The sad case of Tiger Woods offers the familiar spectacle of media and the public setting a celebrity on a pedestal, then taking gleeful satisfaction in knocking him off. If this episode has redeeming value, it’s the reminder that even in this sex-obsessed culture, sexual delinquency still matters.

Strictly by accident, the Woods episode coincides with the publication of a major new study, “The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family, and Community,” demonstrating why it should. It is the work of Patrick F. Fagan, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and director of its Center for Marriage and Family Research.

“Powerful and deep” is how Fagan sums up pornography’s capacity to “undermine individual and social functioning.”

The great merit of this heavily documented review of social science literature lies in the backing up of its conclusions with serious scientific sources. No one who takes the time to read it can buy the liberal cliché that pornography does no harm.

As a matter of fact, pornography does great harm: to its users — especially, those who become addicted — as well as to marriages, to family life and to society as a whole. Internet pornography is today a major menace to the nation’s children, including those who become users and those victimized by sexual predators.

In brief, says Fagan, “habitual consumption of pornography can break down the relational substrates of human interaction — family, friends and society.” (Those who want to read this important document can find it at

And the main defenses against porn? A close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, along with deliberate parental monitoring of Internet use, Fagan writes.