Men and women tend to disagree on two issues: How porn is watched (alone, in groups, with a sexual partner); and how often it is watched.As Michael Kimmel reported in his 2008 book , young men often watch porn with their peers and for different reasons than older men.

Men tend to think that watching porn has only positive consequences.

As reported by Nathaniel Lambert and others in a review of studies, women whose partners watched porn regularly thought less of those partners and saw porn as more of a threat to the stability of their relationship.

On the other hand, other studies have shown that young men and women alike think that sexually explicit material can help them explore their sexuality and adds “spice” to what they do in bed.

Is watching pornography really as benign as people think?

The rapid proliferation of pornography is one of the digital age’s legacies; some 40 million people in the United States visit porn websites regularly, many of them emerging or young adults.

Popular media have capitalized on cautionary tales about porn addiction and stories of boyfriends objectifying their girlfriends and wanting them to behave like porn stars.

But studies confirm that the preponderance of young men—and slightly less than half of women—thinks that watching sexually explicit material is okay. Olmstead and his colleagues found when they asked college students about the use of pornography in future romantic relationships: 70.8 percent of men and 45.5 percent of women thought they would watch.

In contrast, only 22.3 percent of men and 26.3 percent of women thought pornography had no role in a romantic partnership.

The following three studies reveal that it has a greater effect on relationships than those we usually discuss. Porn-free relationships are stronger, with a lower rate of infidelity.

That’s what Amanda Maddox and her colleagues found in a study of men and women, ages 18 to 34, who were in romantic relationships.

The researchers measured the levels of negative communication, relationship adjustment, dedication or interpersonal commitment, sexual satisfaction, and infidelity.