Guest editorial found here: http://clinicallyappliedanthropology.com/2017/04/07/cultural-identity-and-its-political-nature-within-therapeutic-space/
Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse’s (University of Montreal) research question was simple: how do men who watch pornography differ from men who do not? The study was destined to fail before it even began; professor Lajeunesse was unable to find a single participant that has not consumed pornography at some point in their lives (he completed his research documenting the repercussions of pornography consumption nonetheless). Pornography is a big business, so it should come as no surprise that Muslims feed this industry like anyone else. Muslim communities are increasingly alarmed by the prevalence of porn addicts in their midst, though the subject remains largely taboo in public sermons. Thankfully, websites like PurifyYourGaze fill a void community leaders dismiss.
This article will unpack a crucial element hindering many from embarking on a journey of recovery, based on my own readings and client observations. I will begin the discussion however with a remark: we can become addicted to anything. Facebook, internet, friends, news, video games – it’s not all sex and drugs. There are many roads to addiction, one of which is the avoidance of unwanted thoughts and feelings. Instead of studying for an exam for example, we turn to video games to avoid feelings of failure – anxiety. If this occurs long enough, video gaming becomes an addiction. Rather than enjoying a game for its own sake, the hobby serves as a respite from anxious thoughts. Pornography and food share similar distress-relieving qualities. They are exciting and effective tools that help us forget our selves and circumstances. One thing separates sex and food from other addictions however: their inescapability. Unlike playing video games, human beings were created with drives to eat and procreate (if the reader believes humans evolved, it amounts to the same thing). Lust and gluttony are thus persistent and lifelong demons for those wrestling with them.
Speech on Western Muslim mental health issues. Given in Montreal, organized by MAC Youth.