Even with summer (and therefore bikini-ad season) coming to a close, it's easy to get habituated to the objectification of women when it's the mainstay of commercial advertising on billboards everywhere. But, results from a new study show just how harmful this bad practice really is: Apparently, men who objectify their female partners are more likely to sexually pressure and coerce them.
Published online in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, the study examines the dynamics of 119 men and 162 women in heterosexual, romantic relationships. All participants completed an online survey that contained different sets of questions; they were asked whether they felt objectified by their partners, and how sexually pressured/coerced they felt. Researchers also asked participants how they felt about weight change in a partner, whether they felt a partner's responsibility was to have sex with them whenever they want, and whether or not they've threatened to hurt a partner if he or she didn't want to have sex.
Results from the surveys showed that men who are more concerned with the way their partners look were more likely to also be sexually coercive and pressure their partners into sex. For women, those who reported that their partners surveyed their bodies frequently were significantly more likely to also report a belief that "men expect sex and it's a woman's role to satisfy her partner sexually."
This all suggests that objectifying women can have actual, negative effects in real relationships, namely in terms of sexual pressuring. And, the reality could be even worse than this data suggests. After all, these are only the self-reported stats; it's entirely possible that people wouldn't want to fess up to coercing a partner into sex. It's worth mentioning that a more diverse study (81% of these men and 78% of women identified as white, and all of them were straight) could help us better understand how objectification functions in all kinds of romantic relationships. Still, this news makes us like Christian Grey even less than we already did.