Three kinds of porn users identified by academics

‘Porn creates problems for two groups of people, but for the majority, there were no negative sexual outcomes’

Spoiler: We watch a lot of porn.

Well, alright. That’s not going to surprise anyone… but when you see it in numbers it does come as something of shock. Last year, peopled watched over four billion hours on PornHub alone.

Despite the fact that sex research is underfunded, academics are starting to ask some important questions about all that onanism.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a team from Quebec determined that there are three types of porn users: the recreational, the compulsive, and the distressed.

Marie-Pier Vaillancourt-Morel, at Université Laval in Quebec, and her team convinced 830 people – from university lists, web classified ads, and social networks – to participate in the study. Over 70% were women, the mean age was 25, and 80% were heterosexual. There was a fairly even split in relationship status: 35% were married or cohabitating, about the same amount were single, and about the same amount were dating.

Participants had to respond to questions measuring their overall sexual satisfaction, their tendency to avoid sex, sexual dysfunction, and a three-part porn-use scale. 

Respondents were asked how compulsive their porn use was (e.g. ‘I believe I am addicted to internet pornography’), how much effort they put in to accessing porn (‘At times, I rearrange my schedule to be alone to view pornography’), and their level of emotional distress (‘I feel ashamed after viewing pornography’).

After carrying out a cluster analysis of the results, researchers reached the following conclusion. 75% of participants fell under the recreational grouping: those who view an average of 24 minutes of porn a week. The ‘highly distressed non-compulsive’ profile, which made up 12.7% of the sample, had low compulsivity and intensity scores, but lots of emotional stress, and watched for an average of 17 minutes a week. Finally, the remaining 11.8% of participants formed part of the ‘compulsive’ porn viewers, consuming an average of 110 minutes a week with moderate scores on distress.

In an interview with PsyPost, Vaillancourt-Morel said that the study’s main message is that porn users are ‘a heterogeneous population in which distinct subgroups experience quite different sexual outcomes’.

‘Porn creates problems for two groups of people, but for the majority, there were no negative sexual outcomes.’

[Via NY Magazine]


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