Your Alarming Porn Statistic for November

So, in 2017, a couple researchers named Perry & Davis conducted a study to determine the effects of pornography on a relationship, specifically if there was any correlation between those who look at porn and if they maintained the relationship.

The findings were astounding, but not surprising. Check out this graph, which originally ran in Psychology Today (and also has more about the study.)

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Now, there can be a lot of interpretation of why the numbers are what they have discovered, and Perry & Davis do go into hypothesizing, but I’ll save that for the experts. There is no denying a correlation between a person’s use of pornography and the greater likelihood they are going to end the relationship.

What I Wish I Knew Before I Wrote My First Book

As many of you who read this site regularly know, I have been working on a second book for much of this year. It’s a self-help book written with an LMFT from California that is geared toward the female partner of a male pornography addict.

While the last part of the book is still being edited for clarity and content, I have begun the arduous task of finding a publisher. There are a lot of lessons I learned the first time around and am being reminded of as I look for someone to put their company behind the book. If you’re reading this, there’s about an 80% chance that you’ve got a blog of your own, and I would bet there’s just as equal a chance you’ve considered writing a book.

Here are the three main things I wish people told me before I started the first time:

It’s a very impersonal process – Despite the fact many agents and publishers specifically say, “We will get back to you within 12 weeks, if we don’t, it means we’re not interested” it is still a bit of a blow to the ego when it’s not even formally rejected. When they are kind enough to send a letter of rejection, 9 out of 10 times, it’s a form letter.

With a memoir, like my first book, it felt like a rejection of my personal story. It was as if my tale of redemption was not important. The most grueling, yet transformative part of my life – easily the part of my life that deserved a book – didn’t deserve most publishers’ attention

The truth is, publishing houses will get hundreds, if not thousands, of queries every year. Let’s say a publisher gets 1,000 queries per year. They may ask to see 150 manuscripts and of those manuscripts, they may only print 20. When you boil that down to real numbers, that means only 2% of the original queries become a book. Those are mighty odds no matter what your story is about.

It’s a very long process – Aside from the fact it took 8-10 months to write and edit the book to a point I was happy to share it, I started looking for a publisher in May 2017. It wasn’t until August that I found the right one. I had a few nibbles of interest here and there, but people either wanted me to change the language to make it more salacious or were trying to get me to front the money to publish the book to be my “partner.”

We originally planned for the book to come out in October 2017, but when I wanted to give it another hard edit to eliminate a few thousand more words to make it tighter, it was pushed to early January 2018.

Aside from the initial burst of sales in the first 10 days, it took about six weeks for the book to gain traction. My best selling months were actually April and May. I didn’t see my first royalty check until July. My guess is if you figured out the dollars and cents, I probably made 40 cents per hour.

You will be doing the marketing – Unless you’re with a mammoth publisher that makes up one of the big five, you’re working with a smaller publisher that may help with marketing, but you’ll have to carry most of the load. This website was started to help market the book – although it grew into something bigger. I spent many hours just as the book came out searching for people to review it (very few people review non-fiction) and for podcasts to appear on. Thankfully, over time the podcasts and radio shows started reaching out to me.

I know that a lot of people make the Field of Dreams-inspired mistake of “If you write it, they will come.” That’s not true. You have to drag them to it, give away free copies and hope they read it and tell others. If you don’t have it in you to spend dozens of hours promoting your book, don’t expect much in the terms of sales.

Also understand that many media outlets are not interested in promoting a book that is self-published. While there are many fine self-published titles, the fact is, a self-published book doesn’t go through the same vetting process as one that has a commercial publisher.

And, much like with finding a publisher or agent, most of the time your queries to media outlets will go unanswered or rejected with a form letter.

It’s a small miracle any book gets a legitimate publisher to stand behind it. I’m hoping that this second go-round is a little easier, but at least I know what I’m up against. If you are thinking of writing a book, good luck. It’s one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had.

 

 

Why do I have a pornography addiction awareness blog?

I was giving an interview to a podcast yesterday and was giving my standard answer to the “Why did you write this book?” question and it occurred to me that I don’t think I’ve ever directly answered the question on this blog which is strange, because the two reasons I write this blog are the same two reasons why I wrote the book.

1. To reach my fellow addicts who need to go get help

First, for addicts, or people who engage in pornography use more than they wish, I try to use my experience as a cautionary tale. Statistics suggest that one-out-of-three men between the ages of 18 and 35 believe they use too much pornography, have a problem with it, or are in the throes of a full-blown addiction.

I didn’t recognize I had a pornography addiction until long after I was arrested for inappropriate behavior with a teenager in a chat room. I believe one of the reasons that I never thought about porn addiction was that I never heard anybody talking about it.

Would it have stopped me before I let it get too far? I don’t know, nor will I ever know, but I can at least try to be that voice I never heard.

If you believe that you have a pornography addiction, please begin to get some help. That could mean a 12-step group, rehab, a therapist, online forums, research…whatever. Just don’t sit there are let the addiction fester. Check out the Resources page for more info on multiple ways to get help.

I know there is an addict reading this now who thinks, “I may have an addiction, but it clearly wasn’t as bad as yours.”

That’s probably true, and consider yourself lucky you have yet to reach the critical point that I did. If you think that I had some idea I’d ever reach the place where I was capable of going into a chatroom, look for a woman to talk to and make the mistake of engaging a teenager…well, you’re wrong.

I would have sworn to you probably up to the last two or three months before I made that horrible mistake I was incapable of doing such a thing – and I would have been telling the truth.

The gambling addict never thinks they’ll lose the house, the guy who snorts cocaine never thinks he’ll be putting a needle in his arm, the person who find solace in food never thinks they’ll get to 300 pounds.

If you have a problem – it doesn’t have to be an actual addiction yet – get some help soon. Stop this before it festers into something you can’t control.

2. To remind non-addicts there is no stereotypical addict

If you’re a male under 40 years old and you don’t look at pornography regularly, you are in the minority. If you’re a female under 40 that doesn’t visit a pornographic website at least twice a year, you’re in the minority. 98% of married men and 70% of married women under 35 report having looked at pornography at least once in the last six months. It’s not just people born post-1978 either.

Most people look at porn, but they won’t admit it. I think that they believe that people like themselves don’t look at porn and they are an exception. We need to acknowledge that more people look at porn than ever before, even if they’re not talking about it.

When I was in rehab for porn addiction, in 12-step groups, or in a group therapy setting, one thing always struck me: These are not similar people. I have met doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, people ranging in age from 19 to 78, the rich, poor and everything in between. I’ve met several women and people who can claim to be of just about every race.

Why is it important that we not stereotype who a porn addict may be? When we stereotype, we miss the outliers. If we’re led to believe that every porn addict is a 22-year-old pimply faced kid who lives in his mom’s basement and has never kissed a girl, we’re going to miss all of the others. It’s kind of like how we seemed to all agree that opiod users in the 1980s and early 90s were homeless types who weighed next to nothing and were making bad choices, not actually sick people. Now, almost everyone knows someone struggling with opiods and they don’t fit the morally bankrupt hobo profile.

Your husband, daughter, father, co-worker, clergy member, etc., may not only look at porn, they may have a problem with it. How would you really know?

I was a 37-year-old civic-minded business owner with a wife and two kids when my recovery began. I believe that the reason I had so much negative fallout locally was not only because of the charges against me, but because the community felt duped. Since I didn’t wear the tag of pornography addict on my sleeve, I certainly couldn’t be one, right? Well, they were wrong and I think felt betrayed for it. The reality is, you can’t spot a porn addict. The moment you think you can, you’re stereotyping and potentially missing something important.

 

 

 

Getting Trivial Things Off My Chest – April Edition

It’s been a month since I’ve written one of those rambling articles with a lot of little items that really don’t deserve their own posting but keep rattling around in my brain. Some are good, some are negative, but it’s time to clear some real estate in my head for other things having to do with porn addiction.

I did my first speaking gig at the Merrimack Public Library in Merrimack, NH, over the weekend. It has shown me that I can speak about this issue in front of people, despite my initial anxiety. It was a program called “Human Library” where an eclectic group of people gather and then library patrons bounce from one to another having 15-minute conversations. Some went better and smoother than others but it was great practice and gave me a fair amount of confidence that I can keep moving forward with this. If you ever see a “Human Library” event in your area, go check it out.

I’ve had three promised podcasts fall through the last couple weeks because the hosts had second thoughts or got busy doing something else. It’s frustrating because while I don’t sell a ton of books because of them, I still sell a few, get to introduce people to my website who didn’t know about it and continue in my recovery by sharing my story. Some of the excuses border on the illogical. One person, who specifically runs a porn recovery podcast worried that my book would be too triggering to his audience. I said that I didn’t think we would be reading from it, but he said he was afraid if they bought it that it would be too triggering. It’s a freakin’ porn recovery podcast. Everybody’s story is going to be triggering! It’s sometimes hard to separate my feelings of frustration, disappointment and rejection when somebody takes something back that they promised.

For some reason, my book has had a spike in sales over the last couple of weeks. If you’ve bought one, thank you, I appreciate it. I’m never going to get rich off it, but just having a handful of sales every week shows future agents and publishers that there is a market for this kind of book. Libraries have also been coming around, which is great. It’s exciting to not only know that it’s in 15 libraries in my home state of Maine, but also in at least another dozen at through the country and growing. If you haven’t bought my book, think of the money you spent on stupid crap last week. This is an interesting story of a guy whose head was too big getting his comeuppance and learning from it. Amazon has also been dropping the book in price here and there, so you can get it for a few dollars off if you’re paying attention. You can get it HERE.

I’ve had a couple of long conversations with my therapist about the time I’m spending working on porn addiction stuff. Like writing this blog, working on the next book, handling marketing and speaking gigs, etc. The thing taking most of my time in this area lately is talking to addicts one-on-one through email. My therapist (and two other people) have suggested to me creating a peer counseling business on the side. If I’m spending two hours a day helping people with their addiction, is it wrong to want to be paid for it, especially if it’s cutting into the time I’d be doing regular work? I’m avoiding paying work right now to write this. I’m on the fence with the idea right now.

The post I did last week with the Q&A had a ton of hits and I got a few questions from people. I answered them immediately, but I’ll be picking one to post later this week or early next week. If you have a question or need advice, drop me a line through the comments, contact page or email me directly.

OK, we’re at 675 words and while I could probably write another dozen of these paragraphs, I feel like I’m a little emptier in the head, which is never a bad thing.

 

Check Out My Appearance on ‘The Virtual Couch’ Podcast from January 11

I had a terrific time recording an episode of The Virtual Couch with Tony Overbay. A video version will be available in upcoming days that I’ll add here, but for now, I’d encourage you to give it a listen through one of these links:

170x170bbITunes or SoundCloud

If you prefer your podcasts with video, there is this version from Vimeo:

Virtual Couch Podcast Ep 27 Joshua Shea “The Addiction Nobody Will Talk about: How I Let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People” from Path Back Recovery on Vimeo.

 

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If you’re struggling with porn addiction and would like a free ebook from Tony, you can pick one up at his website, The Path Back

Thank You to Those Who Have Followed This Site – Here’s Why I Wrote The Book

As I promised, I’d let details of my book, The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About: How I Let My Pornography Addiction Hurt People and Destroy Relationships, release out here and I’m happy to say it’s now available for pre-sale on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and will be officially released on January 10. I want to thank everybody who has read this site for the four months it’s been active. The vote of confidence has made me believe there Is a market for my cautionary tale.

To be perfectly honest, I’m nervous about what comes next. What happens if it doesn’t sell? What happens if critics hate it? What if no critics review it? Will it help people? Will it just piss people off? I’ve probably had hundreds of articles, columns, editorials and other pieces with my byline over the last 23 years, but I’ve never released anything so raw and brutally honest. I’m scared how it’s all going to shake out.

I’d like to share a passage with you from The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About, from the introduction, that explains why I wrote the book. When my confidence wavers that I’m doing the right thing, I’m going to remind myself to return to this spot.

 

“In rehab and jail, I met some of the most real people on earth, once they were willing to let down their guard and accept who they really were. They were never just an alcoholic or just a porn addict. There was always a suitcase full of other issues happening, and addictions are just coping mechanisms to deal with sadness, anger, self-loathing, and fear. Toss in pre-existing mental health conditions, and you’ve lit a fuse that will eventually go off. Mine was thankfully snuffed out when the police showed up at my door. Had they not, I think my story would have eventually resulted in death, as unfortunately too many stories I know ended.

I decided to finally start putting pencil to paper after many long conversations with a thirty-year-old guy I met in jail named Tom. He was busted on a probation violation for a dirty urine test. Life got the better of him, and he succumbed to heroin again. He was awaiting a hearing to find out if he’d have to go serve the rest of the armed robbery sentence he was released early from only six months prior.

He had done three of the five years he was given for robbing a McDonald’s after hours. His ex-girlfriend was a manager, and he knew they transferred a giant amount of money from the time-locked safe to the bank on Tuesday nights between 11 and midnight. He jimmied open the drive-thru window, made his way to the manager’s office, and took over $5,000. Tom wore a mask, and if not for the unique handle on the gun he used being captured on security camera footage, he never would have been apprehended months later.

Tom needed the money to pay some very, very scary people off from whom he had purchased heroin. Despite being a good-looking guy who probably could have been a model before the drugs and one of the smartest, most-well rounded people I’ve met, heroin had Tom in its grips and even three years away from dope while in prison wasn’t enough to stop.

With many long, personal conversations about his shitty upbringing and lack of parental guidance, I saw in Tom what I saw in myself at the time of my arrest: a scared little boy who didn’t know how to make his way in the world and just wanted to be loved. I tried not to make connections with anyone in jail, but despite our many differences, we were very much the same.

The day I started writing this book was the day Tom asked me about sex addiction. He wondered if he was a sex addict. He liked porn, but since his first consensual sexual experience at twelve (his first non-consensual was around the time he entered kindergarten), he’d been with over eight hundred women. He knew the answer, and I think it was the first time he ever really admitted to himself that his addictions went further than drugs.

When I asked why he never mentioned it to me, he said he was more embarrassed by the sex than the heroin. I knew what he meant. It’s easy to talk about my alcoholism openly. I’m seen a hero by some for trying to conquer that beast and people congratulate me for going to rehab and being sober for over three years at the time I write this. Those same people who want to pat me on the back and shake my hand for dealing with alcohol addiction don’t want to touch me and go searching for hand sanitizer when I mention porn addiction or sex addiction rehab.

Tom’s admission made me reflect on the people I met who entered rehab for a drug or alcohol problem, but after spending time with admitted sex and porn addicts, they came to realize their sexual behavior was often negative and many times an unhealthy coping mechanism. Tom was just recognizing this. I’ve seen a lot of these “a-ha!” moments when people first connect-the-dots and realize their sexual behavior may be an addiction. It’s powerful, and sad.”

 

I said to a friend of mine the other day that whether the book is a winner or a loser, at least it’s out of my system and in the world. He said that it won’t be a loser because not writing it would have been the loser move. I’ll try to hold onto that in the next few weeks as we find out if any media is willing to cover it, bookstores are willing to stock it and people are willing to buy it.

I hope you’ll consider investing a few dollars on the book. If you’ve enjoyed my articles on this site to this point, you’ll find the genesis of how it all began and learn a lot more about my struggle on a personal level.

Once again, thank you to those who have been supporting me on this site for a few months. I appreciate it. Welcome to those who may just be discovering it. I hope that this book and the site can begin to help open a dialogue about pornography addiction. It’s a problem that’s not going away and it has to stop being The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About.

(You see what I did there?)