Vitality

Watching Porn In Intimate Relationships: Men Who View X-Rated Content May Be Less Satisfied With Sex Life

Many men and women love porn, whether it's via Playboy (back in the day); VHS; or online. It's a form of erotic entertainment that excites our imagination by featuring our sexual fantasies with nude sex scenes. However, researchers at Indiana University and the University of Hawaii, Manoa found men who watch porn in intimate relationships are more likely to be less satisfied with their sex life, and their partner.

This adds fuel to the debate of how the consumption of porn affects consumers, especially those in relationships. Previous research has found couples who engage in watching porn together are more likely to have thriving relationships, because of their level of honesty and communication. Meanwhile, other research suggests porn use is damaging to relationships, mainly due to addiction and men's unrealistic sex expectations with their partner.

Read More: The 3 Types Of Pornography Watchers

“These questions have stimulated a large number of studies, but uncertainty about their answers remains among communication scholars," wrote the authors of the new study, in the journal Human Communication Research.

During a meta-analysis of 50 studies, the researchers looked at more than 50,000 participants from 10 countries, and analyzed their sexual and overall relationship satisfaction and sexual self-esteem and body image in relation to their porn-viewing habits.

The findings revealed there was no association between women's relationship satisfaction and porn viewing. In men, watching porn was linked with lesser happiness in their relationships, both sexually and overall. However, there was no link found between porn viewing and sexual self-esteem and body image. Nor was there a difference between those who view porn on VHS or online.

So, why is porn use among men linked with lower satisfaction in relationships?

The researchers have come up with two theories: men who are more likely to watch porn are already unhappy in their relationships; or porn can lead to unreasonable expectations for sex, leading to disappointment with their sex life.

Man and woman in field Men who watch porn are more likely to be less satisfied both sexually and overall in relationships. Photo courtesy of Pexels, Public Domain

This isn't the first study to examine the effect of men's porn use on relationships. A 2012 study in Sex Roles found young women whose partners look at porn frequently are less happy in their relationships compared to women with men who don’t watch porn. Women who found X-rated content on their partner's computer felt like they weren't good enough, or didn't measure up to unrealistic sex ecpectations. However, this doesn't prove that porn necessarily caused their self-esteem to drop. It could be that women who feel bad about themselves seek out or stay with men who love porn.

Read More: Watching Porn Frequently Could Make You A More Religious Person

Similarly, the new study doesn't imply watching porn is bad. Rather, the takeaway is that porn may be linked with negative relationship satisfaction in some users. Porn has become more accessible, and this may help come couples in the bedroom, but hurt others.

Source: Wright PJ, Tokunaga RS, Kraus A et al. Pornography Consumption and Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis. Human Communication Research. 2017.

See Also:

Does Porn Negatively Affect Marriage?

A Look Behind The Scenes Of America's X-Rated Industry

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