'The Porn Myth' Author: Culture at 'Tipping Point,' Something Has to Change Now (Interview)

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(Photo: Courtesy of Carmel Communications)The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography by Matt Fradd

The author of a new book explaining how pornography wrecks relationships and destroys the human brain believes Western society is at a "tipping point" with regard to the pornography scourge. And it is only a matter of time before people react to porn with the same disdain as smoking, he argues.

The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind The Fantasy of Pornography makes an articulate, thoroughly researched and nonreligious case responding to the widely held notion that porn is harmless. The book's author, Matt Fradd, is a devout Catholic, but he centers his main argument on the ever-increasing body of scientific research, refuting claims some have employed to defend porn.

"There is a cornucopia of evidences coming out of academia that has been for the last 40 years from sociology, neuroscience, psychology, all of which is saying what the Church has always said," Fradd said in an interview with The Christian Post, "namely, that pornography is detrimental to the consumer, to relationships and to society."

The book took about three years to research, write, and edit, and is part of Fradd's larger work and calling. As the director of content strategy for Integrity Restored, he has been circling the globe on and off for the past 10 years speaking on the dangers of porn and its devastating effects.

And as technology developed, particularly with the advent of YouTube and other porn video sites that arrived on the scene around 2006, medical data began showing a spike in things like erectile dysfunction and other kinds of physiological maladies. But those video sites also made it easier for people to hear from people who survived life in the sex and porn industries and their testimonies are beginning to change the way people think about pornography.

"Interacting with porn in the 1980s and 90s was almost quaint compared to today. The pornography that an 8-year-old stumbles across today may not have even been available on the black market [then]," he said, noting how much 24-7 internet access has compounded the problem.

"We've reached a tipping point in our culture such that everyone either has been negatively impacted by porn or love somebody who has ... so something has to change now."

In each of The Porn Myth's 24 chapters, Fradd responds to contentions one might hear from porn's defenders such as "Porn isn't sex slavery. The actors choose the lifestyles they lead" (chapter 8), the notion that "anime porn is great because it doesn't involve real people" (chapter 17), and the lie that "married life will cure us of our porn obsessions" (chapter 19).

And if anyone wants to contend that "porn isn't addictive," the science definitively says otherwise, Fradd writes in chapter 15.

Citing the work of acclaimed neuroscientists, the author notes that in the same way drugs trick the brain by activating its natural neural pathways, which are involved in reinforcement and pleasure, porn "hijacks" the brain in a similar fashion.

"In other words, pornography can make us addicted to our own neurochemistry," Fradd writes.

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(Photo: Courtesy of Carmel Communications)Matt Fradd, author of The Porn Myth

"Pornography triggers powerful neurotransmitters such as epinephrine—also known as adrenaline—dopamine, and others, so that when it is used compulsively, it becomes addictive."

And as porn is used compulsively, the hijacking of the brain deepens, resetting the "pleasure thermostat" and producing an addictive state that requires the user to consume more porn or increasingly hard-core material to boost the chemical levels sufficient to obtain the same high and feel normal.

When the author speaks with parents he tells them that if they discover that their children have looked at pornography or are currently viewing it, they should not get angry with them and should instead apologize to them.

"We should say, 'I'm sorry that this happened to you; this shouldn't have happened.' Because our kids didn't ask to be born in a pornified culture. They didn't get to make that choice. We made it for them," Fradd said.

"And many of us gave them glowing rectangles that dish out all sorts of porn with any kind of search you might enter into Google like 'American Girl doll' and then we get angry at them."

But it isn't their fault, he maintained.

Fradd, an Australian native who now resides in Georgia with his wife Cameron and four children, told CP that God called him to do something radical with the book sales — the author will not be making a dime off of The Porn Myth. Instead, 100 percent of the royalties will benefit Children of the Immaculate Heart, a San Diego-based ministry started in 2013 that provides housing and rehabilitation for trafficked women and their children.

"I felt like the Lord was inviting Cameron and I to make that decision," Fradd recounted, saying he has no problem making money off of books but hopes that the chance to support such an organization gives readers additional incentive to buy it. He had the book contract written with his publisher, Ignatius Press, such that checks would not even reach his mailbox for him to forward to CIH but be sent directly to them.

He reiterated that a tipping point regarding society's tolerance for porn is upon us.

"There's this overwhelming sense of 'It's only a matter of time until our culture, if you want to call it that — this thing in which we live, I'm not sure if it's a culture — it's only a matter of time before it looks upon pornography as we now do upon smoking," Fradd stressed.

"Science is finally catching up with the truth that the Church has always proclaimed," he added, noting that it is impossible to shut down the truth as it eventually seeps through the proverbial cracks.

At the end of The Porn Myth, he includes a bibliography, nearly 40 pages worth of citations from peer-reviewed literature and scholarship by experts in the field.

Although the book focuses primarily on the nonreligious arguments against porn, Fradd believes that pornography is one of the greatest impediments today to evangelization. He does not want to merely convince people not to use porn for health reasons but hopes that ultimately they might know and love Jesus Christ as Lord.

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"The seed of the Gospel cannot penetrate an earth — our heart, if you will — that has been scorched by body-punishing, humiliating, dehumanizing images that we masturbate to," Fradd explained.

"We're not made to masturbate to pixels. We are made to love. We are made by love, to love, for love. And that's not just a Hallmark quote, that's theologically accurate."

Love is the origin, vocation, and destiny for the Christian, he continued, "and if we don't get love right, we won't get life right. The more we engage in anti-love behaviors or attitudes, the more senseless and boring and monotonous our life becomes."

And the problem with porn is not the naked body, not sex, and not sexual desire, he emphasized, noting that the first commandment in the Bible is from God to humanity in Genesis 1:28, to be fruitful and multiply.

"He didn't mean by that to grow grapefruits and invent calculators," Fradd said.

"Sexual desire is not like a physiological sign that one isn't holy yet. If you're not experiencing sexual desire, it is not a sign that you are holy, it's a sign that you are dead."

And it is precisely because Christians believe that human beings have innate dignity and unalienable rights that it is right to talk about porn objectifying them.

"When one says you objectified him or her, or you degraded him or her, you are presupposing that they had 'grade' to begin with," Fradd noted, adding how we don't talk about degrading paper clips and washing machines.

And perhaps the greatest myth about porn is that it does not show too much but too little of the human person, Fradd offered, which reduces people to "a two-dimensional object that we consume instead of allowing us to perceive them."

"The body is equally a part of who we are. It's not a shell, it's not a husk, it's not a cage we inhabit. It's us. And it reveals the profound mystery of the human person. And human beings are not animate objects of pleasure like steaks and kegs of beer," he said.

"And only the degree to which we recognize the dignity of the human person is the degree to which you can recognize that pornography is vile, evil, and demonic."

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