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Ethics & Religion
April 7, 2016
Column #1,806
Young Men Are Fighting Pornography
by Mike McManus


TIME published a remarkable cover story this week entitled, PORN: Why Young Men Who Grew Up with Internet Porn Are Becoming Advocates for Turning It Off.

It begins with the story of Noah Church, 26, who found pictures of nude women on the Internet at age 9. "When he was 15, streaming videos arrived, and he watched those. Often. Several times a day," prompting masturbation.

In his senior year of high school, he had an opportunity "to have actual sex." However, despite the naked girl in her bedroom, he simply could not perform.

First time jitters? No "Six years went by and no matter which woman he was with, his body was no more cooperative." He only got aroused with pornography. He had what experts call "porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED)."

TIME reports, "A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents....So they're beginning to push back, creating online community groups, smartphone apps and educational videos to help men quit porn."

The magazine cites "Reboot Nation" a forum and online video channel that offers advice and support for people who feel they are addicted to pornography, and have sexual dysfunction as a result. Its creator is Gabe Deem, 28, who experienced PIED.

I visited the site and was stunned by the wide range of help that is available. Deem has created videos and written essays, and allowed others to do so as well. One of his essays, "The Basics of Rebooting," had been read by 27,767 people. Rebooting is Deem's term for "recovering from porn addiction and associated symptoms, including erectile dysfunction. We call it rebooting so you can envision restoring your brain to its original factory settings."

That's the good news of TIME's cover story. Recovery is possible.

Another of the young men whose story is reported is Alexander Rhodes who created in 2011, a website whose name derives from fap, Internet jargon for masturbation. By the time he was 14, Rhodes says he was "pleasuring himself to porn 10 times a day." His websites have about 200,000 members and they get a million visitors a month.

Deem says "The reason I quit watching porn is to have more sex." Rhodes adds, "Quitting porn is one of the most sex-positive things people can do."

In 1992 about 5% of men experienced ED at age 40 according to the National Institutes of Health. A study in the July, 2013 Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 26% of adult men seeking help for ED were under 40. Another study of military personnel estimated that a third suffered from ED.

This explosive growth parallels the increased availability of hard core porn via streaming video over the past decade. One independent web-tracking company reported 58 million monthly U.S. visitors in 2006. "Ten years later the number was 107 million," TIME reported. One fast-growing, massive site is Pornhub, which says it gets 2.4 million visitors per hour, and that in 2015 people around the globe watched 4,392,486,580 hours of its content, "which is more than twice as long as Homo sapiens has spent on earth."

As this column reported in February, 56% of divorces in 2003 involve the addiction of one spouse to pornography, a figure that has undoubtedly grown in the past decade.

That column also reported that the Utah Legislature was considering declaring pornography a "public health hazard." Within weeks it had done so by a unanimous vote. It was promoted by Utah State Senator Todd Weiler. I asked him what his next step would be.

"I have approached McDonalds and said, `You are a restaurant with a playground and are marketing Happy Meals, but your WiFi is targeting children. Although they have filters at home where parents are keeping them from looking at porn, you should not be a purveyor of porn.'" McDonalds agreed to consider that.

Weiler added, "I'd like to do what (Prime Minister) David Cameron did in England - change the way the internet is delivered in a porn free setting. He's had a high opt-in rate of 65%" of households who chose to keep their homes porn-free."

Donna Rice Hughes, who runs "Enough Is Enough," has created an Emmy Award-winning DVD package called Internet Safety 101 which is designed to help families block porn from their homes. She and others have asked Presidential candidates to take a stand on the issue.

None have done so.

However, TIME's cover story reports that formerly addicted young men have pioneered important answers. As a former TIME correspondent, I felt a sense of pride.

Copyright (c) 2016 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To see past columns go to, and Search for any topic.


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