Does porn diminish the love we feel for our partners?

Does looking at pornography make men lose interest in their partners, even making them less in love?

In the 1980s, Professor Kenrick published studies on how heterosexual men and women responded to naked pictures of attractive members of the opposite sex. Participants were then asked a series of questions, including how they felt about their partners.  Women were unaffected, but men expressed less attraction to their wives or girlfriends after seeing all the sexy alternatives, and were even less likely to describe themselves as being in love with them. Ever since, this has been frequently cited as evidence for the destructive effects of porn on the male brain.

For 27 years no one tried to replicate Kenrick’s work, which is particularly strange since his most influential work involved a small sample.

R Balzarini, a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, conducted a series of trials with 10 times the size of sample that Kenrick interviewed, and found that looking at centrefolds made no difference to male participants’ assessments of their attraction to their partners, or how much love they felt for them. It is easy to jump to the conclusion that either Kenrick or Balzarini are simply wrong, with some flaw in their experimental technique or processing of data. However, there are plenty of alternative explanations as well. In particular, it is possible that more widespread exposure to pornography has caused what was once a real effect to wear off.

“Maybe the damage has been done.”

LYP says:

We think that studies like this should be carried out to ascertain the depth of how or why pornography has an affect on people’s brains. We believe from the young people we talk to on a daily basis that pornography is having a huge effect on young people’s development in their understanding of sexuality and relationships. Pornography is powerful drug just like any other drug only society doesn’t view it as a danger. We believe it is dangerous to allow young people to access it whenever they want, especially when they are too young to make informed decisions for themselves.

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