Please Take This 2-Minute Survey to Help Me Design My TED Talk about Pornography

Many of you were super helpful to me a few months back when I needed to come up with a title for the TEDx Talk I’ll be giving in December in Hartford, Conn. I’m back to ask you for a little more help.

The talk is only 15 minutes, but I probably have 3 hours of material. I need to hone things to a smaller message, but since I’m always talking to people about pornography addiction, it’s difficult for me to know exactly what people are interested in hearing in small doses.

It would be awesome if you could take 2 minutes, click on this link and fill out the Google survey that I’ve created that will allow me to figure out how to narrow down my presentation.

Thank you very much. I’ll share these results at some point on here. And of course, feel free to share the survey, the more feedback I get the better I can make the presentation.

You can find the survey at:
https://forms.gle/zKHHgeYKuzSGe1z37

‘I Would Definitely Recommend It’

I’m absolutely thrilled today to read the first professional review of my book, “Porn and the Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything” and even more thrilled that it is not only a rave, but that the reviewer, Ashley L. Peterson, understood what I was going for with my presentation of the material.

Check out her review here: https://mentalhealthathome.org/2020/07/08/book-review-porn-and-the-pandemic/

And if you want to pick up the book at a special debut price of $14.95, you can visit the Amazon page HERE

If you are a book reviewer with a following and have interest in reviewing this book, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

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.

In a Relationship, Is It Selfishly Better to Find Out Your Partner is a Porn Addict, or a Recreational User? I say Addict.

Sometimes, I find myself babbling during a podcast and stumble into something that makes a lot of sense I’d never put into words before. It’s kind of the same process as therapy, which is why I urge people to see a therapist, even if they only think they are babbling for 49 minutes. That 50th minute may be where the magic happens. Likewise, if you can get people to invite you onto their podcast, they’ll ask you questions and you’ll be forced to explore the answers.

Anyway, I’ve been reflecting on something I said a while back on a podcast, and have begun discussing it with a few people because it’s nothing I’ve heard before, but it’s something that just seems to make sense to me and I’d be curious if it makes sense to you.

For partners (yes, generally women dealing with a man, so forgive me if I do the non-PC thing and sometimes assume this is the arrangement) of any kind of addict, the partner is not the reason the addict got into their addiction. With addictions like gambling or drugs, this is just generally a given. Wives usually don’t wonder what they did wrong that caused their husband to be a video game addict and husbands don’t wonder what they did wrong to make their wives food addicts. The boyfriend didn’t make his girlfriend and alcoholic and the girlfriend didn’t make her boyfriend a cokehead.

This dynamic is often ignored or overlooked when it comes to porn addiction. The partner of the addict, upon learning of the addiction, will often go through a process called betrayal trauma that can last days, months or years. Essentially, it is the pain and hurt of both knowing that your partner was “living a double life” coupled with the pain that their addiction involved sex/nudity/other people, which crosses a certain line of harmful intimacy/cheating/betrayal in the mind of the non-addict. Often, it destroys relationships.

Now, here’s the thing. Regardless of the betrayal trauma occurring, the porn addict is sick. We know that they have a brain disease that is likely a system of a much bigger issue, including unresolved childhood trauma or another mental health issue. I don’t want to be seen minimizing the betrayal trauma, but it is not my focus right this second.

I can tell you that based on my story and based on the story of many sex/porn addicts that I know, have interviewed, have met, etc., the addiction is never about lust. Never. In my case, my addiction allowed me to subconsciously create a false sense of control. I didn’t realize this while in my addiction, but it’s crystal clear now after six-plus years of recovery. I wasn’t an addict for the naked girls or taboo feeling of getting away with something. It was serving a need I had since early childhood, when I had my sense of safety regarding control taken away.

I can also tell you I didn’t drink because it tasted good or I liked the social lubricant. I’d say 95% of my drinking was done alone, isolated, simply to numb my brain to the point I wasn’t thinking beyond the very surface.

Cocaine addicts don’t snort because it’s fun to watch white powder disappear. Video game addicts don’t sit in front of the TV or computer for 15 hours because they appreciate fine digital graphics. Food addicts don’t like cake that much more than you and I. All addicts have a brain disease happening. It’s not about the substance or behavior. It’s about the subconscious pleasure, safety or sense of wellbeing the addictive behavior or substance provides, and it becomes the priority in life.

I think it’s also important to mention that almost all addicts suffer a decreased sex drive and need for intimacy, except those who are abusing stimulants like cocaine, or those who have just experienced a chemical-induced high. For the most part though, especially in males, there’s enough science to show that there is usually a slowing or shutting down of the libido. Ask a heroin addict how important sex and/or intimacy is to them.

So back to porn addiction. Why do female partners suffer from such betrayal trauma? I believe it has nothing to do with the addiction itself. I think the fact that there may be an addiction is often forgotten and lost in the betrayed person’s mind. They focus on the perceived intimacy/fantasy with another person that comes with their partner’s use of pornography. That use usually ends with an orgasm – just as the act of intercourse does. If intercourse is supposed to be “sacred” and reserved for only the partner, it’s understandable why they are hurt.

In researching my second book, learning these women’s stories and reading many of them on online forums where they post and receive advice, it stuck out to me that while many of these women clearly had partners who had an addiction, others had partners who seemed to barely have an unhealthy relationship with pornography, and even more simply caught their partner looking and had no real evidence to reach a conclusion that he was an addict.

I’ve come to wonder how often this kind of betrayal trauma happens with the female partners of men who are not porn addicts, because I think these are the female partners who really have to worry.


We all know the person who can have the occasional beer or two, or the person who can play video games for an hour and then put it away for several days. I visit a casino two or three times a year with my wife, never lose more than $40 and always walk away if I’m lucky enough to win $100. I don’t bet on sports or play the lottery, so I’m not sure if I can even be called a recreational gambler, but let’s just say I am for the sake of this article.

Let’s say for whatever reason, my wife was 100% anti-casino and anti-gambling. Maybe her father gambled away her college fund or her mother lost the family house…whatever. If she were to ask me never to gamble again, I would not have a hard time walking away from it. I find it fun watching the reels of the slot machine spin, but it’s a moment I wouldn’t miss if it disappeared from my life.

Let’s say some friends ask me to meet them for steaks and blackjack this weekend at the casino. I have three choices as I see it: I can decide not to go because it follows my wife’s wishes, I can tell her that I got the offer and gauge her response deciding accordingly, or I can decide not to tell her and just go.

If I go without telling her, it doesn’t make me a gambling addict. I may want to see my friends, do something without her, have a steak…whatever. I continue to stay within my “lose $40/win $100” gambling rule I’ve set for myself. Let’s say that my friends make a plan to do this once a month. It may be my only chance to see some of them, I appreciate the camaraderie, whatever, but I decide to make it a regular thing. This also does not make me a gambling addict.

It makes me a serial liar. It makes me someone who puts my own wants above some very specific boundaries set by my partner. It reveals a self-centeredness that shows I’m probably not a very good partner. But it doesn’t make me a gambling addict.


Now let’s consider the guy who looks at pornography but is not an addict. I absolutely believe that most people who use pornography, both men and women, are looking for little more than visual stimulation to help them achieve an orgasm.

I believe that these people (who are the vast majority of society in the under-50 group of men and under 35 group of women) learned along the way that they can satisfy their sexual needs with a self-induced orgasm. Masturbation is a selfish thing, but nobody understands how to work your equipment better than you do.

Intimate lovemaking is a wonderful thing, but sometimes in the eyes of many, just having sex with somebody they barely know can be the release they need, even if there is no love or true intimacy involved. Again, not moralizing or judging, just recognizing a fact. And sometimes, despite the option for intimate lovemaking exists with a partner, a person simply wants to experience the faster release of self-orgasm because they are not in the mood/too tired/whatever to invest what is necessary for mutually beneficial lovemaking.

I do not believe that the non-porn addict becomes an addict when they opt for occasionally masturbating over having sex with their partner.

But, like with my gambling example, what if the female partner views pornography as a reprehensible thing? What if she views her partner’s masturbation as a slap in the face and rejection? She has every right to set those boundaries, but does his breaking them without her knowledge automatically mean that he’s an addict? Of course not. Does lying about it automatically make him an addict? Not at all.

Yes, addicts lie. So do husbands and boyfriends who are caught doing something they shouldn’t. Addiction and lying are horrible character traits, but they are not mutually exclusive. One involves a disease and the other is just about covering one’s tracks. Five-year-old kids lie. Politicians lie. Salespeople lie. That doesn’t make them addicts.


Here’s the most important distinction between the addict and the liar who uses pornography: One is mentally and physically programmed beyond their control, the other just likes to get off. Addiction is certainly nothing I’d wish on anybody or their partner having gone through it with porn and alcohol, but I wasn’t using just to get off. In truth, when my porn addiction was at its worst, there was no “grand finale” orgasm. I wasn’t using it for sexual gratification – I don’t think I ever was. Yes, frequency of intercourse with my wife slowed down, but I got a very different need met when I was with her vs. when I was utilizing pornography throughout the first 11 years of our marriage before my addiction came to light.

I believe the recreational user is getting the exact same need met when they look at porn vs. when they have actual intercourse. Yes, there may be a fluctuation in the intimacy level, but I believe the recreational user choosing to use porn is simply looking for the orgasm and uses pornography as a visual aid.

The next question becomes is it better to be with a partner who has a disease of the brain that has nothing to do with you, or do you want to be with someone who has no pre-existing condition and is consciously choosing porn over you?

I’m not going to debate that human emotion is a tricky subject and that betrayal trauma shouldn’t register regardless of your answer to that question, but if I was in the situation of so many women who discover that their partner is looking at porn, I’d take some selfish comfort in knowing it was a disease and not a rejection of me.

Am I crazy here? Am I correct? Assuming I am anti-pornography, I would be more concerned about my role in my partner’s viewing of pornography if they were not an addict vs. if they are. Being an addict is an extenuating circumstance. Being a liar just means your partner is an asshole.

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.