People’s experiences and research indicate that yes, in many cases, porn does ruin relationships. According to a survey by Relationships Australia, one in five couples experience relationship issues triggered by internet porn. Porn is leading to a breakdown of trust and an erosion of intimacy and increasingly being cited as a reason for marriage breakdowns.

There are ample studies reporting links between porn use and less sexual or relationship satisfaction, collated on the Your Brain on Porn website. YBOP says that according to researchers, those who indicate a “good performance in mating,” experience more positive emotions, fewer negative emotions, and are more satisfied with their lives. Yet according to a 2018 study, one in two now face difficulties starting or keeping an intimate relationship. As of 2018, over 70 studies have linked porn use to poorer sexual and relationship satisfaction. While a few studies correlated greater porn use in females to better (or neutral) sexual satisfaction, most have not. As far as we know all studies involving males have reported more porn use linked to poorer sexual or relationship satisfaction.

The list of ways that pornography consumption can impact relationships is extensive, and includes researched findings such as:

  • porn use consistently related to lower sexual and relationship satisfaction
  • perceiving partners as pornography consumers was significantly associated with less relational, sexual, and body satisfaction
  • more negative than positive consequences for husbands and wives
  • association between beginning pornography use and the probability of divorce was particularly strong among younger Americans, those who were less religious, and those who reported greater initial marital happiness
  • husbands’ use of pornography affect wives’ feeling about themselves, their sexual feelings, and their marital relationships in general
  • women reporting more negative consequences, including lowered body image, partner critical of their body, increased pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films, and less actual sex
  • men reporting being more critical of their partners’ body and less interested in actual sex

Links to more findings and research articles can be found here.

The question “Does Porn Ruin Relationships?” was unpacked by the Smith Family when three generations – Jada, Gammy and Willow – discuss their feelings about pornography. This is followed by a husband and wife revealing how his lifelong addiction to porn almost destroyed their relationship. It’s great to see such an open discussion about pornography impacts – with almost 3.5 million views in 3 weeks, it seems long overdue.

If you or loved ones are struggling with pornography’s impacts, you need to know that you are not alone. Click through for educational information, resources and links to online support services.

THANK YOU to everyone who has been sharing these blog posts and for all your great feedback.  If you have a topic you would like me to blog about, send an email or ASK ME through Vidoyen for a response via video. To enquire about my availability and professional speaking fees to present at your school, in-service, conference, community, youth or church event, enquire via email; or find sexuality education support at Youth Wellbeing Project.
Liz Walker

About Liz Walker

Sexuality & pornography educator and advocate. Liz provides consultancy, schools education & presentations, and is sought after internationally.