Is Pornography Adultery? Time to Sharpen the Debate

Smut may be losing its stigma, but at what price to marriage and our own decency?
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2008 12:09 PM CDT
The porn industry, by some estimates, has swollen to rival professional sports and the major broadcast networks as a revenue-generating source of entertainment.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Does looking at pornography constitute cheating? If so, a lot of men are in trouble in today's age of instant access. Ross Douthat explores the issue in the Atlantic and finds the extremes of the argument unhelpful. No, digital smut won't bring about the end of civilization, but don't be too quick to write it off as harmless, either. "The Internet era has ratcheted the experience of pornography much closer to adultery than I suspect most porn users would like to admit," he says.

At the very least, it's time to rethink things. "It’s about what sort of people we aspire to be: how we define our ideals, how we draw the lines in our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves if we cross them. And it’s about providing a way for everyone involved, men and women alike—whether they’re using porn or merely tolerating it—to think about what, precisely, they’re involving themselves in, and whether they should reconsider."