Everyday our daughters and sons in the military put themselves on the line. We can honor them and their families by helping to keep pornography out of their lives.
The isolation of deployment and the access to technology makes soldiers an easy target for pornographers. This can lead to serious problems particularly for married service members.
Recent high profile cases in the media have shown that sexual assault is an issue in the military. Pornography use can create a climate where sexual assault is more likely to occur.
If you are a soldier or the spouse of someone who is struggling with pornography, you will find resources that will help set you free and give you hope that you are not alone.
Thank you for your service to our country.
One out of ten in the general civilian population is addicted to internet pornography. Pornographic consumption and addiction are believed to be much higher in the military, though, because of the largely young male population and frequent deployments.
In fact, in an interview with the Army Times, Navy Lt. Michael Howard, a licensed therapist and military chaplain, believes that at least 20 percent of the military is addicted to online pornography. The common theme among many military chaplains is that addiction to internet pornography is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, personal problem facing our military members today.
It is not uncommon for military members to come home from a deployment addicted to pornography. Military spouses often complain about these devastating addictions post-deployment.
The Marine staff sergeant knew things were spinning out of control. What he once thought was a harmless flirtation with online porn had become a full-blown obsession.
But looking at photos and videos of men and women having sex wasn't hurting anyone, he tried to tell himself. His wife never needed to know.
"It's like the old line about what happens on deployment, stays on deployment," the 34-year-old infantry platoon sergeant says.
Except that he couldn't escape the images and the need to look at more. At night, after his wife was asleep, he would sneak out of bed and spend hours online. Secret subscriptions were piling up. What started as passive voyeurism led him to prowl online hook-up sites and have webcam cyber sex with strangers.
"I just started needing more and more of it constantly more," he says. "It felt like I couldn't stop."
Military therapists and chaplains say they hear such stories with alarming regularity. Online erotica has been a marital minefield since the dawn of the Internet. But with the explosion of the internet — social networking sites, video sharing, blogs, wikis and mash-ups — porn is picking off military marriages and killing promising careers like a shadow army of well-placed snipers.
Every new recruit gets an orientation on what sexual assault is and how to report it. That information is posted at gates and restrooms.
Recently, one AFB underwent a clean-sweep inspection, ridding work areas of any material deemed inappropriate. That's a step in the right direction, says Rachel Natelson with the Service Women's Action Network. But, she says, more needs to be done to change a longstanding culture.
"The military ... until now, has been allowed to police itself on these issues," she says. "And that's never a good idea. It's outside accountability that keeps people and organizations and institutions in check."
The Telephone Helpline is available from anywhere, anytime — 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, worldwide:
The phone number is the same inside the U.S. or via the Defense Switched Network (DSN): 877-995-5247
For a typical porn addict, laying the foundation for recovery takes at least a year. That involves regular counseling. As with other addictions, most experts recommend a 12-step program. The process is largely the same for married and unmarried addicts.
"I have a lot of Marines going to Sex Addicts Anonymous," Howard says. "When you have a group of people in recovery together, they grow because of the support they give each other."
It's like combat vets helping other combat vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, he says. "They have been there and are walking that same road now with you."
Read more: How to Get Help
|Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women; search for a meeting (phone, email, face to face) near you: Meetings|
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