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

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 ...

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Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families

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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.

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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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805077452
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/8/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.15 (d)

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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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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : a pornified world 1
1 A guy thing : why men look at porn 12
2 How we got here : life in the porn lane 49
3 Me and my porn : how pornography affects men 72
4 Porn stars, lovers, and wives : how women see pornography 107
5 You and me and pornography : how porn affects relationships 138
6 Born into porn : kids in a pornified culture 172
7 Fantasy and reality : pornography compulsion 211
8 The truth about pornography 239
Conclusion : the censure-not-censor solution 260
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2006

    Misleading Title

    The title is misleading. I was expecting a book about how pornography has affected all of society, including those that view no or limited amounts of pornography. I was hoping to read about the effects of pornography, even among those that may not realize they've been influenced. What she chose to write about, however, is the relatively small portion of society that becomes hopelessy addicted to pornography. It's full of stories about people who are horribly addicted, but no stories about people that don't view porn at all. She wrote about a statistically very small portion of society. Don't let the title trick you into thinking she's going to discuss how pornography has influenced the average dude.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2005

    Pornified is an important book, and will change what you think

    Pamela Paul set out to write a book about pornography without ever discussing it as an 'industry' or resorting to religious arguments. She cites lab studies and public opinion polls and interviews over a hundred people, and her conclusions frighten me. Porn is addictive and changes the people who watch it, and the Internet has started us down a path that will be hard to change. I've never read, never even heard of anybody else approaching the subject this way. Well worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    My sister made me read this book

    she thought it would help me be more sensative with the ladies. It was better than other books she made me read but some of these guys are such tools. I dont think looking at pr0n makes you such a loser but it did to these guys.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    Unbelievable stories

    No matter what you think about porn, it's worth reading this book just for the stories. The author interviewed over 100 people and got them to talk about porn in ways that I've never heard or read before. Things that guys would NEVER say to their girlfriends or wives. Most of the men she interviewed seem like just 'normal guys' and their stories are bad enough. What's really scary are the stories about men whose lives spiralled out of control because of pornography. It's frightening how low they can go, and you feel so terrible for their wives and children. Personally, I've never had a problem with porn, but this book definitely made me rethink my position. I like books that teach about an issue without lecturing -- this book stuck to people's stories and that made what is actually a tough subject into a fascinating, even at times enjoyable, read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    Should be required reading

    This is an important book that should be required reading for every educator, politician and parent. The ramifications of our society being ¿pornified¿ are shocking. I¿m no prude but I found many of the interviews a revelation in that they could be the people next door, in my church, or business people I deal with. I had no idea of the extent to which pornography is impacting our culture. Carole Sinclair, Frederick, MD

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2005

    An Important Read

    I was actually hoping for something more empirical regarding the effects of porn. However, as the author notes, you can't really do studies on porn without violating ethics (ie exposing people to lots of porn to see what happens to them). What Pamela Paul does do is far more important. She comes out and says what it seems nobody is willing to: porn is bad and here's why. If one of her reasons doesn't sway you there's probably four or five others that will. She also effectively argues against the philosophical/ intellectual/legal arguments porn producers use to defend their trade, and puts porn as an agressive business lobby in perspective. This book isn't always great. Sometimes it feels like you're hearing a certain set of arguments over and over throughout the book. And the title rubs me wrong (I got a dirty look from the person at the counter when I bought it:)). However, after reading the book, I have now firmly found a side on a problem whose prevalence I was not entirely aware of.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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