Study: Men Who Use Porn Are Less Likely to Get Married, May Be Contributing to Decline in Marriage in the US

(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)Megan Moshar (R), 26, who is of Persian, German and Filipino descent, dances with her husband George Safar, 27, whose parents are from Syria, as they are both lifted into the air during their wedding reception in Pasadena, California August 16, 2014. Los Angeles is a culturally thriving city and one of the most ethnically diverse in the United States, with a population that is 48.5 percent Latino and 11.3 percent Asian, according to a 2010 census. Immigration has become a hot button issue ahead of U.S. midterm elections on November 4, and despite arguments from the White House that legal migration benefits businesses, a recent opinion poll found most Americans believe migrants place a burden on the economy.

Men who use pornography are less likely to get married, according to a study published last month that shows the easy accessability of porn on the Internet has become a substitute for seeking a marriage partner among men ages 18 to 35.

Authored by Michael Malcolm of the University of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and George Naufal of Timberlake Consultants, the paper, which was published by The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, found that "Substitutes for marital sexual gratification may impact the decision to marry."

"We investigate the effect of Internet usage, and of pornography consumption specifically, on the marital status of young men," reads the abstract. "We show that increased Internet usage is negatively associated with marriage formation. Pornography consumption specifically has an even stronger effect. Instrumental variables and a number of robustness checks suggest that the effect is causal."

"It certainly gives us something to think about. Does porn use delay or prevent marriage initiation? My guess is it may play a part, but it is a part of an overall changed social milieu that is more sexually oriented than what we had 30 to 40 years ago," said Steve Harris, Couple and Family Therapy program director at the University of Minnesota, who also told The Christian Post that "it might be difficult to draw causal lines between the variables."

"Given that pre-marital sexual relations are far more common today (higher rates of cohabitation and single parenthood is clearly documented) than in the past, it is easy to see that people no longer feel they have to get married in order to be sexual with a partner."

Malcolm and Naufal used data from the General Social Survey taken in 2000, 2002 and 2004, and looked at the male demographic aged 18 to 35.

"It is not surprising that the negative association between marriage and pornography specifically is stronger than the association between marriage and web usage generally since viewing pornography is a strict subset of Internet usage," continued the paper.

Patrick A. Trueman, president of the anti-pornography group Morality in Media, said in a statement that the IZA paper showed how porn can harm society.

"Pornography is a marriage killer and thus it has monumental negative ramifications for society's future," said Trueman. "Research has shown for some time that porn use in marriage destroys the marital bond, but now we can see that porn use destroys even the desire to get married."

The IZA paper is not the only study released this year to examine how pornography usage can negatively affect marriages in the United States.

In April, Psychology of Popular Media Culture published research that looked at the link between extramarital sex and porn usage.

Framing under the context of extramarital sex being a lead reason for divorces in the United States, the research analyzed the possible link between porn and adultery.

"Consistent with a social learning perspective on media, prior pornography consumption was correlated with more positive subsequent extramarital sex attitudes," read the abstract. "Contrary to a selective exposure perspective on media, prior extramarital sex attitudes were unrelated to subsequent pornography consumption ..."

Harris also told CP that he believes pornography has a negative impact on marriages, having seen it "fairly frequently in clinical practice."

"Most couples struggle when porn use is a regular feature in one's individual behavior in the relationship," said Harris. "It has a negative impact on emotional intimacy, contributes to a consumer mentality regarding one's sexual relationship, and raises questions about fidelity and trust in even very strong relationships."