Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, “Bottom-Up” Research

An Erratum to this article was published on 14 October 2016

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Grov et al. (2011) is somewhat of an exception, in that the researchers primarily discuss a re-analysis of the close-ended items used in Albright (2008) but also present a limited analysis of open-ended qualitative data which is mentioned below.

  2. 2.

    When additional themes are introduced in the results section, they will be discussed in sections that follow, for common themes, and in Table 1, for less common themes.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Taylor Kohut.

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An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0838-8.

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Kohut, T., Fisher, W.A. & Campbell, L. Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, “Bottom-Up” Research. Arch Sex Behav 46, 585–602 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0783-6

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Keywords

  • Pornography
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Relationships
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Relationship quality