Online Pornography and COVID-19: Round Two

Remember a year ago, when we were planning our Thanksgiving holiday here in America and stores worldwide were hoping it would be a record-shattering Christmas gift buying season? We had no idea what was coming, but now we can all see that next wave of COVID cresting on the horizon, we should be better prepared this time. Buy your toilet paper, not in a month. Also, if you’re prone to pornography use, create a strategy for laying off the stuff this time around. Ding, ding, ding. It’s time for the next round of online pornography and COVID-19.

A Brief History

Last March, when COVID-19 really started taking over the world, the online pornography industry saw their opportunity and seized upon it. As a business entity, it’s hard to fault them for it, but as susceptible consumers, we need to be better this time around.

I wrote a book about the first few months of changes in the world when it came to digital pornography that is available at a discount right now on Amazon. Check it out. I spoke with addicts in recovery, addicts still struggling and both rookie and veteran online cam models. Maybe when this is all said and done, I’ll have to expand on that book to include the history of early 2021 with online pornography and COVID-19.

Those whose recovery was less three years were the ones who fell off the wagon. The isolation and increased bombardment of sexual images, coupled with the depression and fear of COVID-19 led many to seek solace in their old crutch of pornography. On an intellectual level, it’s understandable, but for those addicts, it feels like a mighty defeat.

We also saw over a million people, mostly females 18-25 turn to online pornography as a way to earn money. Some became traditional cam models while others were among the legions who joined OnlyFans. I’ve wrote about this situation as it was unfolding earlier this year. Those articles will fill you in on far more details than I’m putting here. It’s flippant to say, but online pornography and COVID-19 were a match made in Heaven.

The Next Wave

I’m not going to pretend to be a scientist and frankly, since the election ended, I’ve been watching much less news on TV. It’s impossible, however, to miss the signs of the next coming wave. I live in Maine and while it once looked like we were going to set the standard for how to handle the pandemic, we’re now just one of like 45 states that is seeing the most catastrophic numbers yet.

I’m all about individual freedoms, but I can’t find a good reason to not wear a mask. When you put it in terms of having to wear shoes or a shirt in a business, or a seatbelt, or having vaccinations before you can go to public school, it makes sense. I’m hoping with the end of the election and the waning aftermath of people unable to accept the winner was Joe Biden, wearing a mask will be less of a political issue.

I understand not liking rules. Prior to recovery, I was that guy in spades. Compliance with norms and allowing others to dictate my actions were signs of weakness, in my opinion. Now, I recognize there is a common good that society needs to work toward and I’m hoping the people reading this who may be hesitant can humor the rest of us. Pretend it’s like dinner with your grandmother. She’s going to say some stupid stuff, but you let it go. Just put on a mask and let your truth go. It’s not that big of a deal. And wash your hands. In fact, shower more, no matter your political affiliation. Being clean is not a burden.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko from Pexels

Porn Moving Forward

I’m not living in a fantasy land. I know plenty of people who read this site look at porn. I’m sure some who say they don’t look still look at a little and those who say they only look at a little are actually looking at a lot. I’m not going to condemn any of you. For some, it’s an addiction, for others it’s a leisure activity. Just make sure you HONESTLY know in which category you belong.

I haven’t been keeping up with the statistics and research through the second half of 2020 about pornography online as I’m starting to dip my toe into other areas of learning and am readying my TED Talk. I’d like to believe once we were able to get out to restaurants, be outdoors in nicer weather, and resume something of a normal social life, the numbers dropped. Now that we’re back inside and some places are clamping down on public gatherings, it only makes sense we could return to that same environment.

If you’re a casual user, I’m not going to ask you to stop. I’m going to ask you to not increase your consumption. If you look at porn twice a week, keep it there. If you look at porn five times a week — you’re not a casual user. It’s like the difference between a part-time job (you go to twice a week) and a full-time job (you go to five times a week). You’re not casual. You’re habitual. Maybe you’re not an addict yet (although you probably are), but there are red flags and this would be a great time to work on cutting down.

Addicts, Start Planning

For those who are active in their addiction, I urge you to seek help. Yes, one-on-one help in-person may be slowing down again, but I have a feeling it won’t grind to a halt like it did early in 2020. There are also plenty of telehealth options, 12 step group meetings online, and plenty of literature out there. Do not use the pandemic as an excuse to not seek help, saying you’ll wait until it’s done. It’s never the perfect time. If I can quit porn and drinking on the same day, you can quit porn in a pandemic. And if you need help, contact me.

Then, there are those in active recovery. I think those in early recovery may be the most susceptible to a hard fall. You are the ones who must do the most work preparing for this winter. Ask yourself how your current recovery strategy may be impacted by COVID-19 and then make back-up plans. Then, make back-up plans to those back-up plans. If you are prepared for things to be shaken up, you’re less likely to be negatively effected when it happens. Talk to your support system. It may be a therapist, sponsor, spouse, friend, roommate and tell them you’re worried about the coming months. They may have ideas and be willing to lend more of a hand than they are now. Everybody wants to see you succeed. That should make you feel good, and capable of staying on the wagon.

I don’t want those people, like myself, who are in longer-term recovery to think that you’re immune. I believe that there is something, or some combination of events, that could lead all of us back to our dark places. In most circumstances, we have the control in our lives where we don’t get anywhere near this place. However, if you’re laid off because of the virus and your mother, who you couldn’t say goodbye to dies of it, and you’re stuck in your house with no toilet paper, I guarantee you’re closer to breaking than you are right now. Take a moment and accept you’re not infallible and that you still need to be on-guard during unexpected stressful times. If you can expect the unexpected, you’re much more likely to succeed.

We’ll Get Through This

I feel a little bit like the weatherman the afternoon before a big snowstorm is coming. It’s my job to warn you about the worst case scenario, and then hope it doesn’t end up even worse than that. Sure, if the storm blows by us without much damage, I look like a fool. I’d rather be a fool who well-prepared the others than the guy who regrets not saying something after the fact. Online pornography and COVID-19 have the potential to be a blizzard.

If your porn use is the roughest part of the upcoming winter of the plague, you’re in a rare position. This is going to take a toll on all aspects of our lives. It’s understandable to put more emphasis on how you’re making money, paying your bills, the health of family and friends and more immediate, pressing needs. Just don’t forget the other stuff, like pornography. Last time we were caught unaware. This time, we can be ready.

Lead Photo by Sides Imagery from Pexels


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Learn more about how to watch my TED Talk on December 6.

3 thoughts on “Online Pornography and COVID-19: Round Two

    1. I just fear that people are going to think the massive shutdowns didn’t work last time, so they’ll go easier this time, making things last longer than they need to be. If we told everybody today to prepare that on Jan. 21, we were going to go 15 days of nobody except Police, Fire and Medical working, we could beat this back by a lot and give people time. Of course, that won’t happen because too many people in this world want to show that they can’t be controlled. It makes them way cooler, you know.

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