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New study finds link between porn and divorce

Pornography is seemingly available everywhere these days. People vary significantly in their attitudes about their spouse watching porn, either alone or with them. Some believe that turning to pornography is a sign that the relationship is in trouble. Others believe that it can actually improve a couple's relationship.

A study published this month by the American Sociological Association takes a detailed look at the impact of watching pornography on a couple's marriage and the likelihood of divorce. The researchers surveyed 2000 people during three separate periods, tracking their porn-watching habits and their marital status.

The headline is that people who began watching pornography were twice as likely to divorce than those who didn't. However, the impacts of starting or stopping the viewing of pornography differed between men and women.

For example, when it was the woman who was watching porn, the divorce rate was three times as high. When women stopped viewing pornography, the divorce rate decreased. However, there was no impact when men stopped.

Even the professor who was the study's lead author couldn't explain why the effect on marriages was greater when women watched porn than men. He called it "a bit surprising because everything else I've seen on porn use in relationships suggests that men's marriages are more negatively affected by their porn use."

Perhaps not surprising is the fact that, according to the study, the marriages of couples who watched porn together were less likely to be negatively impacted than those of people who watched it alone. The professor said, "My research suggests that the isolation and shame are a big part of the problem."

Therefore, while it's a common assumption that when someone begins watching pornography, it's a sign that he or she is unhappy or unsatisfied in the marriage, the professor said, "We don't think it's the relationship quality leading to the porn use and divorce."

Anything that isolates one spouse from the other, including pornography, can be damaging to a marriage. If a couple can recognize the problem and seek help, they may be able to save the marriage and even strengthen it. However, if pornography is a factor in a divorce, it may be necessary to address that during the divorce process, particularly if the custody of children is involved. Your Florida family law attorney can provide advice.

Source: TIME, "People More Likely to Divorce After They Start Watching Porn, Says Study," Belinda Luscombe, Aug. 23, 2016

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