Study: The Narcissism-Porn Connection

Jun 30, 2014 11:00 AM PST

HOUSTON — A new study, “Narcissism & Internet Pornography Use,” found that participants who scored high on measures of narcissism watched more porn — and the more narcissistic they were, the more porn they watched.

Researchers from the University of Houston–Clear Lake looked at the results of 257 participants (mostly heterosexual women, aged 18-61) who completed an online survey that included questions on Internet pornography use and three narcissism measures (Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Pathological Narcissistic Inventory and the Index of Sexual Narcissism).

According to the abstract, “The hours spent viewing Internet pornography use was positively correlated to participant's narcissism level. Additionally, those who have ever used Internet pornography endorsed higher levels of all three measures of narcissism than those who have never used Internet pornography.”

The effects held true even after the men’s data was withheld, although men reported watching more porn on average than women.

The researchers behind the study point out that past research has shown that narcissists experience more gratification when they have more control over sex, which could help explain the new findings yoking online porn and self-centeredness.  

They posit that “the use of Internet pornography offers this control,” given that Internet porn gives viewers the power to watch exactly what they want, for as long as they want (that is, as long as they’re willing to click around the web for a while to find the perfect clip).

The study has been published in the "Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy."

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