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FRADD: What’s Really At Stake In The Porn Debate

By  Matt FraddDailyWire.com
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There are few things that intersect the culture as broadly as pornography. Big business, big tech, religion, law, and of course, politics.

Porn checks all the boxes … and then some.

When four Republican representatives recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr urging that federal obscenity laws need to be enforced to address the explosion of graphic and often violent pornography, I winced — certainly not because I’m pro-porn, but because I feared that, once again, the real devastation that porn wreaks in the lives of individuals and families might be obscured by political posturing or other related issues.

For more than a decade, I have spoken to hundreds of thousands of parents, educators, and young people around the world about the predictable misery and despair that can come from exposure to pornography.

For many, hearing such strong language associated with porn seems extreme, perhaps exaggerated; maybe even a pretense to advance a religious agenda.

I assure you, this is not the case.

Over the last 40 years, there has been a great deal of research that states quite emphatically that pornography consumption is detrimental to the consumer, to our relationships, and to society as a whole.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization adopted a new diagnosis called “Compulsive sexual behavior disorder” as part of the latest edition of its diagnostic manual (the ICD-11). At last, those who suffer from problematic porn use can more easily be studied and treated. There are currently 45 neuroscience-based studies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal) providing strong evidence for how porn fits into the addiction model. There are over 75 studies linking porn use to poorer mental/emotional health and impaired cognitive outcomes. There are over 35 studies linking porn use to sexual problems and lower arousal to sexual stimuli. And over 35 studies link porn use to “un-egalitarian attitudes” toward women and sexist views.

As an easily accessible public figure in this fight, I am in regular contact with people who tell me about their damaged lives and often ruined relationships. These are not prudish, religious zealots who are suffering under the weight of gratuitous guilt or shame. These are good men and women who are seeing serious psychological and physiological effects as a direct result of behavior they could not control.

Just recently, I spoke to a young man who had been struggling for over five years with pornography. In that time, every relationship in his life collapsed as watching porn snuffed out his ability to love or think of anything beyond his own desires for instant, but fleeting, gratification.

Stories like this add to porn’s well-documented destructive power in communities across the country — so much so that over a dozen states have declared pornography to be a public health crisis.

In my own experience, being exposed to pornography at an early age led to deep personal and relational issues that took years to sort through.

Today, children as young as eight years old are being exposed to the most brutal and graphic forms of pornography. This early exposure quickly leads to a warped understanding of the gift of sexuality, often planting misogynistic seeds in the minds of second graders.

A cynical narrative is being spun on social media that the letter to the attorney general is nothing more than a political play to spur a moral panic and that neo-puritanical tribunals are waiting in the wings eager to jail sinners while violating First Amendment rights.

The concerns being raised are neither a moral panic nor religiously motivated.

Look into the heroic work of private organizations like Operation Underground Railroad, who know first-hand the indisputable role pornography plays in fueling human trafficking. Estimates are that global human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, with $99 billion of it connected with sexual exploitation.

As evidence that this is a mainstream concern, visit some of the non-partisan, non-religious organizations — like Fight the New Drug and Your Brain on Porn — who publish extensive research demonstrating the negative social, emotional, and psychological impact of pornography.

I’ve dedicated much of my career to researching, writing, and speaking about how to break free from porn. The good news is, it really is possible.

For example, in a recent project I’ve been a part of called STRIVE, in just nine months over 12,000 men participated in an anonymous online video-based support group that yielded many success stories. As is the case for other addictions, open discussion and having accountability are vital for recovery.

Because this is once again a public conversation, there is an opportunity for all people of good will to come together and positively impact the lives of millions. The harm pornography wreaks on individual lives is undeniable. It’s time we recognize porn for what it is and protect our families, children, and society as a whole from its devastating consequences.

Matt Fradd speaks to tens of thousands of people every year. He is the best-selling author of several books, including The Porn Myth, and is the author of the online course “STRIVE: A 21-Day Detox from Porn,” which equips men with the tools needed to quit porn for good.

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