Overcoming Porn Addiction
In the past few years, studies have proven the inseparable link between porn and sex trafficking. The exponential increase of trafficking cases in recent decades is in fact tightly correlated to the heightened demand for porn, and the incredibly easy access to it in our era. The porn industry is a medium through which human traffickers work; coercing and exploiting human beings for the pleasure of others. In our hypersexualized media culture, cybersex has become a profitable enterprise. Pimps, who control and arrange clients for sex workers, benefit from the global rise of internet access to orchestrate cybersex trafficking. Cybersex trafficking is defined by IJM as "the live-streaming sexual exploitation of victims over the internet."
When the people in our society watch porn, they often assume they are looking at consensual sexual acts between free individuals. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. We too often ignore the circumstances which led performers to the screen, and the inhumane working conditions they experience along the way. The narrative of “sexual empowerment” surrounding pornography is misleading, and ignores that many women in pornographic films are mistreated and forced to have intercourse. Not only does pornographic material directly involve the exploitation of trafficked individuals by procurers, but it fosters a lack of empathy for women. To many, sexual education is primarily wrought through pornography, causing an increasingly deceitful, violent, dehumanizing conception of sexuality and women.
To tackle the issue of human and sex trafficking, we must acknowledge the fact that porn has become a significant factor in the underground sex slave industry. The end of trafficking will inevitably require the elimination of the demand for pornographic material.
Neuroscience-based studies have shown that addiction to pornography is comparable to that of narcotic drugs. Despite the knowledge of the intersection of porn and trafficking, many of its consumers find it almost impossible to break the habit or addiction. The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) views compulsive sexual problems, including pornography addiction, as a legitimate diagnosable disorder. Consequently, those who deal with pornography addiction need more than statistics to overcome their problem.
Pornography addiction is said to affect millions of people. In the United States alone, 40 million adults regularly visit porn websites. Pornography is a prevalent issue that must be addressed as a serious concern, but can no longer be approached as a taboo.
Thankfully, there are many resources to turn to if you need help overcoming a pornography addiction. Here are a few.
1. Covenant Eyes
Like any other addictive behavior, habitual porn-viewing generally can’t be overcome alone. Accountability is a key principle to overcome addiction. Covenant Eyes is an internet service designed to help individuals seeking to fight their addiction to porn, by monitoring their Internet activity and sending a report to a trusted friend for accountability surrounding internet choice.
More information here.
Fight the New Drug’s web-based platform, Fortify, is an online support community filled with video lessons and activities to encourage men and women wanting to overcome addiction to porn. Instructional videos and training are developed by professionals including psychologists, neurologists and therapists.
More information here.
3. X3 Workshops
X3 workshops is a great recovery program for individuals impacted by porn addiction. Video sessions provide tools and guidance to overcome this struggle. Sessions are accompanied with an eBook and downloadable workbook to create an interactive training for participants. The workshops can be done in a small-group setting, or are otherwise completely confidential.
More information here.
Many hotlines for porn addiction are available for porn viewers. These 24-hour hotlines are an excellent resource for those wanting to talk to knowledgeable advisors about their condition. Callers can expect to be greeted with empathy and understanding, and will not be pressured to share their identity. It is entirely up to the caller how much information they seek to share.
Here are some hotlines:
5. Support groups
Hearing about the personal experiences and shared struggles of others can be a great comfort to those addicted to porn. Many support groups are entirely free, with the only membership requirements being to respect the anonymity of members and being serious about overcoming addiction. Support groups can be found in most communities, and meet on a weekly basis.
You are not alone. If porn addiction is your current reality, know that it does not have to be your future. Many books, professionals, and programs are available to guide you to recovery. Overcoming this addiction will not only lead to positive effects in your personal life and long-term wellbeing, but will also contribute in a significant way to the global fight to end trafficking.
About the Author
Jess, a proud Montrealer, is an International Development major at McGill University, minoring in Communications and World Religions. You can find her reading a book in a coffee shop, planning a trip to a new city or laughing with her loved ones. Her passion for social justice issues has inspired her work in nonprofit organizations both at home and in the developing world.