The secular case against pornography

The Porn Myth
By Matt Fradd, Ignatius, £14

This book, written by a Christian author and published by a religious publisher, takes a strictly secular and scientific line in demolishing the myth that porn is not dangerous. As the subtitle puts it, the book is “exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography”.

Attractively written in accessible language, the book explains that there is good scientific foundation for the belief that porn is addictive. This is not simply to say that porn gives pleasure, and people like pleasure. Rather, porn changes the wiring of your brain, and enslaves you to the images you see, in such a way that you constantly require harder images to satisfy your craving.

Given the widespread availability of porn, thanks to the internet, and the way that so many men use it, and from an early age too, we are facing something of a crisis. What will a world that has been shaped by porn addiction look like? One shudders to think, but this book gives one a pretty good idea: it will be a world where sex is a commodity, where women are not respected and where genuine relationships will become much harder to form. In other words, a world without love.

The fightback against porn has begun, particularly in the United States, where this book comes from, as evinced by the lengthy bibliography and the list of resources to help people overcome their addiction. That is encouraging, but it raises the question as to why anyone should want to promote porn, or at least do nothing to stop it.

Fradd points out that pornography is a huge business, but one that is in financial decline, because so much porn on the internet is now free. What he does not say is that governments see no need to stop porn or try to disrupt it, because it is an integral part of the permissive society, something that most governments are all too happy to live with. Anything that smacks of a moral crusade is anathema to them. That is a shame, as this book, which leaves you in no doubt of the corrosive effects of porn, makes clear.