Porn users more likely to have affairs

(Photo: Roger Kirby)

New research from the US concludes that those who consume pornography more regularly are more likely to have extra marital affairs. 

The study, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, focused on 551 married adults and was entitled "More than a dalliance? Pornography consumption and extramarital sex attitudes among married US adults".

It used data gathered from the General Social Survey run by the University of Chicago, which is the only national US survey based on personal interviews about peoples social beliefs.

The methodology was based on questions such as "Have you seen an X-rated movie in the last year?" and "What is your opinion about a married person having sexual relations with someone other than the marriage partner?"

Researchers Paul Wright, Robert Tokunaga, and Soyoung Bae said: "Pornography consumption was associated with more positive subsequent extramarital sex attitudes."

The researchers believe that because pornography shows non-marital sex as "normative and rewarding", pornography plays a direct role in the breakdown of marriages.

Other data supports that conclusion. In 2004, family therapist and researcher Dr Jill Manning testified before the US senate that 56 per cent of divorces in the US involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.

With on average a million divorces in the US annually, that assertion would suggest nearly 500,000 marriages end for reasons related to consumption of pornography.

In 2003, a poll of 350 divorce lawyers by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that two thirds regarded online pornographic material as a significant cause of many of the divorces they had been involved in.

"If pornography consumption leads to more positive extramarital sex attitudes as the results of the panels suggest, pornography consumption may be a contributing factor in some divorces via extramarital sex behaviour," the University of Chicago study states.

However the direction of the correlative relationship is unclear. It could be argued that those who are more likely to be unfaithful for another reason are also more likely to consume pornography.

Many Christians take the argument that pornography is not only a cause of adultery but a form of adultery itself. Popular Christian blogger Matt Walsh has previously said: "If you're married and you look at porn, you are cheating. Period.

"Christ laid it out very clearly: if you lust after another woman, you have committed adultery. When we look at porn we are choosing to succumb to that lust; we are indulging it, fertilizing it, giving it respite in our minds.

"The absence of physical touch doesn't automatically free you of the scarlet letter."

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