Pornography could have positive effects on romantic relationships, says study

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Most people fall in love at some point of their lives. How to maintain a healthy and happy romantic relationship is a very important issue.

Pornography, including novels, pictures, and videos about nudity and sexual activity, has been assumed and confirmed to harm relationship well-being in the long run.

However, a review newly published in Current Opinion in Psychology points out that previous research only focused on the harmful effects of pornography on relationships. In fact, pornography can have both positive and negative impacts.

So far, all research has shown that men have more pornography experience. They use it more frequently, than women. In addition, both men and women are more likely to use pornography alone than with a partner.

When couples viewed erotic films together over several weeks, their sexual activity increased in short-term compared with couples who did not view erotic films.

Furthermore, exposure to pornography together could increase couple members’ desire to be close to each another and their own sexual confidence. But it did not change how they saw their partner in the relationship.

When one couple member uses pornography, couples have higher levels of “dysfunction” and a slight higher “erotic climate“ than couples who do not use pornography .

But when both couple members use pornography, they have lower levels of “dysfunction” and a greater “erotic climate“ than couples who do not use pornography.

Interestingly, men’s pornography use can be related to lower sexual and relationship fulfilment, but women’s pornography use can be associated with higher sexual and relationship fulfilment.

Researchers suggest that pornography use can have a range of possible effects on relationships, and that sometimes the effects can be positive.

In addition, many factors can modify the influence of pornography use, such as culture, individual differences, life experiences, gender, and contexts of use. These should be considered in future studies.


Citation: Campbell L, Kohut T. (2017). The use and effects of pornography in romantic relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13: 6-10. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.03.004
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