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How Porn Affects Couples Sexual Health

Among other findings, women reported better lubrication on days pornography was used

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY – According to a 2018 Gallup poll, pornography use is seen as morally acceptable among a rising percentage of Americans, moving from 30 percent approval in 2011 to 43 percent by 2018 …

Of particular interest is the impact of pornography on marriage …

Findings

In terms of basic statistics, in this convenience sample, over 35 days half of couples reported pornography use on the same day they had sex. By and large, pornography use was not related to sexual health on most study measures.

While future research is warranted to look at a more diverse sample, pornography use here was not associated with sexual satisfaction, ease of sexual arousal, orgasm, or pleasure, and did not strongly relate to sexual distress overall.

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Masturbation was unrelated to one’s own or partner’s sexual satisfaction, distress or function.

However, there were two significant findings. First, solo pornography use on days when couples had sex was related to increased partner sexual distress.

The negative impact on partner distress was true for both men and women, suggesting increased feelings of inadequacy and potential lower quality of sexual engagement (e.g. the partner who used porn may have had changes in behavior and emotions during sex) on those days they had sex when their partner used pornography without them.

Study authors note that some people using pornography alone on days they had sex might have had sex with partners before using pornography, in which case partner distress may be related to later pornography use.

Second, women reported better lubrication on the days pornography was used, whereas men did not report better quality erection, the analogous measure.

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Authors note that prior research points toward an entourage effect, where couples pornography use is associated with greater sexual openness, that it may help couples normalize, talk about and play out sexual fantasies, and general facilitate sex positivity …

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