Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 625–635 | Cite as

Emerging Adults’ Expectations for Pornography Use in the Context of Future Committed Romantic Relationships: A Qualitative Study

  • Spencer B. Olmstead
  • Sesen Negash
  • Kay Pasley
  • Frank D. Fincham
Original Paper


Using qualitative content analysis from the written comments of 404 primarily heterosexual college students, we examined (1) their expectations for pornography use while married or in a committed long-term relationship and (2) variations by gender. Four prominent groups emerged. A majority of men (70.8 %) and almost half of women (45.5 %) reported circumstances (alone or with their partners) wherein pornography use was acceptable in a relationship and several conditions for, and consequences associated with, such use also emerged. Another group (22.3 % men; 26.2 % women) viewed pornography use as unacceptable because of being in a committed relationship whereas a third group (5.4 % men; 12.9 % women) reported that pornography use was unacceptable in any context or circumstance. A final group emerged of a few women (10.4 %) who stated that a partner’s use of pornography was acceptable, but they did not expect to use it personally. Implications for relationship education among emerging adults and future research on pornography use within the context of romantic relationships are discussed.


Pornography Expectations Emerging adults Romantic relationships Gender 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Spencer B. Olmstead
    • 1
  • Sesen Negash
    • 2
  • Kay Pasley
    • 2
  • Frank D. Fincham
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Education, Health, and Human SciencesUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Child Sciences, College of Human SciencesThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.The Florida State University Family InstituteThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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