Men's porn habits could fuel partners' eating disorders: Study.
Washington: A new study now suggests that a woman whose boyfriend or husband regularly watches porn is more likely to report symptoms of an eating disorder.
The study is one of the first to look at how a romantic partner's behaviour might be linked to the likelihood of a woman experiencing or engaging in such things as extreme guilt about eating, preoccupation with body fat, binging or purging.
The study, led by researchers at The Ohio State University, appears in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
In addition to finding an association between a partner's porn habits and eating disorder symptoms, the research also found a higher incidence of those symptoms in women who said they feel pressure from their boyfriends or husbands to be thin.
Speaking about it, Tracy Tylka, lead author, said, “We often talk about the influences of media, family and friends on eating disorders, but little has been done to determine how a partner's influence might contribute to a woman's disordered eating.”
Tylka added, "It's a gap in the research and if certain partner variables are risk factors we should be giving them more attention." The study is also the first research of its kind to address these partner influences in women who are older and more likely to be in long-term relationships.
The participants, 409 U.S. women in relationships with men, answered a questionnaire designed to identify symptoms of eating disorders and answered questions about perceived pressure from the media and others (partners, friends and family) in their lives to lose weight and have a thin body. They also reported how many hours of pornography their current partner viewed per week, ranging from none to more than eight hours, and estimated how often their previous partners had viewed pornography on a scale ranging from never to almost always.
The researchers analysed the relationships between those responses and found a clear association between eating disorder symptoms and both perceived partner pressure to be thin and pornography use.
Tylka said that in many categories of eating disorder symptoms, perceived pressure from a romantic partner to be thin appeared to be more detrimental than pressure from friends or family, or even the media.
Both partner pornography viewing and pressure to be thin appeared to be associated with a woman's disordered eating behaviour even if she didn't idealise thinness, according to the study.
Tylka said she was interested in the potential relationship between partner pornography use and eating disorders because it could prompt women to feel pressured to aspire to unrealistic body types, or to "feel sexless because their partners are spending time with porn instead of connecting with them." The study did not examine potential differences between women who watch pornography with their partners and those whose partners view pornography alone.