Are sexual functioning problems associated with frequent pornography use and/or problematic pornography use? Results from a large community survey including males and females

Addict Behav. 2021 Jan:112:106603. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106603. Epub 2020 Aug 8.


There is much debate regarding whether pornography use has positive or negative associations with sexuality-related measures such as sexual functioning problems. The present study aimed to examine differential correlates between quantity (frequency of pornography use-FPU) and severity (problematic pornography use-PPU) of pornography use with respect to sexual functioning problems among both males and females. Multi-group structural equation modeling was conducted to investigate hypothesized associations between PPU, FPU, and sexual functioning problems among males and females (N = 14,581 participants; females = 4,352; 29.8%; Mage=33.6 years, SDage=11.0), controlling for age, sexual orientation, relationship status, and masturbation frequency. The hypothesized model had excellent fit to the data (CFI = 0.962, TLI = 0.961, RMSEA = 0.057 [95% CI = 0.056-0.057]). Similar associations were identified in both genders, with all pathways being statistically significant (p < .001). PPU had positive, moderate associations (βmales=0.37, βfemales=0.38), while FPU had negative, weak associations with sexual functioning problems (βmales=-0.17, βfemales=-0.17). Although FPU and PPU had a positive, moderate association, they should be assessed and discussed separately when examining potential associations with sexuality-related outcomes. Given that PPU was positively and moderately and FPU negatively and weakly associated with problems in sexual functioning, it is important to consider both PPU and FPU in relation to sexual functioning problems.

Keywords: Pornography use frequency; Problematic pornography use; Sexual dysfunction; Sexual functioning problems; Sexual problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires