The social costs of sexual obesity. It’s harm to the mind is like a Big Mac’s harm to the body. But do we care?

14 May

From Mary Elberstadt:

What’s needed is nothing less than the kind of leadership that turned smoking, in the course of a single generation, from cool to uncool—one eventually summoning support high and low, ranging from celebrities, high-school teachers and principals, counselors, former users, and anyone else who knows they belong in the coalition of the willing on this wretched issue.

Perhaps when the First Lady concludes her campaign against “regular” obesity, she or someone else of similar public stature can spare time for this other epidemic, too. After all, uninviting though these dirty waters may be, the reward for tackling this epidemic could be profound. For amid the squalor, the unhappiness, and the rest of the bad news about sexual obesity, the bad news isn’t the only news there is—not at all.

“Where sin abounded,” as Paul’s Letter to the Romans has it, “grace did much more abound.” The empirical record shows that too, though it may not yet be an issue of academic study. After all, just look at the tremendous effort that goes into attempts to break the habit. Look at the energy fueling all those attempts to repair the damage done—the turns to counseling, the therapists, priests, pastors, and others working in these awful trenches to help the addicted get their real lives back. Look at the technological ingenuity too—the new software, the filters, the countercultural and uphill efforts here and there to thwart pornography’s public crawl.

To survey that multifaceted record of struggle, fledgling but growing by the day, against the also rapidly growing empirical record of the beast’s harms, is to grasp a truth about this new obesity beyond the ridicule of the jaded or the vituperative recriminations of those still in the pit. It is to see redemption. It is to spy hope in a place where desperate people need it most—and plenty of it, too.

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