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Study: Men's Porn Habits Hurt Women's Self-Esteem

When does a harmless habit become hurtful?

By Kristin Wong Jun 4, 2012 4:39PM

Photo: Patrick Sheandell O'Carroll/Getty ImagesAs a generation of men are growing up with virtual sex lives, their real-life partners are becoming increasingly unhappy, a new study finds. Specifically, young women with porn-loving partners feel they just can't measure up to Jenna Jameson—or whoever happens to tickle their man's fancy.

Destin Stewart is a clinical psychology intern at the University of Florida. After her clients began complaining about pornography use in their relationships, Stewart decided to study exactly how porn use is affecting those relationships.

She surveyed 308 college women (ages 18 to 29) and asked them about their current partner's pornography habits. She also wanted the women's perspectives on their relationship quality, sexual satisfaction and self-esteem. Stewart found that the ladies who reported their partners looked at porn more frequently were not only less happy with their relationships, they also had less self-esteem and were less satisfied with their sex lives.

Stewart told LiveScience that when some women discovered pornographic material on their partner's computer, it made them "feel like they were not good enough, like they could not measure up."

While one might argue that the men weren't there to confirm their habits in the study, it's apparent that pornography is negatively affecting an increasing number of relationships. Psychiatrist Norman Doidge studied the effects of porn use in his patients and then reported the findings in his book, The Brain Changes Itself:

"They reported increasing difficulty in being turned on by their actual sexual partners, spouses or girlfriends, though they still considered them objectively attractive." Doidge wrote about his patients. "When I asked if this phenomenon had any relationship to viewing pornography, they answered that it initially helped them get more excited during sex, but over time had the opposite effect."

Stewart says that when porn becomes a problem in relationships, she advises women not to compare themselves to porn stars. She also urges couples to communicate and compromise.

"It's just about trying to do some education about what is realistic and unrealistic and trying to get couples to be honest about what their wants and needs and desires are," Stewart said.

As much as we women would love our men to only have eyes for us, let's face it. As long as there are women willing to do anything, everything and put it out there for the world to see, men are going to look. But Aristotle said to seek moderation in all things, and while I don’t think he was referring to watching online porn, it's not bad advice.

Tell us on Facebook: Do you think porn is hurtful or harmless?

Photo: Patrick Sheandell O'Carroll/Getty Images

More on love & sex from MSN Living:

10 Ways to Improve Your Love Life (Right Now!)
The Secrets to Great Sex (in 50 Words or Less)
5 Sexy Steps to Get Out of Your Date Rut

 
1006Comments
Jun 4, 2012 8:50PM
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Regular porn viewing over time reduces a mans ability to be aroused by his partner, isolates him from emotional intimacy, and undermines his relationships. I counsel couples for a living and have been for over 20 years. Porn and internet addiction is now the number one issue facing couples in my practice.  If you view it, stop, and spend that time, getting back into emotional and physical intimacy with your partner. It might take time, but that ability to be aroused by your real woman, will return once fostered.  Porn is destructive to marriage and family life. 

Jun 4, 2012 8:49PM
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nooooo! dont take my porn!!! I watch it thinking of you!!!!  I will wash the dishes!!!!
Jun 4, 2012 8:48PM
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Interesting the author blames the women for feeling this way, like they need to change.  Um, the only real solution is avoid the porn, for loads of additional reasons.  Of course that's the also most difficult.
Jun 4, 2012 8:48PM
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A "harmelss habit" as the author states is probably much more destructive than our society is willing to admit.  It creates a fantasy world that most women and MEN cannot compete with.  My ex-husband is a recovering pornography and sex addict.  We divorced after 24 years of marriage.  Over the last 11 years of that marriage he could not relate to me physically at all.  He was basically impotent.  It destroyed our relationship, which is unfortunate because we seemed to "have it all".  So sad.  Pornography is very dangerous.  It is a cancer to the heart and soul.  Avoid it at all costs.  Nothing of lasting value will come of it.
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Maybe if women we're so damn fat and concentrating on kids more than their mate, the men might be more or as interested in them as in porn.

 

Figure it out you whining bunch of cows.

Jun 4, 2012 8:44PM
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What's really sad is this article posted on June 1st in the Health section and this is just a repost for filler.
Jun 4, 2012 8:42PM
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There is no debate in the connection between porn and physical violence. Studies have shown that it does change the way your brain operates. The only question would be how much?
Jun 4, 2012 8:42PM
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Isn't it funny how men mostly want to be left alone and women just want more attention!
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