About Pornified

It’s time to start asking questions about porn:

  • Have you ever looked at pornography?
  • Do you look at online porn every day?
  • Do you think your husband looks at it every day?
  • Are you afraid your children are getting hooked on porn?

Over the past ten years, technological advances, cultural shifts and social attitudes have transformed the pornography landscape. PORNIFIED is the first book to look at how this new culture of pornography is transforming people’s lives in the 21st century.

Using a mix of original qualitative and quantitative research, extensive interviews and vivid narrative, PORNIFIED tells the story of how men, women and children are affected by the ubiquity and mainstreaming of porn. The Internet, in particular, has made pornography more anonymous, more accessible and more affordable than ever before, bringing in new users, increasing use among existing fans, and catapulting others into sexual compulsivity. Children are being exposed to pornography earlier than ever before, in ways that may profoundly affect their sexuality. At the same time, child pornography is on the rise.

Yet while most people are disturbed by these trends, we still approach the issue of porn in outdated and ineffective ways. PORNIFIED shows why it’s important for all Americans – those who look at pornography and those who do not – to understand how porn has changed and what we need to do about it.

Praise for Pornified

» Selected one of the best books of 2005 by The San Francisco Chronicle
» A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

“Paul has stripped porn of its culture war claptrap…Pornified may stand as a Kinsey Report for our time.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle

“A sharp rebuke to porn’s glamorization”
—The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Does for pornography what Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation did for junk food — shining a light on a vast industry most of us have spent little time thinking about.”
—The Connecticut Post

“An alarming, thought-provoking overview of today’s cyber-sexual society.”
—The Seattle Times

“Paul sets out to scare readers about the effects of pornography on American society, and she succeeds mightily.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“A dire portrait of porn’s influence on our lives.”
—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“A persuasive argument that today’s pornography is not the Playboy centerfold or the Deep Throat of yesteryear…Paul’s remedy charts a sensible middle ground between restraints and free speech.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“Confronts porn head-on.”
—The Boston Globe

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… 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.
Publisher’s Weekly, boxed review for books of special interest

Pamela Paul convincingly and sometimes shockingly details the effects on men, women and children of living in a “pornified” world. Her book should be a wakeup call and should change the way we view — and rationalize viewing — pornography today. As Paul makes clear, porn is not “cool,” or “liberating,” or basically benign. It is a poison eroding relationships between men and women and darkening our children’s horizons.
— Judith Warner, author of Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

This is a quietly forceful book. It helps everyone — from libertarian to moralist — by offering a common ground from which to proceed: pornography is one more alienating product of a consumer culture, and in some ways a particularly lonely one. By definition it is selfish. That doesn’t mean it needs to be banned; it does mean we need to think about what it’s doing to each of us, and to our shared society.
— Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age

Pornified is rife with the tales of Americans experiencing a new level of sexual pathos, filled with snapshots of surreptitious lives: it is as compelling as it is troubling. A provocative book, sure to stir debate and reflection.
— Alissa Quart, author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers

Pamela Paul has written a brave and important book about the ubiquity of porn and how it shapes what we expect of women, sex, and human contact. It’s enough to make defenders of an unbridled free market and even a few “Girls Gone Wild” fans think twice about the culture we’re living in, and how we made it.
— Margaret Talbot, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and staff writer, The New Yorker

It’s beyond argument that pornography in America today has achieved a certain respectability: think of porn star Ron Jeremy’s reputation in the 1980s and his reputation today. Paul details how the ubiquity of pornography impacts our personal lives. She discusses studies on the subject — in one, 77 percent of respondents said they had looked at pornography at least once in a 30-day period — and shares interviews with many who watch it regularly. Paul’s analysis is wide-ranging: why men look at porn and how porn affects them, how women see pornography, how porn affects sexual relationships, the effects of porn on children. If Paul is far less polemical than, say, Andrea Dworkin, her book reveals a sadness about it all, reflected in one user’s comment: “I don’t see how any male who likes porn can think actual sex is better, at least if it involves all the crap that comes with having a real live female in your life.” Certain to generate discussion, as did Paul’s previous book, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony (2002).
— BOOKLIST review by Alan Moores

THE GREAT virtue of Pamela Paul’s book is that it deals with pornography at the level of human experience, something all too rare in the conceptualizing galaxy of the usual commentators on the subject. While civil libertarians fret about censorship, feminists argue about whether “sex workers” are empowered businesswomen or victims of exploitation, and academics yammer on about porn’s “transgressive” value, back on earth, Paul reminds us, there are more pressing issues, like how it feels to discover that your young son has been using the computer not for homework but for access to bigtits.com… Paul has a refreshing and utterly correct response. There is no shame, no hint of sexual hang-up, and certainly no threat to free speech in censuring a culture that makes women feel inadequate if they dislike revolting pictures or that turns sex toys into a fit subject for university seminars. Not so long ago, fighting such a culture would have been considered the very definition of normalcy.
Commentary Magazine, September 2005

She caused a stir — and coined a phrase — with her first book, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, and now journalist Pamela Paul is jumping into even more treacherous waters by taking on porn. Buoyed by a poll specially commissioned for Paul’s new book — Pornified: How Porn is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families — and conducted by Harris Interactive, the author uses concrete statistics as well as often mind-blowing anecdotes to make her case. Which is? In short, that no matter what your ideological or sexual stance on porn, it’s having more of an impact on your life than you know. From the erosion of intimacy in relationships thanks to a universe of cyber “other women” to an upswing in implants and generally unrealistic body expectations, porn is emerging from its late night ghetto into the bright light of everyday (paging Paris Hilton and just about any video in heavy rotation on MTV). Paul makes her point passionately… [she] wants to sounds an alarm and she succeeds.
— Elle.com