Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence from Longitudinal Data


Perry, Samuel L.


2017 in Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 46 (2), pp. 549-559

  • Married persons who more frequently viewed pornography reported significantly lower levels of marital quality six years later.
  • Pornography use was the second strongest predictor of marital quality in the study.
Numerous studies have examined the connection between pornography viewing and marital quality, with findings most often revealing a negative association. Data limitations, however, have precluded establishing directionality with a representative sample. This study is the first to draw on nationally representative, longitudinal data (2006–2012 Portraits of American Life Study) to test whether more frequent pornography use influences marital quality later on and whether this effect is moderated by gender. In general, married... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • Scholars have often theorized that frequent pornography use can have negative effects on various aspects of marital quality. While studies have often (though not unanimously) found a negative association between porn use and relationship outcomes, in almost every instance, the quantitative data have been cross-sectional, thus precluding the possibility of establishing directionality and testing for causal effects with confidence. The current study was the first to test for directionality using nationally representative, longitudinal data. The findings provide qualified support for the notion that more frequent pornography viewing - rather than simply being a proxy for participants’ dissatisfaction with sexlife or marital decision-making - may negatively influence marital quality over time."
  • "Yet while the general trend formenwasthat higher porn use led to lower marital quality, it appears that the marriages that were most negatively affected were those of married men who were viewing pornography at the highest frequencies (once a day or more)."
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