New Study Says Divorce Rates DOUBLE When Married People Watch Porn

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Could your browser history kill your marriage?

There has been much said about the negative impact that pornography can have on a committed relationship, but a new study from the University of Oklahoma suggests that regular pornography usage can have truly disastrous effects on marriages — sometimes DOUBLING the divorce rate.

While phrases like "porn addiction" or “pornography usage” might inspire some laughs (and even challenges from the APA, which says sexual addiction is not real), the study, which followed thousands of couples over several years, paints a bleak picture about the connections between pornography and marital stability. And, surprisingly, married women seem to be the most affected by pornography.


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The study was titled "Till Porn Do Us Part? Longitudinal Effects of Pornography Use on Divorce," and it surveyed couples three times every two years about their porn usage and marital status.

(The study followed individual pornography viewing, not couples watching porn together, so we don’t know if couples who watch porn together, stay together.)

According to Samuel Perry, one of the authors of the study, "Beginning pornography use between survey waves nearly doubled one's likelihood of being divorced by the next survey period, from 6 percent to 11 percent, and nearly tripled it for women, from 6 percent to 16 percent. … Our results suggest that viewing pornography, under certain social conditions, may have negative effects on marital stability."

One important thing to note is that Perry and his co-author Cyrus Schleifer steadfastly claim that they have no moral objection to porn.

"We have no desire to push a 'ban pornography' agenda on the grounds that it can be harmful to marriages," Perry said. "Neither one of us is on a moral crusade. We think information is helpful, and Americans should be aware of the potential consequences of pornography under certain circumstances."

This means, regardless of whether you love or hate porn, the study argues that there does seem to be a correlation between married individuals who are privately viewing pornography and the overall health of their marriages.

For example, according to the data, 11% of the people who started watching porn between the first and second survey periods were divorced before they reached the second period.

And 16% of the married women who began watching porn on their own were divorced before the second survey period began.

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The study also showed that age and gender played a big role in how pornography affected marriages. For example, in terms of age, the probability of divorce greatly increased if the married people were younger.

Perry commented that, "Younger Americans tend to view pornography more often than older Americans, and older Americans generally have more stable marriages since they tend to be more mature, financially established, and likely already have more time invested in the relationship. … So, we thought it made perfect sense that the effect of pornography use on divorce would grow weaker with age."

In terms of gender, it was previously mentioned that women who viewed porn on their own tended to get divorced more than men, the study also showed that women who stopped watching porn during the survey periods had a much better chance of saving their marriages than men.

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Another interesting finding was that porn use appeared to tear apart marriages that regarded themselves as “happy,” but if a marriage was already miserable, porn didn’t have much of an affect.

Perry argued, "We took this to mean that pornography use — perhaps if it's discovered by one's spouse unexpectedly — could rock an otherwise happy marriage to the point of divorce, but it doesn't seem to make an unhappy marriage any worse than it already is.”

Does this mean that pornography destroys marriages?

No. But it does speak to how married people “consume” porn. (Almost a worse term than “using it”.)

The survey showed that it’s the individual use of porn that damaged marriages. One has to assume that “use” involved keeping secrets, hiding browser histories, and living out fantasies (or unsatisfied desires) through their computers rather than with their life-partners.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong in indulging in a little online kink, this research does suggest that it can really be harmful when people completely compartmentalize their secret sexy sides from their married partners.

If you have to routinely turn to a website to provide something in your marriage that your spouse isn’t providing, we now have proof that it can highlight and even amplify larger problems in your relationship.

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