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Arch Sex Behav. 2017 Feb;46(2):561-574. doi: 10.1007/s10508-016-0896-y. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Spousal Religiosity, Religious Bonding, and Pornography Consumption.

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Department of Sociology, University of Oklahoma, 780 Van Vleet Oval, Kaufman Hall 335A, Norman, OK, 73019, USA.


Religiosity and pornography use are often closely connected. Relatively few studies, however, have examined how this religion-pornography connection plays out within the context of committed romantic relationships. Moreover, virtually all studies of religion and pornography use conceptualize religiosity as a quality intrinsic to the person that typically reduces pornography viewing. Focusing on married Americans, this study shifted the focus to consider whether the religiosity of one's spouse relates to one's own pornography viewing and under what circumstances. Analyses of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study (N = 1026) revealed that spousal religiosity was strongly and negatively related to participants viewing pornography, controlling for participants' own religious or sociodemographic characteristics or sexual satisfaction. This relationship held whether spousal religiosity was measured with participants' evaluations of their spouses' religiosity or spouses' self-reported religiosity. The association between spousal religiosity and pornography use was also moderated by participants' religious service attendance, gender, and age. Considering mechanisms, the association between spousal religiosity and pornography use was mediated by frequent participation in religious bonding activities as a couple, suggesting that spousal religiosity may decrease pornography viewing among married Americans by promoting greater religious intimacy and unity between the couple, consequently decreasing one's interest or opportunities to view pornography.


Marriage; Pornography; Religion; Religiosity; Sexual satisfaction

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