Pornography has been a major source of public concern for decades. In recent years, apprehension about the deleterious impact of pornography on romantic and marital relationships has joined a list of previously asserted harms, including claimed associations of pornography with communism, organized crime, aggression against women, and sex addiction. The current research systematically sampled public discourse in the media concerning the impact of pornography on the couple relationship and compared media assertions and conclusions with available evidence of academic research in this area. Magazine features, newspaper articles, and Internet postings mentioning the impact of pornography on heterosexual couples were systematically sampled and analyzed with Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Five prominent themes emerged in media discussions of the impact of pornography on relationships: (1) pornography addiction; (2) pornography is good for sexual relationships; (3) pornography use is a form of adultery; (4) partner’s pornography use makes one feel inadequate; and (5) pornography use changes expectations about sexual behaviour. Academic research was then reviewed that addressed these identified themes. Two of five identified popular media themes were in accord with the academic literature. The extent to which popular media and academic research are having the same discussions and reaching the same, or different, conclusions was explored, and we discuss implications for future research.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 243-256
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.