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July 18, 2013
Column #1,664
The Social Costs of Pornography
By Mike McManus

Pornography is ubiquitous in the American culture - a silent killer of millions of marriages. This week Dr. Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council delivered a milestone address and PowerPoint presentation to expose porn’s harm to the individual, the family and the culture.

It was co-sponsored by the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic group active on hundreds of college campuses. Several presidents of major Catholic universities say that pornography is the Number #1 problem on their campuses. The lecture was headlined as “Porn in the Dorm: The Impact of Pornography on College Campus Life.”

As Fagan put it, “More and more teenagers are coming of age in a culture where pornography is not only accessible, but acceptable. For college students, the use of pornography is especially problematic. Away from home and surrounded by friends, co-eds are susceptible to an addiction that can destroy their education, their relationships and their future.”

Coincidentally, several days before he spoke, The New York Times published a three-page article headlined, “She Can Play That Game, Too.”

“The guys on college campuses want to have casual sex, and the girls want romance, right? Increasingly, however, women are the ones looking to hook up.”

“A” texted “her regular hook up – the guy she is sleeping with but not dating.” They had sex that night, but she confesses that it was not about the meeting of two souls. “We don’t really like each other in person, sober.” She said, adding that “we literally can’t sit down and have coffee.”

Yikes, this was not the atmosphere of Duke University where I graduated decades ago. Both men and women dated in hopes of finding a partner for life. The Times story was independent corroboration of the concern of university presidents and Dr. Fagan who began his career as a grade school teacher in Ireland before pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology and now directs FRC’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI),

A major thesis of his lecture is that people “are free to choose (porn) – but are not free to choose the consequences.”

Fagan detailed porn’s harm to the individual and marriage: “Porn undermines the sexual capacity of the individual because the core purpose (of sex) is to relate intimately to one’s spouse, both personally and sexually. Because the husband has less capacity to be sexually involved with his spouse, the wife senses the changed relationship between her and her husband. The man is less available. He has less of himself to give.”

Two-thirds of married couples lose interest in sex with each other if one is addicted to porn. One’s spouse is less attractive to the porn user. He often views marriage as confining. Subsequently, a belief creeps in that fidelity is not important. That can lead not only to affairs but prostitutes.

One study of divorce lawyers reports pornography is involved in 60 to 68 percent of divorces! The hooking-up culture on campuses which seems so fun and innocent caused long-term disaster.

While men are six times more likely to become addicted to porn than women, females can become addicted to cybersex and online infidelity, which leads to face-to-face infidelity in 80 percent of cases for both genders.

They can not only lose their spouse, but 58 percent of addicts experience considerable financial loss, with a third even losing their jobs. Many suffer depression and loneliness.

What lies behind such disaster is the profound lie of pornography that sex is harmless as well as fun. In fact, porn addiction is an easy trap to fall into.

Fagan warns: “Young men who become addicted should not marry until that addiction is cleared up. Similarly, no woman should ever marry a man addicted to pornography.”

There are answers. First, install a filter on your computer to block porn images, which can be obtained from the American Family Association in Tupelo, MS.

Second, I urge you see Pat Fagan’s lecture which can be found at The lecture will be shown in Cardinal Newman clubs across the country. Parents should download it, and ask their teenagers and college students to watch it with them.

If they learn of the consequences and dangers, harm can be avoided. The lecture also provides evidence that those who marry as virgins have the happiest marriages, few abortions and lowest divorce rates. Parents can assert, “You are free to choose, but not free to choose the consequences.”

For those who have become addicted, I suggest you join a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, and seek professional help.

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