Pornography's Impact on Sexual Satisfaction (1988)

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  1. Dolf Zillmann1,‡,
  2. Jennings Bryant2

Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006

DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00027.x

Male and female students and nonstudents were exposed to videotapes featuring common, nonviolent pornography or innocuous content. Exposure was in hourly sessions in six consecutive weeks. In the seventh week, subjects participated in an ostensibly unrelated study on societal institutions and personal gratifications. On an especially constructed questionnaire, subjects rated their personal happiness regarding various domains of experience; additionally, they indicated the relative importance of gratifying experiences. Exposure to pornography was without influence on the self-assessment of happiness and satisfaction outside the sexual realm (e.g., satisfaction deriving from professional accomplishments). In contrast, it strongly impacted self-assessment of sexual experience. After consumption of pornography, subjects reported less satisfaction with their intimate partners—specifically, with these partners' affection, physical appearance, sexual curiosity, and sexual performance proper. In addition, subjects assigned increased importance to sex without emotional involvement. These effects were uniform across gender and populations.