Does exposure to erotica reduce attraction and love for romantic partners in men? Independent replications of Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989) study 2 (2016)

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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Available online 18 November 2016

Rhonda N. Balzarini, ,Kiersten Dobson1, ,Kristi Chin ,Lorne Campbell


  • Three preregistered, high-powered replications of Kenrick et al. (1989)
  • Exposed men and women in committed relationships to opposite sex erotica
  • After exposure assessed ratings of attractiveness and love for partner
  • Effects of original and replication studies were meta-analyzed
  • Across the three studies we did not find support for the original finding.


Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989; Study 2) demonstrated that men, but not women, in committed relationships exposed to erotic images of opposite-sex others reported lower ratings for their partner's sexual attractiveness (d = 0.91) and less love for their partner (d = 0.69) than men exposed to images of abstract art. This research has implications for understanding the possible effects of erotica on men in relationships, but has not been replicated. We conducted three preregistered, high-powered close replications, and meta-analyzed the effects of the original and replication studies. We did not find support for the original finding that exposure to attractive images of opposite-sex others affects males' ratings of their partners' sexual attractiveness or love for their partner.

Keywords Centerfolds; Erotica; Partner attractiveness; Love; Replication; Reproducibility

This research was supported by a grant awarded to Lorne Campbell by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [grant number 122848].