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  • The media [portrayal of marriage] gives the public the impression that faith plays a toxic role in the lives of ordinary families. But this portrait is deceptive. Tweet This
  • Religious married men are markedly less likely to use pornography than their secular peers, according to the 2022 State of Our Unions Survey. Tweet This
  • Religious men’s comparative care regarding sex extends beyond the virtual world to the real world. Tweet This
Category: Marriage

The following essay is adapted from Brad Wilcox's just-released book Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families and Save Civilization.

"A Sociologist of Religion on Protestants, Porn, and the ‘Purity Industrial Complex’”—so read the title of a recent New Yorker interview in which Isaac Chotiner asked sociologist Samuel Perry about the nexus between religion, pornography, and marriage among evangelical Protestants. You can probably guess how the Christian faith came off in this mainstream media outlet. Not well.  

The New Yorker interview left the reader with the distinct impression that all because of an archaic Christian sexual ethic that forbids pornography, Christian men and communities are rife with “depression,” “unhappiness,” and disrupted marriages.

The New Yorker mocked the books, small groups, and software companies designed to help evangelical men avoid porn—what Perry calls the “purity industrial complex.” Perry claimed that Christian men are suffering from “cognitive dissonance” between their belief that sex is sacred—and meant to be shared only with your wife—and their desire to engage in behavior that contradicts this belief, like viewing pornography. By his telling, Christian men bear a particularly heavy burden from this heightened sense of shame about porn. As Perry—the author of Addicted to Lust: Pornography in the Lives of Conservative Protestants—puts it, Christian men using porn are afflicted by “guilt and shame that make you feel crappy about yourself,” and evangelical Protestant women “draw a hard line” against their husbands’ porn use because they view it as “literally adultery, or a betrayal, or a perversion.” This makes Christian wives “twice as likely to divorce their husband because of his pornography use.” By contrast, this New Yorker article suggested, secular men are much less likely to suffer any guilt or relationship problems from using porn.

This article—and many like it in the mainstream media—gives the public the impression that faith plays a toxic role in the lives of ordinary families. But this portrait is deceptive. 

Continue reading at First Things . . .