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Porn And Video Games Are Killing Relationships, Says Study

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Graeme Gallagher Contributor

Watching pornography and playing video games are two activities that correlate with poor relationship quality, according to the Insititute for Family Studies.

Focusing on cohabiting and married men as the participants, the institute wanted to find out what online activities affected an individual’s relationship happiness and quality. Studying pornography, video games and social media were the three online activities, the institute found that only the first two yielded results in men but not women. (RELATED: Bebe Rexha’s Dad Tells Her To Stop Posting ‘Stupid Pornography’ On Her Instagram)

The survey found that 22 percent of cohabiting men and 11 percent of married men cited porn as one of their top-three activities. Compared to men who did put porn in their top three, the porn-viewers were 15 percentage points less likely to “report being ‘very satisfied’ in their relationship.”

An Indian internet user points out at a porn site showing a blank screen after being blocked by the internet service providers based on directive issued by the telecom department to block porn websites across the country, in Bangalore on August 3, 2015. (MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indian internet user points out at a porn site … (MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Looking to explain why the dissatisfaction occurred, the institute gave three reasons for why this could be with one being that men turn to porn to compensate for already being in unhappy relationships. Secondly, the online porn viewed by these men could have given them a “new standard for comparison,” such as porn stars, which could have decreased  “the perceptions of their real-life intimacy.” (RELATED: Porn Star Mercedes Carrera Appears In Court On Charges Of Sexually Abusing Minor)

The institute also explains that online porn “may result in sex becoming more about men’s own physical pleasure and less about the emotional aspect of sex,” which could then decrease men’s satisfaction in a relationship.

Similar to porn, video games proved to be just as negative in these men’s relationships. Of the more than 1,000 men surveyed, 25 percent put gaming in their top three activities which also resulted in them being 10 percentage points less likely to report being “very satisfied” in their relationship compared to those who did not put it in their top three. (RELATED: China Bans World’s Most Popular Video Games)

One explanation of the negative effect stems from video games acting as compensation for dissatisfying relationships.

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 15: A participant sits at a computer monitor to play a video game at the 2019 DreamHack video gaming festival on February 15, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany.. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

A participant sits at a computer monitor to play a video game … (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

“Relatedly, men who are facing emotional or mental health issues might turn to gaming as a form of avoidance,” the report reads. “Emotional and mental health issues are also associated with decreased relationship happiness.”

Additionally, a spouse’s or partner’s complaints about their online gaming use could also lead to dissatisfaction. (RELATED: PA Lawmaker Proposes 10% Tax On Violent Video Games To Fund School Safety)

The institute recognized the limitations of the survey, however, citing that frequency data on each activity would have been more precise than “just noting whether they were in men’s top three online activities.”

“In spite of these limitations, these findings do suggest that, for men, the type of online activity is more important than the amount of time spent—at least when it comes to relationship quality,” the report reads. “That is, what men do online is more important to their relationship quality than how much time they spend there. In particular, these findings suggest that gaming and pornography may raise red flags for men’s relationships.”