Association between pornography use and sexual risk behaviors in adult consumers: a systematic review

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2015 Feb;18(2):59-71. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2014.0343. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


The purpose of this review was to determine whether an association exists between sexual risk behaviors and pornography consumption. Consumption of pornography is common, yet research examining its link with sexual risk behaviors is in its infancy. Indicators of sexual risk behavior, including unsafe sex practices and a higher number of sexual partners, have been linked to poor health outcomes. A systematic literature search was performed using Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge, Pubmed, and CINAHL. Studies were included if they assessed the association between pornography use and indicators of sexual risk behaviors in an adult population. A total of 17 were included in the review, and all were assessed for research standards using the Quality Index Scale. For both Internet pornography and general pornography, links with greater unsafe sex practices and number of sexual partners were identified. Limitations of the literature, including low external validity and poor study design, restrict the generalizability of the findings. Accordingly, replication and more rigorous methods are recommended for future research.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology