Women Watch More Porn More After Marriage, But Men Watch Less

It's hopefully been well established by now that porn is not just something for horny teenage boys to use as an outlet for their newfound sexual frustrations: Men and women of all ages enjoy watching all kinds of porn for all kinds of reasons. Because we're all a little nosy by nature (or maybe that's just me), it's understandable to be curious about men and women's porn-watching habits.

Fortunately for anyone who's looking for a glimpse into married life, a new study in Sexologies journal cited by The Independent has looked into the porn habits of married men and women — and what they found is pretty surprising.

The goal of the study was to establish how behavior and attitudes towards sexuality change before and after marriage, so researchers interviewed 100 married men and women. Only 9 percent of female participants reported viewing pornography before marriage, but a much larger 28 percent said they viewed it after marriage. That's right: Women apparently watch significantly more porn after they're off the market.

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On the flip side, men actually watched porn less often after marriage. While 23 percent of men said they watched porn before getting married, only 14 percent said they watched it after getting hitched. So what's the deal? Are men just too busy to watch porn after they get married?

"Things tend to shift sexually and emotionally after you are married," Sarah Watson, LPC and sex therapist, tells Bustle. "Some couples find an ebb and flow within their sexual relationship, being able to be who you are completely with your partner maybe leads to the decrease in watching porn for sexual satisfaction. I think every couple and every person is different and has different erotic templates."

The researchers had an alternative explanation for the decrease in porn watching in married men:

Higher level of sexual desire has already been correlated with greater pornography use. Men after marriage are more involved in establishing their socioeconomic status in the society. Hence, their priorities may change from sexual fantasies to actual sexual practices with their female partners.

So married men are too busy getting busy to waste time on virtual pleasure? Seems plausible. However, that doesn't explain why women would watch porn more often after marriage.

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Luckily, the researchers had an answer for that too: Married women might be older than unmarried women, and thus might be less likely to feel social stigma about watching porn. The older you get, the more sexually liberated you're likely to be, so it might have nothing to do with their married status at all; perhaps it's just that older women are less shy about their porn habits than younger women. Watson says, "There is a chance that a women who is partnered and is comfortable within herself and her relationship could be more liberated. With age comes wisdom and hopefully that wisdom is a healthy understanding of your own erotic template."

The research didn't specify this, but couples may be using porn together, separately, or both. "In my practice it tends to vary when it comes to couples watching porn," Watson says. "There are some very well adjusted couples that watch together and others who are well adjusted and don't use porn together or set specific boundaries for each other on usage."

Whatever your preference, this is good news for porn lovers everywhere — and it's proof that there's no shame in watching porn or masturbating, no matter your marital status.

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"One of the benefits to watching porn is exposure to erotica that might not be in your daily life," Watson says. "It can be an opportunity for you to discuss with your partner what you like and don't like... What turns you on, if you have a fetish you might feel more open to sharing that information with your partner. It can increase your intimacy by providing the opportunity to discuss what comes up for you while you are watching, emotions, feelings desires, etc."

Something to keep in mind, though, is that porn may also have some drawbacks, both for coupled people and singles — most notably, creating unrealistic expectations of yourself and/or your partner.

Watson says that "not being able to recognize what is real and healthy and what is not" can be detrimental. And if one of you isn't OK with utilizing porn within the relationship, it can cause you to lose touch with reality and create distance between you and your partner.

The bottom line? Everyone is different; porn can be beneficial to some couples and individuals and not beneficial to others. Watson emphasizes that you should always be open with your partner, discussing your desires and needs (sexual and otherwise). "Communication increases your intimacy," she says.

Sounds like a good enough reason to start the conversation and amp up your sex life.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)

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