The Pornography Wars: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Obscene Obsession (Hardcover)

The Pornography Wars: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Obscene Obsession By Kelsy Burke Cover Image
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For readers of Peggy Orenstein and Rebecca Traister, an authoritative, big think look at pornography in all its facets - historical, religious, and cultural.

In the 1960s, sex researchers Masters and Johnson declared the end of the fake orgasm. Nearly two decades later, in 1982, evangelical activist Tim LaHaye foretold that the entire pornography industry would soon be driven out of business. Neither prediction proved true. Instead, with the rise of the internet, pornography saturates the American conscience more than ever and has reshaped our understanding of sexuality, relationships, media, and even the nature of addiction.

Dr. Kelsy Burke has spent the last five years researching and interviewing internet pornography's opponents and its sympathizers. In The Pornography Wars, Burke does a deep dive into the long history of pornography in America and then turns her gaze on our present society to examine the ways this industry touches on the most intimate parts of American lives. She offers a complete understanding of the major players in the debates around porn's place in society: everyone from sex workers, activists, therapists, religious leaders, and consumers. In doing so, she addresses and debunks the myths that surround porn and porn usage while showing how everything from the way we teach children about sex to the legal protections for what can be published is tied up in the deeply complicated battles over pornography.

Sweeping, savvy, and deeply researched, The Pornography Wars is a necessary and comprehensive new look at pornography and American life.

About the Author

Kelsy Burke is an award-winning sociologist and author of Christians under Covers. She has spent the last decade studying how people talk about sex in America and is currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has been supported by multiple grants and fellowships, including an award from the National Science Foundation, and her writing has appeared in The Washington Post The Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon, and Slate.

Praise For…

“A mature, thoughtful book about a complex and divisive topic. No matter their personal opinions, readers will likely find observations here to inform their thoughts about pornography's creation and consumption.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“Compassionate and well-balanced … refreshingly unbiased … an astute and forthright presentation of a hotly contested issue.” —Publishers Weekly

“A thought-provoking examination of pornography in America … well balanced and rigorously researched, featuring dozens of opinions from across the spectrum of debate … An intellectually stimulating read for porn fans and critics alike.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Thoroughly researched and refreshingly readable … this volume does a remarkable job of conveying points of view from all sides of the issues, resulting in a much more complex understanding of a lightning-rod subject.” —Booklist

The Pornography Wars is a tour de force! Weaving together history, politics, science, and technology, Burke meticulously documents all sides of the pornography debates... always staying above the fray. If you want to be truly informed, this is where you start!” —Lisa Wade, author of AMERICAN HOOKUP

“Whether you believe pornography exploits or empowers those who engage in it, you'll enjoy how Kelsy Burke deftly blends storytelling and rigorous social science research to enlighten us on this complex and often taboo subject. The Pornography Wars is relevant to anyone who is concerned about the influence that pornography has on our culture and our lives, including parents, clinicians, educators, and researchers alike. A fascinating read!” —Ina Park MD, MS, Professor, UCSF School of Medicine and Author of STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

“In The Pornography Wars, Kelsy Burke offers a timely and insightful perspective on one of the world's most contentious topics. She uses careful research and details from numerous interviews to convey realities about anti-pornography and pro-pornography advocacy positions, all while remaining transparent and clear about her own position and analytic frame. The writing is rich, highly accessible, and often personal. This is a provocative, extraordinary, must-read.” —Emily Rothman, author of PORNOGRAPHY AND PUBLIC HEALTH

“A clear-eyed, engaging, and deeply-researched study of an industry and an argument we cannot afford to ignore.” —Amy Werbel, author of LUST ON TRIAL

“Bold and ambitious, this book argues neither for or against pornography, instead championing the importance of knowing the sociohistorical context of narratives about pornography. With a sociological lens, Burke illuminates people's messy relationships to sexual images-the anxiety and the joy, the judgment and the pleasure-all in a radical attempt to humanize people on all sides of the porn wars.” —Jane Ward, Professor and Chair of the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of California Riverside, and author of NOT GAY

“Kelsy Burke may have done the impossible. At a time when debates over pornography's production and consumption have never been more heated, Dr. Burke has written a book that combatants on either side of that fight would find accurate, fair, and enlightening. And that's because Dr. Burke invites both sides to explain their case. She interviews the activists, the experts, and the producers. She traces the history and crunches the numbers. Meticulously researched, yet sweeping in scope, The Pornography Wars is required reading for anyone interested in America's love-hate obsession with porn.” —Samuel L. Perry, co-author of THE FLAG AND THE CROSS and ADDICTED TO LUST

“Social conflicts over pornography are as ubiquitous as porn itself. Moving from Comstock to OnlyFans, armed with rigorous research and smarts, Kelsy Burke jumps into the fray with empathetic curiosity, complexity, fair-mindedness and nuance. A definitive and important study.” —Joshua Gamson, University of San Francisco

Product Details
ISBN: 9781635577365
ISBN-10: 1635577365
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English

How to read more
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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.


And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.


15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.


50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.


Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.


Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.


Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.



Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.


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