Review of Religious Research

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 81–98 | Cite as

Pornography Use and Religious Bonding Among Heterosexually Married Americans: A Longitudinal Examination

  • Samuel L. Perry
Research Note


Research suggests that frequent pornography use holds consequences both for the marital experiences of devoutly-religious Americans and religious commitment itself. Extending this line of research, this study considers how pornography viewing influences the religious bonding of heterosexually married Americans by affecting the frequency with which they pray with their spouses. Longitudinal data are taken from two waves of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study. Multivariate findings show the net effect of earlier porn viewing on the frequency with which married Americans pray with their spouses is curvilinear. Married Americans who never viewed pornography report praying with their spouses more often than the average; those who used pornography at moderate levels report praying with their spouses below the average; and a small minority of respondents who used pornography at the highest frequencies report praying with their spouses more than the average. These effects are robust to controls for respondents’ religious characteristics, moral beliefs about pornography, marital happiness, and sociodemographic factors. The study concludes by outlining the limitations and implications of these findings for research on religion, pornography use, and families.


Pornography Religion Deviance Marriage Religious bonding 


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA

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