Want to Revitalize Your Relationship this Valentine’s Day? Quit Pornography!

“I just gotta say, no PMO [ie. no pornography consumption] does wonders for a relationship. I’ve basically jacked off every day since my gf and I have been together (about 1.5 years) and since I’ve started nofap, our emotional connection has never been better. I understand her like I never have before and I have way more confidence. She is more into me and has been way more affectionate in every day life. Overall, I just feel like she is way more attracted to me because I have more self esteem, self awareness and more manliness.”  

“I have never felt more attracted to my wife and not just sexually but emotionally. I just can’t get enough of being around her, I miss her when she isn’t here – a big change from enjoying her absences because it meant I could freely PMO.” 

“One thing I have found is an appreciation for actual genuine sex and connecting with someone on a physical level. Whereas porn-addict me would simply just use sex and porn as a means of getting myself off. It brings with it such an unhealthy mindset of abuse and using another’s body for your own pleasure, a sexual selfishness which is completely unfulfilling for everyone.” 

The above are quotes from former pornography consumers (see here and here) who have testified to the remarkably positive effect that quitting pornography has had on their romantic relationships. Forums where people share their experiences with trying to quit pornography are filled with accounts like these.  

Celebrities, such as actor Orlando Bloom and comedian Chris Rock, have also spoken publicly about the damage pornography consumption has caused to their relationships. 

And the evidence isn’t only anecdotal. An impressive amount of scientific research shows pornography consumption is associated with poorer outcomes in the consumer’s romantic relationships and sex life (see also Truth about Porn).  

So, what exactly do we know about pornography’s impact on relationships? 

Doubled Divorce/Breakup Rates

Longitudinal research has consistently found that pornography consumers are approximately twice as likely to later divorce or break up with their partner, compared to non-consumers (see herehere, and here). This is true for both men and women.  

For example, one longitudinal study which followed 445 married Americans from 2006 to 2012 found that those who used pornography at all in 2006 were almost twice as likely to get divorced by 2012. This was the case even after controlling for the participant’s marital and sexual satisfaction in 2006. The author of the study explained how these controls strengthen the argument for causation, saying, “In other words, the association I observe between pornography use and marital separation doesn’t seem to be due to the fact that these respondents were already in bad marriages or dissatisfied with their sex lives. So it’s more likely to have been something about the porn use itself (and all that potentially goes with it).” 

Decreased Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction

Studies have overwhelmingly found pornography consumption to be associated with poorer sexual and relationship satisfaction, especially among male pornography consumers.  

For example, 2017 meta-analysis of fifty studies—including experimental, longitudinal, and cross-sectional studies—with a collective sample of more than 50,000 participants found that men who consumed pornography had poorer relationship and sexual satisfaction than men who didn’t. While this meta-analysis found no association for female participants, numerous other studies that were not included in the meta-analysis have found that female pornography consumers also tend to have lower relationship and sexual satisfaction. (Read more about the research on how pornography negatively impacts female consumers here.) 

Research also shows that pornography use is associated with the development of sexual dysfunctions, where the consumer is unable to be aroused or function properly for partnered sex. Obviously a severe barrier to sexual satisfaction (as the men featured in this Time article testified)!  

One hypothesis in the research is that this happens because pornography re-conditions the arousal template in the brain to only respond to the “cues” associated with solo masturbation to pornography. When it comes time to engage in partnered sex, the cues are very different, and the brain doesn’t respond.  

Importantly, clinical case studies have found that sexual dysfunctions heal when the person quits pornography (see the first 7 studies in this list). 

Decreased Commitment and Increased Infidelity

Studies have also found that pornography consumers tend to be less committed to their partnersmore accepting of infidelity, and/or actually commit more acts of infidelity (defined by the researchers as having sex with a person other than one’s partner), compared to non-pornography consumers. 

2014 cross-lagged longitudinal study of married Americans found that pornography consumption was associated with increased acceptance of infidelity over time, even after controlling for potential confounds such as marital unhappiness, general unhappiness, divorce history, religiosity, etc. Further, the study did not find any association between early acceptance of infidelity and later consumption of pornography, ruling out the hypothesis that acceptance of infidelity leads to pornography consumption, not the other way around.  

With respect to actual commitment of infidelity, a 2009 study of 1291 unmarried individuals in romantic relationships found pornography consumption to be associated with higher rates of actual infidelity even if the pornography was consumed with one’s partner. Reported infidelity rates were 9.7% for those who did not consume pornography, 18.2% for those who only consumed pornography with a partner, 19.4% for those who only consumed pornography alone, and 26.4% for those who consumed both alone and with a partner.  

It is not difficult to imagine why pornography consumption may increase acceptance of and/or actual infidelity, given that it involves regularly ogling the naked bodies of people other than one’s partner, and using those people as your source of sexual pleasure and orgasm, rather than reserving sexual experiences solely for one’s partner.  

Help Spread the Word!

Today is Valentine’s Day. Practically the entire world is thinking and talking about romantic relationships. Take this opportunity to spread the word about pornography’s detrimental effects by sharing this article on social media or sending it to a friend. Click on the social media icons under the article title, or the tweet below to share.

Want to revitalize your relationship this Valentine’s Day? Quit pornography! Research links pornography use to poorer relationship/sexual satisfaction, doubled divorce rates, increased infidelity, and more! Click To Tweet

People deserve to understand that one of the best things they can do to improve their romantic relationships and sex lives is quit pornography!

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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