Porn and the Pandemic: What to Do When a Partner’s Addiction is Exposed

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It is no surprise that pornography use escalated as more people stayed at home and online during the novel coronavirus quarantines of 2020.  Jim O’Day, executive director of Integrity Restored, highlighted the troubling rise of pornography use during the COVID-19 pandemic this way:

“At some point in the future we’re going to be faced with people who have become so habitualized to using pornography as their self-soothing mechanism that we’re going to have a bigger society of addicts than we currently do today.”

But what about the innocent spouse or partner of someone who uses pornography? What are they supposed to do when they find themselves facing down this addiction in their loved one?

Many people have found out about their partner’s pornography addiction for the first time during this increased time at home together and this can significantly heighten their experience of the crisis.

Dozens of research studies and untold numbers of anecdotal personal stories demonstrate the considerable harms to relationships that stem from pornography use. Included among those harms, excessive pornography use can lead to other forms of abuse in the relationship including emotional abuse, sexual aggression, lying, gaslighting, and other dangerous sexual behavior.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an organization dedicated to exposing the damage pornography does to families and relationships. They provide support and counseling to women in relationships with men who view pornography. They have helpful podcasts for education and support. They articulate that pornography is abusive by itself and they also help explain how it fuels the rest of the prostitution marketplace.

Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, spoke to Anne Blythe, M.Ed. and Executive Director of BTR, in a Facebook Live during the pandemic. In it, they discuss how pornography use has impacted relationships during COVID-19 and what women can do to protect themselves as well as to find safety and healing.

https://www.facebook.com/centeronexploitation/videos/vb.745910525468062/534926657447390/?type=2&theater

 

It is clear that pornography has detrimental effects on individuals, relationships, and even society. To learn more about pornography as a public health crisis and what you can do to help today, visit our page here.

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The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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