May 3, 2020

One of the pervasive dangers of the modern technological age is the ever-present device that can access pornography.  Though the science is clear that pornography use is addictively destructive, society as a whole and some entertainment outlets in particular ignore this.  In this study Dr. Mark H. Butler,, presents clear evidence that the use of pornography is related to loneliness as loneliness is related to the use of pornography.  Two factors were found to mitigate against the use of pornography: marriage and religious attendance.

These researchers write in part:

“Technological advances of the last half-century have made media a dominant cultural and developmental presence. Media provides powerful behavioral and relational scripts. Sexual media is pervasive, diverse, and highly accessible, bringing sexual content into the cultural forefront of society….”

“Social scientists are in the vanguard in identifying theoretically and empirically the dynamic influences of sexual media scripts on the formation and functioning of human pair-bond relationships. Social scientists also are on the cutting edge of contemporary examination of whether behavioral habituation and compulsivity surrounding pornography viewing and sexual pursuits may fit the addiction template and represent a serious relational and hence public health concern….”

“Loneliness arises from deficiency in key, meaningful relationships, more particularly attachment relationships. Deficiency may be in terms of quality or quantity, or both (Peplau & Perlman, 1982). Joining Weiss (1973) and Mikulincer and Shaver (2007), we link loneliness to a lack of attachment relationships, defining loneliness as “an emotion that signals unsatisfied needs for proximity, love, and security due to the unavailability of attachment” relationships (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007, p. 280). “In other words, loneliness is a form of separation distress (italics added) that results from failure to have one’s basic attachment needs fulfilled” (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007, p. 280)….”

” Results revealed that the association between loneliness and viewing pornography was positive and significant. The support for this claim found in our measurement model emerged from the two structural equation models as well. Those who viewed pornography were more likely to experience loneliness, and those who were experiencing loneliness were more likely to view pornography. These findings are consistent with research linking pornography use to negative affect (Tylka, 2015), especially loneliness (Yoder et al., 2005)….”

“In turn, long-term effects of pornography use include increased loneliness and relational isolation and deterioration, potentially setting up a behavioral entrapment. Pornography use that is only temporarily palliative while failing to address root causes of loneliness, and which in turn intensifies triggering conditions, qualifies it as a maladaptive coping strategy (Suissa, 2015) and creates the possibility of destructive entrapment in a recursive cycle of pornography use and loneliness. Altogether, these combined dynamics fit the pattern and template of substance (or behavioral) use disorders or, in lay terms, “addiction.”

Demographic findings of note included that higher religious attendance and being married were each related to lower pornography use….”


To read entire study click here.