Sometimes good ideas take off. The Washington Examiner announces that New evidence points to porn’s destructiveness , echoing Mary Eberstadt’s popular The Weight of Smut from the June/July issue. Reporting on a press conference held by the Coalition for the War Against Illegal Pornography, Barbara Hollingsworth writes:
Citing numerous academic studies and her own clinical practice, Dr. Mary Anne Layden, a psychotherapist and director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program, says that porn meets all the clinical definitions for addiction except that obscene images can never be detoxed from the addict’s brain.
“There is no credible evidence to suggest that porn does not in some way damage everybody who looks at it,” she told The Washington Examiner . . . .
“There’s always an escalation process. We don’t know what the threshold is, and those with addictive personalities will start it earlier. But I see a lot of people who didn’t show any psychological problems before [viewing porn],” she said.
Layden is one of the authors in a book of substantial essays on the social costs of pornography soon to be published by the Witherspoon Institute , developed from a conference on the subject the institute sponsored. The institute has also published a booklet, The Social Costs of Pornography summarizing the conference’s findings and offering several recommendations for lowering those (great) costs.
Among other First Things articles on the subject (in chronological order, from newest to oldest): Mary Rose Rybak’s Dancing with the Pornographers (she is now, by the way, Mary Rose Somarriba); Jason Byasee’s Not Your Father’s Pornography ; Robert T. Miller’s Romney’s Pornography Dilemma ; and Frederica Mathewes-Green’s Internet Child Pornography .