I Opened Another Can of Worms with my Survey

I worked in media/journalism/publishing full time starting at the age of 17 and for 20 years had a wide audience reading whatever I wrote or enjoying products I created when I became a publisher. Even when I wrote something controversial, there was rarely a “kill the messenger” vibe unless I made a mistake.

I believe, especially later on, since I had a certain amount of influence through the media, people put up with me more than they would for somebody who had my personality and didn’t have tens of thousands of readers behind it. You’ll put up with somebody being an asshole, and you won’t talk bad about that asshole if that asshole is willing to write a three-page article in his magazine about you. It’s thousands of dollars in free advertising, so why not just deal with it?

The products I created and worked on, especially in the last decade of that life I had, were mostly non-confrontational and non-controversial. They say you can’t make everybody happy, but locally, people really loved the magazine, especially those who didn’t know me personally.

The first time that I dealt with a situation where you can’t make everybody happy, no matter who you are, was when I was elected to the local city council. It was a mostly miserable experience and I did not like being the one moderate among three liberals and three conservatives. It meant I was the tie-breaking vote. On the surface, that seemed to play to my control, power and ego issues, but it quickly got to me on a personal level. I wasn’t attacked much for my decisions, but I really grappled with my decisions hurting some people while helping others. Do you give the $1,000 grant to the abused women’s group or to the meals for seniors group — especially when both plead their case to you? It’s a no-win.

The magazine ended with my life imploding as my addictions went very public and having to recalibrate almost all of my life, both internally and externally. I had to get over the people not liking me thing quickly, because of the circumstances around my outing. I actually think it helped me grow as a person a lot. My natural tendency to try and get people to like my work, especially strangers, had to die for me to move forward as a person. Today, I really hope people like my books, this site and the other things I do, but if they don’t, I feel no stress over it.

Late last week, I launched a survey/poll looking for feedback about a TED Talk I’ll be giving later this year on the topic of porn addiction. I’m trying to figure out a baseline for the people listening and how to best present the speech. I posted it on this site, LinkedIn and a few Reddit forums. I figured now, four or five days later, I’d have 50 or 60 responses. Before I go to bed tonight, I think the number is going to hit 700 responses.

Between the sections of the survey that allow people to give open-ended answers or the ability to give feedback through LinkedIn and Reddit, I have probably had 150-200 comments/suggestions/criticisms/ compliments/insults/attacks/thanks/etc. as well.

Of course I appreciate the people wishing luck, wanting to see the talk online when it’s published and thanking me for doing it, there’s a lot of people who want to argue about the validity of pornography addiction, criticize the methodology of the survey, or attack me as a person.

I do appreciate some of the professional criticism as it allows me to consider things I didn’t, and perhaps should have, in creating the survey. It also allows me to defend why I made certain decisions with questions or options for answers. I’m the first to admit that no poll/survey is ever going to be an unbiased reflection of what it is purporting to be. The government can’t even get the census right, how am I going to do it with tough questions? I don’t know how pollsters determine what the margin of error is in what they do, but in most of my responses, there are clear first and second place finishers that haven’t changed since 30 people responded. But, even with the professional criticism, there’s often a tone of “I’m better than you” coming from doctors or professors who I am well aware know more about statistics and polls than I ever will. It’s somewhat off-putting and I have a feeling it may be close to the air of intellectual superiority I gave off back in the day (and I’m sure still slip into now and then.)

The haters are the haters. If they have a Reddit profile and you go digging, you’ll find one of three things: 1) They spend most of their time looking at pornography, 2) They are incels who hate women or 3) Have a lifestyle of sexual openness (swinging, BDSM, etc) that they have jumped to the conclusion I am trying to eradicate. There’s not much I can do about these people. Some are perfectly healthy, some are basket cases, but their sexual health or decisions are really not what I’m concerned with, but they can’t see beyond their world to recognize that.

No, the ones who are sticking with me are the addicts and the spouses of addicts, or the others who share their stories of how porn has negatively effected their life one way or another. Yeah, I’ve heard most of these stories before, but there are some new ones that really pull at the heartstrings, and I don’t think I’ve ever read so many in such a short period of time. Many have asked for help, have given email addresses so we can talk privately and I can tell have been hugely ignored. The idea of someone willing to talk about pornography is a big deal to them.

A lot of these people make suggestions about what I should talk about — as I asked them to do. But, like the Pussycat Dolls once sang about, you need to be careful for what you ask for because you just might get it. And yes, I know that quote is originally from an Edgar Allen Poe story.

I have 15 minutes to give this speech. I could have 15 hours and I’m not going to be able to tell the stories of these people, or hit upon points that they think are important to the presentation. I’m going to disappoint them by pointing out A, B, and C, but not talking about X, Y, or Z. I fear they’re going to believe their opinion and sharing did not matter to me if I’m not able to cater to them, but it’s super clear that most of the feedback I’m getting with not be catered to or come close.

I don’t like knowing that people will feel, at best, disappointed and at worst, betrayed. Yeah, a college professor can tear me a new one because I didn’t include “None of the Above” as an option of Question 2, but it’s the mother at the end of her rope because her 17-year-old daughter won’t stop looking at porn, refusing to get a job or have friends, that stick with me. It’s the 75-year-old guy who is still looking for a solution to his problem before “my time runs out” that I’ve been thinking about over the weekend, not the angry 20-something trying to tell me I’m worthless because “porn is healthy.”

Thank God I have some time to process all of this before I have to fully start committing.

And of course, if you want to take the survey and haven’t yet, you can find it here: https://forms.gle/7FKFLv47maVamHzJ9

Do I Need to Change the Tone of This Site?

I’ve had a pretty good run the last few weeks as it has come to my pornography addiction professional endeavors. First, my new book came out in early July, which has prompted a new round of interviews promoting it and spreading the word of pornography addiction.

Then, I was finally able to announce my TEDx Talk that will be coming up in December. This past week I was also asked to participate in my first serious conference about addiction, giving a presentation about pornography addiction in their behavioral addiction category. The conference was going to take place in Spain, but because of some kind of flu going around, it’s been moved to a virtual realm. That’s good for me because I don’t have the money to go to Spain and my passport ran out about 10 years ago. But, this is a very big deal for me as it lets me continue to move away from “Josh Shea – Former porn addict” to “Josh Shea – Pornography Addiction Expert.” In the end, I think there’s more money (or any money) in being that second guy.

A well-respected therapist is putting together a masterclass series involving betrayal trauma and I was asked to participate in that very recently. I’m excited to be in a situation more of teaching than of just being interviewed. I’ve got to learn how to put up graphics on Zoom if anybody out there wants to give me a tutorial.

With these professional opportunities coming my way, it’s made me wonder if I need to make this site less about me and more about my mission. I know most people who are familiar with me through WordPress, just catch me on the Reader or get an alert when I write something, but I think my site is more a traditional site than just a “blog site.” I try to call what I write and post “articles” instead of blogs because it sounds less DIY to me.

As it stands now, I don’t post entries like this, which are more personal and almost conversational or the ones that don’t have to do with porn addiction, such as in the recent past when I’ve written about COVID-19 or racism. I only post the ones that I would want somebody who doesn’t know anything about me and is checking out my work to see. Sure, they can snoop around and find an entry like this easy enough, but I’m already gatekeeping to a certain degree. An entry like this plays to the regular group of followers, the ones I post are more mainstream for everybody.

I’ve started curtailing the personal stuff on LinkedIn and am struggling if I should do it here. I guess I could always start another blog if I feel the need to write about other topics or share stories from my life. I just feel like I’m coming to a point where the grassroots guy trying to save the world needs to bring it up a notch.

Maybe I’m wrong…thoughts?

A review of my book from Vincent Ehindero

There was the porn. Then the pandemic came, and it became the Porn Pandemic. And Pornography is the addiction nobody will talk about. But fortunately, there are few amazing people like Joshua Shea, who not only want to talk about it, but also want to tackle the issue from the roots and enlighten the present […]

Porn and The Pandemic – A book review. — Vincent Ehindero

Instead of the Grateful Eight This Month, Let’s Celebrate My Neatness

Most of my old regulars know that I don’t do the award thing, although I have committed to letting Kacha give me one per year. I’ve been so wrapped up in my latest book project and just realized today that I missed my Grateful Eight post by at least 10 days.

So, I’m going to make an exception and accept the Real Neat Blogger Award and extend thanks to Nilesh Sharma, who nominated me. I urge you to check out his common sense blog when you get a chance. He shares a lot of great stuff he finds and I urge you to check out his Margaret Meade and Abraham Lincoln entries.

If you know me, you know I’m not nominating anybody else. Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments if you’d like.

Here are the questions Nilesh has asked me to answer:

1. Name any 2 lines or dialogues from books/movies that you found fascinating.

My favorite quote of all time is by Friedrich Nietzsche:

“That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.” It’s quoted in a bunch of his books, so take your pick.

I think the greatest character ever portrayed on TV was Lt. Bookman, the library cop on one episode of Seinfeld. If this rerun is on, everything in my house stops to hear his monologue, which is obviously inspired by Joe Friday’s staccato delivery:

I can’t write it all down, so watch it:

2. What type of movies do you watch? any specific director or actor preferences?

I like independent films that are well done, weird and haven’t been seen before, but I don’t like stuff to be weird for the sake of it. For instance, I think both Midsommar and Parasite were two of the best films ever made. Both came out in 2019. I also like documentaries. I’ll never watch anything that’s a period costume drama, has a theme of war or looks dumb…which means I don’t watch a lot.

3. What is your take about Politics?

Republicans are heartless hypocrites, Democrats are brainless hypocrites. If only there was a third party the Cowardly Lion could join.
4. Name three Habits you want to share with us.

  • I get up every morning at 5:30 to deal with the dogs so my wife can sleep
  • I enjoy likely unhealthy levels of caffeine
  • Unless somebody reminds me to eat, I often miss meals…yet my midsection doesn’t show it.

5. Which will be your go-to place for dinner, once this lockdown ends?

I miss sushi. Most of the other stuff I can get curbside, but the good sushi place in town shut down until this is over.

6. Describe your favourite Book.

It’s got pages and a cover and I can put it on a shelf. It was probably also written by me.
7. When you joined the WordPress community, what were your thoughts? Did you have any expectations? Was there any specific reason why you chose blogging? (Apart from being passionate about writing)

Damn it, now I have to learn to build a website. I started to promote my first book, but when it was delayed a few months, I just started writing to fill the time and here we are now, nearly three years later. Or is it four?

 

The First Draft of the ‘Porn During the Pandemic’ Book is Basically Done

I was asked to write a mini-book by my publisher and to make it 10K to 20K words 15 days ago. Since then, I have interviewed 19 people, some at great length and written 28,961 words. My short days were 8-10 hours and once the interviewing was mostly done and it was just writing, the days got longer. On Saturday, I wrote 9,735 words over 15 hours and yesterday I wrote 8,224 words over 14 hours.

I think I’m going to start reading it later today, but I needed to give myself at least 18 hours to kind of get it out of my head so I could start at the beginning with a fresh set of eyes.

I’m still looking for another porn addict who has successfully navigated the pandemic (Rollie, you fit the profile? If so, drop me an email), a cam model who has retired, and a therapist to talk a bit about healthy sexuality. If you’re any of these people…let me know.

I actually think more than my other books, this one best shows my ability as a journalist and writer. While I do tell this story in the first person as a narrative thread, there’s a ton of research and a pretty deep dive into analysis of statistics. I wrote on here at the beginning of the year that I think some of Pornhub’s reporting is faulty, but I really lay out my case in this book.

I also interviewed a bunch of cam models, which is something I’d never done before. I’m usually on the side of telling people it’s not healthy to watch them or participate in them, and I still believe that at my core, but I met a really interesting bunch of people, almost all of whom I would think could be, or could have been, my friends in real life when I was younger. Having them talk about the more technical end of their job and what it means to their real lives off-camera was something I haven’t read much about. It’s the longest chapter, probably because in many ways, I found it to be the most interesting since it was my first time tackling that subject.

I think writing this book has been very good for my mental health. I’ve kind of been wandering aimlessly the last several months, even before the pandemic, uninterested in the freelance/ghostwriting I was doing and unable to get up and excited for a new book idea I have — which I still think is great, but it’s not the time for it yet. And then I have another book idea for after that, which is even more exciting, but I’ve got to get them done in the proper order. Nonetheless, I didn’t need to hustle for money because I was doing OK and nothing was stoking any fires of passion for my work. Turning out a well-researched 30,000-word book in two weeks has changed that. If gave me a burst of much-needed adrenaline. I think it also helps that in these two weeks, the weather has got much nicer and I can sit outside in shorts most days. That helps my demeanor a lot.

I believe the hope is that the book will be out in late June, but with the slowdown in production, I have a feeling that July is more realistic. With the way states are acting about the epidemic, I’m sure it will still be around and make the book still relevant in the moment. If not, I think it will always be an interesting look at how this time caused people to act in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.

During the creation of the book, I got another piece of very cool news that should be a big boost to me professionally, but I have also signed a non-disclosure agreement that says I can’t announce it for a little while. They haven’t given me a timetable, but I think it will be July or August on this one.

And, as always, you can buy my first two books from Amazon. The most recent book is on sale at the moment, 27% off the regular hardcover price and 19% off the softcover. No idea how they get those figures. You can see that book HERE.

All right, time for lunch, a little sunshine and some editing…