So what to make of all of this? While it would be unrealistic to expect every couple to stop viewing pornography upon discovering this research, the literature does highlight the importance of being an informed consumer. With this knowledge in mind, you can make an informed decision about what is right for you and what works within your relationship. Being aware and mindful of the risks will help you identify any negative effects of pornography if they arise. In addition, the research discussed above illustrates that it is not necessarily pornography in general, but the type of pornography being viewed that could be at the root of many of these negative effects. Given these findings, it is essential to consider and evaluate the type of pornography you choose to watch, as well as the platform promoting it. Depending on the content, there may be harmful overt or covert messaging about sexual power/control dynamics and violence which can further hinder intimacy and connection within the relationship. Since pornography can also develop into a behavioral addiction, it is imperative to keep in mind how long and how often you are watching it. Lastly, make sure to check in with your partner about the role of pornography in your relationship. There is so much variance when it comes to individuals' boundaries regarding pornography use in their relationship, and pornography use can be significantly more detrimental to your relationship if your partner is not okay with it as well (Huntington et al., 2021).
Written by Chloe Pimentel, Graduate Level Therapist of Wellington Counseling Group
Brain, heart, world - docuseries about the harmful effects of porn. Brain Heart World. (2022, June 23). https://brainheartworld.org/
Gottman, J. (2021, February 4). An open letter on Porn. The Gottman Institute. https://www.gottman.com/blog/an-open-letter-on-porn/
Huntington, C., Markman, H., & Rhoades, G. (2021). Watching Pornography Alone or Together: Longitudinal Associations With Romantic Relationship Quality. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 47(2), 130–146. https://doi-org.auth.lib.niu.edu/10.1080/0092623X.2020.1835760