Latter-day Saint Life

4 Ways to Help Men and Women Struggling with Pornography


It's a common misconception: Women don't struggle with pornography; that's a guy issue. 

But that's just not the case. 

Citing a recent study, Fight the New Drug CEO Clay Olsen said in an interview with Illuminate Podcastthat as many as 30 percent of those who consider themselves addicted to pornography are women.

"And that number is climbing," Olsen shares. 

In fact, Olsen shared that women are just as susceptible as men when it comes to pornography addictions. 

So how can members help men and women who struggle with pornography?

1. Say Thank You

Olsen says that he's seen beautiful stories of healing as shame is lifted out of the lives of men and women who struggle with pornography. 

In fact, Olsen says there are millions of men and women rallying together, supporting each other, in their efforts to stay away from pornography and find meaningful, fulfilling relationships. 

And when someone you know tells you about their addiction, don't respond with anger.

"We tell parents the first thing that should come out of your mouth is gratitude," Olsen says. "Say, 'Thank you for talking to me. Thank you for bringing this up. It means a lot.' Rather than, 'You did what?'"

Staying a positive, supportive force in the life of someone struggling with pornography can help turn the issue around. 

"The thing that we really want them to understand is yes, this is a really challenging issue that we face today and our youth face today like no other time, but then there is a whole lot of hope. . . . People are finding success in recovery, and that's a real thing."

2. Listen, Don't Lecture

Even though pornography today is an issue unlike any other faced in the past, we know more about it than we ever have before—including the best ways to discuss it with youth. 

"Don't say much," Olsen advises. "Don't dive into a sermon or a lecture on why they shouldn't do this and why it's harmful. Don't say much at all. Ask questions and listen."

It's more important to pay attention to their understandings of their struggle and what questions they have to better formulate a response, he says, and then teach them the facts. 

3. Use Science and Research to Explain Why Pornography Is Harmful

Research and science is the best way to show why pornography is harmful, Olsen says. 

For example, in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Treatment and Prevention, researchers found that men who viewed pornography reported that they were more likely to rape or sexually assault a woman if they thought they wouldn't get caught than men who hadn't viewed pornography in 12 months. 

When approaching someone with a pornography addiction, use data and research to help them understand the why behind harmful impacts of pornography instead of lecturing. But be careful not to use scare tactics, guilt, or shaming in your discussions. Instead, reach out with truth, information, and love.

4. Share Your Family Values or Belief System and Repeat

Lastly, share your family values or belief system. While many loved ones may be tempted to share these first, that may not be the best thing, especially with youth struggling with a pornography addiction. 

"Follow that sequence: gratitude, ask questions and listen, teach them the why, share your family values and belief systems, and then the last is to repeat," Olsen says. 

In fact, don't wait until your loved one tells you about their pornography addiction to begin this process. Use natural environments to bring up this process with loved ones throughout their lives to help them understand why pornography is harmful and how it can be overcome. 

For more advice from this podcast, visit Illuminate Podcast

Lead image from Getty Images
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