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Romance is dead, at least in Hollywood, as the bondage-glorifying film “Fifty Shades of Grey” premieres nationwide this Valentine’s Day weekend.

And while some critics are calling it one of the worst movies ever made, anti-pornography campaigners say the film is just the latest example of a cultural assault on the family.

In an exclusive interview with WND, professor Joel Hesch of the anti-pornography ministry Proven Men charged that the film is only the latest effort to spread a destructive influence that can turn into a “very real addiction for men.” Pornographic films are powerful, Hesch believes, because they “tempt and awaken a desire that can never be satisfied.”

Joel Hesch

Joel Hesch

“Just like drug and alcohol use, what starts off as a seemingly innocent or fun act can quickly spiral out of control; if left unchecked, it will consume your time, energy, and resources,” Hesch said.

And what’s worse, he said, “Having an extra-marital affair is a natural outcrop of repeated viewing of pornography.”

Proven Men has described the film as a “sugar-coated portrayal of pornography that could ultimately unleash an aftermath of addiction and affairs.”

And according to Hesch, American men are in the grips of a pornography “epidemic.”

A recent nationwide survey by the organization shows that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of American men look at pornography at least monthly. In addition, an estimated 21 million men either think they are addicted to porn or are unsure if they’re addicted. Christian men are almost no different than non-Christians in their viewing habits.

Pornography consumption also varies by age. While just under half of all men between 50 and 68 view pornography monthly, almost 80 percent of men between 18 and 30 watch it at least once a month.

Hesch believes pornography degrades both women and men.

“Repeated engaging in sexual fantasy or viewing of pornography will eventually lead a man to view women as sex objects,” he said.

More than that, because men don’t want to admit to the fantasies they are chasing in their own minds, “Men end up chasing after sex and false forms of intimacy instead of the real and healthy forms of intimacy with a soul-mate,” he said. “Your sexual fantasies compete with your real relationships.”

pornography

Hesch is not the only one speaking out about “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the acceptance of pornography in American culture.

140926marketingofevilcoverDavid Kupelian, author of “The Marketing of Evil,” observes, “Pornography in America today – ubiquitous, in-your-face, graphic sex of every possible variety – is fundamentally transforming American culture, morals and sanity.

“It is not only a major factor in family breakdown, divorce and the resulting misery and bondage for millions of adults, but is likewise corrupting and reprogramming the next generation. I hope the makers of ’50 Shades of Grey’ are proud of themselves.”

Michael Brown, author of “A Queer Thing Happened to America,” called the film “utterly perverse.”

“This is all part of our descent into sexual anarchy, another ugly step in the wrong direction, another open door from one form of pornography and degradation into a worse one,” he said.

Pro-family activist groups are also speaking out.

In an exclusive interview with WND, American Family Association President Tim Wildmon called on local theaters to refuse to show the film “out of the respect for the women of their communities.”

Wildmon bemoaned that in a culture ruled by money, “We are so saturated with sex and pornography that we’ve lost any sense of right and wrong. It’s sad, really.”

Pat Fagan

Pat Fagan

Pat Fagan, senior fellow at the Family Research Council and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, believes “Fifty Shades of Grey” will be inflicting harm on Americans for years to come. Fagan also believes women will be the ones most affected by the film.

WND POLL: America in bondage — Sound off on weekend’s opening of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

“There’s a big difference in the in the pathway to pornography for women and men,” Fagan explained. “For women, it comes through eroticized romance novels that use this kind of approach. An unknown portion of the women who see this movie will have their whole view of sexuality changed, imperceptibly and gradually. They are being seduced and inducted into the path to pornography.”

Fagan is author of the widely circulated study, “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family, and Community.”

“We know from federal data those with best sex lives are married, monogamous, weekly worshiping couples,” he said. “For some women who are brought into pornography, over the long term, it will simply kill their sexual capacity for marriage.”

Social conservatives are not the only ones criticizing the film. Women’s rights campaigners protested the London premiere.

50_shades_boycottFeminists are also circulating the hashtag #FiftyShadesIsAbuse on Twitter.

There have even been some uncoordinated common efforts between feminists and social conservatives, as members of both groups have also promoted the #FiftyDollarsNotFiftyShades effort, which encourages people to donate $50 to women’s shelters rather than seeing the film.

Wildmon said, “‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ might be one of those rare issues where both conservatives and liberals can agree that this is simply too far to be called mainstream.”

However, anti-pornography campaigners can take some solace. Critics are scoffing that “Fifty Shades of Grey” doesn’t even accomplish its stated mission of providing lurid and sexy entertainment. Australian television host Lisa Wilkinson mocked it as “the worst movie I’ve ever seen” and “drivel.” She said it was nothing but “domestic violence dressed up as erotica.”

Rolling Stone called the movie “a dull, decorous affair, about as erotic as an ad for Pottery Barn.”

USA Today said the film was a “turgid and tedious S&M melodrama” that serves as its “own form of torture.”

And Newsday sneers that the movie is “painfully dull.”

Yet sales of bondage gear and other sex equipment are up because of the influence of the film. And Hesch sees real danger to families as people become obsessed with sexual fantasies.

“What we have found in common with men addicted to porn is that they have conditioned themselves to be selfish in many areas of their lives and it is strangling their marriages,” he said. “It is often just a matter of time before they think they deserve to have sex with someone else or otherwise act upon one of their thousands of sexual fantasies fueled by porn.”

Fagan believes the film will serve as a “siren call of suffering” that will introduce people, especially women, to a destructive influence.

He said somberly, “I wish there could be a class-action suit against Universal Studios for the harm this will go on to do to families, women and children.”

 

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