The Startling Truth About Pornography (Gail Dines)

Doctor and sociologist Gail Dines talking about the damaging effect of pornography on individuals, families, and communities.
Doctor Gail Dines: Professor of Sociology at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts

Pornography is the drug of choice for a lot of people in the 21st century, especially males. They go to it when they’re feeling bored or down. It’s readily available. And society is more or less accepting of it. But what if I told you that pornography has a corrosive effect on the mind? A mind is a terrible thing to waste because a wasted mind is a wasted life. The mind, after all, is the source of all the good and bad that happens in the world. And whenever a mind goes bad, many people pay a price, the individual and those closest to them chief among them.

Pornography is a silent killer because most people do it in secret. And they often don’t take stock of their pernicious habit until serious damage has already taken place. Now is always the right time to stop watching pornography and start the process of psychological healing.

I’ve transcribed a short clip in which sociologist Gail Dines speaks on pornography in terms of a public health crisis. Pornography, she argues, is about making hate not love. Pornography is characterized by degradation, fear, violence, and disgust. To be anti-pornography is to be pro-sex in its healthy expressions. Doctor Dines wants the world to know that she isn’t going to sit idly by while the sexuality of a generation is hijacked often by people whose only interest is making money.


My name is Doctor Gail Dines. I’m a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. And I’m also founder and president of Culture Reframed, which is a non-profit that defines pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age. I lecture all over the word, I lecture in colleges.

What you see in the beginning–the men, the hostility is literally coming off them. They’re bristling with hostility towards me because they’re obviously thinking, “What does this middle-aged feminist know about my life and about pornography?” And then I start to talk and you see their bodies literally change. You see the hostility kind of seep out of them because nobody before has ever explained to them what pornography does. And they are hungry for this. And at the end they are living up. Some of them in tears begging for help to get off pornography.

Now the problem is that pornography is a kind of stealth public crisis. I think a lot of people, especially over the age of 35, do not understand the world of young people. They do not understand what it means to grow up in a world saturated by pornography. And when you look back at our father’s generation or even my generation. How did boys get to pornography? They found their father’s Playboy penthouse. And they had limited access to pornography. Now that was sexist and bad enough as it was.

But really, you look back at that today with a kind of nostalgia because today what happens is when they put porn into Google they get catapulted into a world of sexual violence, degradation, dehumanization. They get catapulted into a world that I think for many they had no idea this is what they were going to get in to.

And I think it traumatizes them. I think it really has a terrible impact on the way they think about themselves. The way they think about sexuality, intimacy, and connection. When you think about what sex is about–we call it “making love.” In porn, it’s actually making hate. He makes hate to her. All the emotions that one links to hate–degradation, fear, violence, disgust–all of those things are what he shows towards her. So this is the introduction into the world of sex of the young boy.

And so when we think about effects, when it affects the boys then it affects the girls. And the reason for that is the boys think the girls are going to behave like the girls and the women in pornography. And so pornography really sets you up for disappointment. Now people who often criticize pornography are called anti-sex, to which I would argue that if you want to be pro-sex, you have to be anti-porn. You can’t be pro-porn and pro-sex–you have to pick one. And I think those of us who are against pornography are against pornography because we can’t stand what it does to sex. We can’t stand to see the way in which it reduces sex to an industrial toxic product. Which is exactly what pornography does.

The free porn sites were designed as a way to get young boys into pornography so by the time they got their credit card, they’re addicted and they’re using it and using it. It’s a perfect business model. And I don’t know what kind of adult men these boys are going to grow into because we have robbed them of so much by introducing them to pornography at such an early age.

We have allowed the pornographists to come in and to hijack our kid’s sexuality into a sexuality that is predatory, that is violent, that is disconnected. And that reduces humans to just basically sex objects–men and women. So this is why pornography is a public health crisis. It comes from the individual and radiates out to families, communities, to the culture.

That is why we have to be bold. We have to be courageous. And we have to make a stand–not on our watch are you going to hijack our children’s sexuality.

Author: Cornelius

I’m a 20-something year old from the American Midwest passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of our lives.

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