A study by a group of researchers have revealed the kind of effect viewing pornography can have on a relationship or marriage.
Pornography is a hot topic among many committed couples. Some people think viewing pornography can be beneficial to the relationship, while others feel strongly that pornography qualifies as a form of infidelity.
But until now, few studies have looked at how viewing pornography affects a relationship when it is viewed by men alone, women alone, or men and women together. Also, little research has explored the attitudes toward pornography and how these associations affect pornography viewing and overall relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction.
To get a better idea of the multifaceted effects of pornography, Franklin O. Poulsen of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University in Utah recently led a study in which 617 committed heterosexual couples described their views on pornography, their use of pornography, and how it affected their sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction.
Poulsen discovered that the men and women in his study had very different views and behaviors surrounding pornography. Specifically, the men in the study were more likely to view pornography alone than the women, and this led to lower levels of sexual desire and lower levels of sexual satisfaction for both the men and the women.
By contrast, the women in the study tended to only view pornography when they were sexually aroused, and do so in the company of their partners. This increased the sexual satisfaction of both the men and the women. However, women who had fewer sexual partners and high levels of religious faith were less likely to view pornography than those with more partners and fewer religious affiliations. “This study has several implications for educators, therapists, and researchers interested in how pornography use might impact marriages or other committed relationships,” said Poulsen.
Most importantly, therapists should identify exactly how pornography is being used and should be mindful of the negative effects and positive implications of each type of use. Knowing these subtle differences can help therapists guide couples to a better understanding of whether or not pornography presents a problem within their relationship.