RELIGION

Pat Robertson 'Shocked' That Women Watch Porn, Enjoy Erotic Novels Like 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' (VIDEO)

11/08/2012 05:36 pm ET | Updated Nov 09, 2012

Conservative Christian Pat Robertson said he's shocked that some women watch porn.

The religious right's controversial elder statesman brought up the subject during one of his recent "700 Club" talk show segments, in which he expressed surprise at the success of erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Turning to his co-host, Kristi Watts, Robertson asked whether there was "anything in porn that attracts you?" A rather stunned Watts said "no," but Robertson used the exchange as a segue into the topic of women and porn.

"We always thought this was a male thing, a boy thing, a guy thing," Robertson said, "But now it looks like 30 percent of women are involved in pornography."

Robertson also seemed surprised by the runaway success of British author E.L. James' erotic "Fifty Shades" trilogy. The bestsellers were so hot, Barnes and Noble credited the series for a revenue bump, reporting a lower loss than expected in first quarter sales.

"Fifty Shades" is a salacious, if simplistic, saga involving a dashing, wealthy bachelor, a virginal young ingenue, and many, many sex scenes involving various BDSM themes.

Calling author James a "housewife-y type" from "some little town in England," Robertson was at a loss to explain the phenomenon. The outspoken preacher was getting no help from Watts, of course, who had already sworn off pornography in all its forms. (For his part, Robertson said he found porn in all its forms "boring.")

"Who would have thought?" Robertson said.

In fact, the popularity of "Fifty Shades" notwithstanding, recent studies have shown that more and more women are watching porn -- and the number of women admitting a porn addiction is also rising.

In 2010, a survey in Australia found 30 percent of women watched porn, as compared to 70 percent of men, according to the New York Daily News.

In the United States, one of the first support groups for women addicted to porn was founded by a devout Christian, Crystal Renaud, a counselor and the author of "Dirty Girls Come Clean." Renaud told The Guardian that female porn addiction is "widespread and silent."

"Porn and sexual addiction has always been referred to as a man's problem," she said. "But for women it's an unspoken struggle. We have to give them the opportunity to say: 'Me too.'"

In an unusual appearance meant to both humanize porn stars and raise awareness about the dangers of porn addiction, adult film superstar Ron Jeremy recently visited a Michigan church, telling the congregation that porn stars, too, believe in God.

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