REDDIT: Anti-Racist? Yes. Anti-Porn? Nope.

It’s nice to see corporations put their money where their mouth is, or to put their actions where their words are and in the wake of the civil unrest of the last month, many organizations seem to be making changes, both substantial and symbolic, or in the case of NASCAR banning the Confederate Flag, both.

One of the items that caught my eye was Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian stepping down from the board of his company and asking that a person of color replace him to better represent the diversity in America, and the diversity of Reddit.

For those unfamiliar with Reddit, which bills itself as “The Front Page of the Internet,” it is essentially a giant bulletin board-like forum where you can find just about any topic that interests you and participate in discussion on that topic, or simply look at pictures and videos other people post. From politics to pets, there really is something for everybody there.

I’ve not been a big “Redditor” over the years. I participated last year in the room (these individual rooms are called subreddits) that dealt with betrayal trauma for porn addicts’ partners and exercised my creative muscle in a room for roasting people, but after a few weeks with both, they seemed to fall by the wayside. Like a lot of online technology that was new to me, I just couldn’t find the long-term value with integrating it into my life. That said, I know hundreds of millions of people do enjoy the site and it does have a tremendous amount to offer, from mental health resources to help planning road trips.

With Ohanian’s bold statement (which I still wonder how much was taking advantage of the opportunity for a positive PR spin from somebody planning to leave the board anyway) Reddit has reportedly taken a serious hardline stance against racism among its users. While the site, depending on who is a moderator of a subreddit has long been criticized for randomly, arbitrarily and often hypocritically enforcing its own rules, it seems to be clamping down on racism. As a privately-owned business that is free to run things however they wish, they’ve decided that racism will not be tolerated. They are not covered by free speech in The Constitution and I respect and appreciate that fact.

I also appreciate the fact that despite having millions of users, some of whom are probably extremely questionable human beings, the site tries to make sure there aren’t things like prostitution, sex trafficking or other nefarious crimes taking place under the surface that have plagued sites like Craigslist.

However, the site does seem to not have a problem with one of society’s major ills: Pornography. There are dozens upon dozens of rooms devoted to the spread of online pornography. When I frequented the betrayal trauma room for partners of porn addicts, most lamented the irony of while they were getting support they needed from the Reddit community, it was also Reddit that was giving their partner the very pornography fix that was driving them apart.

Enjoy naked celebrities? Reddit has got you covered. There’s your typical naked celebrity page (686,000 members), but if you’re into specifics, you can find pages geared just toward female celebrity genitals (208,000), their nipples (107,000) or movies where celebrities performed an actual sex act (225,000). Prefer the younger girls? There’s “Barely Legal Teens” with 218,000 members, “Barely Legal” with 133,000 and “GoneWild18” with 427,000.

Other subreddits have such classy names as “Hold the Moan,” “Happy Embarrassed Girls,” “Incest Porn,” “Sex in Front of Others” and “Bottomless Vixens.”

And don’t worry about Reddit being racist when it comes to porn. You can enjoy, “Black Boobs,” “Ebony Nude Selfies,” “Latin Sex Girl” or “Jew Sluts” among its many other specific offerings like “Amputee Porn” and “Grandma Porn.”

I didn’t mention the membership numbers of those room because it doesn’t actually matter. You needn’t be a member to view any of it, so it’s probably safe to surmise that exponentially more people are viewing than the numbers I listed above.

One of the worst parts about the vast majority of the porn on Reddit is that with the exception of clicking a button that says you’re 18 years old, there is no security, firewall or other way to prove that its viewers are actual adults. For kids who are all over the subreddits about anime, video games or Korean pop music, it’s a couple clicks until they can see hardcore pornography, all courtesy of this “socially responsible” website.

I’m not going to take a deep dive into overall website figures because I won’t be able to break them down by room or demographic, and I don’t know if that would prove anything more.

I don’t expect Reddit to change its policy anytime soon. They know sex sells and they know as long as they keep quiet, the millions who are in their pornography rooms daily will also keep their mouths shut. Sex sells and like every other website out there, Reddit makes a lot of money on advertising. Gotta keep those eyeballs on the page, right?

I simply wanted to highlight the fact that while some sites out there are unabashedly promoting pornography, there are others that feature a ton of it (like YouTube) without calling attention to itself, and if you think kids don’t know this, you don’t remember what it’s like being a kid.

Looking for People to Interview ASAP for New Book on Pornography and the Pandemic

I was commissioned by my publisher yesterday to write a small book that dovetails the blog posts I’ve done and podcasts I’ve appeared on, talking about how porn addiction has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s obviously easier to produce a book 25% the size of one of my normal ones, I have much less than 25% of my typical time to produce it. It’s more like 2%.

Like the blog posts, there is going to be a level of research in this book, although it will end with a self-help aspect.

I’m trying to get interviews with people who fit into one of the following categories. If you or anybody you know fits any of these profiles, I would like to talk to you. Everything for publication will be kept anonymous. You can email me at jshea.writer@gmail.com to participate and/or for more details.

I’m looking to interview:

  • A person in longterm recovery who has worried about relapsing during the pandemic or has felt tinges of potentially heading toward relapse, but has not relapsed.
  • I’m looking for the same person above who has actually relapsed.
  • A person in short term recovery who has worried about relapsing during the pandemic or has felt tinges of potentially heading toward relapse, but has not relapsed.
  • I’m looking for the same person above who has actually relapsed.
  • An active addict, or heavy porn user, who can talk about how their viewing habits have changed during the pandemic.
  • Someone who is worried they have crossed into obsessive or addiction territory based on their use of porn during the pandemic.
  • Someone who has seen their porn use increase, but is not too worried about it in the long run.
  • Someone who previously rarely looked at porn but is now engaging at any level.
  • A person who worked in cam rooms or some other form of Internet porn work prior to and during the pandemic.
  • A person who started working in cam rooms or some other form of Internet porn work during the pandemic.
  • Someone who launched an OnlyFans page prior to the pandemic.
  • Someone who launched an OnlyFans page during the pandemic.
  • A professional therapist who will speak to any change in use of pornography reported by their clients during the pandemic.
  • Any friend or family member of somebody whose porn use escalated during the pandemic and they are now more concerned than ever.

If any of these people describe you and you’re willing to go on the record anonymously, please drop me an email at jshea.writer@gmail.com and I’ll be back to you within hours.

Porn Addiction During the Pandemic: Meet the Newest Problem… OnlyFans

I never like to share the names of pornographic websites when I’m educating about pornography addiction. It’s because I know that active porn addicts are a piece of the audience and I don’t want to introduce them to anything that could make their situation worse. It’s only when something is so ingrained in society, like PornHub.com or Penthouse magazine, that I’m comfortable sharing details because I know I’m not turning them on to something they didn’t already know was there.

In the last three or four months, both in live presentations prior to COVID-19 and on podcasts, I have been vaguely referring to the porn site OnlyFans.com, but based on news stories that hit over the weekend about the site and the fallout of one woman posting material on it, it’s probably time to educate the world at large. If you want to read that story, check out: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/otilliasteadman/mechanic-fired-onlyfans-account-indiana

In its simplest terms, OnlyFans is a website that is not all that different than someone’s personal page on Facebook or Twitter. You can post notes, photos, videos and even livestream video. The difference is for someone to access your OnlyFans page, they have to pay a monthly subscription and it’s generally understood that the material you’ll be posting is pornography. The company can get around claiming it’s a porn site because it’s never explicitly stated, but then again, the Q-Tips package says nothing about cleaning your ears and we know where 99% of those cotton swabs go.

The explosion of OnlyFans came at the worst possible time…when millions of young adults were forced out of their jobs in service industries like restaurants or bars, or were laid off/furloughed from their jobs because, by virtue of age and experience, they were lowest on the totem pole.

I’ve already written about cam sites that have been trying to recruit new models, both male and female, to respond to the spike in popularity of online porn because of the quarantine most of the world is under. Idle hands, devil’s playthings – you know the drill. The OnlyFans business structure is different than these other, more blatant adult sites because a “model” never has to go live one-on-one or group chat with anybody. They can easily rationalize to themselves that they are not a sex worker or cam site model. I’m sure more than one person out there posted photos and/or videos taken by their partner never intended for public consumption, but who found themselves with money-making content on their phones.

This reminds me of about 20 years ago when I got into a conversation with one of the strippers hired for a friend’s bachelor party. She also worked as a middle school teacher’s aide several towns over. She explained that in her mind, being a stripper for bachelor parties gave her far more control and was far safer than if she danced in a strip club. She was able to keep a very part-time schedule, security was always with her, she picked who she wanted to work with, could always stop things and didn’t worry about her identity being found as much as if she worked in a traditional strip club.

I still believe that she simply found a way to rationalize her behavior, like I assume most OnlyFans models are rationalizing theirs. Sure, you’re not a traditional porn model and have more control over your content, but you’re still selling your body and I’ve read far too many articles or seen TV stories of women who regret doing porn after the fact, either immediately or years later. I mean really, how many of us who remember those late-night Girls Gone Wild commercials of the late 90s and early 2000s on every cable station think the girls in those commercials – may of whom probably have 15-year-old sons now – aren’t regretting their decision?

 

I first learned about OnlyFans a little more than a year ago when this New York Times story was brought to my attention: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/09/style/onlyfans-porn-stars.html

Ironically, despite being a recovering porn addict, I probably know far more about the online pornography industry now than I ever did in my addiction. If I’m going to keep up with what’s happening and make my presentations, interviews, etc., timely, I’ve got to know what the just-recently-no-longer-kids are doing. Thankfully, it’s been more than six years since I was active in my addiction, but I don’t find it difficult to stay away from the content I’m referencing. I liken it to Sam Malone owning a bar despite being a recovering alcoholic on Cheers.

Most porn fads die as quickly as they arrive or never catch on. For instance, virtual reality porn has been promised going back nearly 30 years now and it’s still not a household thing. I doubt it ever will be and until something gains legs, I don’t pay too much attention, but I’ll tell you, I haven’t seen anything grow this fast since Snapchat.

In March, the P2P video website Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, seemed to drop all of its streaming moderation rules as the pandemic hit. If you’re unfamiliar with Periscope, it’s much like Facebook live or even YouTube live. Somebody in location X is broadcasting and all you need to do is click the mouse to see what’s going down. Most of the time its somebody talking sports or doing a makeup tutorial. Periscope, which has been around for at least five years, has always been generally strong monitoring its streams for nudity and adult material.

(The conspiracy theorist in me would point out that the only social media site OnlyFans encourages people to connect to is Twitter, which again, owns Periscope. You can connect the dots.)

When that moderation seemingly disappeared from Periscope in early March, the site became more like a modern-day casting session for Caligula. People got freaky in a hurry and the amount of streamers opening OnlyFans sites and advertising them was astounding. I don’t know what caused Periscope to start monitoring its streams again, but after a few weeks, it went back to its more conservative streaming rules.

The girls and guys who were dancing around naked just put skimpy swimsuits or underwear on and are still pushing their OnlyFans sites through Periscope. OnlyFans subscription promotion is also happening on the other streaming services and a simple search for “OnlyFans” on Twitter or Instagram is popping hundreds of thousands of returns. Every day, they’re joined by more young adults who don’t mind dressing sexy to tease publicly, and if the person watching is willing to spend $9.99 a month or more, they’ll show more in a controlled private environment.

Of course, that environment only stays private as long as one of the subscribers does not make copies and distribute it for free out on the Internet. At that point, you’re no longer charging a small pool of people to see you acting out sexually. You’re letting exponentially more see it for free, in perpetuity. A PornHub.com search for the phrase “OnlyFans” results in nearly 5,000 results.

While there are stories of some models making thousands of dollars per month, I’ve yet to read this kind of anecdote from anybody who has joined recently, though. Like all economics, it’s a matter of supply and demand. It’s the early arrivers and those who already had a name in the porn world who seem to make the money. Aside from a couple of horny ex-customers, who is specifically going to drop $10 to see former small-town waiter X or waitress Y take a shower when they are just one of tens of thousands of out-of-work people who have turned to OnlyFans.

Is putting pornography of yourself out into the world worth it for $5,000 per month? $500? $50? One of the great quotes of the Buzzfeed piece I linked above is from a former porn star who says that you have to go into it knowing that everyone from your family to your best friends to your worst enemies will end up learning you did porn sooner or later.

What price is that really worth? I’m betting it’s not equal to the regret many will eventually feel.

PornHub Lets Us Know Just How Bad Things are Getting, Part I

I mentioned the other day that we were only weeks away from the annual PornHub year in review statistics. I was wrong. We were only hours away from it. I used to run a regular piece on this site called “Alarming Porn Statistic of the Month.” Some of the numbers I shared in early 2018 don’t alarm me nearly as much as the ones I’m about to share.

There’s a lot to get through this year and if this gets too long, I’ll break it into two parts. But also like I mentioned the other day, remember that PornHub is now the No. 3 porn site in the world. As of November 1, 2019, it ranked No. 10 worldwide, with the other two sites taking in spots No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.

I mention this because it means that whatever the PornHub stats are, two sites have higher statistics. For instance, in 2019, there have been 42 billion visits to PornHub, or 115 million per day. That’s scary, but when you figure two sites have more than that, it’s downright terrifying. The top three porn sites likely result in over 400 million visits per day…more than one visit for each person in America (329 million). The top three porn sites likely result in 140 billion visits per year…that’s almost 18 visits per year for every man, woman and child on Earth (7.8 billion).

And these numbers don’t even take into account the millions of other porn sites that aren’t in the Top Three.

How Things Changed Overall

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 5.42.58 PMDon’t feel bad for PornHub dropping to No. 3 worldwide in the purveyor or porn department, though. Those 42 billion visits are up from the 28.5 billion they got in 2017. That’s right…two years meant 13.5 billion more visits.

A staggering 6.83 million new videos were uploaded in 2019 representing 1.36 million hours of new content. Put in perspective, that’s 169 years of new content. As PornHub is quick to point out, if you started watching just 2019’s new videos in 1850, you’d still be watching them today.

“Amateur” was the most searched term on PornHub in 2019, and we’ll get more into search terms, but what’s heartbreaking is that 98,000 “amateur” models joined the ranks of PornHub. I believe that means they make and post videos and somehow get paid because of the advertising. Plenty of states like Vermont, Wyoming, Maine, West Virginia, Montana and more don’t have a single city that reaches a 98,000 population – and this is only adding to the women who joined and remain from previous years…on this one website.

What They’re Looking For the Most

In the Top 10 search terms from PornHub, I’m actually struck by the diversity in terms. First, the terms themselves: Amateur, Alien, POV, Bell Delphine, Cosplay, Mature, Bisexual, Apex Legends, ASMR, and Femdom.

These are so, so different than in years past when you saw a lot of the same carryover from year-to-year with terms like “lesbian” and “Kardashian.” For those wondering, I looked it up and Belle Delphine is an online porn star who dresses like she’s a video game or anime character, going hand-in-hand with the No. 5 Cosplay entry.

This list is really a buffet of likes, kinks and fetishes. Being so diverse, the only conclusion I can draw is that the online pornography audience is becoming just as diverse. If you’re still stereotyping the kind of person who goes online to look at pornography, stop. They are as likely to want to see naked grandmothers as they are wanting to see naked aliens.

Once you get past the Top 10, things look much like they did in most previous years. Ethnic terms had a big increase, as “Japanese” jumped from No. 15 to No. 11, “Korean” jumped from No. 20 to No. 15 and “Asian” jumped from No. 18 to No. 16. “Latina” also jumped up five spots and “Indian” jumped eight. I’d be curious if white people are getting more diverse or if an increase in high-speed access around the world has people of color searching out similar looking people. The next section answers a few of those questions.

Where They Call Home

The United States is always going to have the most people using online porn simply because of the population, access to high-speed internet and general societal acceptance of porn. Japan, which rose from No. 4 to No. 2 in terms of traffic on the website, is still less than a third of what is consumed by Americans.

The biggest story, however, is probably the huge drop-off in viewership in India. The country went from third in 2018 to 15th in 2019. This is largely because the government of India has begun banning websites that it believes its population should not be looking at. While this clearly had an effect on PornHub’s traffic, I’d be curious if any people in India are not still very easily able to find porn online. Did their porn use drop or did it just move somewhere else? Before we can answer that question, we can’t say the government’s plan worked. And as somebody who is very much a libertarian, I would never want my government to ever censor what I can look at unless it’s already against the law.

The UK dropped from No. 2 to No. 3. They’ve tried to enact a law that forces porn sites to get confirmed visual ID of someone’s age. You’re never going to get all the small ones across the world to comply, but the big guys, like PornHub, must, so that probably again speaks more to regulation and less to a decrease in porn consumption.

Finally, while US remained at No. 1 (Australia remained at No. 9) and the UK dropped a spot, the other 10 countries who make up the Top 13 porn viewers all moved up from previous years. This may have to do with India’s drop, but let’s be honest, nobody in those countries was looking at less porn in 2019 than they were in 2018 – or were they?

Screen Shot 2019-12-13 at 5.59.11 PMI never saw the graphic I’ve included in this section when PornHub released it earlier in 2019 about cities who use their service the most, but I figured you’d find it interesting, especially if you live on the east coast of Australia.

I’m going to call it a day here and come back with part two of analyzing PornHub’s stats early next week.

Freaked out at all by these statistics? You should be, because unless we do something as a society, it’s only going to grow at an exponential rate.

 

 

 

The One Thought That Won’t Leave You Today

Ok I warned you, it’s not just a clickbait headline.

Set a 10-minute timer on your phone, then come back to this…

In the time you were away, there’s a 12-year-old kid with internet access somewhere who has just seen more hardcore sex acts than his ancestors did in their entire lifetime.

Have a good day.