The impact of Internet pornography on marriage and the family: A review of the research (2006)

Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention

Volume 13, Issue 2-3, 2006, pages 131-165

DOI: 10.1080/10720160600870711

Jill C. Manning



This study reviewed the findings of empirical research that examined the impact of a family member’s consumption of Internet pornography on the consumer’s marital and family relationships.

The study cites research which shows that the consumption of Internet pornography threatens the economic, emotional, and relational stability of marriages and families. Qualitative and quantitative research indicates that pornography consumption, including cybersex, is significantly associated with decreased marital sexual satisfaction and sexual intimacy. Men and women perceive online sexual activity as threatening to a marriage as offline infidelity.

Regarding the indirect impact on children of living in a home where a parent uses pornography, there is evidence that it increases the child’s risk of exposure to sexually explicit content and/or behavior. Children and youth who consume or encounter Internet pornography can have traumatic, distorting, abusive, and/or addictive effects. The consumption of Internet pornography and/or involvement in sexualized Internet chat can harm the social and sexual development of youth and undermine the likelihood of success in future intimate relationships. Priorities are listed for future research.

The sources of these findings included the 2000 General Social Survey; survey research by Bridges, Bergner, and Hesson-McInnis (2003); Schneider (2000); Cooper, Galbreath, and Becker (2004); Stack Wasserman, and Kern (2004); Whitty (2003); Black, Dillon, and Carnes (2003); Corley and Schneider (2003); Mitchell, Finkelhor, and Wolak (2003a); Von Feilitzen and Carlsson (2000); and Patricia M. Greenfield (2004b). 110 references