About the author, Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

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Your Brain on Porn

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

18 thoughts on “The Essential Reason Porn Is Wrong

  1. You can not love someone while condemning a major part of what makes them human. The aesthetic enjoyment of erotic imagery leading to self gratification is a natural and ubiquitous inclination. It makes masturbation much more diverse and efficient. Since masturbation is a good thing that should be encouraged in those unfortunate to not be fulfilled otherwise, the masturbatory adjunct must have some positive attributes. Masturbation and pornography relieves a persons lust and has been a major reason that violent sex crimes have been in decline the last 20 years. Are there problems with abuse of pornography, yes, and with its production as well. Some people do not have the regularly recurring lust that needs to be quenched, and could never understand my argument. Pornography should not be condemned by those who do not burn with lust. It’s like skinny people telling the obese that they shouldn’t eat so much.

    • Pornography does NOT relieve a person’s lust. That is an absolute fallacy. It is a band-aid at best, and in almost every case it is a band-aid covered in bacteria that will make the wound worse. Pornography is an addiction and saying that it relieves lust is like saying that cocaine relieves a person’s laziness or slothful nature. Uncontrolled lust is a flaw and a sin. On the same note, masturbation is not a good thing and should not be encouraged. You write as if certain things are facts, accepted by all, which are in fact rejected by the majority of God-fearing people. If you were on a different site, I might understand your attitude but not here.

      You say violent sex crimes have been on the decline the last 20 years when the truth is that the reporting of those crimes is down, which is a worthwhile distinction. There has been a rash of college rapes and the MO is similar across the board. Date rape-style tactics are employed or girls who have simply drunk too much, in a poorly chosen location, are being taken advantage of. The reason there are so many young men willing to commit these crimes in colleges is because they view these unconscious girls as pleasure objects, not as people, and this is absolutely because of porn. Porn is a stain on this world, one that won’t wash away easily.

      You may say that I am a skinny person “telling the obese that they shouldn’t eat so much” but what exactly are personal trainers? Yes, I am, in fact, a skinny person and I WOULD tell an obese person that they eat too much, if they asked my opinion or if they were a family member I was concerned for. You don’t get fat by eating too little. Some people struggle with weight more than others but that is not an excuse to have no self control or to be gluttonous. Some people also have really bad tempers and violent tendencies; does this mean that I, as a law abiding citizen, should not advise them to control their flaws and avoid hurting others? “Poor violent criminal, I don’t understand your drive to commit assault and murder so how dare I say you shouldn’t” ??? That is preposterous, as is the assertion that a person who avoids pornography shouldn’t advise others to do the same; or a thin person with self control over their appetite shouldn’t advise an obese family member to diet.

      Your attitude is one of the victim. You think your lust is so powerful that I couldn’t understand it. Just like an obese person’s appetite being too much for a skinny person to understand. I’ll say this, I was addicted to pornography for years and my lust is like a raging beast, as it is for most men, especially those with porn problems. You are not unique in the level of your lust. Similarly, you may say that because I am skinny I do not understand how an obese person’s gluttony is so strong. That is also wrong. I may not be drawn to eat too much dessert on a regular basis but I am very gluttonous for something worse in some ways: beer. I have to fight my lust and gluttony, just like every person and, though we are all different, none of us is without fault and we don’t have to be victims of our flaws and weaknesses. God is there always, to give you strength. Ask and you shall receive. Whether you struggle with great lust or intense gluttony or any other vice or sin, God is bigger than it and He can help you conquer it.

  2. Matt,
    Your article has some good points in it. But if we are to find the essential reason why pornography is wrong, we first need to look at God’s Word. The Greatest Commandments, summed up, are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Looking at porn goes against both of those because, as you said, it’s treating the person as a commodity and not as God created them. Your article basically says the same thing, but it does get sidetracked a bit.

    You say “The degree to which we love another, is the degree to which we feel responsible for that person’s good.” If we follow that comment to its destination, I can’t believe it will take us to a place that is far from God. Just to say that we FEEL responsible for a person’s good doesn’t actually mean we need to do anything for them. However, let’s assume we do act on this feeling of responsibility. We will end up one of two places: very depressed or very controlling. After all, I’m now responsible for the good in a person’s life (i.e. not trusting God to provide). I will either realize this is overwhelming and give up, or try to do it all and control their outcomes.

    I am a steward of what God has given me. I am to follow him and let He who has already provided all I need to use my gifts and abilities to bless those in my world and build His kingdom on earth. This may seem like splitting hairs, but I believe it is important.

    • Piggybacking on the comment above, I’m reading some interesting arguments, but the whole “skinny person telling an obese person to eat less” is a false analogy. The difference Trick appears to be overlooking is that people need to eat. Meanwhile, Trick seems to be advocating total abstinence from porn. Obviously, if we completely gave up eating in the way Trick appears to be advocating that people avoid porn entirely, we would eventually die.

      That being said, food is nourishing, just like a whole other host of substances and activities, in moderation. Just as too little or too much food can have an adverse effect on your body, improper behavior regulation could have a adverse effect on our species. For instance, there seems to be a survival instinct attached to lust. Obviously, if everyone decided tomorrow to stop having sex forever, the human race would eventually die out. If there was no such thing as lust–or let’s use a less charged term such as sexual drive–it’s likely a species wouldn’t propagate itself, and it would then cease to exist. Therefore, the sexual drive is simply one of many evolutionary features, which has allowed human kind to propagate to it’s current population. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be here.

      Getting back to the topic of porn, it’s possible we have a natural aversion to it for a couple of reasons.
      1. People are highly vulnerable, both physically and emotionally, while in the act of sex, so it makes sense they would find a safe space away from others to engage in it.
      2. Because of this, it’s less likely to see people in the act, and unsuspecting witnesses are generally shocked, at least momentarily, by what they don’t encounter regularly. The natural reaction could range from shock to fascination to arousal, but placing a value judgement on any of these natural reactions is pure subjectivity. In any case, people likely pick up on the message that sex should be a private act, and that idea simply propagates with regular reinforcement, but it’s important to remember these distinctions only exist in our mind. The act of sexual intercourse is what it is, neither good nor bad, but simply a feature of our species, as is our natural reaction to it, as opposed to what we may be conditioned to believe.

      Given there is nothing inherently wrong with sex, watching it, or enjoying it, with some caveats, one issue I take with Trick’s diatribe above is the moral equivalency used to equate porn with rape. Clearly, rape, or any power differential resulting in the subjugation of another is reprehensible, but if both parties are of sound mind, willing, able, and deriving joy from it, who am I or anyone else to judge?

      That being said, it’s true you can’t always be sure of those circumstances one way or another when watching porn.

      Given those positive conditions are met, I can think of no argument against watching such an act unless it’s not intended for other people to view. For instance, watching a private sex tape, which has been leaked to the internet is clearly an invasion of one’s privacy, but that’s not the case with the majority of porn, which is made available expressly for the purpose of engaging an audience. So long as those on camera are aware of and in agreement with such a purpose, I can’t see what the problem is.

      Even the “commodity” argument described above, in which I share partial agreement, has a major flaw. While I agree that people should be treated with respect and loved, above all else, our entire economy is based on making commodities out of people.

      We train people from a very young age to be productive members of society so that when they enter the work force, a profit can be made. Without treating people like commodities to at least some small degree, our economy as it stands currently, would fall apart, leading to greater societal problems. If you think filming woman in a sexual act is degrading, wait and see what horrible things begin to occur when no food is being produced, when clean water is unavailable, when law enforcement can no longer be sustained. It’ll be war, famine, pestilence and death.

      Let’s face it. Even the independent contractor is a commodity. I mean seriously, when was the last time you told your plumber you loved him, and truly meant it? That’s not to say plumbers and others who provide services are not deserving of love, but it’s a little silly to suggest we value them, in the vast majority of cases, for any more than the service they provide, and that’s OK. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a plumber who resented the fact that I simply wanted him to unclog my drain or fix my toilet, so long as he was compensated fairly for adequate work. How is a porn star any different, provided they’re making a free choice to work in that industry, have the freedom to leave if they so choose, and all parties are being compensated fairly?

      On the final point of self gratification, I have to go back to the moderation argument, before making any concessions. If masturbation is so prevalent in one’s life that it gets in the way of accomplishing other goals, that’s the definition of addiction, and it’s a problem, but it’s the addiction that’s the problem, not the self gratification, inherently.

      From another angle, if masturbation causes you to disrespect women, or plays any role in reducing the joy in your life, it might be time to reconsider the path you’re going down, but that still doesn’t make masturbation inherently evil, any more so than any other bodily function. We gratify ourselves ever day through a whole host of substances and activities due to dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter in our brains. That’s just a fact, and there’s nothing inherently good or evil about it. It simply is what it is.

      Like I mentioned earlier, the only time a problem arises is when seeking that kind of pleasure nonstop leads to missing out on the other things in life, which truly feel important. Whether those include experiences as profound as love and spirituality or as trivial as accomplishing a short term goal should be up to the individual to decide. Who is anyone else to judge? Unless of course you’re a mouthpiece for God, but if you believe that’s your role in this world, that just seems a bit blasphemous, if you ask me.

      Placing value judgements and imposing behavior regulation on others is the true degradation of the individual.

  3. Great exposition of why pornography, in itself, is wrong. We are about to put on a program for men that speaks about pornography and your internet presence is the best I have encountered. Congrats on the work you are doing.

  4. In a perfect world I would do everything out of love for my fellow man. Yet I am selfish, self-centered if not held in check by the Holy Spirit. Even then I have free will. I can’t show love to a picture or a person in a picture or a movie. I don’t know them. When I get obsessive with porn an masturbation I am committing idolatry–I am coping with life with acting out instead of coping with God. I am sinning against my wife with adultery. Jesus said if a man looks at a woman to lust after her he has committed adultery in his heart already. I am committing sexual immorality with self sex, sex outside of marriage. I can’t show love to a picture or person in a picture. Steve

    • You do not have free will. Not at all. Why do you think you do? No one does.

      1. Believing in God or suffering an eternity in hell is not free will. It is what Pavlov did to his dogs. It is intimidation.

      2. Your free will is constrained by the circumstances in which you live. A guarantee a billionaire has more freedom than the man who flips burgers for minimum wage. How many of us would choose to do something different if we had the resources? Now that is the ultimate test of free will. Give a person the choice of all possible things in this world. See what he does.

      Believe me. You have no free will. My free will right now wants to walk along a beach with a beautiful woman who loves me and who will love me for life. But I do not have the money to make that happen. People who talk of free will are often in very good circumstances. You never ask the man in the gutter about free will and choice. Because he has none.

      So lets stop with this free will garbage. Your free will is even biased by the fact you think sex is evil. You are already behind the eight ball. It also amazes men are the targets of sinning. I assure you that your wife is looking at other men and masturbating. Yet, I do not see her here writing out of guilt. Nope. Amazing how that works.

    • You’re bringing up an interesting philosophical discussion about free will, but you’re failing to define what you’re rejecting (or defining it poorly).

      Free will is not the ability to do anything at any time (at least, that’s not what people typically mean by it).

      Free will is merely the ability to act on your desires. You may want a long walk on the beach with a beautiful woman, and you are free to act on that desire, making strides to look for beaches and beautiful women. Free will does not mean the ability to succeed at those endeavors. To deny the existence of free will because you don’t get what you want only confuses the phrase as people typically mean it.

      On a separate matter: what makes you think Steve thins sex is evil?

    • I’m sorry, the world is not perfect, we all make mistakes. Jay, I don’t agree, we do have free will, the Bible says “Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” You do have a choice, that is why you choose to either accept God’s gift through His son, Jesus or reject it. Adam and Eve had a fair chance, and they failed. Just like I chose to write this reply, you DO have free will.
      #1- it is not intimidation, it is called faith and choice, He didn’t force anything on you. You are comparing animals to humans, we have a soul, they don’t. What makes a soul? Free will.
      #2 you are right God does put us in different situations, but if you follow His words and have faith in Him, He can take you out of the situation or he can promote you. paul said he knew both how to be abased and to abound. He suffered much for God, but he never complained. He could have complained about his circumstances or just followed God’s commands.

  5. This article is insane. It ignores many realities of life.

    1. None of this is new. Society has been like this forever. Prostitution after all is the world’s oldest profession. This is just a new witch hunt for Christians to make people feel guilty about. That is all. It is the latest thing. Christianity after all is a religion of guilt and not free will. Heck, you are given an ultimatum from the beginning. Believe or burn for eternity —- as if that is some sort of free will. You are taught from the beginning you have sinned before you even took a breath — that is guilt.

    2. I get tired of the blaming of men for what women freely choose to do in life. There are thousands of jobs out there. Thousands of programs for women that men cannot even be part of. They have choices. Then, there is more homemade porn than you can imagine. Women are freely choosing to take off their clothes more than ever and this is what you are completely ignoring. No one is forcing a woman to be a webcam girl sitting in the comfort of her own home doing porn. No one. She is choosing because it is easier than going to work in construction or welding or any of the other things men have always been relegated to doing.

    3. Then you are using selective science to prove your points. You do not at all touch upon how the sexual desire region a male’s brain is 2.5 times larger than a females or how testosterone levels are 10 times great in males. I guess God screwed that up when he made us.

    Until Christianity begins to become more realistic and address the obvious inconsistencies and contradictions found in the bible and in the preachings of its members, then all of your message falls on deaf ears. Ultimate, the true question is this: if God is so loving, then why is their so much inequity among people. I personally know people who have ate out of garbage cans, people wrongly convicted who spent years in a living hell, and people with the most horrible disease you can imagine. Now, why is this? This is in no way the act of a loving God. No freaking way. Many people live in a hellish existence on this planet. Preachers from Covenant house who sit behind a computer and talk about a pie in the sky world have no idea what they are talking about and in the end have no answers. None.

    • Not following you, Jay.

      1. What does the non-newness of the issue have to do with anything? Yes, sexual sin is as old as the hills, but this does not mean that what Matt is saying is wrong. What does this have to do with Matt’s thesis?

      2. No one here is blaming men for what women freely choose to do in life. (And, by the way, you don’t believe in free will, remember? Women can’t “freely” do anything.) Why do you think Matt is blaming men for what women do?

      3. What does the size of the sexual region of the man’s brain have to do with this?

      I’d love to know (a) what is unrealistic about Matt’s video, (b) what is inconsistent about it, and (c) what is contradictory in the Bible. In all honesty, your comment is more of a rant than it is a coherent argument about the topic at hand.

  6. I respectfully disagree with this article and the constant portrayal of women as victims. First, women have free will just as a man does. She simply chooses. Second, I know porn stars and all of them have bypassed good men to do what they do. In fact, those women used good men or thought nothing of them. They had many opportunities for a normal life. Tons of good guys out there. They bypassed good man after good man. Even now, due to their beauty, they have ample opportunities to be with a good man. They again, just choose not to. It is tiring to hear the bad guy and innocent girl routine because it simply is not true. Tons of jobs out there. The reality is that many women rather make $100-$1000 an hour tax free having sex than working a 9 to 5 job. We have all seen this. The girl who takes advantage of the good guy and then down the road gets burned and wants pity. Maybe we should teach our girls to value good men who would love them over money and materialism and vanity because the reality now, as can be seen by the selfie, for women it is all about me, me, me. Thank you for listening. I am anonymous because I dont like giving my contact information out. I hope this is not a problem.

  7. Christianity is not about one grand ultimatum, it’s about love. Since the fall of man (Adam and Eve sinning) we deserve death. Too many have a skewed perception of Christianity thinking if they say the right things and do the right things they somehow have “fire insurance”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We as Christians understand we are sinful and love the Lord enough to repent and put our faith in Him. God sent his son to die on the cross for everyones sin which is the ultimate sacrifice and shows how much God loves each one of us. God wants no man to perish but it’s a choice you must make. If you deny Christ you, yes YOU make the personal decision to be separated from God for eternity, not just this brief time we are on this earth. I pray you consider the sacrifice God made by sending his son to die on the cross for your sins!

  8. Pretty simple for me. Porn is wrong because Jesus said (I am paraphrasing here): “if you look on another woman [who is not your wife] with lust, you have committed adultery in your heart.”

    And last I checked, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” was one of the Ten Commandments. Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

    Therefore, Porn is wrong, the end.

    • Well I am not a religious person, so it is not as simple as this in my eyes. If someone watches porn and is not addicted/it does not negatively affect his/her life, then I see nothing wrong with it. It’s all a matter of perspective and where your religious beliefs stand.

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