"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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Contraversial and worth it
This is a book that maddens a lot of people -- a book that criticizes pornography with no reference to religion or the effects of the industry on it's own performers. The book is entirely about the implications of porn on the people who watch it.
I especially valued the discussion of the few scientific studies in this era, from the 1970s, and why there has been no follow up.
Paul is an important writer and this book had some political impact.