available sexual counseling and treatment methods. The results of this long-term study project reveal several sexual mysteries. These include remaining great gender differences in sexual desire, decreasing numbers of sexual intercourse, and significantly increasing masturbation and difficulties to gain sexual pleasure in the 2000s. Liberal sexual attitudes have gained more support among general public, but unfaithfulness is less tolerated than ever before. This intolerance toward unfaithfulness is much more striking than in other comparable European countries. Sexual relationships are evolving towards renaissance of romanticism.
Americans remain deeply ambivalent about teenage sexuality. Many presume that such uneasiness is rooted in religion. This book tackles such questions as: how exactly does religion contribute to the formation of teenagers' sexual values and actions? What difference, if any, does religion make in adolescents' sexual attitudes and behaviors? Are abstinence pledges effective? Who expresses regrets about their sexual activity and why? The book combines analyses of three national surveys with stories drawn from interviews with over 250 teenagers across America. It reviews how young people learn, and what they know about sex from their parents, schools, peers, and other sources. It examines what experiences teens profess to have had, and how they make sense of these experiences in light of their own identities as religious, moral, and responsible persons. The author's analysis discovers that religion can and does matter. However, the analysis finds that religious claims are often swamped by other compelling sexual scripts. Particularly interesting is the emergence of what the author calls a "new middle class sexual morality", which has little to do with a desire for virginity but nevertheless shuns intercourse in order to avoid risks associated with pregnancy and STDs. And strikingly, evangelical teens aren't less sexually active than their non-evangelical counterparts, they just tend to feel guiltier about it. In fact, the analysis finds that few religious teens have internalized or are even able to articulate the sexual ethic taught by their denominations. The only-and largely ineffective-sexual message most religious teens are getting is: "don't do it until you're married". Ultimately, the author concludes, religion may influence adolescent sexual behavior, but it rarely motivates sexual decision making.
This survey of 760 university students assessed their online sexual activities pertaining to dating, education and entertainment, the associations of these online activities with offline sexual behaviour, and their reactions to the sexually explicit material (SEM) they encountered online. Half of the respondents used the Internet to obtain sexual information and said they benefited from it. About 40% went online to meet new people, and to view SEM. Sexual entertainment activities were frequent both online and offline with more men than women engaging in them. A factor analysis identifted four clusters of online and offline sexual activity: seeking partners; entertainment; sexual gratification; and in-person exploration. Masturbation while online was more common among those who reacted favourably to online SEM than those who reacted unfavourably. Those who found SEM disturbing or boring were less likely to have masturbated while online although whether or not respondents found online SEM arousing best distinguished between those who did or did not masturbate while online. The implications of the findings for sexual health education and future research are discussed.
There are limited hemodynamic data in women with arousal or orgasmic disorders and even fewer normative control hemodynamic data in women without sexual dysfunction. In addition, there is limited experience with topical vasoactive agents (used to maximize genital smooth muscle relaxation) applied to the external genitalia during hemodynamic evaluations. The aim of this study was to report duplex Doppler ultrasound clitoral cavernosal arterial changes before and after topical PGE-1 (Alprostadil) administration in control women and in patients with arousal and orgasmic sexual disorders. We found that women with sexual arousal and orgasmic disorders had significantly (p
Research on social movements has once again come to focus on the cultural foundations of collective action. However, previous works have failed to identify the cognitive structures that compose cultural worldviews believed to motivate collective action. We integrate Snow et al.'s (1986) notions of cognitive frameworks with Sewell's (1992) conception of the duality of structure to piece together a flexible approach for the identification of cognitive structures. Drawing on information from insider documents from Conservative Protestant communities, we employ this approach to elaborate the structure of Conservative Protestant antagonism to pornography. Using data from the 1988 General Social Survey, we demonstrate how Conservative Protestants' distinctive religious commitments direct their dispositions toward sexually explicit materials. In brief, we show that Conservative Protestant opposition to pornography is rooted in commitments to Biblical inerrancy and solidified by high rates of religious participation. Inerrancy serves as a cognitive resource informing two separate paths to pornography opposition: moral absolutism and beliefs in the threat of social contamination.