Slate Shines a Light on 'Porn Addiction' Industry, #NoFap Movement

Slate Shines a Light on 'Porn Addiction' Industry, #NoFap Movement

LOS ANGELES — Slate magazine has published a detailed account of the current trend of evangelical men becoming convinced that they experience “porn addiction,” and how this feeds into both a lucrative cottage industry to “cure” them and also into War On Porn propaganda and myth-based campaigns like the Reddit-driven #NoFap.

The article, titled “Sinning Like a Man,” was written by Kelsy Burke, a religion and sexuality researcher who has conducted numerous interviews with religious men who believed themselves to be “addicted to porn.”

“According to a national survey published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology,” Burke wrote, “conservative Protestant men are the most likely group to perceive themselves to be addicted to porn, even if they watch less of it than their secular counterparts. And this has turned out to be a lucrative phenomenon. Christian books, apps, lifestyle groups and conferences constitute a booming industry to help men quit porn — or, in the words of one of them, to help afflicted men ‘develop sexual integrity.’”

Burke says she “first started hearing stories about pornography addiction while researching online Christian sex advice: blogs, message boards, and online stores created by and for evangelical Christians to have great sex in their marriages. Based on the stories I was reading online, pornography was a vicious virus that had spread to virtually all Christian men. I read countless stories of battles against pornography addiction and common advice that these addicts attend programs to get clean.”

In 2016, Burke started her research and what she discovered is that “porn addiction recovery” programs do not in any way, as they allege, “free men of their darkest biological impulses and to put them on a path to healthy, spiritual relationships with women.”

Burke points out many clinicians “wave away the issue of porn addiction. Most mainstream scientists do not liken it to drug and alcohol addiction, and there is heated debate about whether it meets criteria of a behavioral addiction, like gambling. Pornography addiction is not included in any reputable diagnostics manual, including the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM.”

Burke found that for Christian men “admitting they have a problem with porn — even if they continue to occasionally watch it — is a way to garner sympathy from women.”

This sympathy, however, "does not extend to women who watch porn themselves."

“Pornography addiction is decidedly a ‘man’s problem,’ according to both the porn-addiction industry and the people I interviewed,” Burke wrote. “Sociologist Sam Perry has detailed this gendered double standard within conservative Christian churches, where women who watch porn are met with skepticism and stigma. As Perry puts it, women who watch porn are not just committing the sin of lust but they are also ‘sinning against their gender,’ or ‘sinning like a man’.”

To read the Slate article “Sinning Like a Man,” click here.

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