Emerging adults' expectations for pornography use in the context of future committed romantic relationships: a qualitative study

Arch Sex Behav. 2013 May;42(4):625-35. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9986-7. Epub 2012 Aug 11.


Using qualitative content analysis from the written comments of 404 primarily heterosexual college students, we examined (1) their expectations for pornography use while married or in a committed long-term relationship and (2) variations by gender. Four prominent groups emerged. A majority of men (70.8 %) and almost half of women (45.5 %) reported circumstances (alone or with their partners) wherein pornography use was acceptable in a relationship and several conditions for, and consequences associated with, such use also emerged. Another group (22.3 % men; 26.2 % women) viewed pornography use as unacceptable because of being in a committed relationship whereas a third group (5.4 % men; 12.9 % women) reported that pornography use was unacceptable in any context or circumstance. A final group emerged of a few women (10.4 %) who stated that a partner's use of pornography was acceptable, but they did not expect to use it personally. Implications for relationship education among emerging adults and future research on pornography use within the context of romantic relationships are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Students
  • Young Adult