Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, “Bottom-Up” Research
- 3.1k Downloads
The current study adopted a participant-informed, “bottom-up,” qualitative approach to identifying perceived effects of pornography on the couple relationship. A large sample (N = 430) of men and women in heterosexual relationships in which pornography was used by at least one partner was recruited through online (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and offline (e.g., newspapers, radio, etc.) sources. Participants responded to open-ended questions regarding perceived consequences of pornography use for each couple member and for their relationship in the context of an online survey. In the current sample of respondents, “no negative effects” was the most commonly reported impact of pornography use. Among remaining responses, positive perceived effects of pornography use on couple members and their relationship (e.g., improved sexual communication, more sexual experimentation, enhanced sexual comfort) were reported frequently; negative perceived effects of pornography (e.g., unrealistic expectations, decreased sexual interest in partner, increased insecurity) were also reported, albeit with considerably less frequency. The results of this work suggest new research directions that require more systematic attention.
KeywordsPornography Sexually explicit material Relationships Sexual satisfaction Relationship satisfaction Relationship quality
We would like to thank Nellie Kamkar for her help with the online survey construction as well as Alexa Momy, Ali Pensamiento, Chad Buckland, Michelle Camilleri, Natalie Thoman, and Terra Duchene who aided with the qualitative data coding. This research was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant awarded to Dr. W. Fisher (PI) and Dr. L Campbell (Co-PI), reference number: 435-2013-1077.
- Boynton, P. (1999). “Is that supposed to be sexy?” Women discuss women in “top shelf” magazines. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 9, 449–461. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199911/12)9:6<449:AID-CASP540>3.0.CO;2-O.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women, and rape. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Cupach, W. R., & Metts, S. (1991). Sexuality and communication in close relationships. In K. McKinney & S. Sprecher (Eds.), Sexuality in close relationships (pp. 93–110). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Dines, G. (2010). Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexuality. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Hald, G. M., Smolenski, D., & Rosser, B. R. (2013). Perceived effects of sexually explicit media among men who have sex with men and psychometric properties of the Pornography Consumption Effects Scale (PCES). Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 757–767. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02988.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hempel, K. (2012). Dirty girls come clean: The experience of women who use sexually explicit materials and its link to their spirituality (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://www.lib.uwo.ca/cgi-bin/ezpauthn.cgi/docview/1353284138?accountid=15115. (prod.academic_MSTAR_1353284138; 2013-99060-035).
- Kohut, T. A. (2014). An empirical investigation of the concept of “pornography” (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/2063.
- Mann, J., Sidman, J., & Starr, S. (1971). Effects of erotic films on sexual behavior of marital couples. In Technical Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (Vol. 8, pp. 170–254). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- QSR International Pty Ltd. (2012). NVivo qualitative data analysis software (Version 10) [Computer Software].Google Scholar
- Štulhofer, A., Landripet, I., Momčilović, A., Matko, V., Kladarić, P. G., & Buško, V. (2007). Pornography and sexual satisfaction in young women, men: How to conceptualize and measure possible associations. In S. V. Knudsen, L. Lofgren-Martenson, & S. A. Mansson (Eds.), Youth, gender and pornography (pp. 66–84). Copenhagen: Danish University Press.Google Scholar
- Štulhofer, A., Matković, T., & Elias, J. (2004). Pornografija i seksualno zadovoljstvo: Postoje li veze? [Pornography and sexual satisfaction: Any associations?]. Zbornik Pravnog fakulteta Sveucˇilisˇta u Rijeci, 25, 707–720.Google Scholar