six hour exposure

What can six hours' of porn exposure do?

Zillmann and Bryant (1986 and 1988)

The question:

What is the effect of prolonged porn consumption on subjects’ perceptions of their intimate relationships, marriage and family, personal happiness, and sexual satisfaction?

The experiment:

A pool of male and female subjects, including college students and nonstudents, was divided into two groups.  Exposure group watched one hour of nonviolent porn per week for six weeks.  Control group watched an equivalent amount of regular movies.  Then all subjects completed a Value-of-Marriage Survey and the Indiana Inventory of Personal Happiness.

The results:

Overall, folks in the Exposure group showed higher levels of agreement with the following beliefs than folks in the Control group:

  • Promiscuity in men and women is natural and preferable to exclusivity.

  • One’s sex partners are generally unfaithful.

  • Extramarital affairs are acceptable.

  • Restraining one’s sexual impulses leads to health risks.

  • Male-dominated relationships are preferable to equal relationships.

Researchers were surprised to find a big drop in the desirability of marriage among the Exposure group subjects, compared to the Control group (60% versus 39%).  Exposure to porn also significantly decreased the subjects’ desire to have children, especially female children.  Men who responded that they wanted girl children found themselves in the tiniest group of all.

Finally, Zillmann and Bryant found that porn exposure decreased subjects’ satisfaction with:

  • The appearance of their partners

  • Their partners’ sexual performance

  • Their partners’ willingness to engage in new sex acts

  • Their sex lives in general

Conclusions: prolonged exposure to porn impacts the individual’s sexual and personal happiness, increasing distrust and dissatisfaction with one’s partner, increasing acceptance of affairs, promiscuity, and male-dominated relationships, and decreasing the desire to marry or raise a family.