Pornified: How the Culture of Pornography Is Changing Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families

Pornified: How the Culture of Pornography Is Changing Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families

by Pamela Paul
     
 

"Strips porn of its culture-war claptrap . . . Pornified may stand as a Kinsey Report for our time."—San Francisco Chronicle

Porn in America is everywhere—not just in cybersex and Playboy but in popular video games, advice columns, and reality television shows, and on the bestseller lists. Even more striking, as porn has become affordable,

Overview

"Strips porn of its culture-war claptrap . . . Pornified may stand as a Kinsey Report for our time."—San Francisco Chronicle

Porn in America is everywhere—not just in cybersex and Playboy but in popular video games, advice columns, and reality television shows, and on the bestseller lists. Even more striking, as porn has become affordable, accessible, and anonymous, it has become increasingly acceptable—and a big part of the personal lives of many men and women.

In this controversial and critically acclaimed book, Pamela Paul argues that as porn becomes more pervasive, it is destroying our marriages and families as well as distorting our children's ideas of sex and sexuality. Based on more than one hundred interviews and a nationally representative poll, Pornified exposes how porn has infiltrated our lives, from the wife agonizing over the late-night hours her husband spends on porn Web sites to the parents stunned to learn their twelve-year-old son has seen a hardcore porn film.

Pornified is an insightful, shocking, and important investigation into the costs and consequences of pornography for our families and our culture.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pornified is rife with tales of Americans experiencing a new level of sexual pathos, filled with snapshots of surreptitious lives: it is as compelling as it is troubling. A provocative book, sure to stir debate and reflection."—Margaret Talbot, senior fellow, New American Foundation, and staff writer, The New Yorker

"Pamela Paul convincingly and sometimes shockingly details the effects on men, women, and children living in a 'pornified' world. Her book should be a wake-up call for parents and should change the way we view—and rationalize viewing—pornography today. As Paul makes clear, porn is not 'cool,' or 'liberating,' or basically benign. It is a poison eroding relationships between men and women and darkening our children's horizons."—Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness

"This is a quietly forceful book. It helps everyone—from libertarian to moralist—by offering a common ground from which to proceed: pornography is one more alienating product of a consumer culture, and in some ways a particularly lonely one. By definition it is selfish. That doesn't mean it needs to be banned; it does mean we need to think about what it's doing to each of us, and to our shared society."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Enough

"Pornified is rife with the tales of Americans experiencing a new level of sexual pathos, filled with snapshots of surreptitious lives: it is as compelling as it is troubling. A provocative book, sure to stir debate and reflection."

— Alissa Quart, author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers

"A sharp rebuke to porn's glamorization."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"An alarming, thought-provoking overview of today's cyber-sexual society."

The Seattle Times

"Pamela Paul sets out to scare readers about the effects of pornography on American society, and she succeeds mightily."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Publishers Weekly
Having already carved out a major niche among 20-to-30-somethings with The Starter Marriage, Paul takes on another bane of postfeminism: the Internet-enabled "all pornography, all the time" mentality of many younger men and its ripple effect on the culture. For this pornograph, Paul interviewed more than 100 people-80 of them young, straight men. Some findings are predictable: porn allows men "to enjoy the fantasy of endless variety," but can distract men from their partners, detract from their sexual skills and harm relationships. More valuably, Paul finds women caught under new forms of social pressure-from men and women-not to disdain porn: to do so, now, is (among other things) to be seen as limiting women's sexual self-expression. Paul also sees porn seeping ever sooner into preteen life and sensibly observes that there's no reason for porn to be limitless on the Net when it's regulated elsewhere. Still, a critique that aims to avoid religious conservatism's invocation of sin and radical feminism's emphasis on civil rights violations can get fuzzy. Like Potter Stewart ("I know it when I see it"), Paul can't always distinguish sex-related art from pornography other than on a case-by-case basis; things get especially thorny regarding the torture and pain that, she asserts, "many, perhaps most men, find alluring." She ends up arguing that pornography, like alcohol or cigarettes, should be "discouraged," and proposes an effort by the government and private sector to quell consumer demand. Paul's outlines and analyses can seem simplistic, and her prose rarely rises above the level of the Time magazine feature on which the book is based. But she covers a lot of territory, and there's plenty to unnerve the knee-jerk "free speech" crowd. This will be a major watercooler book this season. Agent, Lydia Wallis, Paradigm Literary. Author tour. (Sept. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805077452
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/08/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.15(d)

Read an Excerpt

Pornified statistics:

The Pornified Man

• Preoccupied. Men look at pornography more than they look at any other subject online.

• Dissatisfied. Less than a third of men say pornography improves their sex lives, yet many find themselves getting pulled into harder and harder pornography to keep the initial buzz going.

The Pornified Woman

• Reshaped. Six out of ten women state that pornography affects how men expect them to look and behave (and four in ten men agree).

• Betrayed. One-third of women see men using pornography as cheating in absolutely all cases.

The Pornified Couple

• Distant. Nearly half of women describe fallout in relationships because of pornography; only one-third of men say the same thing. Couples describe a breakdown in closeness and a growing absence of trust.

• Broken. Of the sudden rise in divorces related to the

Internet, more than half were the result of a spouse looking at excessive amounts of pornography online.

The Pornified Family

• Exposed. Among eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds, who came of age with Internet pornography, more than half say it’s hard to go online without seeing porn. Eleven million Internet pornography users are under the age of eighteen.

• Sexed up. A quarter of adults believe that the greatest effect porn is having on kids is it’s making kids more likely to have sex earlier than they might have.

Meet the Author


Pamela Paul is a contributor to Time magazine and the author of The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony. Formerly a senior editor at American Demographics, she writes for such publications as Psychology Today, Self, Marie Claire, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Economist, and The New York Times Book Review. She lives in New York.

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