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Religiosity, porn don't mix well, sociologist says

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NORMAN, Okla. – As pornography has become more and more accessible through free websites via computer and smartphone, a professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma, Samuel Perry showed new results on the interaction of pornography and religiosity in marriage.

“Despite the relational problems often associated with pornography consumption in marriage, the links between religious factors and pornography use among married American adults remains understudied,” Perry said.

Perry has made several models using the data from the Wave 1 of the Portraits of American Life Study (PALS) in 2006 to provide a new perspective on the subject.

The study showed men who are married to religious women (there were only heterogender couple in the PALS’ data) and married couples where both are religious have a lower consumption of pornography. At the opposite, women’s pornography consumption is not really influenced by the religiosity of their spouse.

“Even with religious, sociodemographic, and sexual satisfaction controls in place, participants with more religious spouses are less likely to have viewed pornography in the past year. And this factor is one of the strongest predictors of participants’ pornography use,” Perry said, noting

Predicted probability of viewing porn on religious service attendance and spousal religiosity. (Perry)

However, in the details, the research shows the spouse’s religiosity influence negatively the proportion of viewing pornography only if the participant attends religious services frequently.

“Among participants who never attend religious services or do so infrequently, the religious commitment of their spouse matters very little in predicting their pornography use. The probability that these married non-attendees viewed pornography in the past year is relatively high and similar, right around 40 to 50 percent,” Perry said.

Another important point is the age of the participant when this one is irreligious a sharp fall in the porn consumption through the ages is noted. At the opposite, the age will not affect the participants when their spouse is very religious.

“The analyses affirmed that religious bonding activities (themselves strongly predicted by a combination of spousal and participants’ religiosity) completely mediated the association between spousal religiosity and participant’s pornography viewing,” Perry said.

In another recent Perry’s study entitled “Does pornography reduce marital quality over time?” it is demonstrated men who watch regular porn are less happy in their marriages and have more chance to divorce. Their dissatisfaction was principally on sexual life and decision-making.

“Longitudinal studies have also found that pornography use predicts declines in marital quality,” Perry said.

Plotted predictable values of marital quality of life in 2012 at each level of porn viewing frequency in 2006. (Perry)

At the contrary, Perry’s study showed women who are watching porn a minimum of two or three times a month have a better marital quality saying, “Women are often using pornography as a part of sex with their partners. Men, in contrast, are more likely to use sexual media alone to masturbate.”

One way observed in Perry’s other studies to stop the decline of marital quality is dedication.

“Americans with more-devout spouses report greater marital satisfaction, receive more frequent acts of devotion with fewer insults or harsh criticisms, and are less suspicious of cheating,” Perry wrote.

These studies are part of an ensemble of six studies on pornography already published by Perry. His next step is to collect better data qualities about pornography and couple in order to complete his current research and to write a book.

“They don’t provide real life stories such as how people are using pornography, effect on their family life, relationship experiences,’ Perry said.

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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