Women’s love of romantic comedies and men’s love of porn have a lot in common. Both forms of modern media skew our expectations about relationships. That is the subject of the new romantic comedy “Don Jon” written, directed, and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and co-starring Scarlett Johansson. Tune into The Katie Couric Show on Thursday on ABC network to see my discussion with renowned sexuality counselor, Dr. Ian Kerner.
While Dr. Kerner deals with issues like erectile dysfunction relating to addiction to pornography, he also says moderate use of porn can have a vital place in long term monogamy.
No matter, like fast food, cheap, available, junk food sexual eye candy is not going away. Fully one third of all content on the internet is pornography and a 2009 study from the University of Montreal showed that single men, on average, are consuming about forty minutes, three times a week. Men in committed relationships, on average, consume about twenty minutes, twice a week. As an interesting side note, the researcher wanted to study the effects of porn on men and to do so, he needed a control group of men who had not consumed pornography — but he could not find one man who hadn’t used porn. And all this porn use is changing the way some men think a relationship should look and feel.
Women, on the other hand, are being fed a constant stream of unrealistic relationship expectations in the form of romantic comedies. The plots of movies like When Harry Met Sally, No Strings Attached, Friends with Benefits, etc, send the message that the key to a perfect relationship is to find love and get him to commit. In fact the key to a great relationship is to become a good partner yourself. But most romantic comedies end at the beginning of the relationship, and we never get to see the challenging emotional work. The same goes for pornography. Women as sex objects with no emotional integrity simply isn’t realistic. Don Jon is a fascinating movie because it addresses this issue head on. Kudos to Joesph Gordon Levitt on having his finger on the pulse of modern relationships.