The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

He says he became addicted to porn at age 12. He wants parents to know this

2019-09-29T19:44:20.737Z

“If you don't teach your son about porn, porn sites will teach your son about porn for you,” says Alex Rhodes.



  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in a new window)
  • Click to share on Twitter (Opens in a new window)
  • Click here to share on LinkedIn (Opens in a new window)
  • Click to email a friend (Opens in a new window)

(CNN) - Pornography has always existed. Researchers believe they have found explicit material dating from the Stone Age.

However, in the past, effort was required to access pornography, whether it was an explicit work of art, a subscription to a private magazine, an X-rated television channel or a store that sold sex-related paraphernalia.

All that has changed. We can get pornography, in all its extremes, for free at any time of the day just by moving our fingers. And as children receive phones and other devices with web browsers at an earlier age, they also find themselves with explicit content, possibly even before they have learned about sex or are aware of what porn is.

  • Mobile technology as a tool to protect sexual and reproductive rights

That is what Alexander Rhodes says happened to him. The technology entrepreneur, whom I interviewed for my CNN series “This Is Life,” says he became addicted to online porn when he was 12, and changed the way he perceived sex and relationships until adulthood.

While porn addiction is not a medically recognized disease, Rhodes knows he is not alone. He started a site to recover from pornography called NoFap to try to help others free themselves from the compulsive use of pornography. He is not a therapist, but in the process he has cultivated a community.

We could not execute the entirety of my interview with Rhodes on "This Is Life," so I am sharing more of our conversation here. As you read, I think you will find that it speaks of something so relevant to children and parents trying to navigate in this digital world.

Alexander Rhodes, founder of NoFap.com

This interview has been edited for its extension and for clarity.

Lisa Ling: Have you always liked computers?

Alexander Rhodes: Yes, my father is a computer programmer, so I was exposed to computers and knew how to use them from a young age. I would say maybe around 4.

Ling: Really? That is very young.

Rhodes: Yes, I was playing videogames of the 90s and, yes, after 10 years, anything on the computer was my life.

Ling: When were you first exposed to porn?

Rhodes: I think I was around 11 the first time. I was on the computer, on a video-oriented website and a pop-up ad appeared. It was a representation of simulated rape pornography.

Ling: So your first exposure to sex was a simulated rape scene?

Rhodes: Yes. I didn't immediately go from that pop-up window to that kind of thing because I was 11 years old and I really wasn't interested. I think I didn't even understand what was there. I think at that time I was like, "Oh, naked woman, that's interesting."

So I connected online and started looking for pictures of bellies, just the female stomach. I wasn't used to seeing so much. I started looking at pictures of underwear, nothing really pornographic. And then it intensified to the breasts, and finally to more strong things.

Ling: How often did you look for this?

Rhodes: It started maybe once a week or so. And then, over time, once a week every two days, then, eventually, several times a day.

I think I was addicted to porn almost during the first year of seeing it for the first time. I mean, I was 12 years old and I was using it almost all day. He would do it and then play some video games, and then, once he could achieve the excitement again, he would go and load the porn again and do it again and again and again.

Ling: When you say 'I would do it', what do you mean by that?

Rhodes: use porn to masturbate, to orgasm.

Ling: How do you think the exposure to hardcore porn affected you when you were 12 or 13 years old?

Rhodes: I think it impacted only my self-motivation ability, because I really trained my brain to rely on that orgasm from time to time. I think I depended a lot on him to regulate my emotions, just to spend the day.

I would say that between fifth, sixth and seventh grade I would not date so much with my friends. I didn't do so much. I would not do any extracurricular activity; Just go to school, go home and watch porn.

If you think all the time I could have been devoting to other things, if I, you know, masturbated in moderation without pornography, I don't know where I would be today.

Ling: In the worst case, how often were you watching porn?

Rhodes: At least 10 times a day, if not 14, sometimes. I was going to the point where he was hurting me. Wounds in my genitals. And I couldn't even stop for a day to allow it to heal, I just had to go on. And I was like, "This can't be healthy." But I felt helpless to stop it. I wanted to stop, but I couldn't or felt that I couldn't.

Ling: Did your parents have any idea what you were doing?

Rhodes: My parents had no idea ... they were working, but I was also very, very clever about it. I woke up earlier or ran home from school to get in before they came home. I was very good at avoiding my parents and making sure they didn't know it completely. As far as I know, I don't think they knew anything about this until I told them.

Ling: Did you have any kind of sex education when you were little?

Rhodes: I had some sex education since elementary school, but I definitely didn't mention porn. No one warned me about this.

Ling: So, if you say you were addicted to porn at an early age and you were seeing very hardcore things, how do you see the girls?

Rhodes: That is a good question. I think that pornography simply eliminated all the mystery of women to the point where I was no longer really interested in them. Originally, I was like, yes, I want to go on dates and stuff. But when I started getting into porn, it just ... was ... you know, I had porn, I don't need that.

Ling: How long did this porn addiction last?

Rhodes: I would say I was addicted to pornography between the ages of 11 or 12 and probably 25 years old.

Ling: How did that continue to affect you beyond adolescence?

Rhodes: When I had sexual intercourse for the first time, I quickly realized that to maintain the excitement I had to really fantasize about pornography and [almost] ignored the person in front of me. That was the biggest indicator that something was happening.

It also has this other effect called late ejaculation. It refers to an orgasm that is difficult or impossible to achieve, and that was the main thing. I could not have an orgasm; I just couldn't because my brain was more attracted to pornography than a real person.

Ling: At what time, Alex, did you realize and say "this is a big problem for me?"

Rhodes: I had some impacted relationships as a result of pornography addiction. I was never violent in the bedroom or anything like that. But you could say that, in general, I was not interested in sex. It was not so exciting for me. I would prefer pornography to my partner.

Ling: Pornography has not been medically classified as an addiction. Why do you think it is so addictive?

Rhodes: I think porn is addictive simply because it is aimed at our sexuality and is infinitely available anytime, anywhere.

Every time someone finds out about porn addiction, they can quickly discount it because they are thinking about some of the movements based on the 50s or 60s; retaliation to Playboy and Hustler, and things like that. I am not against the representation of someone naked in some kind of medium. That is not the problem here.

The problem is that today's Internet pornography is not like your grandfather's pornography. It is completely different from Playboy. It is completely different from the porn of the past and that is why it is addictive, because our brains are connected to consume as much as possible.

Ling: Do you think there is any kind of porn that is right for people? We interview a married couple who upload videos of themselves in real-world situations simply by having sex; Real bodies and everything.

Rhodes: Are you talking about the MakeLoveNotPorn site?

Ling: Yes. Do you think there is porn that is good and possibly healthy for people?

Rhodes: I don't think porn is healthy, but I don't have the mission to ban it. I am not on a mission to boost legislation. I think it is everyone's personal choice whether to consume it or not. It's like cigarettes, in my opinion. I believe that the more you use, the greater the risk of addiction and the greater the risk of negative side effects.

Ling: In many states there is no sex education at all. They have a mandate of abstinence only. And many people are educating themselves about sex through porn. What kind of sex education do you think we should receive?

Rhodes: If you don't teach your children about porn, porn producers will teach your children about porn. Whether you know it or not. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that all parents, including teachers, anyone, just notify the next generation about this issue.

I absolutely believe that this is my mission to spread the word. Not to force people to stop using pornography, but at least to allow them to make an informed decision about what they choose to do with their genitals during their free time.

Ling: What is NoFap?

Rhodes: In 2011 I was online looking for answers on why I couldn't do anything. I was super ineffective. Fortunately, I was smart enough to pass school. However, I never got really good grades or anything like that. I don't know how much it is to blame for pornography or other things.

But I was looking at a study from China that showed that if you refrain from masturbating for a week, your blood serum testosterone levels will rise if you have a penis. So, I launched a forum on Reddit and that's where NoFap was born. The concept was not to masturbate for a week or a month to see what would happen.

It was really just an experimental field, like an experimental laboratory for people to come and simply share their experiences of not using pornography [and] not masturbating. For a porn addict, it is really difficult to separate porn from masturbation. So, if they tried to masturbate without pornography, they most likely fantasized about pornography while masturbating.

It is very important to make sure that people know that this is not an anti-masturbation website. This is not against masturbation. We are very pro-sex. We are a site of pornographic skepticism.

Ling: Is there an instructional guide to cure pornography addiction? Can you cure it?

Rhodes: At NoFap.com, we have a program that people can join to help them stop pornography. For some people it is enough. For many people it is not. Many people also need to go see a mental health professional; Pornography addiction could be a component of many mental problems. There is no [one] single solution for everyone.

This is not a problem only for men. It affects women. It affects people who do not identify with any gender. It impacts Christians. It affects atheists. It affects Muslims. It affects Republicans, Democrats. No matter. We have people from all countries, all continents of the planet. Men, women, everyone.

Many people might say, "Oh, pornography addiction, this has to be like this religious camp," and that is not the case. I am not a religious person. When I founded the site I was an atheist.

Ling: What can parents who have children with mobile devices do in their person at all times, what can they do?

Rhodes: Well, I think the most important thing a father could do is simply educate their children about pornography, because there are always ways to avoid the filters [and] barriers that parents put. Even if you give your child a folding phone that cannot access pornography, their friends can show it to them. They could go visit a friend's house. Even schools are giving away iPads and computers [for children]. Someone else could show them porn.

It is very likely that your child, even if his house is like Fort Knox, continues to watch pornography at some point. I am not telling you to agree with that. I'm just telling you to recognize what will happen.

I understand that it is an awkward subject, right? But would you rather avoid some discomfort now and prepare your child for a lifetime of potential discomfort and bad relationships and unrealistic representations or views about sex? So you have to bite the bullet and be honest with them. And just talk about it.

That's why we're here now, because people don't want to talk about pornography. They didn't want to talk about porn 20 years ago and it's still an awkward topic to talk about. They must overcome the discomfort and realize that if you don't teach your child about porn, porn sites will teach your child about porn for you.

AddictionsMasturbationPornographySexual health

Source: cnnespanol

You may like

News/Politics 2019-11-14T02:46:53.075Z
News/Politics 2019-10-11T14:44:40.237Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2019-11-13T08:58:52.452Z
News/Politics 2019-11-13T11:20:10.248Z
News/Politics 2019-11-13T23:28:59.237Z

Latest

© Communities 2019 - Privacy