Are Pornography Users More Likely to Experience a Romantic Breakup? Evidence from Longitudinal Data
- 1.1k Downloads
Previous research suggests that pornography use, under certain circumstances, may negatively influence the quality of romantic relationships. Yet we still know relatively little about whether watching pornography is associated with the stability of romantic relationships later on. This study examined whether Americans who use pornography, either at all or more frequently, are more prone to report experiencing a romantic breakup over time. Longitudinal data were taken from the 2006 and 2012 waves of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study (N = 969). Binary logistic regression analyses demonstrated that Americans who viewed pornography at all in 2006 were nearly twice as likely as those who never viewed pornography to report experiencing a romantic breakup by 2012, even after controlling for relevant factors such as 2006 relationship status and other sociodemographic correlates. This association was considerably stronger for men than for women and for unmarried Americans than for married Americans. Analyses also showed a linear relationship between how frequently Americans viewed pornography in 2006 and their odds of experiencing a breakup by 2012. The findings affirm that earlier pornography use is associated with lower stability within Americans’ romantic relationships, especially for men and the unmarried. Data limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
KeywordsPornography Romantic relationships Marriage Breakup
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
- Bridges, A. J., Bergner, R. M., & Hesson-McInnis, M. (2003). Romantic partner’s use of pornography: Its significance for women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 29, 1–14.Google Scholar
- Daines, R. M., & Shumway, T. (2011). Pornography and divorce. In 7th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2112435.
- Emerson, M. O., & Sikkink, D. (2006–2012). Portraits of American Life Study, 2006–2012.Google Scholar
- Gagnon, J. H., & Simon, W. (1973). Sexual conduct: The social sources of human sexuality. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
- Muusses, L. D., Kerkhof, P., & Finkenauer, C. (2015). Internet pornography and relationship quality: A longitudinal study of within and between partner effects of adjustment, sexual satisfaction and sexually explicit internet material among newly weds. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Paul, P. (2005). Pornified: How pornography is transforming our lives, our relationships, and our families. New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
- Perry, S. L. (2015a). Pornography consumption as a threat to religious socialization. Sociology of Religion, 76, 436–458.Google Scholar
- Perry, S. L., & Hayward, G. M. (2017). Seeing is (not) believing: How viewing pornography shapes the religious lives of young Americans. Social Forces, 95, 1757–1788.Google Scholar
- Regnerus, M. D. (2017). Cheap sex and the transformation of men, marriage, and monogamy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar