Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 441-448

First online:

Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality

  • Amanda M. MaddoxAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Denver Email author 
  • , Galena K. RhoadesAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Denver
  • , Howard J. MarkmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Denver

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This study investigated associations between viewing sexually-explicit material (SEM) and relationship functioning in a random sample of 1291 unmarried individuals in romantic relationships. More men (76.8%) than women (31.6%) reported that they viewed SEM on their own, but nearly half of both men and women reported sometimes viewing SEM with their partner (44.8%). Measures of communication, relationship adjustment, commitment, sexual satisfaction, and infidelity were examined. Individuals who never viewed SEM reported higher relationship quality on all indices than those who viewed SEM alone. Those who viewed SEM only with their partners reported more dedication and higher sexual satisfaction than those who viewed SEM alone. The only difference between those who never viewed SEM and those who viewed it only with their partners was that those who never viewed it had lower rates of infidelity. Implications for future research in this area as well as for sex therapy and couple therapy are discussed.


Pornography Relationship quality Couples Sexually-explicit material Infidelity