I’m trying not to use the actual “P” word in this post since it will attract endless blog spam. But I wanted to talk a little bit about Pcorn, (see what I did there?) its growth in popularity, (it now accounts for 35% of all internet downloads) and how it can affect digital wellness.
Here, there and everywhere
Pcorn is popular and prevalent, (like many things, its use increased during the pandemic) …
• 40 million US adults regularly visit internet pornography websites
• 10% of US adults, (17% of which are women) admit to having an addiction to internet pornography
• 20% of men and 13% of women admit to accessing pornography while at work
• 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet pornography before the age of 18.
• Children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online pornography consumption under 18 -years old.
(Yeah … go ahead and read that last stat again. Frightening, huh?)
To be clear, online sex addiction is not an official diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, if you or someone you love cannot control the impulse to view pcorn to the extent that it begins to negatively affect aspects of your life, it’s reasonable to label it “problematic or possible addictive” and seek out help.
Easy access creates big problems
Some people seek out Pcorn for escapism or entertainment, as a component of their sexuality, or as a way to answers questions they have about the world.
For others though, it’s a more complicated and destructive relationship.
Imagine if you were an alcoholic and one day you were given your own full service bar, one you could tuck into your back pocket and access in the car, at work, or while you’re stuck on a Zoom meeting. Imagine that bar is endlessly refreshed with new, sometimes free, drinks of all shapes and sizes to binge. Imagine needing to go into that same bar every time you wanted to send a text to your kid, check the weather, or read an email from your boss. Do you see how quickly boundaries can be demolished and small habits can grow into big problems?
Now imagine it’s not just one bar in your pocket. Twelve percent of sites on the internet are pornographic—that’s approximately 25 MILLION “bars” you can walk into, all open 24/7/365.
You’re not alone
Pcorn addiction is a problem countless families currently face, and yet few talk about it.
Like many addictions, this one is often cloaked in deep shame, leading to broken marriages, lost jobs, (70% of Internet pornography is viewed during work hours) and even criminal charges when users download more hardcore or illegal content to satisfy the increasing need for stimulating material.
So people keep it a secret. They explain it away, (“It’s not like my spouse is having an ACTUAL affair”), they pretend their kids only use their devices to do homework, watch Netflix, and chat with friends. They avoid even saying the word. But sadly, that will not solve the problem.
You don’t have to stay stuck in the cycle
If this sounds like your life right now, I truly hope you can find the help you need.
It’s okay to want your whole family to have a healthier relationship with technology, one that does not create so much pain, blame, and shame. It’s okay to want to create boundaries for such a pervasive force that can be so easily accessed by everyone.
Here are some suggestions on where to start…
• If you are the person struggling with this problem, I invite you to seek out some help. Look for a sex therapist, a support group, or a 12-step program, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous.
• If this is a problem for your partner or spouse, I encourage you seek out support from a couple’s counselor or sex therapist, or consider a support group.
• If this is a problem for your child, please talk with with them about it, consider installing some software blocks on your family devices, and bring up the topic with your child’s pediatrician.