Catholic Theologian Matt Fradd Discusses the Negative Effects of Porn

By Thomas Holmes

Matt Fradd, a well known Catholic author and speaker, gave a talk titled “Porn: 7 Myths Exposed,” on April 4th. The talk was hosted by Campus Ministry for their monthly installment of CUA on Tap in the Pryzbyla Great Rooms.

Over the past nine years, Fradd has been traveling the country and talking to more than 50,000 people almost exclusively about porn, a profession which Fradd claims to make his mother “super proud.”

He has also developed apps related to fighting porn addiction such as VICTORY, which was developed to create accountability partners,  and STRIVE 21, a twenty-one-day detox from porn. He also is the founder of The Porn Effect, a non-profit ministry dedicated to “exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography and to equip individuals to find freedom from it,” according to its website.

Fradd gave the lecture with a serious, but funny tone which allowed the audience to feel comfortable listening to the talk while understanding how serious of a subject it truly is. His goal is for people, whether they are college students or adults with families, to “be able to have a frank conversation about pornography.”

“This is not just a guys’ issue,” Fradd said in the preface to his talk. “This is a human issue.”

“Sex is good,” said Fradd, explaining how porn being bad does not make sex bad. “If it wasn’t, you couldn’t make it bad. If sex wasn’t in some way beautiful, you couldn’t make it ugly. You can’t make ugly things ugly but, you can make really beautiful things really ugly. By virtue of the fact that you can make sex really ugly, it shows how sex can be really beautiful.”

Part of the reason Fradd claims that porn is so ugly is because of the way it degrades women by just valuing their bodies. Girls in porn appear to get a lot of attention but they are ignored more than most people. People ignore their lives in order to focus on their bodies.

The first myth that Fradd debunked is the idea that people need porn in order to not be sexually repressed. He explained the happy medium between indulging in sexual desires and sexual repression which he calls chastity.

“Chastity is the virtue that enables people to love in accord with their dignity and that of the other,” Fradd said. “Sex is the only appetite which people consider it okay to indulge in.”

The second myth is that porn is adult entertainment. One way that Fradd explains how this is wrong is asking people whether or not they would like to see their parent in a strip club. Fradd frames these actions in terms of others in order for people to get a better understanding of their actions.

The third myth is that only religious people are against porn. There have been many studies done by neurologists and psychologists saying that there are very negative effects to porn. More and more people are beginning to speak out against pornography whether or not they are religious. Even famous secular celebrities like Chris Rock and James Hetfield have come out to take a stance against porn.

The fourth myth is that woman in the industry are just “well rounded nymphomaniacs.”

“They almost always involve some serious form of abuse or neglect and the girls’ unsuccessful attempts to process this trauma,” Fradd said about the stories of women in the sex industry. “After this, one of two things happen: she is either preyed upon  by the sex industry or she feels like there is no other option.”

The idea that porn itself cannot be an addiction is another myth that Fradd talked about. People who think that porn is not addictive often claim that calling porn “addictive” trivializes real addictions like drugs. Neuroscientists found that behaviors can be just as addictive as chemical addictions. Fradd cited 41 different studies that all claim that porn has addictive qualities to it.

The last myth is that a person cannot break free from an addiction to porn. Fradd shared his story of when he first encountered porn and how he struggled with it in his youth. The biggest step to take for someone who has a porn addiction is to admit to themselves they have a problem.

The lecture ended with a Q&A where various people such as priests, seminarians, youth leaders, professors, and students all had the opportunity to ask Fradd a question.

After the Q&A portion, many students waited in line to take a picture with Fradd and share their personal experiences of porn addiction. His speech came within days of the the Student Government Associations (SGA) decision to ban porn on the campus’ Wi-Fi. The issue of porn has been discussed campus-wide for the past two weeks.

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