Rampant porn use causing ‘toxic lack of masculinity,’ Catholic speaker warns

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“There’s no such thing as toxic masculinity,” Catholic author, speaker, and Chastity Project founder Jason Evert believes. Rather, the heart of many of today’s societal issues is “a toxic lack of masculinity” brought on by rampant pornography consumption, he says.

“Teens and Pornography,” a report released by Common Sense Media Tuesday, revealed that 73% of teens, or nearly 3 out of 4, have consumed pornography.

The average age of adolescents’ first exposure to porn is 12, the report said. For most of these children (58%), their first exposure to porn was accidental while browsing social media and the web.

“The big game changer,” Evert told CNA at last week’s SEEK23, a Catholic conference in St. Louis, “without question has been the phone.”

“There’s no question about it. I mean, the acceleration of the addiction to pornography for both males as well as females,” he said, “is exacerbated by how much time they’re spending on social media instead of living in the real world.”

Catholic author and speaker Jason Evert speaking at the SEEK23 in St. Louis in January 2023. FOCUS Instagram
Catholic author and speaker Jason Evert speaking at the SEEK23 in St. Louis in January 2023. FOCUS Instagram

Teenagers and young people’s troubles with porn have only been deepened in recent years as a result of the isolation brought on by the COVID lockdowns and post-lockdown culture, Evert claimed.

“A lot of people think, ’Oh, that’s a guy issue,’” Evert said. But since the COVID lockdowns, Evert said he has seen “a massive acceleration of the amount of young women addicted to pornography.”

Both men’s and women’s troubles with porn are intrinsically tied to each other, Evert explained.

Even practicing Catholic circles are not free of pornography problems.

“These poor young women are coming to me — attractive, single, Catholic, devout women — who can’t find a godly husband because they’re like, ‘Even the good guys in a Catholic young adult group are still hooked on porn,’” Evert said.

To Evert, pornography is a great lie that has been seducing men for years. This addiction is at the root of society’s lack of authentic masculinity.

“It’s just a lack of real masculinity in the culture — that’s what’s toxic,” Evert said. “They get sucked into thinking, ‘Oh, I’m free, I can quit whenever I want.’ And then they wake up and they’re 26 years old, and it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, shouldn’t I have a girlfriend, or a fiancé, or wife, or two kids by now, and all I have is my erotic moments with my laptop?’”

While society often claims that masculinity is to blame for the issues plaguing culture, Evert says the problem is effeminacy, again because of porn.

“Pornography to me is the No. 1 factor that’s emasculating males,” Evert said. 

“It’s effeminacy, and what I mean by that is not femininity, I don’t mean homosexuality,” he emphasized. Rather, as St. Thomas Aquinas defined the term, effeminacy means “when a man refuses to let go of what is pleasurable in order to do what is arduous and difficult,” Evert said.

“It’s an inordinate attachment to the pleasures that weakens your self-will, and so that makes a man effeminate,” he said.

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“A lot of healing is needed,” Evert said, “because these boys and young men might look 28 years old outside, but that guy has been hooked on porn since he’s 12, and emotionally and spiritually he’s still 12. This is not a grown man. This is someone who has been effeminized by porn because he can’t say no to the pleasures that are offered to him, because he doesn’t have the strength to do what’s difficult.”

The porn industry, which the New York Times said generated $15 billion in revenue last year, represents a serious threat to the Catholic Church as well, Evert stressed.

“It’s really hamstringing a lot of people from discovering their vocation to the priesthood or married life,” Evert explained.

Porn addiction has become so prevalent among young people, Evert said, that many young men “have no clue” how to interact with girls and women “without looking at her through these lenses of pure lust.”

“He doesn’t realize how much scar tissue has accrued on his own heart in the way that he relates to female human beings,” Evert said.

In a culture inundated by internet porn and rampant pornography addiction, Evert’s message to young people is “your sexuality has value because of you; you are the gift.” Through his work with the Chastity Project, he has reached more than 2 million students, offering talks, books, and online resources to help young people discover the freedom of chastity.

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