Thursday, October 20, 2005

Author Hopes Book Will Dispel 'Harmless Fun' Myths About Porn

Author Hopes Book Will Dispel 'Harmless Fun' Myths About Porn

By Mary Rettig

October 20, 2005

(AgapePress) - A contributor to Time magazine says contemporary society has been misled into believing pornography is harmless entertainment. According to Pamela Paul, author of Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families (Times Books, 2005), what was once hidden in dark alleys and seedy theaters is now being glorified and mainstreamed by today's "pornified" culture.

"There's an idea that pornography is cool and that it's perfectly normal for men to look at pornography -- that they are biologically programmed to want to look at pornography," Paul says.

And, she notes, women have been "a serious target of this message in that they are told pornography is a guy thing, and that it's not their right to complain."

In fact, Paul says, the mainstreaming of pornography has taught a generation of women to believe that porn is for the independent and liberated. But that idea could not be more wrong, she asserts, because in reality porn victimizes women, poisons men, and causes children to grow up too fast.

In her book, Pornified, Paul assembles a compilation of surveys and other research as well as anecdotal evidence of the problems porn causes. Of particular concern, she points out, are stories of young children and teens accessing pornography from school computers.

The Time magazine feature writer says it is "very disturbing" that researchers are not exactly sure how exposure to porn is going to affect children down the road. "But it's clear that kids develop sexually during adolescence," she adds, "and they learn what their sexual cues are -- what's exciting, what's appealing" to them.

"If kids are looking at hardcore pornography online and learning that this is what's normal and that this is what is supposed to be exciting and this is what they're supposed to aspire to, they're learning a very scary lesson," Paul says. And her own research indicates that the damage caused by youngsters' exposure to porn could be both extensive and long term.

In a survey the author conducted herself, the overwhelming majority of respondents cited a long list of negative effects from pornography use, including poor relationship skills and serious trust and loyalty issues. Responses also indicated that porn can lead to negative body image issues in women and can distract men from their partners, detract from their sexual skills, and damage their relationships.

Paul contends that pornography is obviously a poison and that it has unfortunately seeped into many people's everyday lives. She hopes her book will help dispel contemporary society's misconceptions that pornography is in any way normal, hip or harmless.

------------------------------ Mary Rettig, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online. © 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.


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