I have a lot of questions. And very few answers. We are reading more about how pornography is keeping people from relationships, and breaking down existing relationships. It is this two tier attack that concerns many mental health professionals and sociologists. But beyond that it concerns men and women all over the world who are directly and indirectly affected by porn.
I am quoting a recent article in the Washington Post:
The researchers used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a comprehensive, nationally representative survey, to analyze how 18-to-35 year-old men used the Internet between 2000 and 2004. (...)
Broadly, higher Internet usage was associated with lower marriage rates. But pornography use in particular was more closely linked to those participants who were not married than any other form of Internet use, including regular use of financial websites, news websites, sports websites, and several others. The opposite, for comparison, was true for religious website use, which was positively correlated with marriage.
The natural reaction might be to dismiss the findings as confirmations of an obviousness: that men who are married tend to look at porn less frequently precisely because they are married. While that might very well be true, and likely helps explain some of the relationship, it doesn't explain all of it.
The Japanese situation has been documented extensively. Here an excerpt from an Observer article from 2013:
Japan's under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren't even dating, and increasing numbers can't be bothered with sex. For their government, "celibacy syndrome" is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world's lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060. Aoyama believes the country is experiencing "a flight from human intimacy" – and it's partly the government's fault.
The number of single people has reached a record high. A survey in 2011 found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, a rise of almost 10% from five years earlier. Another study found that a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. (There are no figures for same-sex relationships.) Although there has long been a pragmatic separation of love and sex in Japan – a country mostly free of religious morals – sex fares no better. A survey earlier this year by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45% of women aged 16-24 "were not interested in or despised sexual contact". More than a quarter of men felt the same way.
What do you think? Is porn stealing our love-lives? Is this all a giant over-reaction and will things work themselves out?