TEAM SCOUP 
Sexuality & Couples

Sophie Bergeron  Ph.D

SCOUP News

Did you know that different pornography use motivations may be related to better or worse sexual wellbeing in couples?

Pornography use is common in couples and it may play important roles in their sexual wellbeing. However, little is known about whether different pornography use motivations (e.g., watching pornography to learn about sexual activities or viewing it to cope with negative emotions) may play different roles in couples' sexual wellbeing. A recent study conducted in our laboratory examined the associations between each partner's individual and partnered pornography use frequency, a set of pornography use motivations, and sexual wellbeing (including sexual satisfaction, sexual function, sexual distress, and the frequency of partnered sexual activities). As part of a larger longitudinal project in our lab, we recruited 265 couples. We asked couples to complete an online survey independently about their sexuality, including questions about pornography use.

What did we find?

Men using pornography out of curiosity and learning about sexual activities reported greater sexual satisfaction, sexual function, lower sexual distress, and higher partnered sexual frequency. At the same time, men using pornography to cope with negative emotions and stress had lower levels of sexual function and greater sexual distress. Women using pornography more frequently with their partners reported better sexual function and lower sexual distress. Additionally, women’s higher individual pornography use frequency was associated with more partnered sexual activities.

Our findings highlighted that examining partners’ pornography use motivations as well as their individual and partnered pornography use frequency may provide a better and more nuanced understanding of pornography use’s association with couples’ sexual wellbeing than examining the mere frequency of pornography use. As sexual curiosity motivation was related to sexual wellbeing and the frequency of partnered sexual activities, more attention should be paid to pornography literacy programs in sexual education. Moreover, therapists working with couples reporting sexual problems could dedicate more attention to identifying not only partners' frequency of pornography use, but their pornography use motivations as well, as men’s pornography use to cope with negative emotions may reflect underlying difficulties in dealing with negative emotions. Thus, promoting more adaptive emotion regulation strategies (e.g., mindfulness) may be beneficial for couples improving their sexual wellbeing.

If you would like to know more about this study, we invite you to read the full paper:

Bőthe, B., Vaillancourt-Morel, M. P., & Bergeron, S. (2021). Associations between pornography use frequency, pornography use motivations, and sexual wellbeing in couples. The Journal of Sex Research, 1-15. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2021.1893261

Funding:  This work was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the SCOUP Team – Sexuality and Couples – Fonds de recherche du Québec, Société et Culture awarded to B. Bőthe and by the Merit Scholarship Program for Foreign Students (PBEEE) awarded by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement Supérieur (MEES) to B. Bőthe.

 

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