Dines was born in Manchester, England and received her Ph.D. from Salford University. She moved to Israel in 1980, where she married and became a feminist, and to the the United States in 1986. Since 1986 she has been at Wheelock College in Boston, where she is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and Chair of the American Studies department.
Dines is the author of three books including Pornland, published in 2010. Her articles have appeared in the New Left Project, the Journal of Violence Against Women, CounterPunch, and the International Encyclopedia of Communication, and also in popular general-interest publications including Newsweek, Time, Working Woman, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Mail.
Dines is a founding member of Stop Porn Culture andco-founder of the National Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement.
Dines's view is that pornography distorts the user's view of sexuality and makes more difficult the establishment of real-life intimate relationships with women. Dines maintains that modern pornography is cruel and violent, unlike earlier forms of pornography with which the general public may be familiar, and has the effect of tending to generally degrade the position of women in society.
Many pro-pornography and prostitution advocates have condemned Gail Dines' views as being uninformed, hypocritical, and manipulative. A prominent argument is that that Dines profits extensively from book sales and speaking engagements while decrying pornography as a capitalist industry.
Dines' former research assistant, who now blogs as "Beth" on the website welcometomycrisis.com, has described her time with Dines at length, claiming that Dines micromanaged her sexuality. Since parting ways with Dines, Beth has performed in pornography and worked as a professional escort. She was interviewed briefly in Ms. magazine in response to an interview with Gail Dines saying: "There’s no emotional trauma from a sex act that you’re prepared for. If you know in advance what you’re going to be doing, you are ready. If I have a day where I’m doing seven penetrations, I know what to do to insure that my body remains healthy. Sex acts don’t happen by accident in porn and you know how to deal with them in advance."
In an address to the Desiree Alliance Conference 2010, famed adult performer Nina Hartley described Dines and her associates as "predators of a particularly cruel and prurient bent," going on to say that "they make their livings- often quite handsomely- off the hardship, peril and continued oppression [of sex workers]. Their morbid obsession with sex work poisons their ideals to such a degree that some who call themselves 'feminists' will challenge the basic idea of reproductive choice on the grounds that no woman could freely consent to sex work and that therefore her consent is suspect in all other decisions made under the influence of their paranoid construction of a universal patriarchal conspiracy. Talking about you, Gail Dines."