18: Are Evangelicals ‘Addicted to Lust’?

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Evangelicals and porn. We know what we say in public, that porn is bad, that it leads to destruction, that it harms marriages and families. But we also know that behind what we say in church, evangelical men and women still view porn. Does pornography have a unique impact on conservative Protestants? Dr. Samuel Perry, a sociologist, says yes.

He studied pornography in the lives of conservative Protestants in the United States for over four years, and his findings are published in his book Addicted to Lust, which we discuss in this episode.

We cover the following topics:

  • the impact of moral incongruence on evangelicals
  • how complementarian theology justifies male porn use
  • the unique impact of porn on evangelical women
  • the difference in how evangelicals handle masturbation and pornography

Samuel L. Perry is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a Th.M. in New Testament Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. His research explores the changing dynamics of religion, politics, race, sex, and family life in the United States. The author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, Sam has also written three books, one of which is Addicted to Lust: Pornography in the Lives of Conservative Protestants. He has also recently co-authored a book on the rise of Christian nationalism in the US .

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Episode Show Notes

Addicted to Lust

Articles written about “Addicted to Lust” that informed our conversation with Dr. Perry:

A Sociologist of Religion on Porn, Protestants and the “Purity Industrial Complex” in the New Yorker

When We Coddle Porn in The Gospel Coalition

Waging a Smarter War on Porn in Christianity Today

What to Say About Masturbation by Lauren Winner (refers to James Dobson’s past comments about masturbation)