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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD047564) awarded to Scott Stanley and the second and third authors.

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Correspondence to Amanda M. Maddox.

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Maddox, A.M., Rhoades, G.K. & Markman, H.J. Viewing Sexually-Explicit Materials Alone or Together: Associations with Relationship Quality. Arch Sex Behav 40, 441–448 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9585-4

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Keywords

  • Pornography
  • Relationship quality
  • Couples
  • Sexually-explicit material
  • Infidelity