fbpx
Search
Search
Close this search box.

Porn Addiction Toolkit

This toolkit includes resources to support someone with recovery from porn addiction.

To provide much-needed support for struggles with pornography, The Family & Youth Institute collaborated with Young Muslims and NASEEHA to conduct preliminary research which informed the creation of this Pornography Addiction Toolkit. We recognize that consuming pornography is not the same as being addicted to it. Although the focus of this toolkit is centered on addiction to pornography, the resources provided may still be useful to those who are not addicted. 

To create this toolkit, The FYI team selected relevant resources from a variety of platforms while keeping cultural and religious sensitivities in mind. Other content, views, and opinions expressed on these platforms do not necessarily reflect the vision and views of The FYI. 

For years, The FYI has received requests from individual and communities for resources to support their loved ones struggling with pornography addiction. In 2018, NASEEHA conducted a survey of over 200 Muslims in Canada showing a first glance at pornography consumption among Muslims. Inspired by these findings and coupled with the community requests for support, The FYI embarked on building upon this study in order to understand pornography among Muslims as well as provide research-informed resources. Guided by the principles of community-based participatory research (Wallerstein & Duran, 2010), The FYI partnered with NASEEHA and Young Muslims to conduct a three-pronged needs assessment of pornography use among American Muslim youth.

  • First, we conducted a review of current research on pornography amongst both American-Muslim and other-religion youth.
  • Second, we interviewed individuals from diverse professional backgrounds (e.g., clinicians, imam, social worker) who served individuals struggling with pornography. Interviews were coded for common ideas and concepts.
  • Third, an online survey was created and disseminated by Young Muslims. The data was cleaned and analyzed by The FYI team.
  • The Preliminary Research Findings were presented. Also, check out the upcoming FYI Report for more comprehensive analyses.
  • The research is ongoing and we are continuing our research efforts by interviewing individuals struggling with pornography. If you would like to participate in this study please email us at: research@thefyi.org

The research findings were then used to guide the solution-seeking process. In collaboration with NASEEHA, resources have been gathered together in The FYI Porn Addiction Toolkit.

One of the biggest barriers to getting help from porn addiction is the stigma that exists in the Muslim community. Let’s go through some of these assumptions and how we can correct them. Reducing stigma starts with us and reversing our own misconceptions, and then sharing that knowledge and empowering others!

1. In many of our communities, sexuality is discussed only in the context of shame and sin. When we speak about sexual desire from a point of shame and sin only, we create a narrative that makes it even more difficult to support those who are struggling. 

Let’s reframe this: Our faith recognizes that we are created with sexual desires, and it sets boundaries for these desires to be met while protecting our overall well-being. As human beings with this natural desire, we sometimes struggle with them and need guidance. 

2. Many people believe that porn addiction only impacts men.

Let’s reframe this: Research shows that while more males than females view porn, a relatively high percentage of viewers are female. This stigma can lead to increased shame for a woman who is addicted to porn, making it even more difficult for her to ask for help.

3. If you’re a practicing Muslim, you don’t struggle with porn addiction. Praying and reading Qur’an will prevent you from watching porn.

Let’s reframe this: Responses from a survey conducted by Young Muslims show that of those who viewed porn (199), 70% describe themselves as regularly or very practicing and believe that viewing porn is immoral. Struggling with a porn addiction does not deem a person unworthy of being helped, nor does it always indicate that he/she is less committed to their beliefs.

4. Those who are addicted to porn actively sought it out.

Let’s reframe this: With the ease of access to porn, it’s likely that many people were exposed to porn accidentally and this opened the door to their addiction. In 2010, approximately 1 in 4 youth Internet users reported an unwanted exposure to sexual material. More recently, 46% percent of young people report being exposed to porn accidentally or unintentionally. Among Muslim young adults, 61% of Muslim young adults were exposed to explicit material between 11 to 14 years old.

What is Porn Addiction?

An addiction is a pattern of behavior that is difficult to control or stop, despite a person knowing that the behavior leads to negative consequences. Whether it’s viewed occasionally or often, porn is harmful and Islamically prohibited. A key marker of a porn addiction is when a person finds it incredibly difficult to stop watching, even when they want to. People with an addiction to porn often feel that they cannot control their urges and that their urges control them instead.

Porn Addiction Toolkit
  • Experiencing overwhelming cravings to view porn
  • Spending large chunks of time watching porn
  • Frequent masturbation
  • Losing attraction or interest in sex with spouse/partner
  • Delaying/losing sleep
  • Spending more time in isolation
  • Lying to hide the behavior
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed
  • Losing interest in hobbies/interests
  • Falling behind on responsibilities
  • Unable to focus on anything else

Many people, including those with addictions, wonder why porn addiction is difficult to overcome. Isn’t it as simple as just stopping the behavior?

The reality is that porn harms the brain over time. It physically changes how our brain works. Let’s take a look at how this happens.

  • Deep inside our brain, we all have a reward center that contains a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is released into our brain every time we do (or anticipate doing) something that we enjoy, like eating dessert or spending time with loved ones.
  • Viewing porn also causes the brain to release dopamine, but at unusually high levels. After watching porn, the rush of dopamine tells your brain: “Hey, this is a good thing! Keep doing it.” With repeated exposure, your brain will even release dopamine in anticipation of viewing porn again. Just expecting to view porn will result in a rush of dopamine!
  • With time, your brain does what it is supposed to do — when it likes something, it makes those chemical pathways stronger. So, our brain alters itself to crave and find those pleasurable experiences again.
  • As these cravings increase in the brain, they disrupt the part of the brain that helps a person make healthy decisions and control their impulses — the CEO part of our brain called the Prefrontal Cortex. This change in our brain is one of the key markers of addiction. 

So even if a person may want to stop watching porn, the part of their brain that helps them make the right decisions and stay away from porn is compromised. The more that a person gives in to their desire to view porn, the stronger their cravings become. They start building tolerance — they need more of the behavior to reach the same dopamine “high.”

Porn consumption has similar effects on our brain as other negative behaviors, like smoking tobacco. The key difference is that tobacco is expensive and requires an I.D. whereas porn is available anywhere with an internet connection, completely free of charge! Easy access to porn makes it even more difficult for people who are addicted to give up their habit. It also makes it incredibly easy for those who may “occasionally” watch porn to fall into addiction.

Did you know that 59% of Muslim youth view porn?​

Check out The FYI’s Infographic on Muslim youth and porn addiction.

Are you struggling with porn?

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Tips for Your Recovery Journey

Despite how overwhelmed you may feel, hope and support are available. 

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Why and How to Get Help For Porn Addiction

Addiction thrives on shame and isolation. Finding support is a game-changer.

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Quitting is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

How you deal with relapse is key to your recovery. 

Silent Struggles: Preliminary Findings on Pornography Among American Muslim Youth

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Our latest research shows us that Muslim youth are struggling with pornography. Even though they care about their religion, it does not prevent them from watching it. So, why are they watching? What support are they looking for to cope with the shame and guilt they feel, and to quit watching?

Is your partner struggling with porn?

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Signs of Porn Addiction
in a Relationship

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Coping with the Discovery

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Finding a Way Forward

Porn Addiction:
A Conversation on Stigma, Shame, and Seeking Support

Is your child struggling with porn?

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Signs of Porn Addiction in Children & Teens

Porn Addiction Toolkit

How to Talk to Your Child About Their Porn Habits

Porn Addiction Toolkit

Making a Plan
for Recovery

Considering therapy for recovery?

The FYI’s Therapy Guide can help.  

This toolkit was developed by Issra Killawi, B.A., Mariam Rasheed, LMSW, and reviewed by Madiha Tahseen, PhD, Shakil Mirza, B.Sc, MPH, Siham Elkassem, MSW, PhD, Rafee Al-Mansur, LMFT, and Sameera Ahmed, PhD. Reviewers provided feedback on the toolkit based on clinical and/or community experience with pornography addiction. 
 

Feedback

Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us. It helps us refine and improve our efforts to better serve you. Whether it’s positive comments that motivate us or constructive criticism that guides our enhancements, your insights are an essential part of our journey. We genuinely appreciate your time and input as we work to provide the best possible experience. Thank you for being a part of our process!

Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).