October 7th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Green energy push has left us blowin' in the wind

EDITORIAL Lessons for Australia in NZ election results

CANBERRA OBSERVED Assurances on religious freedom needed now

ENERGY Peak oil turns out to be another moral panic

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Timor Leste, Australia reach new border treaty

BUSHFIRES Disaster awaits as advice again goes unheeded

GENDER POLITICS Does biological sex matter?

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Intolerance of the 'Yes' campaign for all to see

EUTHANASIA Medical murder: three historical cases

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Gallant Taiwan survives alone in the bitter sea

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Prepare for apologies in a generation's time

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE A reflection on the use and abuse of the thought of the Angelic Doctor

MUSIC Stupendous talent: What to do with all that ego?

CINEMA Trollhunters: Guillermo del Toro's TV fantasy

BOOK REVIEW Debunking the 'harmless' tag


EUTHANASIA Victoria's death bill: questions that need answers

Books promotion page

Debunking the 'harmless' tag

News Weekly, October 7, 2017

THE PORN MYTH: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography

by Matt Fradd

Ignatius Press, San Francisco
Paperback: 280 pages
Price: AUD$35.95

Reviewed by Paul Ninnes


The Porn Myth: Exposing the Reality Behind the Fantasy of Pornography is Matt Fradd’s latest book and is a well argued, well structured discussion of the porn phenomenon and its effects on people. Fradd is an Australian, now based in the United States, and is the founder of theporneffect.com. He is currently director of content development for Integrity Restored and is a best-selling author and speaker.

In this book, Fradd goes about debunking many commonly held beliefs about pornography. The book is definitely not a religious treatise. He avoids religious jargon, and uses rational, fact-based arguments to debunk many myths and misconceptions.

He states: “The goal of this book is to expose the myth that pornography is good or at least not that bad.”

It could be said that Fradd is very Aquinas like in his method as he works towards achieving the book’s goal. (The author obviously looks up to Thomas Aquinas, judging by the name of his podcast, Pints with Aquinas). He does this by methodically stepping the reader through the many arguments or beliefs around pornography that are widely accepted in society. Chapter headings include: “Porn empowers women”; “only religious people oppose porn”; “I don’t pay for porn, so I’m not contributing to the industry”; “Porn isn’t addictive”; and the classic claim, “porn is only fantasy: it doesn’t affect our real lives”.

The book is an intelligent and compelling read and creates solid arguments on what is a major issue in society. When it comes to human sexuality some would say it is the issue of our time.

Fradd writes: “Among millennials (18-30 year olds), 63 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women say they view pornography at least several times a week – and that says nothing of those who view pornography somewhat less frequently.”

The author rigorously argues that sexuality is better and more fulfilling when one is not exposed to a cornucopia of sexual imagery on the internet: “By placing sex, any kind of sex, into the medium of pornography, we gorge the masses on industrialised, commodified sexuality. This does not celebrate sex at all. It cheapens it.”

While much of the book is built on that proposition – that pornography cheapens sex – it is great that Fradd positions sex clearly as something pleasurable and good. In fact, the reader no doubt will benefit from a deeper and richer appreciation of the gift of sex.

Although the book is non-religious in tone, it has a clear moral and theological underpinning. For the amoral, it may not be digestible content, but for someone striving “to be a good person” it certainly will make them think twice before using pornography again.

Further than this, the book is so thorough it forms a great reference point for someone working in the growing number of areas affected by this topic. Be it education, counselling, psychology, pastoral or church ministry, the book provides both a good reference point for most common arguments, and an in-depth analysis of each topic.

The topics covered are: porn culture, the porn industry, porn and our sexuality, porn and our relationships, and the struggle with porn. The book is heavily referenced, which will appeal to those seeking academic justification for the arguments, and the book includes a significant appendix that further drills down into the science and the plethora of brain studies that back up the book’s premise.

With the viewing age of pornography getting younger and younger, and the rates of exposure before adulthood nearing 100 per cent, all caring parents should have good knowledge on this topic. Children should be prepared from a young age to deal with porn exposure.

In speaking of sex education Fradd says: “Children and teens need to see that their parents are reliable sources of knowledge about sex, which means that conversations about these matters should be considered normal in the home.”

The author’s experience in working with people (and their spouses) impacted by pornography is obvious. The book also attempts to help those affected, with helpful advice and encouragement. The reader is reminded that our desire for sexual fulfilment is rooted in something very good and that there is a way out of pornography’s sticky web. Fradd seeks to inspire people to pursue the real love on offer in authentic sexual relationships, rather than the cheap counterfeit that pornography offers.

Fradd’s arguments are insightful, accurate and supported by experts in the fields of neurology, psychology and sociology. Discussions pull back the curtain on an often hidden problem that has even more hidden effects. Drawing from insiders in the sex trade, the realities of the industry and pornography’s sordid history is exposed. Reaching into the personal lives of actors and actresses, the fantasies of porn production are exposed; so too is the trail of broken lives porn leaves in its wake.

Matt Fradd definitely attempts to leave the reader motivated to fight the pro-porn cultural norm that is widespread in society. This is definitely a book for you if you are someone who seeks to challenge the wave of destruction that pornography is bringing to children, relationships and society. The book is, however, probably best in the hands of someone asking the question, “Does porn really hurt anyone”?

The book does what the title suggests and exposes the “porn myth”. But it does not stop there; it systematically removes the scaffolding that pro-porn arguments are built on. This book clearly contributes to the conversation on the harmful effects of pornography and it is the most comprehensive discussion I have seen.

If you are looking for a book that thoroughly scrutinises the pro-porn arguments and encourages individuals, parents and communities to work to reject the influence of porn, then look no further.

Purchase this book at the bookshop:


All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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