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The Impact of Pornography on Relationships: A Look at the Research

Pornography has been around for centuries, but with the rise of the internet, it's now easier than ever to access. Research has revealed that this increased accessibility has led to negative effects on individuals and relationships. Depression, loneliness, and decreased relational satisfaction and closeness are just a few of the potential consequences of viewing pornography. In fact, studies have shown that individuals may even turn to pornography consumption as a substitute for affection (Hesse & Floyd, 2019). This suggests that pornography use may be replacing genuine human connection and intimacy for these individuals, leading to feelings of isolation and dissatisfaction. It's important to be aware of these potential risks and consider the impact pornography could have on both yourself and your relationships. Don't let the lure of easy access lead to negative consequences in your life.

Another study examining the relationship between pornography use and marriage found that those who began using pornography were twice as likely to experience divorce over time (Perry & Schleifer, 2017). This was observed for both men and women and was particularly strong among younger Americans, those who were less religious, and those who initially reported greater marital happiness. It is quite disheartening that pornography harms otherwise great marriages. In addition, the study also found that women who quit consuming pornography during the study were less likely to get divorced than those who continued to view pornography.

Surprisingly, women who consume pornography are more likely to experience thoughts related to past viewed pornography during sexual activities with their partners (Johnson et al., 2019). They are more inclined to think this rather than thinking of their shared experience. Many viewers regardless of sex also felt pressured to perform sexual acts seen in pornographic films, which can actually lead to a reduction in actual sexual activity.

Based on this research, it is important to acknowledge the impact that pornography consumption can have on individuals and relationships. Visually or literally, viewers also found themselves with ever rising and unrealistic expectations for their partner's performance and appearance (Goldsmith et al., 2017). It is crucial to have open and honest conversations with partners about pornography consumption and its potential effects on the relationship. Additionally, it is important to encourage individuals to seek out resources and support if they are struggling with the effects of pornography consumption. By addressing the potential negative impacts of pornography, we can work towards building healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Please, seek therapy if you find yourself in a situation with pornography! Additional support can be also found here. (


Church resources. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (2019, January 1).

Retrieved May 2, 2023, from


Goldsmith, K., Dunkley, C. R., Dang, S. S., & Gorzalka, B. B. (2017). Pornography

consumption and its association with sexual concerns and expectations among young

men and women. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 26(2), 151–162.

Hesse, C., & Floyd, K. (2019). Affection substitution: The effect of pornography consumption

on close relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(11-12), 3887–

Johnson, J. A., Ezzell, M. B., Bridges, A. J., & Sun, C. F. (2019). Pornography and

heterosexual women's intimate experiences with a partner. Journal of Women's Health,

NCOSE, B. (2023, February 9). What do we know about pornography use among women?

NCOSE. Retrieved May 2, 2023, from


Perry, S. L., & Schleifer, C. (2017). Till porn do us part? A longitudinal examination of

pornography use and divorce. The Journal of Sex Research, 55(3), 284–296.



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