Study Shows Porn Linked to a Decline in Marriage

Red-button-Keywords-xxx-on-keyboard-computer-Adult-sex-online-000066195831_Large-300x200

Can watching porn lower a young man’s chances of getting married? A study published in the journal of The Institute for the Study of Labor in Germany in November 2014 says it can and does.

Developed to analyze how men age 18 to 35 use the Internet, the study indicates that porn may serve as an alternative form of sexual gratification that keeps young men from pursuing real-life romantic relationships.

Just how many men are watching porn? To put things in perspective, here are some 2014 statistics:

  • Men are 543 percent more likely to look at porn than women are.
  • 68 percent of young adult men look at porn at least one a week.
  • 1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography.
  • The average first exposure to pornography among males is at 12 years old.

Los Angeles-based cyber porn expert Christopher Mulligan, LCSW, agreed that porn poses a legitimate threat to committed partnerships. “There’s a consensus among clinicians and researchers that men who have a daily relationship with cyber porn develop a preference of cyber porn over and above sexual contact with a spouse or girlfriend,” Mulligan said. “Over time, they come to believe that ‘porn sex’ is the best sex and start to desire their relationship to cyber porn more than any three-dimensional partner.”

Is Porn Really the Problem?

Psychotherapist and male development expert Andrew Smiler, PhD, took issue with the study and felt that it promotes a flawed stereotype of young men. Author of Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male and co-author of the bestselling textbook The Masculine Self, Dr. Smiler specializes in the treatment of 18- to 25-year-old men in his private practice.

Instead of pointing the finger at porn, Smiler believes we should examine the cultural narrative that tells men the only reason to have a long-term relationship is easy access to sex. In reality, “young men’s experience reveals this to be a lie. They learn that a romantic partner is also a confidant who provides them with emotional support,” Smiler said.

Smiler feels that the study’s emphasis on sex as the primary motivator for marriage was simplistic and overlooked other compelling reasons such as companionship and having children. He thinks the real problem may not be porn, but spending too much time online. “There’s no way to tell if guys are spending a lot of time online because they can’t find a date or if they cope with not having a date by spending time online,” Smiler said.

One Man’s Experience With Porn

Life coach Bryan Reeves stopped watching porn after he noticed its negative impact not only on his sexual performance with women, but also on his emotional connection with them. Reeves believes porn is “easy, low-hanging fruit” and advocates that all men consider going on a “porn diet.”

When asked about the study, Reeves said: “It’s both shocking and not at all shocking that online porn usage is tied to lower marriage rates. When I was using porn consistently, I didn’t feel as much drive to show up powerfully with real women to create sexual intimacy. I had in my own hands, so to speak, constant access to an endless universe of sexual companions who were always ready and cheerfully willing to offer me whatever I was in the mood for. No mortal woman could ever compete with that.”

Despite the study’s results, one thing is clear: Porn is here to stay. As with any addiction, the problem is less about porn than it is our relationship to it.

 

By Virginia Gilbert, MFT

Follow Virginia on Twitter at @VGilbert MFT

Change Your Life With One Call.
We've been transforming lives since 1999.
We can help you too.

844-876-7680
Free & Confidential