We all know that pornography consumption around the world is at an epidemic level, and it’s no secret that it’s having disastrous effects on relationships, marriages, and society at large. The problem is only exacerbated by the availability of pornography online.
According to the website covenanteyes.com, more than 1 in 8 Internet searches are for erotic content. 67% of children admit to clearing their Internet history to hide their online activity, while 79% of accidental exposures to Internet porn among kids take place in the home. Equally disturbing is the fact that 56% of divorce cases involve one party having an obsession with online porn.
These statistics are not lost on us here at Catholic Answers. With the addition of Matt Fradd to the apostolate, we have released several great products over the last two years on the dangers of pornography and what the Church teaches about authentic human sexuality. As the director of marketing for Catholic Answers, however, I have encountered a level of difficulty in actually getting these products into the hands of the people they could help the most.
Think about this for just a minute: How likely would you be to purchase a product on the dangers of pornography at a conference or from a Christian bookstore? It is likely that people shy away from this, not because they don’t recognize that they might have a problem with pornography but because they are not willing to publicly indict themselves. This is true also for people who know someone with a problem, yet they may hesitate to pick it up for fear that others will get the wrong idea.
This occurs even when making a purchase of a CD set or DVD online. What if your spouse or children see that it was delivered to you in the mail? The stigma attached to the issue can be overwhelming for many. Even if Catholic Answers did not charge a fee for these products, this problem would not go away.
As an apostolate that depends in very large part on the revenue generated from product sales to continue its mission, there are certain projects we move forward with even though we know there is a chance it will not produce a significant income. Products on pornography fit this description, but the apostolic good they can do outweighs the marketing problems that come with them.
This brings me back to Matt Fradd. Not long ago I was given copies of interviews he conducted with two former pornography industry insiders to listen to during my commute. I was quite honestly shocked by what I heard (I’m not a person who shocks easily). The first interview was with former “porn star” April Garris, and the second was with former porn producer Donny Pauling. Both of their stories are eye-opening to say the least.
When the destructive nature of pornography is discussed, many times we only consider the damage that is done to the person who consumes the pornography, but how often do we consider the damage it does to the people who are involved in creating it? After listening to these interviews, I can’t imagine how someone else could hear them and not be moved to completely eliminate pornography from their lives. Thanks be to God, both Donny’s and April’s stories have happy endings. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many in the industry.
These interviews eventually became the audio set The Ugly Truth: Two Former Insiders Expose the Reality Behind the Porn Industry. Due to the very candid nature of the interviews, Catholic Answers recommends this for adult listeners only. If you’ve got a problem with pornography or you know someone who does, I highly recommend listening to it. Don’t let the stigma keep you from kicking porn out of your life for good.
You can listen to an excerpt of Matt's interview with Donny Pauling here.