Blogs
Featured Image
 Shutterstock.com

You’re invited! Join LifeSite in celebrating 25 years of pro-life and pro-family reporting at our anniversary Gala August 17th in Naples, Florida. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased by clicking here. 

(LifeSiteNews) — One of the subjects I have been covering for LifeSiteNews for nearly ten years is that of porn addiction. I believe that widespread pornography use is now the number one threat to our marriages, families, and church communities, and that the sheer scale of porn use in our culture is reshaping our society, beginning with our sexualities. Sexual sin has existed since the Fall, but never in recorded human history have we had so much easy access to so much depravity. 

I have been giving talks on pornography since 2011, and the past two years—in which COVID-19 restrictions had people stuck at home, bored, and often very stressed—I have seen a spike in those struggling with porn. People spent more time in front of their devices and more time isolated, creating the conditions for porn addiction or relapse. To better understand this situation and to lay out the help available for those who needed it, I contacted Covenant Eyes, an anti-porn filtering and accountability company, with some questions.   

The questions on Covenant Eyes were answered by Dan Armstrong; the questions on personal porn addiction were answered by Brandon Clark. I hope you find these answers helpful and—if you need help—that you will reach out and begin the road to recovery and freedom. 

How did the pandemic impact rates of porn addiction? 

In the early weeks of the pandemic, Pornhub says visits to its website ranged in increases from 38% to 61%. That’s up from its 2019 average of 115 million visits per day. The total number of visits to the website in 2019 was 42 billion. Pornhub made its premium service free during the first month of the pandemic. Once the pandemic started, Covenant Eyes signups increased by more than 30%. 

How did the pandemic effect rates of relapse? 

Difficult to tell, but we know that those who were already struggling faced more intense pressure with isolation and other stresses of the pandemic, which are triggers for most people who struggle with porn. 

What advice do you have for those who are struggling with pornography–or those who have relapsed? 

My advice would be to never surrender, no matter what. I have been in some very dark places with my pornography struggle, places that led me to want to give in and accept that this would be part of who I am, a porn user. You may be experiencing similar thoughts or feelings of defeat and shame, especially with a relapse; but, defeat and shame don’t define you because you are not the sum of your weaknesses. I invite you to reject that shame and the voices inside you that say you will never be free and to keep moving forward one day, one hour, one moment at a time. If you are committed to finding victory in this struggle, don’t let whatever falls you may experience along the way deter you from rising again. When, yes, when, you find the freedom you deeply desire, you will see (at least this was the case for me) that all the struggles, all the pain, and all the suffering of the battle was worth it. 

Also, don’t be afraid to get the help you need. Willpower is not enough to bring down this giant in your life. I lived in a fantasy world for several years where I thought I had the willpower to win on my own. I didn’t, and each time I said no to help, my life spiraled downward. It took my wife giving me an ultimatum before I laid down my stubbornness and pride and chose to get help. What do I mean by help? Anything that can give you a leg up in this fight. Options including counseling; a therapist; intensive retreats; accountability software like Covenant Eyes; and if you’re a religious person, faith-based resources. Whatever you do, don’t go into this battle alone. Lay down whatever has been holding you back, and choose at least one person you can trust to journey with you. 

— Article continues below Petition —
PETITION CONGRESS: Stop the grooming & sexualization of children in schools
  Show Petition Text
6902 have signed the petition.
Let's get to 7500!
Thank you for signing this petition!
Add your signature:
  Show Petition Text
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.

At least 135 U.S. teachers and teachers’ aides have already been arrested in 2022 for child-related sex crimes, ranging from child porn possession to rape, and these are only the cases reported by the media.

And, while the vast majority of teachers are upstanding citizens, we also know some are indoctrinating our children with the LGBT ideology and practices to "make an ally of them" at a wholly inappropriate age.

This is not acceptable, and must be stopped now.

SIGN: Congress must ban federal funding for schools promoting sex or LGBT ideologies among children.

With Governor Ron DeSantis already taking action in Florida, banning instruction on sexuality and gender identity by teachers among third graders and younger, it's now time to see a federal push to effectively end such meddling in the minds of our children.

Parents have a responsibility to defend their children from those who overstep boundaries, whether that's in the form of LGBT propaganda, pornography, or other forms of sexualization in schools.

Too often the media downplays what's at stake: nothing less than the innocence of our children, and sometimes even their very lives, as this grieving Mom explained in March.

SIGN and SHARE: Congress must ban federal funding for schools who attempt to sexualize children.

76% of the arrests of teachers and aides for child-related sex-crimes this year involved assaults on students. 

Jonathan van Maren reports that while one California teacher was charged with aggravated assault of a child, another was charged with 29 counts of child molestation. 

A North Carolina science teacher was charged with 27 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 28 counts of “indecent liberties with a student.”

Parents need to construct every possible barrier to more children being abused, and one important way is to stop groomers and potential groomers from discussing sex with children in the classroom. 

It is a violation of trust to introduce someone else's precious child to the minefield of sexuality, and it breaks down inhibitions that are meant to protect our most vulnerable young people.

SIGN TODAY: Pull federal funding from any school that sexualizes children

We already know that drag queens, some of whom admit to grooming, have no place in the classroom, and that teaching children about gender identities and sexual preferences is wholly inappropriate, but it's beyond time we took action.

Thank you for signing the petition today.

More Information: 

Groomer: An empty slur or based in reality? - LifeSiteNews

Grooming begins with teacher's personal disclosure of sexual preferences - LifeSiteNews

Gay Choir sings "We'll convert your children" - LifeSiteNews

**Photo: Visual aid from National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)**

  Hide Petition Text

What can be done to prevent relapse? 

I don’t think preventing relapse is 100% foolproof. I had to work through a few relapses as I continued to search for the perfect answer. What I kept missing, though, was that this journey was going to take some serious surrender on my part. I denied reaching out for help more times than I can count, and it only hurt me worse. Even when I did have Covenant Eyes accountability software on my devices, I wasn’t willing to do my part in that accountability relationship at first. I saw it as an obstacle that I needed to find a way around, not as an opportunity to help me find freedom from porn. When the last thread on the rope finally broke, I was left with two options: 1. Continue down this road and lose everything, including my marriage or 2. Be serious about recovery by being willing to do whatever it would take. Why do I bring all this up? Because part of preventing relapse is a deep conviction that you don’t want porn in your life anymore. You have to be willing to do the work and take your part in recovery seriously. 

Another aspect of this is relationships. At Covenant Eyes, we believe that access to pornography is not the only problem. Isolation is a major reason why people continue to struggle with porn and will relapse after experiencing some level of freedom. You really need someone in your life who can walk with you as an ally and hold you accountable for your online behavior. This allows you to celebrate victories together and have honest conversations about your successes, setbacks, and triggers. To this day, with three and a half years of sobriety, I have Covenant Eyes on my devices and have regular conversations with my ally, calling him any time a temptation starts to surface. I need to stay sharp in each moment to avoid becoming complacent and falling back into porn’s grips. Yes, it will take courage to take this step, but it will be one of the best ways you can avoid relapse. I can think back to the first year on this journey and see how just having accountability software on my devices deterred me from looking at porn. I didn’t want to have that tough and embarrassing conversation with my ally when he saw the report of my activity. You won’t regret reaching out for help. 

Two final thoughts I have on this would refer back to finding a good counselor or therapist, particularly a CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist), and replacing porn with a healthy hobby. 

Counseling helped me see things that I wouldn’t have seen, like how my behavior of acting out with porn linked back to experiences in my childhood. It also provided an outlet for me to get everything I was feeling and experiencing off my chest in a safe, non-judgmental place. And my counselor gave me things that I can work on in between sessions. All of these played a crucial role in my recovery. I still meet with him every six months to have a “tune up” to make sure that I’m not missing something that could lead me back down that dark alley toward pornography. 

When it comes to finding a healthy hobby, we need to recognize that the time we normally spend viewing porn needs to be filled with something so that porn doesn’t remain our go-to option. I live in the country, so my hobby became raising animals, including the horses my wife and I have. As I continued to invest time into this particular hobby, I found that I didn’t have time to sneak away and look at porn, nor did I want to. I was also able to do this hobby with my wife, since she grew up with horses, which was a great connection for us. Your hobby can be anything. Maybe it’s woodworking, playing a sport, or playing music. Whatever it is, let it be something that helps you cultivate healthy habits in staying away from the porn. What you’ll discover is that these small changes and new opportunities can help you live life with purpose, reducing your need for porn. 

What particularly relevant services does Covenant Eyes offer? 

Covenant Eyes offers STRIVE21. It’s a 21-day free porn-detox program for those struggling with porn. Strive21.com. It explains why people look at porn, what it does to the brain, what personal triggers to avoid, how to use technology and accountability to keep you free for good. Also, a plethora of free educational materials and resources to get people started on their porn-free journey. 

Featured Image

Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

2 Comments

    Loading...