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Regular Porn Habits Increase Likelihood of Relationship Break-Ups, Study Finds

By March 5, 2018February 20th, 2020No Comments

There's a vast amount of research on the harmful effects of pornography, and it's important that this information is accessible to the public. Weekly, we highlight a research study that sheds light on the expanding field of academic resources that showcase porn's harms. These studies cover a wide range of topics, from the sociological implications of pornography to the neurological effects of porn-consumption.


The full study can be found here.

Are Pornography Users More Likely to Experience a Romantic Breakup? Evidence from Longitudinal Data

Authors: Samuel L. Perry and Joshua T. Davis
Published December 2017

Peer-Reviewed Journal: Sexuality & Culture (2017) 21:1157–1176

Background

An important limitation of previous research is that comparatively little attention has been given to the relationship between pornography use and relational stability. While some research finds that measures of pornography consumption are correlated with experiencing divorce at some point (see Perry and Schleifer 2017), studies have yet to definitively show whether an individual’s earlier pornography use, either at all or in greater amounts, predicts a higher likelihood of experiencing relational disruption later on.

This is a significant gap, since breakup arguably represents the most objective and conclusive measure of relationship quality and, consequently, its connection to earlier porn use would augur more direct, tangible consequences for individuals, couples, and families in the future. The current study sought to fill this gap by using nationally representative, longitudinal data to examine whether Americans who use pornography, either at all or more frequently, are more prone to experiencing a romantic breakup over time.

Methods

Longitudinal data were taken from the 2006 and 2012 waves of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study (PALS, N = 969).  PALS is a nationally representative panel survey with questions focusing on a variety of topics including social networks, moral and political attitudes, and religious life.  Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted. Analyses included a variety of sociodemographic, religious, and ideological controls following previous research on pornography use and relationship outcomes.  In order to ensure that all controls temporally precede the experience of a breakup between 2006 and 2012, all controls are from the 2006 wave.

Results

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, religious factors, and other sociodemographic correlates.

Analyses of pornography viewing frequency found a clear, linear progression of breakup likelihood across greater frequencies of earlier pornography use. At the extremes, while 13% of those who reported ‘‘never’’ viewing porn in 2006 had experienced a breakup by 2012, that likelihood increased gradually to about 33% for those who viewed pornography more than once a week in 2006.  Subsequent analyses showed that the association between pornography use frequency and later breakup were not significantly moderated by gender or other relevant correlates like relationship status, age, or religious factors.

The findings affirm that earlier pornography use is associated with lower stability within Americans’ romantic relationships, especially for men and the unmarried.

The full study can be found here.

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