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Now scientists say even ‘ethical’ porn is bad and call for anyone who wants a healthy relationship to ditch it completely

  • Researchers at Brigham Young University said it may be best not to watch porn
  • Their study was based on surveys of 3,500 couples on sex and relationships
  • READ MORE: How often should you masturbate? Experts give their verdict 

Hardcore, violent pornography is thought to have devastated the psyche of young American minds — warping their perception of relationships and sex.

But now experts are warning that even the more ethical ‘softcore’ variety is damaging, leading to poorer satisfaction with their other half.

Researchers at Brigham Young University quizzed 3,500 people in relationships who were about 38 years old on their porn use and happiness with their partner.

They were asked whether they watched hardcore porn — that included violence or rape — and softcore — including consensual sex.

Even watching soft porn is bad for your relationship, a study has found — in a knock for the habit (stock image)

Regardless of the category, those who watched porn were more likely to say they were not satisfied with their relationships.

The experts called on people to quit watching pornography entirely in order to help them maintain committed relationships.

Dr Brian Willoughby, an associate professor at the university who led the research, said: ‘Couples should know that viewing pornography is a risk factor in their relationship.’

He added to Utah-based news site KSL: ‘I [had] assumed we were going to find it was maybe the aggressive, triamcinolone cream 80gm 0.1 nonconsensual pornography that was affecting relationships. 

‘[But] we found there was no difference. Any pornography use or increase was always linked to less stability and less satisfaction in the relationship — no matter what other things we looked at.’

About one in four Americans — or 82 million people — watch pornography every month, data suggests. Men are four times more likely to view it than women.

Many doctors warn pornography is changing how people view relationships for the worst and may be prompting trouble in the bedroom.

It has been linked to a spike in cases of erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and a lower sexual drive. Some experts warn it also prompts anxiety over appearance. 

How often should you be masturbating? 

In recent years, there has been an idea that access to pornography has led to too much masturbation, causing a wave of sexual problems and warped views of sex. 

In the latest study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, scientists looked at couples from across the United States surveyed by pollster Qualtrics.

They were about 38 years old on average and had been in a relationship for nearly nine years.

Fifty-five percent were on their first marriage, 23 percent were cohabiting, 12 percent had remarried, eight percent were dating and two percent were in an open relationship.

Of the couples, 72 percent were heterosexual and 17 percent were homosexual. The rest reported being bisexual.

Participants were quizzed on what type of porn they used, if at all, and how satisfied they were with their relationships.

Pornography use was split into two categories.

Softcore was defined as footage ‘of a heterosexual couple having sex which shows the man’s penis penetrating the woman’, ‘two naked women or men manually stimulating each other’ or ‘a woman or man alone masturbating’.

Hardcore was defined as ‘a video of a man forcing a woman to have sex against her will’, ‘of a man hitting or slapping a woman while having sex’ or ‘of a woman being ejaculated on by multiple men’.

Results were analyzed adjusting for factors including gender, pornography type and relationship perception.

Overall, the researchers found that people who used pornography were less happy in their relationship.

They also reported lower levels of perceived relationship stability, or how likely the participant thought the relationship would continue.

This held regardless of what type of pornography they watched. 

Broken down into groups, men and men who were religious were most likely to say that porn was negatively impacting their relationship.

Dr Willoughby suggested this may be because pornography is more geared towards heterosexual men.

He said: ‘The general thought is that so much of mainstream pornography is geared toward heterosexual men — that’s kind of the core audience.

‘So perhaps they will be more affected by comparing themselves to other men, creating unrealistic expectations for themselves, their body or what they think their partner should be doing.’

For those who were religious, scientists suggested that religion may make them feel more conflicted about viewing sexual acts involving others.

In the study, they suggested that viewing pornography may ‘facilitate the acquisition of sexual scripts that may diminish healthy long-term relationship quality’.

They added: ‘As much of the content of pornography emphasizes casual sexual encounters and multiple partners, it is possible that regular exposure to these types of sexual messages may alter sexual and relational scripts in ways that weakens stability [in a relationship].’

Scientists also found that pornography use was rarely discussed during couples therapy. 

This needed to change, they said, so that couples would be better able to come closer together.

Limitations to the study included that it contained few participants from lower income backgrounds.

It also contained a larger group of lesbian and gay couples than is representative of the general population.

Asked about this group, Dr Willoughby told DailyMail.com: ‘We didn’t explore how sexual orientation influenced the results so I can’t really speak to what the effect might have been.

‘[But] generally speaking, those who identify as non-heterosexual report higher pornography use rates than those who identify as heterosexual and that was the case in this dataset.’

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