Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Alan King


Recent research on sexually explicit materials (SEM), or pornography, has expanded from a focus on sexual violence, and aggression, towards the examination of the influence of SEM on other relationship factors. Available information on how males involved in a romantic relationship use SEM has been limited, and the effect of SEM use on relationship satisfaction and sexual behavior is not well understood. This study examined 245 college men who completed self-report measures of relationship satisfaction, core relationship variables (autonomy, affection, conflict resolution, intimacy, and equality) and SEM use patterns. All participants were in significant romantic relationships of at least three months duration. As predicted, SEM use was found to be common ( 60%) and associated with decreased relationship satisfaction even after the application of statistical controls for other core relationship influences. Shared SEM use with the romantic partner partially mitigated, but failed to reverse, this adverse relationship between SEM usage and relationship satisfaction. SEM use was associated with reports of a higher frequency of sexual relations with the romantic partner. SEM use may be detrimental as a result of unfulfilled partner sexual expectations as well as fantasies involving others and increased infidelity. Further research is required to understand the antecedents and consequences of SEM use on relationship maintenance, satisfaction and longevity for men and women.