A Review of Big Porn Inc. Edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray.

Spinifex, 2011.

The message of this book is quite simple: porn is big business; porn is harmful; and porn must be resisted. In forty meaty chapters written by 34 experts, we get this message hammered home clearly, cogently, and convincingly. The authors make it quite clear that porn is now a big-time mainstream industry, and its greasy and destructive tentacles creep into every nook and cranny of life.

The Australian and international experts here provide a mountain of evidence on the reach of porn, the massive harm of porn, and the countless lives ruined by porn. Case studies along with academic essays combine to make a powerful statement on one of the most insidious and harmful businesses of our day.

Not only is there a copious amount of documentation here, there are plenty of real life stories and case studies which make for fascinating, if at times, sickening reading. Indeed, there is a lot of hard core stuff here, but sometimes we need to be shocked out of our comfort zones and back into reality.

Porn is an ugly, nasty business which enslaves people, dehumanises people, abuses people, and destroys people. At least 100 billion dollars a year are generated from this industry, so one can clearly see why its defenders will fight to the death to keep it going.

The editors in their introduction say this: “We live in a world that is increasingly shaped by pornography. . . . Big Porn Inc documents the proliferation and normalisation of pornography, the way it has become a global industry and a global ideology, and how it is shaping our world and the harm this causes.”

They continue, “Our book provides a powerful challenge to liberation conceits that pornography is simply about pleasure, self-empowerment and freedom of choice. . . . The global pornography industry shows little concern for subordination, degradation or human rights violations; indeed powerful elements in the industry market the violation of human rights.”

Like all destructive industries, it has nothing whatsoever to do with helping people or making society a better place. It is all about greedy and calloused people doing whatever they can to make a buck. And what they do to get rich quick is simply appalling. One writer examines 21 different porn sub-genres, and how readily available they are online.

Here are just a few, with the total Web pages for each: teen sex – 82 million pages; animal sex – over 50 million; bondage – nearly 30 million; crush sex (which involves the killing of small animals) – 8 million; vomit sex – 4 million; wired porn (involving electrical shock) – 1.7 million; snuff sex (involving actual death) – 1.3 million.

And all this is escalating and intensifying each passing day. Supply and demand feed off each other, and countless millions of people become trapped and addicted, even if they want to get off this destructive treadmill. It is as good a means to wreck individuals and ruin societies as any war has ever been.

If all the data and evidence presented here is not enough to convince the reader, then the personal stories should certainly be enough. We find one horrific and tragic story after another here, powerfully and graphically showing how porn damages women, children and others. It is pretty bleak reading.

Consider the story of Australian ex-stripper Stella: “Every day was long. Every day was hard. Every day someone forced me in some way. . . . My relationships suffered; I was becoming more and more isolated. I started using heroin to soothe the pain, all of the pain: the physical pain of my deteriorating knees and back; the emotional pain of being nothing, negative space, dirt, slut, whore, stripper, junkie. The fear and desperation rose.”

What about “Amy” who was sexually abused by her uncle, a heavy porn addict? “My uncle started to abuse me when I was only 4 years old. . . . At first he showed me pornographic movies and then he started doing things to me. . . . Every day of my life I live in constant fear that someone will see my pictures and recognize me and that I will be humiliated all over again. It hurts me to know someone is looking at them – at me – when I was just a little girl being abused for the camera. I did not choose to be there, but now I am there forever in pictures that people are using to do sick things. I want it all erased. I want it all stopped. But I am powerless to stop it just like I was powerless to stop my uncle.”

One writer, looking at the topic of pornography and animals, says this: “Some things are incomprehensible. Why would anyone derive sexual pleasure from seeing a video of scantily clad women in high heels squashing, stomping and torturing small animals (including puppies and kittens) who squeal in horror as they die?”

But critics will complain that these are “extreme” examples. What they do not want to admit is that the extreme cases always flow from the less extreme cases. Porn is like that: you get desensitised and bored with the soft stuff, so you move on to the harder stuff. That too soon becomes old hat and stale, and greater thrills are needed.

It is a downward spiral, and has happened to far too many people, including almost all of our sex offenders in prison. It begins with a few quick looks, but soon degenerates into a lifelong addiction, which gets worse and worse as the demands grow stronger and more diabolical.

Porn kills. And any critic who thinks this is some religious wowser book is just plain wrong. The publisher is a secular feminist outfit, and the overwhelming majority of authors here would fit into that camp as well. Indeed, there is not a shred of religious argumentation to be found in this volume.

And fortunately we don’t just get the bad news here. A number of concluding chapters look at how Big Porn can be challenged head on, and a number of examples of this already happening are offered. So the reader is left not with despair, but hope, by the time they reach the end of this helpful volume.

The editors deserve a lot of praise for making this book available. Many of the individual essays alone make for a solid case against porn, but taken together this information and research offers an insurmountable argument: porn is bad, real bad, and it is time to reclaim women, men, children, and society from its horrendous clutches.

(See the Spinifex website here: www.spinifexpress.com.au/Bookstore/book/id=217/ )

[1096 words]

29 Replies to “A Review of Big Porn Inc. Edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray.”

  1. An “extreme” example of porn mentioned here – that small animals are tortured and killed while being stomped on is very disturbing … utterly vile. I believe that most sane people would be appalled at this; an innocent life taken in such a despicable way – all for someone’s selfish sexual gratification. But what is abortion? People might never want to view the procedure of their baby being pierced by sharp steel tools or ripped apart piece by piece, yet whether watched or unwatched, this is still organised death with pain. Is one act of sex worth the death of a human life?

    Annette Nestor

  2. I’m glad this information is being put out there. Watching porn is seen to be normal and healthy, but quite the opposite is true.

    Peter Sanderson, Adelaide

  3. Thanks Bill
    I find it interesting only 2 comments have been posted in reply to this article and one was relating porn to abortion. Either no one wants to talk about it or maybe it’s a little too close to the bone. Not sure.
    Anyway I’m going to say it; I haven’t seen porn for 1 year.
    I was sickened by it and yet couldn’t stop.
    Praise to the king of kings.
    Daniel Kempton

  4. Thanks Daniel

    Yes I was going to say the very same thing. With only 12 likes and now just 3 comments, one has to ask some hard questions here. Admittedly, my book reviews do tend to get many fewer comments, but still, this silence is a worry. I believe it tells us that the majority of Christian men are struggling with this big time, as all the stats suggest. No wonder the church is losing time after time, and no wonder so few Christians are speaking out against all this. Far too many are compromised by it. We need to pray like mad here, for real deliverance for millions of porn captives, even in the churches.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  5. The demand side for this sleaze is undoubtedly provided by the male of the species; and it is clear that males need to have their understandings and appreciation of females and sex re-focused to encompass ideals which 50 years ago were considered the norm.
    But what of women themselves: if they as a group acted at all times as they know they should, the supply side would dry up almost overnight; and, with it, the billion dollar market.
    The same is true of prostitution.
    Dunstan Hartley

  6. To hate what God hates is an absolute necessity when it comes to this stuff.
    I believe that one of the biggest reasons the church suffers from this influence is that we are lacking “real spiritual relationships” among men.
    Accountability is near dissolved within the church due to a lack of mature men able to confess their sins and help restore one another through repentance and genuine fellowship.
    I have failed in this area by, over time, turning a blind eye to worplace pictures and other material when i knew that I had the responsibility and position to act otherwise.
    This then left me open to the influence and after a while I began a casual and private participative role in viewing this material thinking that I would not be affected.
    Ha …too late!
    What a fool I was…and guess what else dropped off during this period……my time in the Lord’s Word.
    Praise God I do have brothers in the faith i can talk to and pray with that will not just give the flesh a therapy session as is rather common today, but rather point to what the Word says about the lusts of the flesh and the awaiting judgement of those who do not turn from it.
    This world is filled with this rot and many of us have simply accepted it and promoted it at times, even within the church.
    Where is modesty and self control, the older women and men teaching the younger. Judgement starts first in the house of God.
    And one last thing…….Pornography is defined by what the Word says not you or I.
    Simon Rossic

  7. Thanks Simon

    Yes the best thing any guy can do is get into a small, committed, accountability group which meets on a regular basis. We cannot win these battles on our own, and we desperately need each other. So if you are not in a men’s group, do it now!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  8. I work in a male dominated Industry, construction yet I was appalled by the reply to my comments trying to point out to the men that the girls in the magazines they gawk at could are someones daughter, sister, possible even someones mother and I asked the question how they would feel if they (the girls in the magazine) were related to them in one of those ways? Their reply, “that would would be even better” How sickening to think that one would derive pleasure from seeing a relative in that situation. Yet it is a sign of the times, our society is unquestionable slowly but surely degrading.

    To quote Charles Swindoll “Depravity results in permissiveness when righteousness is ignored”. Righteousness has been ignored for sometime now, what will it take for people to wake up to the harms of pornography?

    Fred Merlo

  9. Thanks for the review, Bill. I have to say I was curious about the book but reading in your review about some of the material that’s in it – things that I had never heard of and which I find sickening and repulsive – actually lead me to think that I’m not so sure I want to read the book! I think I’ll just take yours and Melinda’s word for it that porn is bad! Obviously I already knew that, but maybe Melinda or yourself could blog about the positive strategies that people can do to challenge Big Porn head on – I’d be more interested in reading about that than the other material in the book.

    Also, God is already at work in combatting porn in our culture – in an amazing and incredible and beautiful way – I would encourage anyone and everyone to read about Theology of the Body – God’s answer in the 21st century to porn and sexual distortion. It is a completely purifying and cleansing message and will change your life. A message that is age-old Truth but which has reached startling clarity in an age when the evils of porn are spreading their terrible influence.

    There is a brilliant DVD series of Christopher West talking about Theology of the Body – called Created and Redeemed. Be ready to be blown away!

    Bronwyn Collins

  10. Hi Bill,
    Thank you for sharing this review and for continuing to stand up for what is right!
    I am sure that there are many books that Christian men and women could read to help them in their battles.
    I have personally read Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (Stephen Arterburn + Fred Stoeker) and my wife has read Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment (Shannon Ethridge). These two books have been a great source of encouragement to us both as we took the reigns of our sexuality in both hands and began to steer in the right direction.
    Being a male is different from being a man. Being a man means that you stand up for what is morally right and fight to control all inner urges; which could otherwise lead to sexual depravity. If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
    Blessings, Michael Dawson

  11. Something that helps.
    John Eldredge who wrote Wild at Heart said, porn for men is about seeing, seeing beauty or beautiful women but without any effort. By effort he means, dating – courting – wooing – taking the time to get to know a women.
    Daniel Kempton

  12. Thanks Michael

    Yes there are a number of good books offering practical help here. Here are a few:

    Alcorn, Randy, Christians in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution. IVP, 1985.
    Anderson, Neil, A Way of Escape. Monarch, 1994.
    Court, John, Pornography: A Christian Critique. IVP, 1980.
    Dixon, Patrick, The Rising Price of Love: The True Cost of the Sexual Revolution. Hodder & Stoughton, 1995.
    Hall, Laurie, An Affair of the Mind. Focus on the Family, 1996.
    Kirk, Randy, A Generation Betrayed: It’s Time To End the Sexual Revolution. Huntington House, 1993.
    Laaser, Mark, The Secret Sin: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction. Zondervan, 1992.
    Lubben, Shelley, Truth Behind the Fantasy of Porn: The Greatest Illusion on Earth. Createspace, 2010.
    Minnery, Tom, ed., Pornography: A Human Tragedy. Tyndale House, 1986.
    Schaumburg, Harry, False Intimacy. NavPress, 1992.
    Schlafly, Phyllis, ed. Pornography’s Victims. Pere Marquette Press, 1987.
    Struthers, William, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. IVP, 2010.
    Williams, Nigel, False Images: Telling the Truth About Pornography. Kingsway Publications, 1991.
    Wilson-Thomas, Claire and Nigel Williams, Laid Bare: A Path Through the Pornography Maze. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  13. Increasingly, pornography is coming to be seen as an addiction: just like alcoholism, problem gambling and drugs. Pornography should thus be tackled by resorting to the successful methods employed by seminal organisations such as AA, Gamblers Anonymous, etc which stress abstinence.
    The fly in the ointment is of course governments which, in their political correctness, decide that all such programs need to be be stripped of their spiritual content, because these do not sit well with the secular society they prefer.
    When will they realise that it is precisely the spiritual component which provides the successful outcome?
    Dunstan Hartley

  14. Are the men who take pleasure in watching women squash, stomp on and torture helpless little animals perceiving this as – ‘she wants sex so bad that she’s prepared to kill for it’.

    Could it be that we already have a generation of people prepared to kill for sex? 40 – 50 million abortions a year, year after year after year.

    Sex first, then the killing.

    God help us.

    Annette Nestor

  15. Thanks Annette

    Yes is a connection between the sexual liberalism of our day and the culture of death. The sex without responsibility mentality of course leads to the abortion mentality. Both want to ignore the simple fact that sexuality has something to do with procreation, and both put adult lusts and whims ahead of anything else.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  16. One widely travelled itinerant preacher remarked that while he was speaking at a seminary, he invited those who were studying to stand and seek help if they were succumbing to porn. Every single male in the room stood.
    It is a bigger issue than we could expect. Pray. Act. Impact.
    Keith Jarrett

  17. Thanks Keith

    Yes it is a massive problem in our churches. Yet hardly any churches or church leaders are speaking out about this. Unfortunately that is because far too many church leaders themselves are caught up in this. And we wonder why the church is so ineffective and unable to strike many blows for the Kingdom.

    My take on it would be: Repent. Confess. Pray. Act. Impact.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  18. I was introduced to porn by my colleagues in my first job. Thankfully I didn’t become addicted and I was able to walk away from it. Some of the images I saw all those years ago were absolutely disgusting and I shudder to think what is available nowadays. Being older and wiser now, I fully appreciate the damage that pornography does to all involved. The question which always has to be asked is just how do these activities make us a better society and advance civilization.
    Peter Coventry

  19. Earlier in this post I said it’s been 1 year for me since I’ve looked at porn and I would like to add, I use to try to appease my conscience by only looking at soft porn, naked women or women in bathing suits. God does not like this. But for the guys who are suffering, after 2 to 3 weeks abstaining from porn you will feel clean and powerful.
    Daniel Kempton

  20. To all the brave men on this post that have been honest about their problem and are repenting, I say to you – well done. It’s people like you that stir others to come clean.

    Annette Nestor

  21. Yes quite right Annette

    Although keep in mind that the best place for actual confession is to a small like-mined accountability group made up of several other men. Generally that is the best place to come clean, seek forgiveness, prayer and counsel. But there is also a place for some public testimony on this as well. So we need to be wise and cautious here. But yes we are thankful for those who are open and honest. That is the first step in turning all this around.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  22. Thanks Annette
    But Bill is right, I joined a Christians men’s group 4 years ago and that’s where the real growth is. The group meets once a fortnight for around 2 hours. What blows me away is how much men need to talk. At these meetings there have been flareups and heated debates and I truly believe that’s the way guys do it where is direct and challenging talk in the church is shunned.
    Daniel Kempton

  23. There is a definite lack in leadership in this area amongst the churches. Being a mobile worker I have moved around a fair bit over the last 15 years and I have only been to one church which tried to attack this issue with the men. I am also in a work environment that is dominated by men who readily partake in these wares and although the work policy is against porn they struggle because they are so enveloped in it they cannot define what really is porn and what isn’t, such that the scantily clad women in mens magazines are considered acceptable for the work environment. They then can’t comprehend why on earth you would demand that they remove any material below that. They define in their minds what is acceptable by a groupthink standard generated amongst their equally oppressed peers. It is certainly an environment that a Christian man must be strong and uncompromising to prevent being sucked in.

    Further to the issue is the growing number of women who think that is is necessary and normal for males to view such material. Our younger generations are being lead to believe that sexual expression of any kind is their right and it doesn’t hurt anyone. I remember once seeing a report on a protest occurring outside a sex expo. The protestors had placards saying that real men don’t use porn. One woman who was with her ‘man’ challenged the protestors saying ‘ how can you say my man is not a real man?’ She was in complete denial and was facilitating and defending her man’s incompetence.

    Aaron Downs

  24. There are programs available now that are able to help anybody who is willing to be accountable. x3watch and safeeyes are 2 programs available. x3watch automatically sends an email to your nominated email address anytime the user accesses questionable material.

    It is a great help if you use your minister’s email address.

    Mario Del Giudice

  25. It was said to me the other day (not regarding this issue but I think it can relate), that if Satan can’t stop people coming to Christ, he’s going to try and make Christians ineffective. When people think that they are not worthy of sharing the Gospel because their lives don’t match with Christ’s, I wonder if they (even myself) really understand the Gospel.
    I can vouch for a program called Covenant Eyes, which is a filtering and accountability program. Only about $10 a month it’s worth every cent.
    While avoiding pornography (even seductive images society passes as “okay in certain places”) helps, I have experienced victory in this area when my mind gets transformed by meditating on God’s word.
    See Romans 12:1-2 and Psalm 119:19.
    Thanks Bill for your review of this book. I came across your article and this website in the Eternity Magazine. May God bless your work!
    Jared Skilbeck

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