June 20, 2016

New Gallup Poll: How Accepted is Pornography in America?

A new Gallup Poll asked Americans to rate the moral acceptability of various topics, including pornography.

This year, the poll found that pornography is viewed as largely unacceptable by the majority of Americans. Sixty-one percent found pornography unacceptable.

The Gallup Poll shows that the movement against pornography is alive and well in America.

It’s no surprise that Americans have an unfavorable view of pornography.

The movement against pornography and all sexual exploitation is gaining momentum across ideological and political spheres.

TIME magazine recently ran a cover story on the physiological harms of pornography. The Washington Post ran a series addressing the negative impact pornography has on public health and gender equality. And last month alone the National Center on Sexual Exploitation had around 900 press hits where reporters were turning to us for our perspective on these issues.

Even public figures, like Rashida Jones and Terry Crews, are speaking out against pornography because the harmful effects of the industry are becoming widely acknowledged.

Pornography actually harms viewers’ quality of life.

Men’s frequency of pornography use is positively linked to body image insecurity regarding muscularity and body fat, and to increased anxiety in romantic relationships.(1)

Further, a 2015 study found that the pornography use of men in relationships with women is associated with decreased relationship satisfaction and increased psychological distress for the woman.(2)

Far from being a benefit to intimacy, pornography harms self-image and relationships. 

Pop culture often sends the message that pornography is completely accepted and beneficial to both individuals’ sexual confidence, and their relationships. However, according to this recent Gallup poll, the majority of Americans still recognize that these messages do not reflect reality.


(1) Tylka, Tracy L., “No harm in looking, right? Men’s pornography consumption, body image, and well-being,” Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Vol 16(1), Jan 2015, 97-107.

(2) Dawn M. Szymanski, Chandra E. Feltman, Trevor L. Dunn, “Male Partners’ Perceived Pornography Use and Women’s Relational and Psychological Health: The Roles of Trust, Attitudes, and Investment,” Sex Roles, Sep 2015, Volume 73, Issue 5-6, pp 187-199.

Further Reading