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It causes people who expose themselves to it to have difficulty in establishing and maintaining realistic relationships. It desensitizes people to others, and causes them to objectify humans.

Pornography? Arguably, yes.

Romance novels? Also arguably, yes.

We’ve all known a woman who always had her nose throughly wedged in the spine of a paperback romance novel, and odds are that she was either single or in a maimed relationship. Most of us think nothing of her, but I dare postulate that the reason she is in such a predicament is because exposure to the “emotional pornography” has eroded her capacity to forge a lasting relationship.

While studies of the effects of pornography are common, such looks in to emotional pornography are scarce, though I am convinced this needs to be rectified.

Take, for example, the formulaic romance novel or chick flick fare:

There’s a woman without a man (or an extremely inferior man) in her life. In fact all men are scum except for her brother/gay friend/happily married friend, and one other. This other man is someone that 1) she’s been pining after since time immemorial, or 2) she hates. Events transpire. She spends time with other man, they flirt, there’s chemistry, then there’s conflict—it was all rubbish, and she’s better off with brother/gay friend/happily married friend anyway. Then the other guy returns, he’s been an arse, sorry; he’s dreadfully romantic and they shag like seals. The end.

If one allows this kind of scenario to be considered “the ideal” or worse “the norm” for relationships, will it not make it hard for a person to maintain relationships? Make them objectify people into the various classes of “jerk guy”, “Supportive brother”, and “perfect man”?

Should booksellers ID people when they go to buy a bodice buster?