The latest book by Marty Klein, His Porn, Her Pain confronts the PornPanic head on. Although it is aimed at America’s PornPanic, a term he has coined for the misguided reaction to pornography, it is equally applicable elsewhere. From the perspective of a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist with 35 years experience he asks challenging questions about our reaction to pornography.
Since high-speed internet access has opened every device to a flood of pornography there has been a growing reaction characteristic of panic. The sex negative attitude in American culture has grown from a moral stand against pornography to a public health stand. This means that the user is no longer judged and left in his/her ‘degenerate’ choice but must now be outed for all our good and their own.
Marty Klein takes each of the accusations levelled at pornography and brings them under the spotlight to see how true they are and if there is any evidence to support the claims of harm and altered behaviour. His language is challenging and his arguments evidence-based without taking sides for or against porn. He repeatedly comes back to the conclusion that these voices are the result of a society that has a black and white polarised view of sex that is ill-informed and immature. He acknowledges that his circles are made up of the world’s smartest sex positive colleagues and friends who have helped him hone his views on the subject. Most of us don’t get an adequate sex education at school, let alone a positive one, and we are heavily influenced by fear.
He shows how many issues lie behind the use of porn and that these can be easily missed in aiming at porn only, especially in relationships. He refutes the idea of such a thing as porn addiction, sex addiction and Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction and why these things have not been recognised in the American Diagnostic Manual – 5 or similar ICD-10 of the World Health Organisation. Using examples he shows how porn use can be a component of more important personal and relational problems that would be unaddressed if porn use was targeted. This can often be because the therapist or counsellor’s mind is in the grip of the PornPanic and not being objective and non-judgemental. He reminds professionals of the basic principles that make for a helpful therapeutic approach and lists the issues that are often hidden behind porn use.
The book is an easy and absorbing read that helps to untangle the mind from all the emotionally charged stands that various people have taken against porn despite the lack of evidence. I agree with his repeated call for a mature discussion amongst partners, parents and children and in society generally on the subject of sex that is informed by the facts. The question that really needs addressing is why the panic?
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