Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 257-271

First online:

Young Adult Women’s Reports of Their Male Romantic Partner’s Pornography Use as a Correlate of Their Self-Esteem, Relationship Quality, and Sexual Satisfaction

  • Destin N. StewartAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Tennessee Email author 
  • , Dawn M. SzymanskiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Tennessee

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Pornography is both prevalent and normative in many cultures across the world, including United States’ culture; however, little is known about the psychological and relational effects that it can have on young adult women involved in heterosexual romantic relationships in which their male partners view pornography. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between men’s pornography use, both frequency and problematic use, on their heterosexual female partner’s psychological and relational well-being among 308 young adult college women. In addition, psychometric properties for the Perceived Partner’s Pornography Use Scale are provided. Participants were recruited at a large Southern public university in the United States and completed an online survey. Results revealed women’s reports of their male partner’s frequency of pornography use were negatively associated with their relationship quality. More perceptions of problematic use of pornography was negatively correlated with self-esteem, relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction. In addition, self-esteem partially mediated the relationship between perceptions of partner’s problematic pornography use and relationship quality. Finally, results revealed that relationship length moderated the relationship between perceptions of partner’s problematic pornography use and sexual satisfaction, with significant dissatisfaction being associated with longer relationship length.


Pornography Scale Relationship quality Sexual satisfaction Self-esteem