This Is The Non-Religious Argument Against Pornography We've All Been Waiting For

When I first found out that Matt Fradd was writing a book to tackle the myths today's culture tells us about pornography I was excited. I first met Matt at SEEK 2015, where I listened to his talks, picked up a few 'Porn is Lame' stickers that I later placed strategically over magazines in the grocery store, and of course got a fan-girl photo. 

I anxiously waited for the book to be released. Then I listened to a Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast, where Matt discussed pornography, Australia and Vegemite. I was even more excited to read the book. So when my copy came in the mail I dug in and let me tell you what, I wasn't disappointed. 

If you know me, you know I hate pornography. I minored in Women's and Gender studies during my undergraduate degree and my senior project was about the effect pornography has on women who are involved in the industry. In college classes at a university though, discussing the religious reasons why I was anti-pornography usually didn't help me much.

My classmates didn't want to know why pornography was bad because Saint Pope John Paul II said so and Theology of the Body proved it. They wanted the cold hard facts. 

This book would have saved me hours of research during my senior project. So if there's anything I would have changed about the book, it could have been published a year earlier. 

But hey, I'll take what I can get. 

In his book, Matt tackles the porn myth. What is the porn myth? Pornography is good. 

Each chapter tackles a myth that today's culture has told about pornography. "Myths about porn exist largely because they make pornography more acceptable," Matt writes in the introduction. 

There are five sections of the book: 

  • Porn Culture
  • The Porn Industry 
  • Porn and Our Sexuality 
  • Porn and Our Relationships 
  • The Struggle with Porn 

As the book progresses, Matt zooms down from the birds eye view of how pornography affects us all the way down into the nitty-gritty, personal aspects of pornography. The chapters are easy to navigate, short and quick to the point, and convincing.

The book also has three appendixes full of information, expert opinions, resources and brain studies. All of this is followed by a gargantuan work cited page. Without a doubt, the history scholar in me loved the credibility built up by a 33 page work cited page. 

Matt talks about why pornography doesn't enable women, how we actually can protect kids from pornography (a daunting task in today's culture), and why porn is addictive.  He busts the myth that only men struggle with porn and dedicates a chapter to talking about women who also are affected by pornography. He also mentions that marriage will not fix a pornography addiction and discusses how married couples can embrace intimacy without using pornography as a sexual aide.

As he explains the purpose of the book Matt emphasizes that if you want something to flourish, you have to use it in accordance with its nature. "Don't rip sex out of its obvious relational context, turn it into a commodity, and then expect individuals, families, and society to flourish." 

This book isn't anti-sex. In fact, it's because Matt is for  sex that he takes an anti-pornography stance. "Lest I be misunderstood," he writes, "the purpose of the book is not to rob us of the pleasure of our sexuality, but instead to insist that perhaps sex can be more pleasurable when it isn't on tap or made-to-order." 

Most important, and why I loved it so much, is the fact that this book doesn't use religious reasons to explain why pornography is harmful. Matt doesn't deny that he is Catholic, but none of the research that he uses in this book is based in religious principles. So if you want to have a great resource for non-religious arguments against pornography, this is your book. 

This is not to say that there isn't a place for the beauty of theology and philosophy when talking about human sexuality and pornography. There is. But sometimes you'll find yourself in a situation, like I did in college, where what someone really is interested in is the psychological reasons why they shouldn't look at pornography. When I am in that situation again, I'll be handing them Matt's book, since he says it much better than I ever could. 

Matt ends his book by saying "Porn promises freedom, but it enslaves us. It promises excitement, but it ends up boring us. It promises us 'adult' entertainment, yet it makes us increasingly juvenile. It promises intimacy but leads to isolation. The good news is that freedom is possible and something so much better awaits us on the other side."

I couldn't agree more. If you are interested in reading more about Matt's research in his new book, The Porn Myth, you can purchase the book on amazon. The book is highly recommended. Buy it. Read it. Pass it on to someone who you know and love who is wrestling with pornography.