Does Pornography Use Reduce Marriage Entry During Early Adulthood? Findings from a Panel Study of Young Americans

  • Samuel L. PerryEmail author
  • Kyle C. Longest
Original Paper


A number of recent studies have examined the connection between pornography use and relationship outcomes for Americans already in marriages. The current study takes this research in a different direction by examining (1) whether pornography use may be associated with entrance into marriage during early adulthood and (2) whether this association is moderated by gender and religion, two key factors strongly related to both pornography use and earlier marriage. Longitudinal data were taken from waves 1, 3, and 4 of the National Study of Youth and Religion, a nationally-representative panel study of Americans from their teenage years into early adulthood (N = 1691). It was theorized that frequent pornography use at earlier survey waves may foster more sexually progressive attitudes that may lead to devaluing marriage as an institution, and, for religious men in particular, may disincentivize marriage as a “socially legitimate” means of sexual fulfillment. The association between pornography use and marriage entry was non-linear for men and non-existent among women. Among men, higher frequency pornography viewers were not significantly different from non-viewers in their likelihood of marriage entry. Compared to more moderate levels of pornography use, however, higher levels of pornography use in emerging adulthood were associated with a lower likelihood of marriage by the final survey wave for men. Associations were not moderated by religiosity for either gender. Data limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


Pornography Marriage Family Gender Religiosity Panel data 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyFurman UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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