Men Find Fewer Women “Porn-Worthy”

Feminist, Andrea Dworkin, had feared that easy access to internet porn would turbocharge women’s objectification and turn men into wild, raping beasts. But it looks like internet porn too often has the opposite effect, deadening male libido in relation to real women, with men who over-consume finding fewer women “porn-worthy.”

This is what author, Naomi Wolf, noticed when students talked about their sex lives during her speaking tours of college campuses.

Others have made similar findings.

Pamela Paul interviewed over one hundred people, mostly men, in her research for Pornified, and found that porn-worthiness was a common concern among those who over-indulged.

One young man talked of his change in perspective.

My standards changed. Women who are otherwise good looking but aren’t as overtly sexy as the women in porn don’t appeal to me as much anymore. I find that I look more for women who have the attributes I see in porn. I want bigger breasts, longer hair, curvier bodies in general.

I find that when I’m out at a party or bar I catch myself sizing up women. I would say to myself, wait a second. This isn’t a supermarket. You shouldn’t treat her like she’s some piece of meat. Don’t pass her up just because her boobs aren’t that big.

Paul went on to cite a 2004 Elle-MSNBC.com poll which found that one in 10 men admitted he had become more critical of his partner’s body with exposure to porn.

Meanwhile, 51% of Americans believe that pornography raises men’s expectations of how women should look.

Many of the college women Wolf spoke to complained that they couldn’t compete, and they knew it.

Men, she said, learn about sex from porn but find that it is not helpful in teaching them how to relate to real women. She ended with this observation:

Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don’t know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on July 30, 2012, in body image, feminism, men, objectification, pornography, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I’m glad I’m not dating because this is just terrifying and sad.

    • Fortunately, it’s more of a problem with men who are overexposed to porn, and many men aren’t. But the problem does seem to be out there. Hopefully alternate ways of seeing that are more connected — and that are more loving and connected in humanity — will arise.

  2. This is so sad, Georgia. For too long, we have had a consumer attitude to sex and sexual partners (well, men have), and it is time to confront it.

  3. take this phenomenon one step further and you will also find that these same young men are modeling their behavior when watching porn, so that by the time they manage to find someone to have sex with, they have distorted views of what constitutes an appropriate sexual response

    • Yes, an additional problem, indeed.

      Thanks.

      I’m actually wondering if pornographers create these unrealistic expectations on purpose so that porn is the only place most guys can go to get what they’ve developed a taste for — and the tastes of men are changing in response to what they see in porn.

  4. I’ve said this a couple times to other posts of yours, but it still remains valid, parents need to teach their kids how to separate reality and fantasy. While my parents never did it with porn directly, they taught me how to do it for games, books, and movies/tv, and it transitioned to any porn I happen to watch. But unlike the young man questioned, I find it to be the opposite, girls who look like pornstars are unattractive to me, not to say I would not date/hook up with one, but they’re not someone I would go out of my way for based solely on looks. The girl who isn’t caked up in make up and obsessing with looking like some supermodel are my desired girl. With the reasoning of, I want something different from porn, not something that’s obscenely easy to find and watch on the internet.

  5. I may not be the norm, but I have to admit that I find porn babes about as arousing as barbie dolls my kids play with. I’ve seen a LOT of porn, and initially it was fascinating for the reasons you have stated, but eventually I came to an understanding that I find real women SO much more interesting… Precisely for the reason that there is more to them, even physically, than to the Photoshop templates we see in porn. So, being desensitized to porn may eventually turn into a good thing, who knows…

  6. Interesting post once again, i think that it is very disturbing how watching porn affects some people’s sex and love life by increasing their expectations of women in real life. Even though, i do agree that the women in porn are more beautiful and more sexy than many of the women i know in life. But even so, i have never expect more out of women even though i have seen women in porn.I think it is important that people who watches porn have the ability to differentiate between a fantasy and reality because it is a shame that porn can affect real-life relationships and sex life.

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