How Porn Destroys Lives
Pamela Paul was shocked by what she found while researching how pornography is changing our culture: everyone is doing it.
"Porn is for everyone," says author Pamela Paul, whose new book, "Pornified
," details how the widespread use of pornography is changing American culture and relationships. Paul expected to find pornography use mainly in the realm of "losers who couldn't get a date" when she started researching the book. Instead, she found that it was mainstream, bridging religious, ethnic, educational, and socio-economic barriers. She was even more surprised, however, by how often pornography use ruins relationships, increases sexual dysfunction, and changes what men expect from women. Paul spoke with Beliefnet recently about pornography addiction, how the internet has changed porn consumption, and what secular culture can learn from the way religious groups confront pornography use. Paul will also lead athree-week dialogue group
to answer questions and discuss with readers how pornography has transformed their own lives.
What surprised you the most about the use of pornography in America?
Honestly, I didn't think pornography was that huge an issue before I wrote this book. I started writing this book before the Janet Jackson fiasco, before the Paris Hilton tapes. I knew there was a lot of pornography out there, but I didn't think it was anything that affected my life or the lives of anyone I knew. The question I wanted to ask was, "With all this pornography out there, does it have any effect?"
I was absolutely shocked by what I found. I talked to people whose lives were really destroyed by pornography. Even the people who didn't bottom out--total porn addiction, marriages breaking up, people losing their jobs, which did happen--even the people who didn't go to that extreme were profoundly affected by porn. Sometimes they realized they were, but often they didn't realize the effects pornography had on them.