Does pornography use affect heterosexual women's intimate experiences with a partner?
A new study has shown that the relationship between pornography and intimate partner experiences among heterosexual women is indirect and complex, in contrast to the more direct link among heterosexual men. Thoughts of pornographic material during intimate partner experiences, rather than simply having viewed pornographic material previously, was associated with high rates of appearance insecurity and reduced enjoyment of intimate acts during sex, according to the study published in Journal of Women's Health.
The article entitled "Pornography and Heterosexual Women's Intimate Experiences with a Partner" was coauthored by Jennifer Johnson, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), Matthew Ezzell, Ph.D., James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA), Ana Bridges, Ph.D., University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), and Chyng Sun, Ph.D., New York University (New York City).
The researchers reported that while most U.S. women aged 18-29 in the study sample had seen pornography, fewer than half used it for masturbation. Those women who used it at higher rates for masturbation tended to rely more on pornographic scripts during sex to achieve and maintain arousal and were more likely to prefer pornography to sex with a partner.
"Dr. Johnson and colleagues demonstrate a clear difference between the role of pornography in sexual experiences of women compared to men," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health. "Whereas the relationship tends to be more direct in young heterosexual men, and just viewing pornographic material is associated with reduced sexual intimacy and satisfaction, women make the material part of their personal sexual experience and carry the pornographic script into their intimate partner experiences."