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Thanks to the Internet’s global reach, porn is everywhere now. Just about any sex act you can think of, and probably a few you can’t, is a few clicks away. While you may indulge in porn on your own, it’s important to remember that your porn habits affect more than just you: They affect your partner as well.

What The Research Says About Porn Usage

Yes, there are researchers who do serious studies on pornography. Two of the most respected researchers, professors Jennings Bryant and Dolf Zillman of the University of Alabama, have been studying the effects of pornography for over three decades.

Professors Bryant and Zillman have found that “no rigorous research demonstrations of desirable effects can be reported” on the topic of viewing pornography. [1] In layman’s terms, this basically means that, out of every bit of serious research done, no one has been able to show that there are any positive outcomes to using porn. [1]

In fact, the majority of studies actually show that pornography usage, even if it is just casual or occasional, can have a profoundly negative impact on your relationship. [1]

Study 1: Watching porn lowers commitment levels.

In this study, a team of university researchers conducted a five-part experiemtn which found that there is a definite link between porn consumption and lowered commitment levels in both men and women. [2] In the first part of their study, the participants, age 17 to 26, were all in committed relationships. They were given a questionnaire about their porn habits, and their levels of commitment were measured. [2]

The second part of their study involved independent observers watching couples in a relationship perform an arbitrary, cooperative task. Examples include one partner being blindfolded while the other partner gave them instructions on how to draw a picture. The observers consistently rated a lower level of commitment in the couples where there was porn usage. [2]

The final three parts of their study involved increasing awareness of potential infidelity and reducing porn usage. These studies found that participants who abstained from porn displayed increased levels of commitment to their partners, and they were more attentive to things like flirting outside the relationship. [2]

Study 2: Partners experience psychological distress.

In a 2012 study, Destin Stewart and Dawn Szymanski at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that female college students who felt their partner’s porn use was a problem experienced a lowered relationship quality, less sexual satisfaction and a significant drop in self-esteem. [3]

These studies are just a few of many done on the subject of pornography consumption among men and women. Another major finding across several studies is that porn gives men unrealistic and sometimes harmful or dangerous perceptions of what sex should be like.

Multiple studies have shown that, in almost every instance, pornography depicts women in consistently degrading situations that are focused on male pleasure. [1] In addition, women are often depicted as enjoying verbal or physical abuse. [1] This can easily distort the male perception of what sex is and should be, as well as make their partners feel inadequate, anxious and mistrustful in the bedroom. [1]

Porn is ubiquitous, which means it is important to guard yourself against the possibilities of getting sucked into its addictive snare. While a bit of viewing here and there may seem benign, the research tells a different story. Pornography usage can have a devastating effect on your partner’s mental and emotional well-being. It can even go so far as to shake the very foundations of a loving and committed relationship.

Resources

[1] http://fightthenewdrug.org/watching-porn-isnt-personal-choice-it-affects-your-partner-too/

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tech-support/201407/what-porn-does-intimacy

[3] http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/pornography.aspx