Differences in Pornography Use Among Couples: Associations with Satisfaction, Stability, and Relationship Processes

Brian J. Willoughby, Jason S. Carroll, Dean M. Busby, Cameron C. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The present study utilized a sample of 1755 adult couples in heterosexual romantic relationships to examine how different patterns of pornography use between romantic partners may be associated with relationship outcomes. While pornography use has been generally associated with some negative and some positive couple outcomes, no study has yet explored how differences between partners may uniquely be associated with relationship well-being. Results suggested that greater discrepancies between partners in pornography use were related to less relationship satisfaction, less stability, less positive communication, and more relational aggression. Mediation analyses suggested that greater pornography use discrepancies were primarily associated with elevated levels of male relational aggression, lower female sexual desire, and less positive communication for both partners which then predicted lower relational satisfaction and stability for both partners. Results generally suggest that discrepancies in pornography use at the couple level are related to negative couple outcomes. Specifically, pornography differences may alter specific couple interaction processes which, in turn, may influence relationship satisfaction and stability. Implications for scholars and clinicians interested in how pornography use is associated with couple process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Marriage
  • Pornography
  • Sexual desire
  • Sexuality


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