Religiosity BYU research
June 1, 2017

Bogus Research Refuted: No, Religiosity Isn’t the Reason People Are Harmed by Porn

From Your Brain On Porn


A religious person is more likely to call themselves a porn addict and compound problems in relationships because of the shame of being seen as damaged goods,” a recent article reported, regarding new research out of Brigham Young University.

These statements get a lot of play in the press. But are they accurate based on the research?

Analysis shows that news coverage of the recent BYU study, and others like it, is extremely misleading.

What were the actual findings of the BYU study?

Religiosity, higher pornography use, and pornography addiction, were ALL THREE SEPARATELY associated with “relationship anxiety surrounding porn use”.

In other words, all three correlated, not only religiosity.

Guess which of the 3 correlated the strongest (by far) with “relationship anxiety surrounding porn use”? It was porn addiction (scores on the 5 porn addiction questions).

That’s right – porn addiction (not religiosity) had the strongest correlation with “relationship anxiety about porn use”.

But once the researchers plugged religiosity and porn addiction into their mathematical models it was suggested that a more religious person might have more “relationship anxiety about their porn use” than a non-religious porn user.

This isn’t surprising.

However, the study still says that being addicted to porn (not religiosity) correlates most powerfully with “relationship anxiety surrounding porn use”.

Funny how the media decided to cover only one small portion of this study’s findings, instead of dissecting the research as a whole.

The study’s two actual findings were:

  1. Porn addicts don’t want to talk about their porn addiction.
  2. Being addicted to porn has detrimental effects on your love life. Alternately, a porn addict might prefer porn to dating a real-life sexual person.

So whether you are religious or secular, it is clear that compulsive pornography use is harming relationship quality.

Your Brain on Porn published a full critique of that study, and of the “perceived addiction” among religious users debate, which can be found here.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.

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