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The study also saw that magazines and movies that portray people as sex objects can cause you to see your partner in that light, though not yourself.
Self-objectification — when a person is obsessively concerned about he or she looks — has been shown to affect women's self-image, school performance and life happiness. But this quality hasn't been studied much in the context of romantic relationships. Partner-objectification, where that focus is placed on a partner's physical qualities over everything else, hasn't been studied at all in this context.
"If you have these kinds of thoughts and beliefs about your partner, it might be a block that stops you from having that intimacy, which is important in relationships," said study researcher Eileen Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
For her study, Zurbriggen polled 159 sophomores at her university. The students were asked to fill out a survey on their romantic relationships (current or previous), their media consumption and their feelings of objectification.