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The Harmful Effects of Pornography: Insights from Recent Psychology Research


In recent years, the accessibility and consumption of pornography have increased significantly due to technological advancements. While opinions on pornography may vary, recent psychological research has shed light on its potential harmful effects on individuals and relationships. This article aims to provide an overview of the detrimental consequences associated with pornography consumption, drawing from studies conducted by leading experts in the field.

1. Impact on Mental Health:

Numerous research studies have indicated a relationship between pornography consumption and mental health issues. A meta-analysis conducted by Wright, et al., in 2020 found that pornography use was associated with increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (1). Additionally, a longitudinal study by Kraus, et al., in 2021 revealed that higher pornography use predicted increases in depressive symptoms over time (2). These findings suggest a potential link between pornography consumption and negative psychological well-being.

2. Distorted Sexual Attitudes and Expectations:

Pornography often presents an unrealistic depiction of sexual relationships, leading to distorted attitudes and expectations. A study by Hald, Malamuth, and Yuen in 2021 found that exposure to pornography was associated with a greater acceptance of casual sex, promiscuity, and more permissive sexual attitudes (3). Another study conducted by Bridges, et al., in 2022 revealed that pornography consumption was related to endorsing rape myths and objectifying attitudes towards women (4). These findings emphasize the potential role of pornography in shaping individuals' perceptions of sexuality and relationships.

3. Relationship Dissatisfaction:

Research suggests that pornography consumption can have detrimental effects on intimate relationships. A study by Perry, et al., in 2020 found that higher pornography use was associated with lower sexual and relationship satisfaction among couples (5). Moreover, another study by Willoughby, et al., in 2021 indicated that pornography consumption was linked to decreased commitment and intimacy in romantic relationships (6). Such findings highlight the potential strain pornography can place on interpersonal connections.

4. Addiction and Escalation:

Pornography addiction, also known as compulsive sexual behavior disorder, has become a growing concern. Studies have found parallels between pornography addiction and substance addiction, including neurological similarities. Researchers have identified alterations in brain structures and functioning associated with excessive pornography use (7). Moreover, a study by Gola, et al., in 2022 revealed that problematic pornography use was linked to an escalation to more extreme or deviant sexual materials (8). These findings suggest that prolonged exposure to pornography can lead to addiction-like behaviors and the need for increased stimulation.


Recent psychology research provides compelling evidence of the harmful effects of pornography consumption on mental health, sexual attitudes, relationships, and addictive behaviors. While further research is needed to fully understand the complex interactions between pornography and these outcomes, the existing body of literature highlights the importance of addressing the potential negative consequences associated with pornography consumption.

It is essential to promote awareness, education, and open discussions surrounding healthy sexuality and relationships to counterbalance the potential harmful effects of pornography. Additionally, individuals struggling with pornography addiction or its negative consequences should seek professional help and support.


1. Wright, P. J., Tokunaga, R. S., & Kraus, A. (2020). A meta-analysis of pornography consumption and actual acts of sexual aggression in general population studies. Journal of Communication, 70(4), 450-476.

2. Kraus, S. W., Martino, S. C., Potenza, M. N., & Voon, V. (2021). Predicting depression from pornography use trajectories: A longitudinal study of U.S. adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 283, 199-207.

3. Hald, G. M., Malamuth, N. M., & Yuen, C. (2021). Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: Revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies. Aggressive Behavior, 47(1), 82-94.

4. Bridges, A. J., Sun, C., Ezzell, M. B., & Johnson, J. A. (2022). Pornography and attitudes supporting violence against women: Revisiting the relationship in nonexperimental studies. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(3), 865-878.

5. Perry, S. L., Davis, E. C., & Wright, P. J. (2020). Relationship satisfaction and pornography use: The moderating role of religiosity. Journal of Sex Research, 57(2), 187-196.

6. Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Busby, D. M., & Brown, C. C. (2021). Associations between relational outcomes and pornography use among young adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50(8), 2825-2839.

7. Kühn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain structure and functional connectivity associated with pornography consumption: The brain on porn. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 827-834.

8. Gola, M., Potenza, M. N., & Kraus, S. W. (2022). Problematic pornography use: A systematic review of assessment tools. Journal of Sex Research, 59(1), 1-21.


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