Academic Dive

Naked Dating Show: Could it Contribute to a Higher Divorce Rate?

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Naked Attraction

There was some titillating media coverage recently about a longstanding U.K. dating show that has only recently debuted in North America. It’s called “Naked Attraction”, and it’s a gameshow-type setup where dating contestants are fully nude.

Since it’s become newly-available in the U.S. on HBO Max, it’s garnered a lot of attention – and in some cases outrage – over the premise of finding a romantic partner based on how they look naked.

Arguably, shows like this one can invite important questions from a Canadian Family Law perspective – most notably whether they might tend to increase the likelihood of divorce.

But first let’s start at the beginning, with online dating apps.

Online Dating

According to Wikipedia the modern-day “swipe-right” type of app got its start around 1995, with sites that included (which is still around today).  Since then, there has not only been a rise in these platforms, but a proliferation of them, each with its own unique features and twists.

However one thing that has remained unchanged over the years is the rampant criticism by some, that dating apps objectify its users.  That’s because the choice to “swipe” or not swipe is based almost entirely on a profile photo or two.   As the argument goes, dating app providers have turned the search for romance into something closer to a video game, where visual images were the only thing upon which the users base their dating choices.

(Admittedly, individual users’ dating profiles can have written portions as well, where each hopeful “swipe” can describe their traits, likes, wants, and relationship goals. But in this short-attention-span society, it’s common knowledge that these often go unread by online daters of all genders.)

And now, decades after the first online dating apps arrived on the scene, it seems that the producers of shows like “Naked Attraction” have decided to up-the-ante on the gamification of dating.  The show’s paradigm is that contestants assess each other based on their naked bodies – including full frontal nudity – and choose potential partners based on whether they like what they see.

Lasting Affects

So the questions that come to mind are these:

Does this take the objectification of the potential partners even further – and does it take things too far?  And by extension, could it impact the likelihood of divorce?

As the thinking might go, finding partners through methods that objectify people is a flawed endeavour.  Even if a couple do genuinely fall in love and get married, they might encounter problems in the marital bedroom, where a failure to “spice things up” is assessed against unrealistic standards.  (It is now well-documented that the over-use of porn can lead to sexual dysfunction, most notably erectile dysfunction in men.) Which suggests that all of this might lead to greater marital dissatisfaction, and perhaps a greater temptation towards infidelity.

So we ask the question:  If dating and sexuality continues to be objectified, gamified, and commodified this way, might it become impossible for people to forge a healthy romantic relationship or a healthy marriage?

What are your thoughts?

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.