New research is shedding light on the harms of pornography to relationships.
A new meta-analysis–a reliable method for combining relevant data from various studies for greater statistical power—examined the impact of pornography consumption on individuals’ interpersonal satisfaction.
The paper, entitled Pornography Consumption and Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis, concluded that “Pornography consumption was associated with lower interpersonal satisfaction outcomes in cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal surveys, and experiments.”
Specifically, pornography was linked to significant “lower sexual and relational satisfaction” among male viewers.
These findings shouldn’t be surprising. Pornography rewires an individual’s sexuality to pixels on a screen rather than to a real person, which is inherently inconsistent with healthy, organic relationships.
A wide body of research is bringing attention to the various ways pornography negatively impacts both women and men, and this latest meta-analysis contributes to that on-going dialogue.
This new meta-analysis contradicts previous research that implied pornography is beneficial to its users.
The meta-analysis included more than 50,000 participants from 10 countries, used sound methodology, and found clear and consistent results, which starkly contradicts the widely reported article Porn Sex Versus Real Sex: How Sexually Explicit Material Shapes Our Understanding of Sexual Anatomy, Physiology, and Behaviour.
Those researchers asked survey participants questions about the effects of their pornography consumption using a faulty methodology which could only yield positive results, and then presented the results as unbiased and valid despite the skewed methodology.
The research showing pornography’s harms to relationship satisfaction are consistent with other expert analysis.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, world-renowned researchers and clinical psychologists, wrote an Open Letter on Porn to discuss the corroding effect of pornography for romantic couples. In their letter the Gottmans stated: “We are led to unconditionally conclude that for many reasons, pornography poses a serious threat to couple intimacy and relationship harmony.”
It appears that the best research and relational experts agree: pornography is sex-negative, and relationship-negative.