Church Militant Exclusive: Interview with Author of New Study on Porn, Marriage, Religion

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by Max Douglas  •  •  August 25, 2016   

Dr. Samuel Perry speaks with

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DETROIT ( - spoke with the author of a study released Monday revealing non-religious married couples who introduce pornography into their marriage are more likely to divorce, whereas religious couples are not.

The study revealed non-religious men who started watching porn during marriage nearly doubled their chances of divorce from six percent to 12 percent. And non-religious women who started watching porn during marriage nearly tripled their chance of divorce from six percent to 16 percent.

The study, titled "Til Porn Do Us Part? Longitudinal Effects of Pornography Use on Divorce," was presented in Seattle, Washington for the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Church Militant spoke with the author of the study, Dr. Samuel Perry of the University of Oklahoma. "My finding in the paper about porn use and divorce was unique in that religious commitment seemed to protect couples from divorce in the face of porn use," he commented. "So it could be that religious persons suffer more in the marital quality because of porn use, but religion also keeps them from breaking up."

Religious couples often feel the effects of porn just as painfully even though they do not separate. "Something I've noticed in my own research, however, is that the negative consequences of porn use on romantic relationships are felt most severely by religious couples," Dr. Perry told "This is likely due to the fact that religious men feel more shame for their porn use and masturbation, and religious women are more hurt and disgusted by their partner's use, which can lead to more fights, distrust, lack of sex and more porn use for the man."

The study also confirmed that lust is an habitual vice more for men as they struggle to cease using pornography. Dr. Perry explained that "for men, porn use is far more likely to be an habitual thing, a part of the daily routine."

When asked why religious couples are more likely to stay together even though one spouse may be using porn, he answered, "Religious communities may provide more counseling resources when porn is discovered and becomes a problem. Relatively irreligious persons may not have such resources and thus could be more likely to just call it quits."

Multiple Christian news outlets have picked up on Dr. Perry's recent study. When asked what he thinks about all the media coverage, he responded, "​I'm not surprised by this, and I think it's a good thing. Pornography use is a huge moral problem for conservative Christians and it's extremely damaging to their relationships."


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