Sex Therapist Dr. Marty Klein Decries ‘Porn Panic’ in New Book

The movie Kinsey closes with some wise words. “Love is the answer, isn’t it? But sex raises a lot of very interesting questions!” the title character (and sex researcher) muses. One of the most controversial sex-related questions of the day is whether porn is a true public health crisis. While the idea has been getting a lot of traction recently, sex therapist Marty Klein thinks such concerns are overblown and misplaced. His latest book, His Porn, Her Panic, attempts to explain why.

The main problem is that people are not willing to have a straightforward conversation about sexuality and instead turn it into a discussion about porn. Dubious science then steps in, with claims about porn addiction and the physical and emotional ramifications of watching porn. “It’s way easier to quarrel about porn than it is to talk about sex honestly. So the pseudoscience, the junk science, is there for the taking, and the people who seem to be taking it are the people who have their various discomforts with sexuality,” Klein said in a podcast interview with Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

Anti-pornography voices seem to have grown louder in recent years, but they’ve always been there in some form or another. “There’s been an anti-pornography critique in culture as long as there’s been pornography. There’s been people upset about pornography for thousands of years, hundreds of years. And historically, the critique about pornography has been about immorality. The critique of pornography has been that looking at porn is bad for the person who looks at porn. It’s been driven a lot by the idea that masturbation is sinful,” Klein said. The idea that porn was sinful began to die out in the 1970s and ’80s but was replaced by the equally nefarious notion that adult entertainment was a public health crisis.

Klein cautions that there are indeed legitimate concerns regarding pornography, particularly the fact that many teens use porn as sex education. “Teenagers don’t have an idea of what sex is like in real life. But the key issue isn’t to get rid of porn. The key issue is where teenagers can go for sex education. Most parents are not comfortable with sex education in school and talking to kids about sex. So kids turn to another source, the internet and pornography to learn about sex. Look at the average 15 year old and his or her iPhone. That smart phone has more power than the computer NASA used to put the first man on the moon and we give them to 14-year-olds! If adults can’t stop texting when they drive, how on Earth do you imagine teenagers will use the iPhone?” Klein told XBIZ.

Featured image: The One I Lust