Amy Sohn, Empiricist

In this week’s New York Times Book Review, self-styled professor of desire Amy Sohn looks at Pamela Paul‘s Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families.

Citing Paul’s claim that increased availability of internet pornography has changed the way men relate to—and have sex with—the real women in their lives, Sohn concludes:

[S]ince we know so little about Paul’s methodology, it’s impossible to know whether they represent an actual trend.

Not an actual trend? Why, just this past May, New York Magazine ran a story (its third in two years, incidentally) with the unambiguous subhead, Online Porn is Changing (Read ‘Destroying’) Relationships. In that piece, the author claimed:

There are many reasons couples break up, but a new, and increasingly common, one is that one partner becomes obsessed with Internet pornography. Now that porn is so easy to watch at home or at work, many men are spending enough time and energy on it that they drive their female partners to end the relationship. In fact, Internet porn has so changed American relationships that in a 2003 survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than half said the Internet played a “significant role” in divorces in the past year, and that online porn contributed to half of these cases.

The author of that unimpeachable bit of pop sociology? Amy Sohn.

Related: A quick Nexis search reveals that Sohn’s review marked the debut of the term “bukkake” in the pages of the Times. Expect a William Safire ‘On Language’ column shortly.

Matt Haber