Today’s guest post is by Corinne Buschhueter, who came across MakeLoveNotPorn and reached out to us with her thesis. We asked Corinne to share it with all of you – we think you’ll find it as interesting as we did.
The benefits of watching porn together and how to get 200 participants for your research in just a few weeks…
Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in the magic of love. I asked myself questions about why certain couples seem to be happy with each other and others are not. Growing older and getting experience in relationships myself, I was inspired by the role of sex in relationships. Why? Because men and women sometimes seem to be far away from each other’s paradigms on sex, especially when it comes to pornography.
Does this sound familiar to you?
“I don’t want my boyfriend to watch porn. He tells me he doesn’t watch it but I know he does! Every man does it!” This is what most of my female friends were telling me. Talking to their counterparts and other guys, the males were indeed denying they watch porn. However with some persistence (sometimes after a few more drinks), they started to admit watching porn. But telling their girlfriends about it was out of the question. Why? Because they thought their girlfriends wouldn’t like it.
This discrepancy in ideas on pornography between men and women brought me to the following ideas:
I thought, what about if couples watch pornography together? They would at least be honest to each other and talk more about porn and probably also about their own sexlife. Which apparently does not happen at the moment. At the same time, I asked myself whether their sexual life would also benefit from it….
Long story short, two years ago, during my Master study in Social Psychology, I decided to do research on how the mutual use of sexually explicit internet material (pornography) is related to relationship quality in heterosexual relationships.
After fine-tuning the concept with my open and inspiring supervisor Catrin (Associate Professor at the Social Psychology Department at the Free University Amsterdam), I sent out questionnaires to students from around the world. Honestly, I was a bit afraid this would result in a disaster. I thought either I would not get any responses at all, or people would send criticizing emails back to me. However, to my delight, the response rate was enormous!!. During several weeks I received more than 200 responses, with only little effort from my side. Apparently the time was right as our generation was asking for clarification on the subject of porn! And not only this, the data I received showed some fascinating results:
Even though past literature mostly found negative effects of pornography use, especially when consumed alone, my research concluded to more positive effects. It shows that watching pornography together as a couple has a positive link with relationship satisfaction, especially when looking at the factor of passion. This factor scored significantly higher for couples watching porn together compared to couples watching it alone or not at all. Also, all the factors in relationship satisfaction were lowest for individual pornography use! At the same time, sexual activity and sexual disclosure was significantly higher for couples watching pornography together.
Interpreting the discoveries above, we can say that shared pornography use increases the importance of sexually-related facets in a relationship. Mutual pornography use is positively related to higher relationship satisfaction.
I guess we still need to treat these results with caution because pornographic material is very diverse and there are also differences in HOW and WHY people watch it. Yet I think with these results, and projects such as “Make Love No Porn”, we have taken the first steps in breaking our sexual taboo culture and making sex and pornography a normal subject in our relationship (and of course, there is still a lot to find out on that subject)! Further I hope my study can be an inspiration for couples to watch pornography together and not alone!
I do not want to end with the idea that everybody should watch pornography together, at least right away. But I wanted to share my conclusions with you, hoping they will be helpful to you finding your own answers and own path in the future:
I believe, and have experienced myself, that by being honest and respectful to your partner, by sharing experiences and caring for each other, love can always be something magical and watching pornography together can be one of the magic tricks!
If you are interested in more or would like to share your thoughts:
- Read my thesis here.
- Follow me on twitter / @corinnebuschh
- Shoot me an email / C.Buschhuter@gmail.com
Thank you Seppi, Bas, Jim and Theadros for your valuable feedback and adding ideas for this blog!