Pornified How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families

Pamela Paul

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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Welcome to Porn America. Pornography, once the taboo vice that no one dared to mention, has become part of our daily lives—affordable, accessible, anonymous, and increasingly acceptable. The all-pornography, all-the-time mentality is everywhere—not just in cybersex and Playboy magazine but in mainstream magazines, in Paris Hilton's saleability as a celebrity, in the advice columns of women's magazines, and on the bestseller lists.

But, even more striking, porn has become a big part of the personal lives of many Americans. Critically acclaimed author Pamela Paul argues that as porn has become more pervasive, it has changed our marriages and families as well as our children's ideas of sex and sexuality. In the dozens of interviews and a nationwide Harris poll that she conducted as part of her research for this book, Paul exposes how porn has infiltrated our lives. From a wife agonizing over the late-night hours her husband spends on porn sites to parents stunned to learn that their twelve-year-old son has seen a hardcore porn film, we see the costs and consequences of pornography as intimacy is replaced by fantasy and emotional isolation.


Praise for Pornified

"[Paul] has stripped porn of its culture war claptrap . . . Pornified may stand as a Kinsey report for our time."—San Francisco Chronicle

"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

"Does for pornography what Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation did for junk food—shinning a light on a vast industry most of us have spent little time thinking about."—Connecticut Post

"The great virtue of Pamela Paul's book is that it deals with pornography at the level of human experience . . . A refreshing and utterly correct response."—Commentary

"A sharp rebuke to porn's glamorization."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"An alarming, thought-provoking overview of today's cyber-sexual society."—The Seattle Times

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

"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, New American Foundation, and staff writer, The New Yorker

"Pamela Paul convincingly and sometimes shockingly details the effects on men, women, and children living in a 'pornified' world. Her book should be a wake-up call for parents 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

"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 reaction."—Alissa Quart, author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers

"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 The End of Nature and Enough

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


A Pornified World

"What's a nice girl like you doing writing a book about porn?"

This was the first question editors asked when I initially proposed this book. And I was asked over and over again. Two months...

Read the full excerpt


  • Pamela Paul

  • Pamela Paul is a contributor to Time magazine and the author of The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony. Formerly a senior editor at American Demographics and a correspondent for The Economist, she writes for such publications as Psychology Today, Self, Marie Claire, Ladies' Home Journal, and The New York Times Book Review. She lives in New York.

  • Pamela Paul Earl Wilson / The New York Times
    Pamela Paul