pornography, compulsivity, sexual desire, sexual drive, sexual passion


Previous scholars have found that when individuals feel that pornography use is uncontrollable, it is linked to more extreme negative outcomes than frequency of use. With a Mechanical Turk sample of 1421 individuals, we used structural equation modeling to evaluate how multiple aspects of sexual desire (sexual drive and dyadic desire) and multiple aspects of sexual passion expression (harmonious, obsessive, and inhibited) were associated with both pornography use frequency and perceived compulsivity to pornography. In general, sexual desire was more connected to pornography use and sexual passion was more connected to perceived compulsivity. Specifically, sexual drive was associated with higher pornography use, whereas both obsessive and inhibited sexual passion were associated with higher perceived compulsivity. The study should help scholars, clinicians, and policy makers to identify factors that can help to overcome potentially problematic pornography use and approach this subject with more nuance.

Original Publication Citation

Leonhardt, N. D., Busby, D. M., Willoughby, B. J. (2020). Do You Feel in Control? Sexual Desire, Sexual Passion Expression, and Associations with Perceived Compulsivity to Pornography and Pornography Use Frequency. Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Sexuality Research and Social Policy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor