PORN REPENTANTS

Young men are increasingly aware of the dangers of pornography: addiction, erectile dysfunction, difficulties in real relationships. After the surge in consumption during the Lockdown, services to stop pornography are booming 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 no more to porn: they are born app and psychotherapies to help them

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

During the Lockdown the consumption of pornography soaredIn March 2020, the website Pornhub, for example, experienced a sudden growth in traffic of over 20%. During that period, more men developed an addiction to pornography, and experienced the consequences at first hand: depression, erectile dysfunction and problems in relationships.

Men then found themselves having to agree with feminists: porn is bad for you. And since in this case it hurts themselves, they quickly ran for cover. After the first summer of the pandemic, a small "home industry' that offers technological products and therapies to these men who want to get rid of porn.

Most of the new technological products against pornography are created by men for men. These are mainly software or app blocking 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 that he decided to stop watching porn as part of a Buddhist meditation path, and realised that there were many other men who felt the need for it, so much so that they represented a market niche.

The app 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 more than 1200 men a day download its 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 how they look at their best, it's usually when they're without porn'.

The Guardian interview also the psychotherapist Paula Hallspecialising in sex and pornography addiction, whose study has seen an more than 30% increase in requests in the year following the start of the pandemic and hired five new therapists. Dr Hall follows the traditional approach, which considers pornography addiction as 'a symptom, a mechanism of copingan anaesthetic'. 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 behaviour', and as such in 2018 was classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation. 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 shown that the brains of regular pornography users have a smaller reward system, hence increasingly extreme need for material to get excited (see qui).

The basic problem that emerges from the Guardian professionals and their patients-clients is that their alleged addiction started when they were children, disturbed their growth and their relationships with women, and it was many years 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'd be married with children now and I wouldn't be having this conversation," says James, a patient of Dr Hall's, who in turn says: "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 have to educate as well." Jenkins, the entrepreneur of the app to block pornography, also says: "We can't hold children accountable for interacting with this content. It is shameful that we accept the situation as it is."

Those who are involved in various ways in the issue of pornography invariably seem to be convinced by the the need to regulate the industry, at least to block its too easy access to children. In 2019, the British government drew up a proposal to force pornographic sites to introduce age verification is, however, failed due to pressure from the pornographic industry in the name of 'protection of privacy' (see here). The UK still hopes to introduce some form of regulation. In the meantime, it is up to parents to enable filters on mobile phones and computers, and hope that their children do not access pornography elsewhere.

Maria Celeste

Full article here



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