Is there a profile of a typical pornography consumer?
There isn't, and that's what is scary, too. It was naïve on my part, but I thought, "It's no one that I know, it's no one who's really well-educated or self-aware or who has been in a serious relationship. Porn is for losers who can't get a date." And I thought porn was for kids--a phase that all teenagers go through. In fact, porn is for everyone; everyone is using pornography. I talked to people who were Ivy League-educated, people who were engaged, people who were married, people who were divorced, people who were parents of young children. It went across all socio-economic, all racial, all ethnic, and all religious lines. I spoke with men who consider themselves to be devout church-goers and one man who taught at a Jewish seminary. I talked to a monk. I talked to people of all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and they all used pornography.

Let's look at religious people who use pornography. Your statistic about the number of evangelical men who use pornography is surprisingly large. What is going on there?
I think they're a lot more honest about it. There was a 2000 survey that Focus on the Family did that found that 18% of people who call themselves born-again Christians admit to looking at porn sites. A chaplain named Henry Rogers who studies pornography estimates that 40 to 70% of evangelical men say they struggle with pornography. That might not mean that they look at it, but it might mean that they struggle to avoid looking at it.

By and large, religious people, particularly Christian people, are aware that this is an issue. They've addressed it much more than secular culture has. That's something that should change. The truth is it doesn't matter if you're religious or if you're secular--the chances that you'll look at porn are probably equal.

What can secular culture learn from the way the religious culture deals with pornography?
The secular world can learn from religious groups that it needs to be discussed. Everyone talks about how there's so much porn out there, but do we talk about it being a problem? Do we talk about how it affects people? That's something that in many ways, religious communities have been more proactive about.

I was surprised by how many of the women in your book seem to just accept pornography as part of their relationships.
I think a lot of women feel cowed by the attitude of a lot of men who use pornography--that it's a "guy thing" that they wouldn't understand. There's also the idea that being open and cool about porn is seen as sexy and hip. Those messages are powerful and pervasive.

What does it take for someone to realize that they're addicted to pornography?
I spoke with probably two-dozen people who were addicted to pornography. They talk about the denial going on for years. I spoke to men who said they weren't addicted but who spent hours online, staying up till one or two o'clock in the morning looking at porn. It's like alcoholism in a lot of ways--sometimes it takes a disaster to realize it, other times something triggers a reaction akin to shame or guilt.

With addicts, often, pornography crosses over to their real lives. They may start going to prostitutes, hanging out in strip clubs, meeting women from sex chat rooms. There were quite a few who found that their interest in adult pornography trickled down to an interest in looking at teens, and soon they found they were looking at child pornography. For several of the men I talked to, that was a trigger for recovery.

What are some of the recovery methods that people go through? Is there anything like Pornography Anonymous?
Yes. There are a number of 12-step groups, like Sexual Addicts Anonymous. They're not for pornography specifically, but they all essentially deal with pornography, or what comes afterward, since pornography will often trickle into real life. And there are a number of religious organizations. There's Pure Life Ministries, and other churches that have created facilities for treatment for pornography addiction.

You point out that porn has become a free-speech issue, and liberals don't focus on the issues involving degradation of women.
If pornography involved blacks or Jews or any other minority or group, I think that liberals would respond with outrage. But it's women and there's been no response. This may be because the anti-pornography argument has been adopted by groups that come across as reactionary or unrealistic. Traditionally, there were two groups that were anti-pornography. One was the religious right, who also said they were anti-sex education and anti-homosexuality, so liberals didn't want to associate with them. On the other hand, feminists who were anti-pornography took a legal approach, and an approach that many other women thought was anti-men. When those two groups aligned to fight pornography in the 1980s, a lot of liberals were turned off.

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