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J Behav Addict. 2016 Dec;5(4):700-707. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.078. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics.

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1 Department of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas , Fayetteville, AR, USA.
2 Rogers Memorial Hospital , Oconomowoc, WI, USA.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Houston-Clear Lake , Houston, TX, USA.


Background and aims Pornography use has become increasingly common. Studies have shown that individuals who use sexually explicit materials (SEMs) report negative effects (Schneider, 2000b). However, Bridges (2008b) found that couples who use SEM together have higher relationship satisfaction than those who use SEM independently. A further investigation into various types of SEM use in relationships may highlight how SEM is related to various areas of couple satisfaction. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to examine the impact of SEM use related to different relationship dynamics. Methods The current study included a college and Internet sample of 296 participants divided into groups based upon the SEM use in relationships (i.e., SEM alone, SEM use with partner, and no SEM use). Results There were significant differences between groups in relationship satisfaction [F(2, 252) = 3.69, p = .026], intimacy [F(2, 252) = 7.95, p = <.001], and commitment [F(2, 252) = 5.30, p = .006]. Post-hoc analyses revealed additional differences in relationship satisfaction [t(174) = 2.13, p = .035] and intimacy [t(174) = 2.76, p = .006] based on the frequency of SEM use. Discussion Further exploration of the SEM use function in couples will provide greater understanding of its role in romantic relationships.


couples; pornography; relationship satisfaction; romantic relationships; sexual satisfaction; sexually explicit materials

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