Does watching porn help or hinder your relationships? On the one hand, some believe what you see on the screen can lead to unrealistic expectations in the bedroom, while on the other hand, some support that watching porn can be used as a way for couples to celebrate their sexualities, both alone and together.

So who’s right? Scientists haven’t decided yet, but a new study from the journal Human Communication Research says that watching porn leads to men (not women) being less satisfied in their relationships.

The authors of the study set out to answer two questions: “Does consuming pornography have any discernible impacts on consumers’ satisfaction? And, if so, is this impact negative or positive?” Looking at a group of more than 50,000 people from 10 different countries, the researchers found that, although watching porn didn’t affect an individual’s interpersonal satisfaction, it did result in lower satisfaction in their relationships—but only for dudes.

While it’s possible that porn aficionados are more likely to be unsatisfied in their relationships because of completely unrelated reasons, this study has concluded that, for men, porn can result in sexual expectations that no one will be able to fulfill.

Why are women less likely than men to let porn viewing ruin their relationships? According to the study, it’s probably because most women watch porn only with their SOs, which usually benefits both partners’ sex lives. The researchers also noted that misogyny in some porn is a contributing factor for dudes who view it alone. Other things like body punishing might turn some men on as they watch, but they don’t always translate well IRL and can leave them “emotionally unfulfilled, alienated from their partners and sexually and relationally dissatisfied.”

The takeaway: Porn isn’t bad. But you’re being a bad boyfriend for leaving your girlfriend out… sort of.

Photo: iStock/AzmanL