From an '04 book chapter by Cathy Salmon on porn vs. romance novels:
There is such a thing as a pornography consumed exclusively by women .. it is the romance novel. Romance novels account for 40% of mass market paperback sales in the United States .... The realm of the romance novel, which might be called "romantopia," is a utopian erotic female counterfantasy to pornotopia. Just as porn actresses exhibit a suspiciously male-like sexuality, romances are exercises in the imaginative transformation of masculinity to conform with female standards. ...
The public debate over pornography has been going on for years .... [and] had has covered everything from the treatment of women within the industry, to the image of women it presents and the impact of that image on men in the general population as well as the effects on women in the general population. ... [Studies show] men who viewed sexually explicit films did not have negative attitudes toward women's rights, nor were they more accepting of marital or date rape. ... [Regarding] the incidence of rape in several societies ... increased availability was not associated with increased reports of rape. ...
On a personal level, women often express concern over a partner's regular purchasing of Playboy or watching pornographic videos. In particular there is a verbalized concern that these things will effect their relationships. ... [And in fact] males that viewed images of attractive models reported being less committee to their partner after the viewing. ... Playboy centerfolds ... got the same results. ... Modern media .. perhaps giving men an unrealistic view of how many attractive available women are out there.
If women complain porn hurts relationships by giving men unrealistic expectations, why don't men complain romance novels hurt relationships by giving women unrealistic expectations? Why so much more effort to regulate porn than romance novels? Is it just that men complain less overall? HT to Fortune Elkins.
Added 2Nov: Robert Wiblin found this Atlantic quote:
in a 2006 study, the Clemson economist Todd Kendall found that a 10 percent increase in Internet access is associated with a 7 percent decline in reported rapes.