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Porn Consumers Tend to Have Diminished Quality of Life

In this study, porn users, compared to nonusers, reported greater depressive symptoms, poorer quality of life, and lower health status. Is watching worth it?

Decades of studies from respected academic institutions, have demonstrated significant impacts of porn consumption for individuals, relationships, and society. "What’s the Research" aims to shed light on the expanding field of academic resources that showcase porn’s harms in a variety of ways. Below are selected excerpts from published studies on this issue.

The full study can be accessed here.

Mental- and physical-health indicators and sexually explicit media use behavior by adults

Authors: J. Weaver, S. Weaver, D. Mays, G. Hopkins, W. Kannenberg, D. McBride.
Published: March 2011


Converging evidence from culturally diverse contexts indicates that sexually explicit media use behavior (SEMB; i.e., pornography consumption) is associated with risky sexual health perceptions and behaviors, many that involve high risks of HIV/STD transmission.

Essentially unexplored, and the focus here, are potential relationships between SEMB and nonsexual mental- and physical-health indicators.


A sample of 559 Seattle-Tacoma Internet-using adults was surveyed in 2006. Multivariate general linear models parameterized in a SEMB by respondent gender (2 × 2) factorial design were computed incorporating adjustments for several demographics. Variability was measured in six continuously measured health indicators (depressive symptoms, mental- and physical-health diminished days, health status, quality of life, and body mass index) was examined across two levels (users, nonusers) of SEMB.


SEMB was reported by 36.7% (n = 205) of the sample. Most SEMB users (78%) were men. After adjusting for demographics, SEMB users, compared to nonusers, reported greater depressive symptoms, poorer quality of life, more mental- and physical-health diminished days, and lower health status.

The findings show that mental- and physical-health indicators vary significantly across SEMB, suggesting the value of incorporating these factors in future research and programmatic endeavors.

In particular, the findings suggest that evidence-based sexual health promotion strategies simultaneously addressing individuals’ SEMB and their mental health needs might be a useful approach to improve mental health and address preventable sexual health outcomes associated with SEMB.

The full study can be accessed here.

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