Porn leads to unrealistic expectations for men

Oh, wait? Did I say “porn”? I meant “romance novels.” Sorry.

No, hold on. Did I say they cause unrealistic expectations for “men”? Sorry, sorry, I meant for “women.”

From the LiveScience blog:

Romance Novels Bad For Women’s Health and Psyche, Psychologist Says

Romance novels can be a bad influence on women and lead them to make poor health and relationship decisions, says a British psychologist.

The novels give women unrealistic views about what to expect out of a relationship because they, well, romanticize love, said Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist based in Cambridge.

“They offer an idealized version of romance, which can make some women feel bad about themselves because their relationships aren’t perfect,” Quilliam said.

Hold on… isn’t this the same thing that women have been saying about men who read Playboy, Penthouse, and who watch porn? That the constant exposure will lead to unrealistic expectations?

However, Quilliam stressed, she is not saying women are gullible and don’t understand the difference between fiction and reality. Nor is she saying there is no place for romance novels in our culture.

So, then it’s possible for rational-minded, thinking adults to make a distinction between fantasy and reality? Amazing.

But the novels add to an underlying view in society that in women, emotions and passions trump reason and solid decision-making, Quilliam said. Women should not try to follow their emotions at all costs, but instead balance them with reason.

“The thing that’s going to make relationships last is a mix of romance and common sense,” Quilliam said.

Right. It’s important to mix things up a bit.

I’m sure that most porn watching men would have said this very thing… if you could drag them away from Redtube.

How is this affecting women? Quilliam told MyHealthNewsDaily she often gets letters from women who are in a stable relationship, but feel emotionally attracted to another man. The women think these emotions mean they should abandon their current relationship, because the passion has faded, and go in search of new love rather than trying to work things out.

I wonder if those letters represent a statistically significant population sample?

In fact, everyone, not just female romance readers, can benefit from this advice, Quilliam said.

“Nobody — man or women, romance reader or non-romance reader — should be making their decisions based on,” an idealized version of romance, Quilliam said.

Heh. Party on, Garth!


And since this is a short article, let’s add something appropos to make it interesting.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
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24 Responses to Porn leads to unrealistic expectations for men

  1. Ayesha says:

    Wow, seems Susan is a RP fanatic, and loves to be an agony aunt. And auntie knows best, no!? But……”balance them with reason”? Lmfao.

  2. stephanie d edwards says:

    As someone who has been known to write romance fiction but only started doing so in the last handful of years, I’m pretty sure my ability to do the very hard work in relationships has not been affected one way or another. It was difficult before and it is difficult still. My decision making powers have not decreased. And if I long for more in my relationship, it has very little to do with what I’ve read in romance novels. Plus, a lot of romance writers I know have been having better sex with their partners since they began writing. So maybe those poor readers suffering from their romance reading burden should just start to write the books themselves.

  3. slave nemo says:

    I have a test for those women who are not sure if they are mislead by reading romance novels…

    The word “gullible” is not in the dictionary.

    If you had to look that up to verify it, then you should NEVER read a romance novel.

  4. dishevelleddomina says:

    Skip the romance novels, I go straight for the erotica,
    oh, and the porn.

  5. Ferns says:

    OMG LOOK AT HIS FACE AND THE TENSION IN HIS NECK!!! GUH!!!!

    Now THAT’S romance! WANT!

    *drool… groan*

    You wrote something? Huh?

    Ferns

  6. L says:

    Yeah the thing is that it seems that the “unrealistic expectations” put forth by both porn AND romance novels seem to fuck the women over more than the men. I mean, look at the way this article is phrased for pete’s sake.

    • Tom Allen says:

      Am I missing something? I’m not sure of what you mean by saying that women get screwed over more than men.

      There is an argument – as yet unsubstantiated – that porn gives men unrealistic expectations about how women “should” be in bed. And while it’s true that *some* men develop unrealistic expectations (fsv of “unrealistic”), it seems that when men hit their mid 20s and start thinking about marriage and families, their expectations have matured, and they are able to handle monogamous relationships.

      Quilliam (without much in the way of substantiating her claims, I might add), makes an analogous claim wrt romance novels, or what some people ironically call “women porn”, a term which acknowledges the cultural stereotype that men are interested in sex, while women are mainly interested in a relationship. Quilliam goes on to suggest that women (like men) develop unrealistic expectations wrt their relationships because romance novels “teach” them to look for characteristics that aren’t always reasonable.

      Are you suggesting that both porn and RNs hold women up to unreasonable expectations, while men are not? That’s certainly not the impression that I get from the article.

    • dishevelleddomina says:

      My porn collection on Tumblr prompted some poor man to ask about my unrealistic expectations, based on the male bodies being depicted.
      I rather enjoyed that moment of turnabout-is-fair-play.

      I wonder if more relationships are screwed up by men with unrealistic expectations and demands or by women with unrealistic expectations and demands?

  7. L says:

    Okay, I guess I should have clarified and said that there’s absolutely nothing proving that it’s the case in reality, but I find it interesting that whenever the subject is discussed, it’s always got the “women are getting screwed” spin. I mean, looking at the article, the author clearly states that these unhealthy expectations are fucking the women over– they’re more likely to ignore reason in lieu of emotion, they’re likely to overemphasize the importance of love and romance over the realities of relationships, like patience and communication, etc.

    And then when it comes to the porn side of the argument, it’s always that men have too high of standards for women, and women suffer because of it. Either their self esteem plummets, or their man might sexually abandon them to beat the meat all day, or leave her for a younger model, etc.

    I just find it interesting that none of these arguments are ever framed differently. And I think it’s the falsified implications of it that are more damaging than the reality of it. If you’re a girl in a relationship and you’ve been told that too much porn can be a bad thing, you might start freaking out and policing your boyfriend’s porn-watching, which in all likelihood, involves a very average, healthy amount of smut.

  8. Ayesha says:

    Caramba, this is more sirius than i thought. So here it is for all to know: Aunt Agony is right! We absolutely need more balance between fantasy and reality. So to outweigh the pernicious influence of romance novels, erotica, and other unrealistic crap, we all need to watch ‘Days of our Lives’ and other true life documentaries on a daily basis. Best approach is to include all reruns as well. And if u really really really want to play it safe, add a few Latin American productions to ur daily dose of reality.

  9. Mykey says:

    Oh that’s hilarious. Hands off my porn and I will leave you to your romance novels.

    Chortle!

    CQ I’m Pretty sure that only perves have pubic hair, no right thinking woman would.

  10. Ayesha says:

    Hmmm, seems ur psychic powers failed u this time ur Majesty. U know, with all that shaving, pulling, plucking, and Brazilian waxing, going on these days, i never would be so bold to say a thing like that. But it’s true, the women i allowed/allow to share my bed, all had/must have a bush down there, cos i refuse to have sex with a plucked chick.

  11. Mykey says:

    Guys that was British dry humour…
    Wasted i tell you!

  12. Veddy interesting thought! And it makes a lot of sense.

    Sadly, though, I think I’ve seen far more men unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality thanks to porn and the like than women, but maybe that’s more because I *am* a woman and only date men.

    Thanks for the link to my blog, BTW; it’s how I’ve found yours. I’m just getting started looking around, but I like what I see so far.

  13. Purple says:

    Are some romance novels little more than porn? Absolutely! But not all of them.

    I write romance. Inspirational, AKA Christian. So this is probably one of the strangest comments you’ve ever received here.

    Do porn and romance novels create unrealistic expectations? Absolutely. Is it fair to compare porn and romance novels? Speaking as a woman I don’t think so. Porn undoubtedly does more damage to relationships than romance novels. Porn and masturbation is part of why my marriage is in ruins and I’m headed for a divorce.

    Porn is responsible for more failed marriages and relationships than romance novels will ever be.

    However, the discussion here is a lot more balanced than ones I’ve seen and participated in on the “evils” of Christian romance and how they destroy womens’ brains and make them unable to appreciate books on theology or the classics. Talk about a twisted argument.

  14. Liras says:

    Late to this party but right on time (haaa!), so I will say that porn has changed expectations. We are influenced by what we see.
    It is not just the clearly airbrushed-type stuff but the realistic, that is making dreamed- of-desires seem absolutely achievable. Life is short, so why not get the best? Sex is our right, so why not make it the most scrumdillyumptious event ever?

    Although many of the ‘naturally’ stacked chicks have had some work, although the sculpted bodies bearing gigantic and perfect organs are not as common, the plethora before our eyes makes it seem so. I know a number of hot ‘regular’ people. Everyone does.

    (We are consumers, Tom. We deserve ‘It”. Be it nice hair dye, luxury car, bigger home, more money, sizzlin’ hot sex with supernova hot partner.)

    So, why would it seem possible to get one, as the visuals in our head, directly tied to our libidos, say we should? Because it might be. It will be, if we just try!

    The casino of sex does have to gift a few winners a day, no?

    The more some see done in porn, the more some think it is the standard. Bare-shaved, anal, DP, sharing, FMF, etc. What is the issue to tackle is people feeling left out and discontent, if they are not trendy in the bedroom.

    Men get told one thing-hot sex with a hot babe is the goal. Women are sold on another idea- sex will be hot (and worth doing) with the right hot-yet-tender guy. Jeesh.

    Somewhere in the middle, lies a workable truth.
    Maybe.

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