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      The effects of sexually explicit material use on romantic relationship dynamics

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          Background and aims

          Pornography use has become increasingly common. Studies have shown that individuals who use sexually explicit materials (SEMs) report negative effects (Schneider, 2000b). However, Bridges (2008b) found that couples who use SEM together have higher relationship satisfaction than those who use SEM independently. A further investigation into various types of SEM use in relationships may highlight how SEM is related to various areas of couple satisfaction. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to examine the impact of SEM use related to different relationship dynamics.


          The current study included a college and Internet sample of 296 participants divided into groups based upon the SEM use in relationships (i.e., SEM alone, SEM use with partner, and no SEM use).


          There were significant differences between groups in relationship satisfaction [ F(2, 252) = 3.69, p = .026], intimacy [ F(2, 252) = 7.95, p = <.001], and commitment [ F(2, 252) = 5.30, p = .006]. Post-hoc analyses revealed additional differences in relationship satisfaction [ t(174) = 2.13, p = .035] and intimacy [ t(174) = 2.76, p = .006] based on the frequency of SEM use.


          Further exploration of the SEM use function in couples will provide greater understanding of its role in romantic relationships.

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          Most cited references 38

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          A triangular theory of love.

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            Sexuality and the Internet: Surfing into the New Millennium

             Al Cooper (1998)
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              Self-perceived effects of pornography consumption.

              The self-perceived effects of "hardcore" pornography consumption were studied in a large representative sample of young adult Danish men and women aged 18-30. Using a survey that included the newly developed Pornography Consumption Effect Scale, we assessed participants' reports of how pornography has affected them personally in various areas, including their sexual knowledge, attitudes toward sex, attitudes toward and perception of the opposite sex, sex life, and general quality of life. Across all areas investigated, participants reported only small, if any, negative effects with men reporting slightly more negative effects than women. In contrast, moderate positive effects were generally reported by both men and women, with men reporting significantly more positive effects than women. For both sexes, sexual background factors were found to significantly predict both positive and negative effects of pornography consumption. Although the proportion of variance in positive effects accounted for by sexual background factors was substantial, it was small for negative effects. We discuss how the findings may be interpreted differently by supporters and opponents of pornography due to the reliance in this study on reported self-perceptions of effects. Nonetheless, we conclude that the overall findings suggest that many young Danish adults believe that pornography has had primarily a positive effect on various aspects of their lives.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                26 October 2016
                : 5
                : 4
                : 700-707
                [ 1 ]Department of Psychological Science, University of Arkansas , Fayetteville, AR, USA
                [ 2 ] Rogers Memorial Hospital , Oconomowoc, WI, USA
                [ 3 ]Department of Psychology, University of Houston-Clear Lake , Houston, TX, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Mary B. Short, PhD; University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058, USA; Phone: +1 281 283 3324; Fax: +1 281 283 3308; E-mail: shortmb@
                © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 26, Pages: 8
                Funding sources: There was no funding for this study, and there was no funding source involved in any part of this study.
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