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CoAchieving - Blog articles to help men recover from sexual addiction.

Look less, read more. And get sober. 

The Solution to Internet Porn is at Your Fingertips

If it seems to you that the past few years have seen a wildfire epidemic of pornography addiction, that’s because it’s true. Yes, there’s a growing awareness of the problem, and that contributes to a sense that porn addiction is springing up everywhere, but also it actually is springing up everywhere. I do choose the term “epidemic” for effect. The porn that addicts consume nowadays festers almost exclusively online. The Internet is the Typhoid Mary of this contagion. 

Google regularly releases a list of its top searches. The advertising behemoth doesn’t mention that it completely removes from the chart any X-rated-related searches. If it did, hugely popular searches such as “YouTube” and “Facebook” would plummet to near-oblivion. Twenty-five percent of all searches on the Internet are for porn. The Internet is to porn as crack is to cocaine. The Web made porn cheap or free, ubiquitous, and available in a panoply of varieties from tame to felonious.  

Man, I hate writing this crap. 

Not because online porn addiction is a dire problem — it is — but because it makes the Internet seem monolithically evil, one gigantic bad neighborhood to be avoided like a plague. I hear it, too, from folks who remember the good old days when it took effort, money and shame to acquire pornography on CDs or VHS tapes, or in magazines and on smoky reels of 8- and 16mm film. 

But the Internet is not evil. To the contrary, it is the only medium for porn that carries within it the seed of solution to the porn addiction problem. 

Connection

At its base, addiction is a malady of self-perpetuating isolation. Porn addiction in particular is a wonder of bogus self-sufficiency. Crave, watch, masturbate, recover, repeat. Only genuine connection to other human beings provides a break in the cycle. Little wonder 12-steppers’ first prescription is “call someone.” Or “go to a meeting.” 

The Internet used properly is a supercharged network of genuine connection unheralded in history.  You may not like Facebook (I don’t) but it connects two billion people. Twelve-step groups now make their homes on the same Internet that pulses with porn, so that members may connect online, or find out where to connect in the flesh. Hundreds of apps for connection through meditation, prayer, mindfulness and journaling populate iOS and Android stores. Counseling, therapy, coaching all thrive on the Internet in a way not possible anywhere else. 

The Internet is good. 

And like anything else, it can be perverted for profit and pain. Only more so. I’m not naive: there is something about the Internet that facilitates addiction. It’s like the three hundred kinds of breakfast cereal in colorful boxes lining an entire aisle of the supermarket, or the blindingly colorful snack food wrought cheap by federal subsidies for corn. Make something bold and accessible enough, tie it to a fundamental need of the organism or species — food, water, sex — and you’ve got catnip for the addictive kitty.  

So just as we must do our best to roll past the Captain Sugar and Extreme Salties, we must try to avoid the red-light districts of the World Wide Web, from hardcore porn to anonymous chat to overly titillating clickbait. And just as there’s probably an aisle somewhere in that grocery that shelves whole wheat bread and sustainably-caught fish, there’s health and help throughout the compass of cyberspace. You have only to ask. 

Or search.

Postscript: Most recently, the ante has been upped, from virtual crack to virtual bath salts or fentanyl. I'm talking VR: Virtual Reality. An industry has already sprung up -- surprise, surprise -- to cater to those who want to live the lie that digital pornography can be interactive. Old poison in a new bottle: VR is simply following the decades-long pattern in which the pornography industry is the first to fund the latest consumer technology. VR. Streaming video. DVD. VHS. For all I know, the zoetrope. 

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