Watching sexually explicit contents have become a common activity for an increasing number of individuals due to its availability. According to PornHub (our go-to internet porn site), users viewed a booming 191,625,000 days worth of adult videos
in 2016. Reminder- that’s just on one site
. And around 10 percent of the internet
is actually specifically for adult materials! (Now do the math.)
While previous research have focused on its negative impacts, a more recent study
explored on the different behavioral patterns that comes with it. After surveying 830 viewers of internet porn aged 18 to 78, they were able to identify three distinct clusters of behavioral patterns: recreational, highly distressed non-compulsive, and compulsive. 71.8 percent of these viewers were women, and 28.2 were men. On the survey, researchers asked these people about their cyberpornography viewing habits and their sexual well-being (sexual satisfaction, sexual compulsivity, sexual avoidance, and sexual dysfunction).
Results showed that 75.5 percent of participants are recreational users. That is, they’re sexually satisfied and have a significantly lower rate on the other three aforementioned measures. Secondly, 12.7 percent are highly distressed less active users which means they’re less satisfied sexually, have high levels of dysfunction and avoidance but aren’t compulsive. Lastly, 11.8 percent are compulsive users. While they’re still less satisfied sexually, they also tend to have lower dysfunction. They spend lots of time seeking out explicit content though they avoid sex in real life.
This study adds a new dimension to the previous understanding of the society on how people use adult materials. “Contemporary views of cyberpornography are often polarized,” the authors write, “sometimes referring to self-centered activities that impair sexuality with a partner and foster unhealthy sexual attitudes and other times to a modern digital way to expand one’s sexual repertoire and fulfill sexual needs.” Hence, the researchers wanted and have successfully gained a more nuanced view than this polar one.
But don’t get to excited to view your favorite (ahem) adult sites. Thorough research is still needed, adding other variables that could be helpful. As Patricia D.M. Pascoal, a psychologist in Portugal, published in an editorial comment
of the study: “This research opens the doors for further clarification of this specific cluster of users, because variables that were neglected in this study (eg, time spent using the internet, psychopathology or neuroticism, distress tolerance, sexual beliefs or attitudes, categories of pornography seen) could be helpful to better understand this clinically relevant group.”