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Women's Self-Esteem Lowered When Their Partners are Porn Addicts

Update Date: Jun 02, 2012 05:07 PM EDT

When guys look at porn frequently, their female partners' self-esteem might be damaged, according to a new study.

Destin Stewart, a clinical psychology intern at the University of Florida, studied the effect of porn on relationships and self-esteem after she found some of her clients were struggling with the issue.

For the study, she had 308 college women aged 18 to 29 years old complete online surveys about how often their romantic partners looked at porn, how they rated the quality of their relationship, how sexually satisfied they were, and how much self-esteem they had.

The results showed that women who said that their partners viewed more pornography were less likely to be satisfied in their relationships and sex life than women whose partners more often abstained. 

Women who had a partner who was a heavy porn user or a porn addict were also more likely to have low self-esteem.

The study is limited to college women, and most of the relationships were short-term. And the participants might not know how much porn their partners actually viewed because most of the couples weren't co-habitating, Stewart said.

"You might be more dissatisfied knowing that your husband of 10 years is looking at pornography versus your 18-year-old boyfriend where you have no idea what he looks at on his computer," the lead author said.

She said in counseling she encourages couples to have open communication and compromise.

"It's just about trying to do some education about what is realistic and unrealistic and trying to get couples to be honest about what their wants and needs and desires are," Stewart said.

The study was published online May 6 in the journal Sex Roles. 

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