The Porn Gap: Differences in Men’s and Women’s Pornography Patterns in Couple Relationships

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perhaps the most notable finding of pornography research to date is the sizeable gender gap that exists between men and women when it comes to their personal use and acceptance of pornography. This disparity raises a number of questions about couple formation patterns and the relationship dynamics that arise between men and women related to pornography use. In this study, the authors used both a nationally representative weighted data set of individuals who are in committed heterosexual couple relationships (n = 21,555) and a subset of matched heterosexual couples (n = 2,972 individuals; 1,486 couples) to examine romantic partners' pornography use rates, patterns of viewing pornography alone or together, relationship boundaries related to pornography acceptance, and pornography-related conflict. The authors found that there is indeed a notable “pornography gap” between many partners and that for some opposite-sex couples there is significant conflict related to pornography. These findings highlight the importance of studying pornography as a couple issue that is contextualized by partners' relationship scripts and negotiated boundaries related to sexuality, compatibility, and fidelity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-163
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2017

Keywords

  • Pornography
  • conflict
  • couples
  • emerging adults
  • gender differences
  • marriage

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