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Does Porn with Your Partner Help Your Relationship in the Long-Run?

By February 1, 2019 No Comments
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People are wired to crave close bonds and intimacy with another person—including the need to feel wanted and connected romanticly. Because of this, we often jump at the chance to try something that promises improved romantic relationships.

Here’s where porn strategically steps in with the promise of unlimited sexual satisfaction and ideas for how to “heat things up” in the bedroom.

And some people buy into it—even experiencing what they believe to be “benefits” from watching porn as a couple.

It’s not difficult to see how those who may not be familiar with the research confirming porn’s harms can be enticed by the big promises and risk-free guarantees porn offers.

Related: Can Porn Improve An Intimate Relationship?

Here’s the catch: these perceived “positive effects” are only short-term. The long-term consequences can be devastating—and research is showing how.

Self-reported vs. observational data

While its true that some couples have reported positive results from watching porn together early on in a relationship, this only tells half the story.

Many studies concluding positive effects from consuming porn together take samples of couples who are early on in their dating relationships. But the fact is, the negative effects of porn consumption increase as time goes on and relationships become more serious.

Related: How Fighting Porn Together As A Couple Can Strengthen The Relationship

It’s also important to note that the positive effects of watching porn as a couple are self-reported—meaning a statement given at one point in time, based off of one’s own perceptions. There are limitations on the accuracy of these responses—like reporting bias—putting their validity in question.

On the flip side, the long-term data is observational—meaning monitored and observed over an extended period. This provides the ability to see the overall effect over time, not just at one point in time early on in the relationship.

Think of it this way: self-reported results can be like asking someone smoking their first pack of cigarettes if the nicotine rush makes them feel good, while observational results would monitor the impact of smoking on an individual’s health over the course of a lifetime.

Which do you think paints a more accurate picture?

What does the research say?

So how do short-term, self-reported studies about couples and their porn consumption compare to long-term, observational ones? The results display a stark difference.

Some couples perceive immediate “positive effects” from watching porn together, due to the novelty and excitement it can temporarily spark in their sex life. A recent short-term study concluded that some couples who watch porn together report being more “sexually satisfied” than those who don’t.

Related: Can Watching Porn Actually Be Healthy For You?

But the real question is, where are those self-reported “happy” couples now?

More than dozens of in-depth, long-term studies have been conducted on the effects of consuming porn on relationships. The results consistently show that consuming porn leads to a decrease in trust, emotional bonding, relationship satisfaction, and sexual function.

Quite a different picture than that painted by more short-term studies.

In fact, other than some arguably flawed or incomplete short-term studies, we know of no study that concludes individual porn consumption contributes to long-term positive effects on relationships.

What can porn really do to relationships?

Here’s another important fact that short-term studies fail to address.

Watching porn as a couple most often starts with or leads to one or both partners consuming porn on their own. So what happens when partners aren’t just consuming porn together, but are fantasizing about strangers on a screen when their partner isn’t around?

Let’s see what the research says.

One study concluded that people who hadn’t consumed porn reported higher relationship satisfaction than those who had consumed explicit material on their own.

A new study conducted in 2017 found that relationships where one partner consumed more porn than the other were more prone to decreased stability, relationship satisfaction, and healthy communication, and increased aggression within the relationship.

And in another study, married couples were observed from 2006 to 2012. Researchers discovered a reported decrease in the quality of their marriages in 2012 when porn had been consumed frequently in 2006.

Related: Study Shows How Watching Porn Could Seriously Increase Your Divorce Risk

So we see the real result of consuming porn as a couple is an overall decrease in relationship quality—the exact opposite of what the porn industry promises and what so many couples expect.

Porn also breeds jealousy, distrust, comparison, and insecurity in a consumer’s partner. It leads to objectification and instills the idea that people are disposable and replaceable. According to porn, there’s always a “hotter” version than what’s right in front of us.

Does the porn industry want to help strengthen the love between couples, or cause people to look outside of their relationship for sexual gratification and get hooked on fantasy instead?

Porn often ultimately leads to less satisfying sex, and for some, no sex at all.

Why being pro-sex makes us anti-porn

Any perceived short-term gratification isn’t worth the long-term detriment porn has on relationships.

Picture what you’re looking for in life and what kind of relationship you really want to have. If the answer is long-term happiness with a partner, you should know that porn won’t get you there. Consider long-term happiness rather short-term gratification.

Ultimately, we’re here to help people around the world find real love, fulfilling relationships, and a lifetime of happiness—and porn has no part in your happily-ever-after.

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