THE REPENTS OF PORN
Young men are increasingly aware of the damage of pornography: addiction, erectile dysfunction, difficulties in real relationships. After the surge in consumption during the Lockdown, there is a boom in quitting services in the UK: from psychotherapy to apps that block sexual content. But addiction starts at a very young age

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Men who say enough to porn: they are born app and psychotherapies to help them

Young men are increasingly aware of the harm of pornography. After the surge in porn consumption during the Lockdown, there is a boom in quitting services in the UK: from psychotherapy to apps that block sexual content. But addiction starts at a very young age

During the Lockdown, pornography consumption skyrocketed: in March 2020 the site Pornhub, for example, it experienced a sudden growth in traffic over 20%. During that time a greater number of men developed a addiction to pornography, and he experienced the consequences firsthand: depression, erectile dysfunction and relationship problems.

Men then found themselves having to agree with feminists: porn is bad. And since in this case it hurts themselves, they quickly took action. After the first summer of the pandemic, a little one was born “house industry” that offers technological products and therapies to these men who want to free themselves from porn.

Most of the new ones anti-pornography technology products are created by men for men. It's mostly about software or app that block pornographic sites and sexual content on social media and the web, such as the app Remojo by Jack Jenkins, interviewed by Guardian. The young British entrepreneur says he decided to stop watching porn as part of a Buddhist meditation path, and that he realized that there were many other men who felt the need for it, so much so that they represented one market niche.

The app, which blocks porn and offers “content for meditation and personal growth” as an alternative, It also intercepts those men who, out of embarrassment, do not turn to traditional support services for addiction or mental health. Jenkins says that more than 1200 men a day download his app, also from abroad, in particular from the United States, Brazil and India, and some of them are motivated by having recently become fathers. The entrepreneur claims that he is not inspired by any morals, that he is not necessarily anti-pornography or anti-masturbation: “The fact is that If men think about what they're at their best, it's usually when they're porn-free.”

The Guardian also interviews the psychotherapist Paula Hall, specializing in sex and pornography addiction, whose study saw a increase of more than 30% in requests in the year after the pandemic began and hired five new therapists. Dr. Hall follows the traditional approach that views pornography addiction as “a symptom, a mechanism of coping, an anesthetic." The psychotherapist's job would therefore be to identify and "talk about the main cause of the problem and then rebuild a healthy relationship with sex".

Pornography addiction is considered a “compulsive sexual behavior,” and as such in 2018 it was classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization. Some studies that have examined the effects of pornography on the brain seem to confirm that it has the characteristics of addictions (see here). Other studies, however, have highlighted that the brains of regular pornography consumers have a smaller reward system, from which it follows need for increasingly extreme material to get excited (see quthe).

The underlying problem that emerges from the interviews of Guardian to pornography treatment professionals and their patient-clients is that this alleged addiction of theirs began when they were children, disturbed their growth and their relationships with women, and many years passed before they decided to tackle the problem.

“I often think that if there had been a filter on the internet when I was 13, I would now be married with children and not have this conversation” says for example James, a patient of Dr. Hall, who in turn declares: “We have to resign ourselves to the fact that a determined kid will always find a way to beat the system, and that's why we also need to educate.” Jenkins, the entrepreneur of the app to block pornography, also states: “We cannot hold children responsible for interacting with this content. It is shameful that we accept the situation as it is."

Those who in various ways become involved in the problem of pornography seem invariably to be convinced of the need to regulate the industry, at least to block children from having too easy access to it. In 2019 the British government had developed a proposal to force pornographic sites to introduce age verification, but the project failed due to pressure from the pornographic industry in the name of "privacy protection" (see here). The UK still hopes to introduce some form of regulation. In the meantime, it's up to parents to enable filters on phones and computers, and hope their children don't access pornography elsewhere.

Maria Celeste

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