The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast

Joshua Shea: Let’s Talk About Porn Addiction - Pornography Addiction Expert & Author Sheds Light on Recovering From a 24-Year Porn Addiction

Episode Summary

Let's talk about porn addiction. In this episode Joshua Shea, pornography addiction expert, discusses being sober since 2014 and recovering from a 24-year pornography addiction.

Episode Notes

Joshua Shea is a pornography addiction expert, certified betrayal trauma coach, and the author of three books about pornography addiction, including He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and Former Addict Answer Your Questions.

Since 2018, Joshua has given more interviews about pornography addiction and betrayal trauma than anybody in the world. During his interviews he does not portray an anti-porn message but rather promotes the ideas that porn addiction spans all demographics and those with a problem should seek help before it’s too late. After speaking openly about pornography addiction, he began receiving messages from wives, girlfriends, and mothers of addicts. As a result, he now speaks about the issue of working through betrayal trauma, especially with the partners of addicts and those who are facing infidelity.

Today, Josh is not only recovering from a 24-year pornography addiction; he’s also been sober since 2014. When he’s not speaking, coaching, or helping others, you’ll find Joshua in Central Maine with his wife and two children.

Episode Resources

Connect with Joshua Shea

Connect with The Courage to Change

Lionrock Resources

Episode Transcription

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Coming up on this episode of The Courage to Change.

Joshua Shea:

We've got filters on our kids' phones. So we should be okay, because I always say it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Congratulations for locking down two of the 4.8 billion phones on earth, you're really playing the percentages there. But what happens when your kid gets on the bus and their friend with the phone that has no filters is showing them the latest piece of art on Pornhub? And what is your kid going to do? What is your kid going to say? If you don't know, you haven't actually porn proofed them.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Hello beautiful people. Welcome to The Courage to Change, a recovery podcast. My name is Ashley Loeb Blassingame. And I am your host. Today we have Joshua Shea. Joshua is a pornography addiction expert. He is a certified betrayal trauma coach and the author of three books about pornography addiction, including, He's a Porn Addict... Now What? An expert and former addict answers your questions. Since 2018, Joshua has given more interviews about pornography addiction and betrayal trauma than anybody in the world. During his interviews he does not portray an anti-porn message, but rather promotes the ideas that porn addiction spans all demographics. And those with a problem should seek help before it's too late. After speaking openly about pornography addiction, he began receiving messages from wives, girlfriends and mothers of addicts. As a result he now speaks about the issue of working through betrayal trauma, especially with the partners of addicts and those who are facing infidelity.

Joshua Shea:

Today, Josh is not only recovering from a 24 year pornography addiction. He's also been sober since 2014. When he's not speaking, coaching or helping others, you'll find Joshua in Central Maine and his wife and two children. Oh, had so much fun with Joshua, asked him all sorts of crazy questions, talking about my thoughts on porn and my history and his history. And even what we should be doing with our young children, as it relates to pornography addiction, prevention, and addressing the issue in our homes. We talked about different resources for people and symptoms and signs and what we think is going to happen in the future as a result of this pandemic, we covered it all. It was incredible. I love Joshua. He's just such an expert and honest, authentic guy who talks about these issues. And it's just so important. We need someone out there blazing the trail. So I am really grateful for Josh's time. And I hope you enjoy and learn lots in this episode. All right. Episode 113, let's do this.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

You are listening to The Courage to Change, a recovery podcast. We're a community of recovering people who have overcome the odds and found the courage to change. Each week we share stories of recovery from substance abuse, eating disorders, grief and loss, childhood trauma, and other life-changing experiences. Come join us no matter where you are on your recovery journey.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

So the first thing that I want to do before we really get into this, because I have lots of questions and stuff that I'd love to talk to you about, is we have a bad haircut photo that we ask our guests to send us, and you sent us one that I'm pretty sure that, that's 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin.

Joshua Shea:

It is 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. I love the way that you acted like you weren't sure.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Well, you know it's funny. I thought you were 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin in the photo, I wasn't sure at first.

Joshua Shea:

That would be cool.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. So I did have some confusion around it. So this is 1997. And how did you meet Mr. Austin?

Joshua Shea:

I was actually doing some freelance writing for what was then known as World Wrestling Federation Magazine. And I did a little bit of other freelance work for them. So I got to travel around and I saw a lot of paper views, a lot of TV tapings, other special events. I worked a lot of the big shows in the Northeast corner of the US, and that picture was taken in Chicago the day before WrestleMania 13, I believe it was. And I think we're up to 35 or 36 now. So this was a long time ago. And I just look at myself in that suit and that grateful dead tie, and the little beard, and the little glasses, and the quaffed hair, and just, I don't know what I was going for. It's not just a bad hair cut, it's just a bad look.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's the first, can send you my bad look photo. You look exactly like my teacher that I had in high school, if I find a picture of him you literally look, I wasn't sure if it was him.

Joshua Shea:

What subject?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

He taught current affairs.

Joshua Shea:

Wow. That was my favorite teacher in my high school. And he was just, yeah, absolutely wonderful. So if I look like a current events teacher somewhere out there, I think that's a great thing.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I have to send you a picture of this teacher, because he, shout out to Kevin, he wore a grateful dead and tie dye. He started at a nonprofit called Positive Town in San Francisco. So definitely going to send you a picture of him after this. I looked at it and I was like, he's a porn addict? Thinking to myself about my teacher [crosstalk 00:06:21].

Joshua Shea:

That's part of my message, who might have been also.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Who might've been. Yeah. So you are a journalist, right? I'm sure that piece of you never goes away.

Joshua Shea:

I think it's like riding a bike. Yeah.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right. And I was listening to a couple other podcasts that you've done, you've been in porn recovery for seven years [crosstalk 00:06:44].

Joshua Shea:

Yes.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Is it seven years still? Right. And one thing that I heard you talk about was, in one of your podcasts, was Patrick Carnes. And I am an alumni of The Meadows. Did you go to The Meadows for treatment?

Joshua Shea:

I did not, because I got a better deal through my really bad insurance at the Sante Center, just outside of Dallas. I looked at The Meadows, I looked at Sierra Tucson. I looked at, at the time, what's his name? Weiss still had his [Dear Lord 00:07:17] in LA. So I looked at, for what was available at the time I looked everywhere and Sante Center because like I said, I had such bad insurance that was really my only choice.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Well, I want to preface this conversation with a little bit of information about my knowledge center, which will give you some background into the questions that I ask you, which is that I went to treatment for drugs and alcohol multiple times first.

Joshua Shea:

Congratulations.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Thank you. And then I could not stay sober. And so I went for sex and love addiction to The Meadows. Now, what turned out for me was love addiction really, it was more, as my husband always jokes. He's like, let's be real. It's love addiction, but it was, we had different groups at The Meadows where you were there for alcohol and you wear different colors. Right? And so sex and love addiction was orange. Two of my friends in our group got married, true story. And I was like [crosstalk 00:08:24].

Joshua Shea:

Everything they warn you against.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah, yeah. I was like, guys, you literally can't write this. You actually can't write this. You're leaving love. Okay. And then we had the silver group, which was sex addiction. And we had groups with the silver group and I got to sit in group with some of the silver, the sex addiction people, including some who had been looking at child porn, but hadn't done anything yet. And they were trying to get well before they acted on it. And one thing that you talk about in your talks are the statistics around sexual, emotional, physical abuse in, you talk about it in men, but I think it's honestly probably the same in women.

Joshua Shea:

I have a feeling you're right.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That category of struggle and how basically I think, correct me, I think it's 80% have emotional, 90% [crosstalk 00:09:31].

Joshua Shea:

No. It's just over 70% have physical abuse in their background.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Got it.

Joshua Shea:

I believe it's 82% has sexual abuse in their background.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Okay.

Joshua Shea:

And I have seen two different numbers associated with this specific study, 94 or 97% have some kind of emotional, or medical trauma.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Do you ever think about the 3% that, what the fuck happened?

Joshua Shea:

Yes [crosstalk 00:09:57].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Because I did, I was like what happened?

Joshua Shea:

I actually probably about six, seven months ago, my therapist who, she and I talk now a lot more like colleagues than like a patient and client. And I was asking her, I said, have you had any of these people sit down? I know that there were plenty of, not plenty, but there's a double digit amount of alcoholics who don't have any trauma in their background. A lot of video game addicts don't have trauma in their background. A lot of gambling addicts don't have trauma in their background, but just about everybody when it comes to sex does, except for this three to 5%. Have you ever had one of these people? And she said she did once. And they spent about a year trying to figure out where it came from. And in the end they just reached the same conclusion. It was just one of those things.

Joshua Shea:

And there was, unless he was completely utterly lying, which she didn't think, and she said it fits because she's probably had over a hundred male people who have had sexual addiction, pornography addiction issues. And she said he was the one. So I guess that's probably correct. And it's, in some ways, I guess it's probably more frustrating, because at least I can specifically point to things that happened.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

My question, so I had all these questions. Right? First I was like, okay, so I'm looking up. I know about sex, right? We give sex for love. We give love for sex. Right? These are things, terms we hear when talks about sex addiction.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah. And I will throw it to you that I have been to many SLA meetings. And there were many things that I found myself identifying with in the SLA program, more than the SAA program.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Interesting. Okay. Yeah. It's an emotional, right? We're having an emotional.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Okay. So one thing is, there's something called internet porn addiction. Is there a magazine porn addiction? Is there a physical? Because we don't have, actually I should rephrase that. Let me reframe. Does porn come printed anymore?

Joshua Shea:

I think so. I find a bookstore. I know, one of the things that people missed in the first few months of the pandemic that I actually, my last book was about the porn industry during the pandemic, is Playboy went out of business. People don't even really recognize that because so much else was going on. I imagine that they're still printing it. I don't know if it's still a big seller here in the US, but I'm sure it's still a big seller elsewhere. I don't like separating all the different kinds of porn addiction. I've heard internet porn. I've heard high speed internet porn, before when I was dialing up that wasn't the real stuff.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Oh, man.

Joshua Shea:

And the thing that I always [crosstalk 00:12:55].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

No broadband.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah. The thing that I always address with people is that there are two things that are pornography. One we can all agree on. It's the XXX stuff. It's people having sex. It's designed specifically to titillate your sex organs, your mind. There's no other way to call it X-rated, or XXX-rated. We know porn when we see it. Now there's the other stuff. And I always give this instance, is that I've got a daughter she turns 22 next week. And my wife, they got Victoria's Secret catalogs for years, and women in lingerie. Never did it for me. That was never my thing. So for me, Victoria's Secret catalogs are junk mail. They are crap that fills up the end tables in the living room or the coffee table. They're going out of business from what I've heard, or they're losing a lot of business. And I have a feeling a lot of it's because they killed a lot of trees and spent too much money on catalogs.

Joshua Shea:

But anyway, it did nothing for me. When I was in rehab in Texas, I met a man who talked about how the typical XXX pornography did nothing for him. He liked teasing type stuff.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Joshua Shea:

And he really liked lingerie. What did he list as his biggest weakness when it came to pornography? Victoria's Secret catalogs.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Interesting.

Joshua Shea:

So that's one thing that when people talk about the variations of pornography, to me pornography is a very individual thing. It is anything that you use, whether it's visual or it could be written, people like erotic literature, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Capricorn, Cancer, that kind of stuff. You can listen [crosstalk 00:14:49].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Or the 50 Shades of Gray. Try listening to that on audio book. I tried listening to that on audio book. I was like, good Lord. Someone's going to hear this. Got to turn this down.

Joshua Shea:

But if there are people getting off to that, isn't that pornography [crosstalk 00:15:02].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Totally.

Joshua Shea:

... as well? Even though it's only audio. So, whether it's a Good Housekeeping Magazine, or a Vanity Fair, or a Hustler, does it really matter if you're using it for the same reason?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right. Because it's about, and I think I heard you say this, but porn, yeah, I suppose people would disagree with me on this. I personally don't think porn is inherently bad, the same way I don't think alcohol or even cocaine is inherently bad. Cocaine isn't going to jump up off the table and stab you. It's what happens when we put that into our system, into our psyche, and how that affects us.

Joshua Shea:

I would actually say pornography is even more normal and natural. You go back to cave man times, you can find pornography on the walls. You go into any museum and you go to their ancient Egyptian exhibit and look at some of the pottery. And you're going to see some pretty scrambled porn level stuff on some of that stuff. It's always been around. The desire to express sexuality in the written form, in the photographic form, in the audio form, has always been there. That's one of the reasons why I say I am not necessarily anti-pornography, and we can get into the sticky wickets of the production of pornography and all that, but as an entity, I am not against it if it can be used responsibly, because we are never going to be rid of it.

Joshua Shea:

You look at the conservative groups of the sixties, seventies, eighties, or some of the radical feminist groups of the sixties, seventies and eighties, for all of their screaming and yelling and trying to make arguments about banning pornography, there is more pornography now than ever. Those arguments didn't work. And I don't know that there is an argument that would work. You tell me how many people look at pornography and really care that people are being trafficked, who they don't know, who they don't care about, who they're not thinking about in that moment? Trafficking is freaking evil and nasty. If you look into it at all, but I don't think it stops anybody from looking at porn. I don't think the story of the poor porn actor or actress who is doing this for drugs, because they have a problem, really affects anybody.

Joshua Shea:

You want to talk about people who are depressed. You want to talk about people who have drug problems. You want to talk about people who didn't have good upbringings. Walk into any big-box restaurant and go into the kitchen, and you're going to find everybody meeting that criteria. It's not just porn stars who have bad jobs and shitty lives. Oh yeah, no kidding. I would not want to be on a car trip with anybody at that drive through just give me my tasty fries and let me move on. But that's really the point of it.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right. No, I love that. And I love that you're out there talking about this. I know that you are the most interviewed person about this topic, which I'm not even sure how that has to feel, but I think it's important.

Joshua Shea:

It's something I wanted back when I was seven or eight. So it's nice to see a dream fulfilled.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I figured, I figured, I would like to be famous for my porn addiction.

Joshua Shea:

I didn't want to be a fireman, and I didn't want to be an actor. I wanted to be the king of porn addiction.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yes. Exactly. Exactly.

Joshua Shea:

Here I am.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I am seven years off porn and I am famous for it.

Joshua Shea:

Yes, yes.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I love it. But it's important. It's important to talk about. And I think some of this stuff I want to talk to you, interestingly your alcoholism and your porn addiction, your alcoholism masked your porn addiction. Tell us about how you found out you had a porn addiction as a result of a drinking problem?

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, absolutely. I first looked at porn when I was 12. I was addicted the moment I saw it. It didn't take years. It took me about five seconds. When I saw porn for the first time at 12, I got this warm feeling rush over me. It was interesting because in one of my rehabs there was a heroin addict who described the exact feeling the first time he used heroin that I saw pornography, I don't remember what was on the page exactly. I don't remember what the magazines were, but I do know that this feeling of calm, this feeling of peace, like I said, this feeling of warmth, just came over me like I have just found something here. I don't know what this is exactly. I don't know how, what's this. I found something.

Joshua Shea:

Two years later, I'm at a wedding and I got drunk for the first time. People weren't paying attention to all of the tables where they had poured champagne and people weren't sitting. I don't know if they over calculated how many would be there, or what the problem was, but when nobody was paying attention, I went around for my first time ever and started just drinking champagne. And I, after a little, after I don't know how many of them I started feeling great. And I realized, this is why people do this. I am a better version of myself right now. I'm probably the best damn version of myself I've ever been. And at that point it took me, like I said, I bet I was an alcoholic within an hour of getting drunk for the first time. So when people say, porn addiction isn't a real addiction, it isn't the same as chemical addictions. I can honestly tell you that these two things hit me the exact same way.

Joshua Shea:

I know that they didn't serve the same masters in my mind, but they hit me the same way. I really nursed this alcohol problem for years and years. And one of the things is that I think like a magician say, doing something over here yet saying, look over here. My look over here was the alcohol. You stumble through your words, you stumble as you're walking, you slur, you smell like alcohol. You sound like an idiot and it's not easy to hide. Pornography addiction is pretty darn easy to hide. And if you have been hiding it since you're 12 years old, well, there's really no challenge to hiding it when you're 30, you've mastered that, but you can't really hide alcoholism because there are physical attributes to it. So people understood my alcoholism. People knew about my alcoholism, and it over a period of several months came to a head. I ended up in rehab in California basically, there was [crosstalk 00:22:06].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

At how old?

Joshua Shea:

37. I had just turned 37 and I was shipped out there and I thought to myself, okay, I'll do this. I'll spend 28 days. I'll get my little certificate like Sandra Bullet did in the movie and I'll come back [crosstalk 00:22:22].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. Totally.

Joshua Shea:

And it'll all be good. It probably took me seven or eight days, but all of a sudden something clicked. And it was like, oh, I am exactly the alcoholic they're talking about here. I am why this whole thing exists? I am their target customer. I get this. So I started paying, like I said, after about a week I started paying some real attention and recognizing that, oh my Lord, they are talking about me exactly. These problems, these stories, this is me exactly. I am this drunk guy that they're talking about. And I had one-on-ones a couple of times a week with my caseworker, who was the manager of the entire program. And I was very honest with my lifestyle. And I knew that I was a bit of a workaholic. I knew that I did look at a lot of porn, but he had me meet with a certified sex addiction therapist off campus from the alcohol rehab facility in Palm Springs.

Joshua Shea:

And I met with this guy a couple hours, twice a week. I think my last four weeks I was there. And that was just like an amazing revelation. He helped me realize that, why I had been using pornography was not just to see naked people. What was the reason I was using it? What were those flashes I was having? Because I was starting to remember some of these abusive memories that happened to me when I was a young kid at a babysitter's and they were starting to come back a bit before I sought treatment. And which was one of the reasons why I was open to it because I knew there was stuff back there.

Joshua Shea:

So he made me realize that there was that trauma from that abuse, he helped me recognize that I had a pornography addiction, pornography addiction was a real thing. It's not the same as intercourse addiction, because I never went down that road, but that it was a legit thing that I needed to deal with. So I came home to Maine after 70 days. It wasn't four weeks, it was 10 weeks I spent in Palm Springs. And I came home and I started meeting with the therapist who I'd started with shortly before I left for that first rehab. We went intense for that next year. It was several times a week, several hours each time. I thankfully had the resources that I didn't have to go work full-time. I could do freelance writing from my home, and make ends meet.

Joshua Shea:

So I spent so much time researching and learning and finding out as much about pornography addiction and sex addiction in general, as I could. That's just my journalist background. I'm a research geek, I can sit there and read the academic journals and enjoy them, but I know other people can't. So, I kept talking to her about how there was nothing out there about this and how, I don't know if I'm getting all the information. And so she suggested, and it made sense to me, why not go to a rehab for sex and pornography? Despite the fact, I hadn't looked at it in a year I clearly had trauma issues that I was still connecting.

Joshua Shea:

There were issues, there could have been other issues surrounding sexuality with me, which turned out there really wasn't, but I went to Texas in the summer of 2015, like I said, a year after I'd looked at porn, but I really got to focus on that with specialists. I got to be around other people for the first time who had dealt with that. I'd never been to a, I'd been to AA, but I'd never been to another 12 step meeting. And while I don't go now, I do think that there is a strong basis and a strong platform upon which the programs are founded, but I ultimately recognize just what a major piece of my life going back to 3, 4, 5 years old sexuality had been, and how maladaptive it had been for a lot of the time, especially with visual aids, with pornography.

Joshua Shea:

And I made the decision that if I was going to keep my family, if I was going to keep the few friends I had left, and if I was going to finally live the life that I knew I could, always wanted to, but it just always gone down the wrong roads, looking for the wrong things. I was going to have to get my act together. And thankfully I did, and I started giving...

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:27:04]

Joshua Shea:

I did, and I started giving interviews and writing books and doing this kind of stuff. And it's all sort of perpetuated from there.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

You have talked about sexual abuse from a babysitter early on. Can you tell us what you're comfortable with telling us about that, and what your treatment has shed light on, on how that relates to probably priming those neural pathways for needing this excitement and anything that you've learned about that?

Joshua Shea:

That's exactly it. A Lot of times I know people very well who have had horrific nightmarish sexual abuse. We're talking violent rapes as children. I thankfully never experienced any of that. And so I sometimes hesitate to say abuse and I say severe inappropriateness and there were many times, most of what I remember is what I witnessed happening to other children while I was there. I had a younger brother there. I was there from very young age, couple of months old, up till about seven. He was two years younger than me to put that in perspective, and there was a lot-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

This was a daycare?

Joshua Shea:

It wasn't a real daycare. It was a woman who lived a mile from my house who took care of a lot of teachers' children. My parents were both elementary school teachers and she had a reputation for taking care of teachers' kids. So there was usually between three and six kids there, depending on who was being taken care of at the time. And there were things like I remember at four years old, she called me in to see one of the little girls she was changing who wasn't out of diapers yet. She wanted me to see that little girl's genitals. And then she wanted me to touch them, under the idea that this is to show you how girls are different. I don't recall it going beyond... she just telling me to do that. But, I don't know what else.

Joshua Shea:

I remember her daughter was 18 or 19 years old, and this is actually the story where I think a lot of my issues stem from. Her daughter was 18 or 19 years old. I hated her mother, just evil. I won't say evil. I want to say very sick woman who was very inconsistent with her care taking. So I loved it when I could... I was usually one of the oldest kids there. This happened when I was five or six, I was hanging out in her room with her and she had to get ready to go to work. She worked at a department store in town and I was with her on her bed, and I remember she told me to turn around so I couldn't see her change. She went to the closet and me being a precocious five or six-year-old, I recognized if I looked just perfectly at the mirror on her bureau, I could see what was happening over by the closet.

Joshua Shea:

But me also being a five-year-old, who's not super slick, it was quite obvious as I was moving my butt along her bed, what I was trying to see, and she caught me pretty quickly. I thought that she would be really pissed off, and she really wasn't. She just said, "What are you doing?" And "I don't know." She said, "Have you ever seen a woman naked?" "No." And she told me to come over to her and I went over and she kind of dropped her bra down to her elbows, and she asked me if I'd ever touched a breast before, which every five-year-old, but me, but I said, "No." So she let me for like two seconds and then she put her bra back on and that was that. She told me, don't tell my mother, or she will kill both of us. "Don't tell your parents or they will kill both of us," which I kind of knew was correct.

Joshua Shea:

But I will tell you those two seconds when I had my hands on her breasts were probably the most sexually charged two seconds of my life. I think that was like the Hoover Dam of dopamine breaking and flooding my mind and probably through my entire addiction after that that's what I was looking for, was that same initial-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Chasing that.

Joshua Shea:

... chasing that first high that I got when she went as a five-year-old, this is 18 or 19-year-old let me touch her breast. And it was one of those things where it took me a long, long time to view that as a level of abuse. And I still talk about it.

Joshua Shea:

And I'm like, "You know, I really liked it at the time." It felt really good at the time. I understand how it likely had ripple effects through my life.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right.

Joshua Shea:

But it was one of those confusing things, because I'm not supposed to tell anybody about this. I know this is taboo. I know this bad, but this feels so great. This feels better than anything I've ever felt before. And again, this is me at five, six years old. So maybe when I finally see a porno magazine at 12 years old, oh my God, here it is. It's not in real life, but it's right here in front of me again. And I remember how great I felt that first time, and when I had that warm feeling come over me, it wasn't the same feeling, but it felt pretty damn good.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's interesting, and I love talking about this because I think there are a lot of people out there like you and me who've had, what's considered sexual abuse and also it, at the time did not... it wasn't like a violent rape, right? It wasn't a rape. It wasn't something that, a person we didn't know, or it wasn't there. There are these things and I love this severe inappropriateness, where you have a situation that in the moment you have no context, you're five. My childhood abuse happened at five as well. And you just don't really understand. It's just like, you know something's different, but you don't really understand. And when you look back at it as an adult, there's so much context you can add to it about the person, about you, about what you took.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

But in the moment, I mean when we start to talk about these things, I think there are a lot of people out there who don't realize the effect of that two seconds, right.

Joshua Shea:

[inaudible 00:33:31]. Yeah. Absolutely

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's a neurological change.

Joshua Shea:

Absolutely.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's what we're talking about, the neurons. I talk a lot about... I actually talk about this as it relates to pedophilia and sex offenders, like we have so many children that are being sexually abused. The numbers are insane. We have to talk about the fact that there are so many people attracted to prepubescent children. Why aren't we talking about that? We have to talk about it because we are only talking about treating it after the fact. Nobody wants to talk about treating like being able to [crosstalk 00:34:06]-

Joshua Shea:

Well, we want to pretend that doesn't exist.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. And that just-

Joshua Shea:

Pedophilia is one of those words I think a lot like pornography, like Hitler that we're afraid to say out loud, because if you simply say the word out loud, you're worried that people see it as an endorsement. And I know you as a professional, understand what pedophilia actually is. So when a guy is attracted to a 17 year old post pubescent, female, and somebody is like, oh man, he's a pedophile. You can turn and say, well, no, he's actually not a pedophile.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's ludacris.

Joshua Shea:

He's not a pedophile. Here is the science behind it. And then you're the person who suddenly knows way too much science about pedophilia.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Totally. Oh my God I love you.

Joshua Shea:

So you don't want to be, you don't want to be that deliverer and you don't want oh pedophiles should all go to jail? Well, actually they shouldn't until they break the law. Yeah, that's right. [crosstalk 00:35:14] Arsonists should not go to jail until they light a fire.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right. And there's, I love it because it's like, I'm careful about what I say, because I don't want to sound like I'm endorsing pedophilia, but I do..

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Here's the deal, barely legal porn. Nobody has a problem with that. Guess what they go out and look for young girls that look under 18, they could be a day over and suddenly that's legal. We used, we used to have children at 15. Societally, we have changed the rules. Fine, fine. We accept that. We, we, we go along with it. Fine.

Joshua Shea:

It's culture.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Let's-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah, let's be real. I could have a baby way before I was allowed to be interested in anything and there's a piece that we're not talking about.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's a cultural thing. And that's a-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Those are the rules we've decided to follow. What we're talking about is prepubescents. That. Nobody wants to talk about that attraction. And I think that one of the things I like to say, when I do have these conversations is something changed in the brain when, as it related to sexuality. And I think that's the case with porn. I think that's the case with any kind of daddy issues or anything there's something changes when, I speak for myself, something changed in my brain as it wired around sexuality, because I, my sexuality was being triggered in a way that it for the first time ever. So, what fires together, wires together. And I think that's so many people when they look back at their childhood, oh I made out with my cousin or I blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But it wasn't abuse, maybe not, but it definitely wired. If it's your first sexual experience, if it's your first sexual interaction or exposure, it is wiring in your brain. And that matters.

Joshua Shea:

No, absolutely. In the mid, early to late eighties, when I was, again, 6, 7, 8, 9 years old back when kids played outside, there was a ton of kids in my very residential neighborhood. And we played every game you can think of including strip tag and with strip tag, you catch the person. Everybody goes behind the shed, they quickly flash. And then we go back to play and it seems it seems like just the little punishment that comes with a little game, but looking back, it's like, that's, that's curiosity, but was that curiosity for all the kids there? You know, I don't think that did anything to harm me long-term specifically, mainly because I got all these other great stories but

Joshua Shea:

Right. Yeah, exactly. But I, I wonder if those, some of those other kids was that a sexualization moment, was that something that was unhealthy for them? I don't feel bad or I don't, and any of that stuff, but I wonder if some of those moments that we have in our lives do scar, do leave marks, do you know, change us for, better or worse, is subjective. They just objectively change us and change the chemistry.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

They Changed the chemistry, yeah. Yeah. And I think that that'll be the thing that the difference between the guy probably who likes Victoria Secret and the XXX and all the different things. Right. All the different gradations of addiction. And you talk about this and as do I, which is addiction is addiction is addiction, right? Like if it causes, I was thinking this as it relates to my own experience the exposure to porn okay, so I've been to AVN, if you know what that is, I've been, which is, [crosstalk 00:39:03].

Joshua Shea:

It would be, you know what, you know what, like my, one of my nightmares is, and I'm going to admit this for the first time ever on your show. It's like, if I was given that golden ticket to the AVN awards right now, I would have to play the game of, oh my goodness, that's disgusting. I would never do anything like that. And meanwhile, inside of me is 22 year old Josh going, oh my God, this is better than the golden ticket to the Willy Wonka factory.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. Right. And see for me, so I had a boyfriend that was really I guess, maybe he was a porn addict. I don't know. And we went to Vegas, we went to AVN, I think-

Joshua Shea:

How far did you have to travel? Did you live in North Vegas or did you have to travel?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

No, no. I lived in Prescott, Arizona.

Joshua Shea:

Okay. So he was a porn addict.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. We went as-

Joshua Shea:

He took a road trip and his girlfriend to go see porn, so Hmm.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

We were like-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

There were porn stars that we liked or whatever. I mean, I wasn't really into-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I was like, I don't know. Again, it never did much for me, so it wasn't-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I've definitely been plenty exposed, have enough exposure, both in-person and seeing porn, whatever. I'm somewhere middle of the road. Like, great. If great. If they're great, if not

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Great.

Joshua Shea:

No, my tastes were very, very vanilla. That's I sit in rooms with certain people who were porn addicts and I'm just- oh my goodness. Look at that. You know?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. I'm like, oh my fuck. That can't even, yeah.

Joshua Shea:

Naked people on a beach was enough for me. I didn't need them wearing diapers or having fish sticks thrown at them while leprechaun sang songs.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

So I know that there's a lot of different stuff. And so I was thinking about, as it relates to my experience, which you know, is significant, I guess. And I think it's really a comes back to that addiction thing. Is it making your life unmanageable? Is it preoccupation? Is it none of that? That was not, no is not making my life unmanageable. It was a like an eye candy. Like oh, that's interesting. Oh, cool. Whatever. And I could take it or leave it, no interest. What I look at for people with alcohol and drugs, like their level of moderation, oh, cool. It's here. Or, Ooh, cool. It's not something I don't understand when it comes to substance. That is what we're talking about with porn addiction. Right. It causes problems, right.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It hurts relationships. It is a preoccupation. Maybe it's something we spend money on something we hide. Those are, those are the indicators of addiction. Is there something other than that, when we think about porn or when you talk to your coaching and porn recovery that you say do you this? Or do you- the seven questions.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

How do you identify beyond what the rest of us identify with our other- like with chemicals?

Joshua Shea:

I let them decide if they're an addict or not. It's a label. call yourself whatever you want. What I talk to them about is their use of pornography. What is the motivation for using it? Is it it's been a hard day? Is this like a drink after work, because you may not think you're an alcoholic, but needing a drink every day after work and fiending and feeling almost sick, not having that drink after work. That's a red flag and there were lots of little red flags. There are lots of little habits we have that maybe don't cross into addiction quite, but you add up these habits and it does get there. The thing that I will say is that because of those statistics, especially when I'm working with a man, but even when I'm working with a woman, there is almost always abuse there.

Joshua Shea:

Like we said earlier, that 3% where there's not. I go into it, assuming that they have some kind of trauma from some kind of abuse. And the thing that I have found is that ultimately it's about a feeling of not being under control of your own mind. And I think that's true for every-

Joshua Shea:

Like you said, addiction is addiction is addiction. 95% of what happens in the mind is exactly the same from addict to addict. Porn addiction, I'm not going to lose my house the way I will with gambling addiction. I won't get carpal tunnel the way I would with video game addiction. I won't potentially blow my brain apart as I might with meth addiction. But all addiction takes place between the ears, just because I'm a porn addict or a sex addict doesn't mean the addiction takes place between my legs.

Joshua Shea:

It still takes place between my ears in my brain. And that's what we have to get people to realize, even with standard addictions, that maybe you're more acceptable in society like alcoholism. We need people to realize this is not because these people love the taste. This is not even because it makes these people feel good for the moment. These people are alcoholics because something else likely happened and they need some kind of escape from it. And this is what millions of us have found. We find a behavior or we find a substance, and then we just descend upon it like jackals, like vultures. And before we recognize it, we've devoured whatever's there and we need more. And it doesn't matter. Our job, our family, our friends, our time, the other things we value, this becomes number one, two, and three priority.

Joshua Shea:

You satisfy that demon that won't quiet in your mind unless you feed it, whatever it needs for the addiction. You get a little bit of time there of feeling okay. And then it's just keep repeating it by the time you realize you're an addict, it's too late.

Joshua Shea:

When it comes to pornography, usually there's abuse. Usually there's some kind of sexual, I don't want to say deviance, but some kind of incident or behaviors that haven't... That the average person doesn't experience usually at a younger age. And I find a lot of times with pornography, with sex addiction, and even with betrayal trauma, which is one of the reasons I branched out into coaching on that, is that all you have to do is sit there and the person knows exactly what they want to talk about. They want to talk about that time when they were 11 years old and the two boys on the playground touched you inappropriately. Or they want to talk about when they got away from their aunt or uncle who were handsy or something happened when they were 12, they did something sexual with the same gender. And they've always wondered about their sexuality since.

Joshua Shea:

I hate to break any giant secretive bubbles, but coaching is not that hard. I think I learned how to do it when I was a journalist. You ask a question and then you sit and listen to the answer and you don't just wait for your turn to talk. You sit and you listen to the answer, and they're usually telling you exactly what they want to talk about. And that's whatever direction they want to take the pornography talk in, that's fine.

Joshua Shea:

Once they recognize that they're not going to be judged, that I probably saw everything they saw that I-

Joshua Shea:

And when, when I'm dealing with betrayal trauma victims, it's that I was the guy who did a lot of the betrayal when it came to my wife, but I was also betrayed by others when I was young. So I've seen both sides of it. It's just about relating. It's just about talking. It's one of the reasons I like the 12 steps early on was because, Hey, I'm not alone. This is the first time I'm realizing this. And nobody here is going like, Ooh, gross when I say something or looking like they're judging me. And that was a big part of early recovery was understanding I was not alone and understanding there were people I could talk openly and genuinely about some of these skeletons in my closet with.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that it's really, really it's clear that you've had a lot of those experiences cause I to, you sit and you listen and they kind of lead you in that direction. When you do your coaching and when you have over the course of your recovery, what are some things-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I could... My example would be in working with alcoholics and drug addicts, I would say people have DUIs, they start hiding their alcohol. They hide their bottles, right? They move around the recycling. What are some of the little things that start to happen for pornography addicts that are specific to that? Would it be like clearing your browser history? Like if, little things

Joshua Shea:

If clearing your browser history of porn is a sign of addiction, we've got a much bigger problem than we know, Cause I have a feeling there's probably only about 5% of browsers out there with an open history of porn.

Joshua Shea:

Obviously that's a sign that you're hiding it. The question is, why are you hiding it? One of the interesting things is when I do coaching, a lot of the men who I coach, who have issues with pornography are sent to me by their wives who I'm working with for betrayal trauma. And it's kind of funny because they don't truly wrap their arms around the fact that they may have an issue because they don't think they do yet. Their wife is screaming that they're an addict and when I start talking to them, it becomes clear in a few minutes. These guys aren't addicts at all.

Joshua Shea:

They're just kind of assholes. Their wife has told them repeatedly, "I don't want you looking at porn. I disagree with porn," whatever her issues are and they don't care. So they look that doesn't make them an addict that just makes them somebody who doesn't care, what their wife has to say. Unfortunately, I have to deliver that news to the wives sometime.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

No, I appreciate that, yeah.

Joshua Shea:

Because I'm sorry, but your guy is not an addict. An addict is someone who at 7:00 AM can tell you, I have a 20 minute window before between 10:00 and 10:20. I will come home an hour before my wife, that will give me a 45 minute window just to make sure I'm safe on either side. Then she's going off to bed at 10:30. So by 11, 11:15, I can look again. There's my porn schedule for the day, let me figure out how the rest of my life works in. That's the number one thing, that is the first thing you're thinking about. That's the first need. Let's say that you are getting that twitchy feeling that you need it, it's not that you're horny. It's not that you want to have sex. You're just getting that twitchy feeling that you need those chemicals in your brain

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Can we stop right there? I want to ask you a question about that.

Joshua Shea:

Okay.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

So you're not horny and it's not about sex?

Joshua Shea:

No, no not at all.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

But you want to watch sex can. Okay, help me understand.

Joshua Shea:

Okay.

Joshua Shea:

I believe that, and this is, we'll never know this for sure. I believe that when I was a kid now, I don't know if you heard on any of the other podcasts that I've spoken more about the babysitter at, she had real problems. She would do things like put me in a back room that was completely black. I might be there for 10 minutes, I might be there for an hour. I don't know. There were things that I was forced to do. My brother at one point, he was potty training and we showed up in the morning at her house. He had wet his underwear between my parents' house and her house. She made him strip down from the waist down. She put him on a kitchen table and the three or four kids there, including me were all, had to go like to shame, shame, shame, shame.

Joshua Shea:

And I didn't want to do that. And when I tried stopping, she threatened to do that to me. So she was a very, very sick woman. And I think that's what almost all of this comes back to. That I was- I had her and then I had my parents who were traumatized by their families. I have three out of four alcoholics there. I think that as a kid, I saw a lot, or I felt very not in control of what was happening to me. I felt like I was seeding control, whether it was my parents or this babysitter, but I didn't have control over my life. I believe when I started looking at porn regularly, that's when I started to develop into more of a confident person. I believe I started developing into more of an overachiever. And I'll tell you why is because when you look at porn or when I looked at porn as a sick person, it was about control. Think about it, whether it's a magazine or it's a screen, I'm looking and there are two Asian ladies. Well, that's not doing it for me right now, ding. Okay, well, there's, there's a blonde lady with abnormally large breasts. Well, that's not doing it for me today either, ding.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

But wait, "doing it for me." Isn't that sexual?

Joshua Shea:

That's not hitting my- I'm sorry, that's just a colloquialism. That's not getting dopamine going.

Joshua Shea:

That's not getting the dopamine going.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Isn't the dopamine related to a sexual-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I guess what you're describing is it could be social media. It could be TikTok, right? What's the sexual piece.

Joshua Shea:

Right, but what I will tell you is I did not pleasure myself a lot of the time that I looked at porn. It's pretty much used exclusively for pleasuring, for people who aren't addicts. If I only had 10 minutes in the car, I knew that I did not have enough time for the grand performance of masturbating to orgasm, because it took me a while because there was a problem there, but I would still look at porn. That would be like having an appetizer until I could have something later. That's the thing though, is that you are the master of your universe when you're looking at porn. You don't want to see what's on the page, you go to something else and you know what, that woman or that man on the computer screen, they are not going to tell you that you're not good looking enough. They're not going to tell you to take out the trash. They're not going to tell you you didn't work hard enough at your job today. They are there to be objects for you. And if you don't like those objects-

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:54:04]

Joshua Shea:

... objects for you. And if you don't like those objects, you can hit a button and find some other objects. You are the master of your universe. That's what porn was to me. It was about control. I never was that a lack of finding sexual companionship before I got married. I never had any kind of massively dreadful sex life with my wife. That was very different. Actual intercourse was very, very different, was not the same thing, I mean. And I think that a lot of people, especially people who go through betrayal trauma, confuse the two because there's naked people and an orgasm involved. And that's really the only connection, you know. It has nothing to do with the betrayed, 99% of the time, at all.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

In fairness, that is very confusing.

Joshua Shea:

Oh, absolutely. I totally get why it's confusing. But put it to you this way, I became a porn addict at 12 years old. How is my wife, who I have met at 26, have anything to do with it?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Oh, of course not, of course not.

Joshua Shea:

That's like saying in a.... yeah.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I think one of the things I hear from women... two things. Number one, "Oh, well he looks at porn. And because that's what he wants, he doesn't want me." There's that one. "I don't want him looking at porn without me, because I don't want him looking at porn that it's like, oh, he's looking at a blonde and I'm brunette or whatever." And then, I hear that porn is cheating because they're thinking about having sex with this other person.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

The assumption is that they're masturbating. And that's the thing. That's why I wanted to stop you there, because the assumption for the greater run of the mill average partner or wife, spouse, that I hear is that they're masturbating. Honest to God, it did not-

Joshua Shea:

And a lot of time they are, but it's not always.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's not... Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. That's interesting to me. It reminds me very much of how I look at... Not that this is the same. This has always been... This is how people describe when they're like, "Oh, I have a diet Coke addiction. That's a lot like when you were addicted to heroin." But I think about social media. And social media is "I have 10 minutes. I'm going to blast through that time looking at pictures. And I can control... Oh, I don't want to see that video."

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

For me, it's about visual imagery. It's about entertainment. And it's about... And I was thinking about this on the way here to interview was I blow a lot of valuable time. I do question how I interact with that visual media as causing other issues in my life. I would have more time. I would, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? I mean, I don't think of... I don't plan my day around it, but it definitely has consequences blowing time.

Joshua Shea:

You are giving the example that I give at every library, every speech, every church group, the Ted talk I did, everything. For people who don't understand addiction, what you need to do tomorrow is pick up your smartphone, take a post-it note, put it across the screen. After you've turned up all of the alarms, all of the alerts, turn everything as loud as you can. Then, put your phone next to you with that post-it note on the screen. If you're like a typical person, within five or 10 minutes, there's some kind of chime, some kind of ding. Somebody liked your Snapchat, or somebody's texting you, or some other... your friend just sent you three lives in candy crush. And you're going to want to look and see what it says, but you can't. You can't. You have to leave it like that.

Joshua Shea:

Five or 10 more minutes go by, you're going to get something else. Maybe somebody liked a Facebook post, or maybe your phone actually rang because I hear they do that. And maybe it's something else, five more minutes, something else, five more minutes, something else. The people who I know who have actually tried this usually only last about six or seven notices. Then, they have to grab their phone and pull it off and see what they missed. That, friend, is addiction. And people...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Right. That's what I was thinking on the way over here.

Joshua Shea:

Because how horny anybody is, doesn't mean that... It's nothing... People are ridiculously addicted to their phones. I think they're addicted for... You could say it's the attention. You can say it's the validation. You can say whatever the reason that people need to be on their phone so much. And I'm not saying I'm any better than anybody else.

Joshua Shea:

But for people who don't understand things like chemical addiction or process addictions, look at your relationship with your phone, and try not to look at your phone. And then, multiply that by 50. And that's basically how addiction feels.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that you use that because, I mean, I was... With all of my guests, I try to put myself in their shoes, and think about how it would feel, and different things. And okay. Addiction is when we have outcomes, when we're doing something that causes problems in our life. And I was thinking, "Oh, the scrolling, the control, interest."

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's very... I think it's very hard for... At least, for the women I know, I can't speak for all women, lucky for them, but that... to not associate it with something sexual, like you're seeking something sexual... That piece is very difficult.

Joshua Shea:

And I absolutely understand that. And I've actually met quite a few men who find out that they are not as addicted to pornography as they thought. They're addicted to masturbation. And there is...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Okay. So, what's the difference. I mean, I know what the difference is, but you tell me.

Joshua Shea:

That's the difference.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Just the act?

Joshua Shea:

What's the difference between a meth addiction and heroin addiction?

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Nothing.

Joshua Shea:

No, there is a big difference. It's a different substance. There's a different set of chemicals.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Substance, a different high.

Joshua Shea:

A different high, different set of chemical things going on inside of you. And that's the same thing.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Different friends.

Joshua Shea:

And that's where I think that a lot of men go wrong is because they look at pornography and masturbation as one thing. It's not a Reese's peanut butter cup. There's chocolate, there's peanut butter. We do use them together, but they are two separate entities. And while I have never tried this, because I heard it long after it would be applicable to me, I've heard guys who are struggling. And I've actually put this in a few different places. If you're struggling with pornography and masturbation, for the next two weeks, you're allowed to look at porn, but you can't masturbate to it.

Joshua Shea:

Conversely, you're allowed to maturbate, but you're not allowed to look at any visual aids. You're going to find out within three days if you're addicted to one, the other, or both. In my case, I was addicted to pornography. I enjoyed the masturbation. It felt good. But to me, masturbation was like the finish line. I found that perfect piece of porn that tickled my mind the way it needed to. And that's what you're going to hear again and again and again from pornography addicts. Now, I was lucky in that it didn't take me too long to find something. But I've talked with so many men, and some women, who sit down at the computer for 20 minutes of looking at porn and masturbating, and suddenly two hours are gone.

Joshua Shea:

I've talked to people who knew they were going to have a two hour session and six or eight or 10 hours are gone. You're actually talking about people who injure themselves masturbating when you're talking about 8, 10, 12 hours of it. And the way that some people sit in front of a TV and play video games for 16 hours, there are literally people who sit there and touch themselves to porn for 16 hours, just waiting for that one perfect piece to do whatever it needs to do to the chemicals, to push them over the edge, so you have that orgasm, because that's kind of like a checkered flag that says you're done.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Stay tuned to hear more in just a moment.

Christiana:

Hi, it's Christiana, your producer. And if you're like me, and you love coffee or coffee alternatives, you can now shop with the cause by visiting lionrock.life and clicking on shop. 100% of the profits fund substance abuse treatment for those who can't afford it. You can't really go wrong. We're now carrying, in addition to our amazing coffee, if you haven't tried it, matcha maiden organic matcha powder, love me some green tea, golden grind tumeric latte blend, and Prada chai original blend. So, we've got something for everyone. We love mixing these delicious coffee alternatives with something like milk, or almond milk, oat milk, or even just hot water.

Christiana:

The organic matcha powder is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and simply delectable. The tumeric latte blend, the winner of Australia's best beverage product in 2017, helps bring about relaxation and restoration while also nurturing your body. The Prada chai that has been my pregnancy craving, it's amazing, is blended in Melbourne from all natural ingredients and uses 100% Australian quality honey blended by hand with tea and whole spices. By shopping for coffee and coffee alternatives at lionrock.life, you are also helping provide substance abuse treatment for someone who can't afford it. Your favorite drink with a cause. So again, go to lionrock.life, click on shop, and you'll see our coffee and our brand new coffee alternatives. We hope that you enjoy it. Send us a picture. Maybe we will feature you on our Instagram as well.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

How do those... You work with a lot of those people. What is it like trying to get them into healthy sexual relationships? Do you pull any... Let's say that perfect piece of porn is related to a foot fetish. I don't know. I'm making it up. Is it like we cut that out of our... that is not part of a sexual relationship? Or do people sometimes pull that into healthy sex? Is the act ever moderated or part of it?

Joshua Shea:

Most people...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I don't know if that makes sense.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, it does, but it's not super applicable. Most people who have a porn addiction have run through 101 different genres. Because much like when you're an alcoholic and you need to switch from beer to wine or wine to whiskey, the use of pornography changes because, gee, all of a sudden, blonde girls aren't doing it for me anymore. And I need an orgy scene. I have seen so much that never did it for me, like, "Oh, okay. Old people in diapers. This is not going to be on my list of come back and see this." But for some people it is.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Back up.

Joshua Shea:

And the thing is you kind of search for what it is you need that day. One of my issues was always movie nudity. I spent so much time looking at movies from the US and abroad, not porno movies, just regular movies or art movies. And one of the things I had to do... And I share this story with guys who are starting out, because this is an individualized journey. But when I started to get into recovery, when I went to the movies, and this goes to cognitive behavioral therapy, I'd go to the movies, and my natural instinct was to see a good-looking actress on the screen. And I wonder if she's been naked in any other movies. Or if I was at home, oh, well I just grabbed the laptop and type in Mr. Skin and see what you can find. And I would do that just all the time. It was a completely normal activity for me.

Joshua Shea:

This is one of those things that scratch that itch pretty consistently. I didn't have to change this up very much. But when it came time to recovery, I knew that this was one... I didn't have to do any work to get over the old people in diapers because that wasn't a problem. But the problem was regular movies. So, if I went to the movie theater, what I had to do was I'd kind of play it out in my head. Okay. Here is Jane Doe. She's gorgeous. I wonder if she's been in any other movies. Okay. Well, you can't look right now because you're at the movie theater. But when you get home, you could look. Well, what happens if you look? Well, maybe Jane Doe wasn't in any movies. That's fine because you're going to find somebody else on that page, when you're at Mr. Skin, that catches your attention.

Joshua Shea:

Okay. Well, maybe Jane Doe was nude in some movies, and you find them. What are you going to see? You're going to see a naked woman, just like every other woman out there under her clothes. I have seen enough naked people in my life to know they come in every shape, size, color, angle, whatever. And I can basically tell you she probably has a vagina, and breasts, and a butt. And I can see her hands, so I'm sure they connect to shoulders. And I bet she has knees. And everybody's kind of built the same, so it's kind of... I had to sort of demystify the nudity part of it for myself. And then, it was a matter of, "Okay. Well, if I do find her, I'm not going to stop there. I'm going to keep looking. I'm going to look for other actresses. Maybe I'll get off actresses and find something else. So, I don't want to sit down at the computer and start looking at this. Okay, don't do that."

Joshua Shea:

So, when you get home, you got to make sure... "No, don't do this. It's going to end up in looking at porn. You're just going to go back there. It's easy to go one time. It's even easier to go a second time. Don't go back there, despite the fact that you think you can get it under control, because you know eventually you won't. Okay, don't do this." And eventually, after enough times, it's like muscle memory. And I can see a nude scene in a movie now. And it doesn't really do much for me. I couldn't do that a month after recovery. But now that I'm over seven years into it, it's like, "Okay. That's a naked actress."

Joshua Shea:

And well, I've taken care of most of the trauma that pushed me to want to see naked actresses. So, I don't need this the way I did before. People seem to forget that addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem, almost always trauma. But that's what needs to be addressed is the trauma. I know we're teaching about alcoholism and drug addiction in schools. I have a feeling we're still not teaching about pornography or video games or gambling. But what I wonder is, when we're teaching about the evils of these substances, are we teaching why most people use them, what to look for? Like you mentioned earlier, what are the signs of sexually deviant people? Well, what are the signs of a 11 or 12 year old who may develop a drinking problem? What are the signs of a 13 year old boy who may develop a pornography problem?

Joshua Shea:

What are the signs of a college freshmen who may develop a gambling problem? We need to talk about this stuff because these... We can deal with the symptoms and that's great. You put band-aids on symptoms, but you don't take care of the real problem. You have to address the wound if you're going to heal it, and if you're not going to need a bandaid. And in my case [inaudible 01:09:29], the bandaid was pornography.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I have four year old twin boys. And one of the things that I think... I can see the ism. I can see it. My husband and I are both in long-term recovery. And who knows what it'll be? It never occurred to me. And this isn't... I don't know why this is... I thought this. But you described being five in that situation. And my boys are four and a half. It doesn't occur to me...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I was thinking... You talk about them changing. And I'm like, "Oh God, I'm... You saw this young woman naked and started a porn addiction or whatever. They're going to see me naked and, and become abstinent." But it never-

Joshua Shea:

I just want to throw out there, my super conservative Catholic parents would not even be in their underwear around me. So, one of the things of my youth was that I got very different messages. And my home life felt very safe, but it was very stifled. This other life, at this babysitter's house, was much more open. The sexuality, in all honesty, was kind of exciting, but I felt unsafe there.

Joshua Shea:

So, I think I equated sexuality with not being safe, and being safe with this rigid almost frigidness. So, that's what it is. I actually think it's incredibly healthy to be around your children naked, or in your underwear, and to not make a big deal of it, and to call body organs by their correct names, and to not create a taboo or a Pandora's box about sexuality early in their lives. I think that's super dangerous. But I think that's what happened to a lot of kids of our generations.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah. No, that's interesting. That's good feedback too, because I was reading some statistic about the average age that... And I'm going to botch this. I'll do it in the fact check. But it's like average age that a young boy first time sees... The first time he sees porn is like eight years old or something at this point. It's ridiculously young. And I think about my boys and think about, okay, so what is it... We talk a lot about recovery, what we do. And I always say with recovery, I'm not a plumber. If you need a plumber, go find a plumber.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I can help you with recovery. Find people who are experts in their fields and in their specialty. They will help you. They will tell you what it is. They will come up with a plan for you. That is always my thing with recovery. What about prevention? Or what about looking for those signs, like you were talking about? I have young boys. What does it look like to have healthy exposure? And/or when you talk to families about dealing with pornography, do not make that taboo. Is pornography okay? When is it okay? Are those any topics that you ever cover?

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, absolutely. And obviously, people's values, their beliefs, their morals will always play into this. I believe that first you have to establish, and if you have a partner, establish together, what healthy sexuality looks like for your family. I think a lot of people just don't have that conversation, even as partners. What does healthy sexuality look like for you and your partner? You may be a huge fan of S&M or exhibitionism, and your partner is not. The healthy thing for your coupling is to not go down that road, even if you individually like it, because sexuality as a couple is different than sexuality as an individual. And I think that kids absolutely want direction. And we have to remember nobody comes out of the womb knowing what the word pornography is, being ashamed of their bodies. I mean, the fact is you had to have sex to make the kid.

Joshua Shea:

So, it's a natural part of life. What I urge parents to do a lot of times is, when the kid is three or four, you don't need to use the great big P word. You can just say something as simple at three or four as, "Listen. If you're ever looking at a phone, or you're ever looking at a tablet, and you see somebody without their clothes on, let me know, because that's something that adults are supposed to see, not kids. So, if you happen to see it, let me know, just like if you see a cigarette that's lit somewhere, don't put it into your mouth, let mommy or daddy know you see it. And also, make sure that nobody takes pictures of you with your clothes off. Don't let anybody do that. But you also can't take pictures of other people with their clothes off. Okay? All right. Now, let's talk about how to cross the street." And leave it at that.

Joshua Shea:

And I think, as the kid becomes seven or eight years old, you have to have the sex talk a little earlier. You have to have the respect for the body talk a little bit earlier. You have to let them know that they may see more of this stuff. I have to say this at almost every... And I haven't given a lot of in-person presentations because of the pandemic. But before I was doing that, I would always have somebody raise their hand and be like, "We've got filters on our kids' phones, so we should be okay." Because I always say it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Congratulations for locking down two of the 4.8 billion phones on earth, you're really playing the percentages there. But what happens when your kid gets on the bus and their friend with the phone that has no filters is showing them the latest piece of art on porn hub? And what is your kid going to do? What is your kid going to say?

Joshua Shea:

If you don't know, you haven't actually porn proofed them. And you need to have that discussion of, "There may be some channels on TV that you come across, where you see people having sex, or people trying to make a baby, or naked people in bed with each other. Kids shouldn't... " if you believe this, "Kids shouldn't be watching that at your age. They should only watch that at 13 or 16 or 18, whatever's right for you. But I don't want you watching this stuff until you're that age. It's not appropriate for children. It's more for teenagers or adults. And much like cigarettes or drinking that I don't want you to do now, when you're 18 or you're 21, and you're not living with me, you'll make your own decisions because this stuff isn't illegal. But I do want you to know that, much like cigarettes, much like alcohol, there are some problems that can come with this."

Joshua Shea:

And I think, as the children get a little older, you can talk about that. I mean, I think that if we talked about porn induced erectile dysfunction to 13 and 14 year old boys, we would see some of these numbers drop, because these boys are generally not porn addicts yet. They generally want a girlfriend or a boyfriend. They want to have somebody else in their life. Maybe they're not ready then, but eventually they want to have some kind of sexual relations with them.

Joshua Shea:

But if they can't have that in the moment, they'll look at porn when they're 12, 13, 14 to get that release. And this has nothing to do with addiction, but they'll look at that stuff to get that release. Some of those kids will end up as addicts. And some of those kids will end up... the males will end up with porn induced erectile dysfunction. And one of the very first guys I ever worked with, a couple of years ago now... I call him Brian in this story because one of my best friends is named Brian. And he hates being called... He hates his name being used in this story. So...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I love it.

Joshua Shea:

A guy, his name wasn't really Bryant, but he came to me. He was one of the first porn addicts who I ever worked with. He had porn induced erectile dysfunction. And essentially, what happened was he could not climax unless he was seeing pornography. It didn't matter. He had a very cute, very funny smart girlfriend named Whitney, who was going through a nursing program at their local college. I think he was 22, manager at a baseball hat store at their mall. And she didn't shame him about his addiction. She didn't try to change him too much. But yes, he already wanted some help. But if they were having sex, they had to have a laptop in the room, or they had to have one of their phones on pornography, because he could not finish unless he could see something on a screen. So Whitney, which is the girlfriend's name I use...

Joshua Shea:

Whitney figured out if that he was in the bedroom on his phone, if she was in the living room on her laptop, she could do sexual things through the video camera or the webcam. Because he was in the other room, because he was looking at a screen, something in his mind told him this was pornography. I think this might be the Coolidge effect, but something in his mind told him that this was pornography. So, he would satisfy himself as she was doing that in the other room. And before he was about to climax, he would call her into the room and they would finish like normal people. And that's how they were able to deal with it. And I haven't talked to him in over a year. It was getting a lot better for them. And they were..

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's some McGyver girlfriend shit.

Joshua Shea:

Exactly. It's like you've got a winner there. You keep her just in case you get [crosstalk 01:19:29], she's the one that's going to keep you alive by killing the mongoose and whatnot. So...

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

100%.

Joshua Shea:

If you think about this, if they were going to try to conceive a baby, they needed to have pornography playing in the room. And that's not something you're going to tell your kids about. But the point is you tell 13 and 14 year old boys the story of Brian and Whitney, hopefully they understand Brian looked at so much porn, Brian masturbated to so much porn, that he essentially broke his penis in normal situations with another person. And Whitney was a freaking saint, but even I could recognize she wasn't going to stay around forever. You do not want that in your partner. If you're young and you have a partner who has this issue, most of the time, you're going to walk away.

Joshua Shea:

So, that's something to keep in mind if you're 13 and 14 years old, and you're looking at a lot of porn. And there's no reason why we can't say that to 13 and 14 year old boys. Will it scare them? Maybe. Maybe that's what we need to do. Maybe we need a few of these stories so they recognize that there are negative repercussions to looking at pornography. I can't say there's a definite correlation. But when a married couple introduces pornography to spice things up into their marriage, statistically, they get divorced three times more than people who are having issues and don't introduce pornography to their marriage. Is that just a-

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:21:04]

Joshua Shea:

... and don't introduce pornography to their marriage. Is that just a giant coincidence over thousands of cases? I don't think it is, and I don't think that the only causality of divorce is watching porn together, but when it happens, they're three times more likely to get divorced.

Joshua Shea:

These are statistics, these are historical behavioral patterns in other people. I think it's time that more people understand them and understand that we're heading to a really rough place. In 2017, the Barna Group did a study of thousands of men and women. Among men under 30 years old, this was 2017 so I'm guessing we could probably say among men under 35 years old now, 32 to 33% said that they either have a problem with pornography, that they see themselves becoming addicted or that they are fully addicted. So that's one out of three men, basically, under 30, when this study was done.

Joshua Shea:

I can't believe with the lack of talking we've done about it or this pandemic that the numbers any better. I'm sure it's a lot worse. However, I think that these are the things that we need to start talking about. These are the things we need to start talking to our kids about and much like you and I have been talking here for an hour and 20 minutes, we haven't got into nitty gritty graphic detail of the pornography that we've seen on the screen because we don't have to. We can talk about pornography as an abstract thing while still being on the same page. We need to not be afraid to talk about this because until we can talk about pornography, we're not going to talk about pornography addiction. And it's easier to talk to your kids about pornography than it is to deal with their pornography addiction.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah, that would be... Wow, you just blew my mind. I had no idea that introducing that into our relationship was so unhealthy. I also think that the rates of ED that have gone up, erectile dysfunction, people using pharmaceuticals to help that probably. It's all very interconnected.

Joshua Shea:

I just wanted to share this. One of the things that I always have to tell the partners, and again 90 to 95% of the time it's women, who are experiencing betrayal trauma is that you are thinking his addiction is making him not want to have sex with you because he's looking at other women or doing this... Yes, it is the addiction, and I'm sure you can speak to this, tell me about the sex drive of a gambling addict or a heroin addict or an alcoholic. Across the board every study that's ever been done, addicts have a decreased sex drive. So the fact he doesn't want to have sex with you doesn't really have anything to do with his addiction.

Joshua Shea:

As I said, I had a fairly normal, healthy sex life the entire time I was an addict. It served a different purpose. There's a difference of being up against a human body. There's a difference of expressing love, as cheesy and corny as that sounds. There is a difference in having sex or in making love with a human for me than there was in looking at pornography. In pornography, I was serving the master in my head. With actual intimacy with a partner that was totally different. That scratched a different itch. And I will admit that probably in my last three to six months of addiction, before I got help, there was an effect on my regular sex life, but it was because I was an addict, not because I was a porn addict. But I can, again, see how that's easily misconstrued.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yeah, that makes sense. It's not what the substance is. We'll talk too, if your husband, people will say, "Oh, I feel like he's cheating. I feel like he has a mistress when he's using or drinking or whatever," because alcohol, meth, whatever that is, is the mistress. And I think it's confusing, naturally confusing for women, when it is a woman or man that the addiction is sex-related adjacent, that piece is confusing.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

I was wondering, before I let you go, I want to ask you a question about straight men who are trying to make sense of being molested by a man through homosexual porn. Have you dealt with men who come to you, believe that they're heterosexual, whatever, they identify as heterosexual and homosexual porn is part of their repertoire. That has become an issue and a question and they're trying to work through their sexuality.

Joshua Shea:

Usually in the first session I have with anybody before they can even get to telling me that I make it very clear that they are not the pornography they looked at. To be perfectly honest, one of the biggest genres out there is the pissing genre. I cannot believe that many people want to piss on their partner or each other. It's something that gets them off when they look at it in pornography.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

One of the biggest?

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, yeah. Or transsexual stuff, the chicks with dicks. I don't know of a single man who has a pornography issue that hasn't looked at that, but I can tell you myself I have absolutely no interest in that in real life. I think part of what pornography is, again, it's that control. It's bringing me into... I have no interest in SNM whatsoever, but I've seen plenty of SNM porn. You know, pornography brings me into that sexual world, lets me see what that sexual world is about. That doesn't mean that I want to recreate that in my real life. We are not the porn we look at.

Joshua Shea:

Now, if you want to recreate that in your real life, that's fine. Make sure it's consenting, make sure that it's in a safe environment. And if you've never tried it but you want to try it again, go ahead and try it. Hopefully you're not breaking any marriage vows, hopefully you're safe, but I don't think there's anything wrong short of it being illegal stuff like children or animals or hurting other people. If it's not illegal and everybody involving is consenting, can we really draw any conclusions about you based on the porn you looked at? You can draw conclusions about you, but I'm not going to.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

To me, if there's someone who... In a lot of situations I've heard of with friends who believe that their husband or partner has had sex addiction, one of the things that I hear is that a couple of times they're looking at gay porn and that that is one way that sometimes straight men work through this trauma, this abuse, try to see if they're attracted to it.

Joshua Shea:

Yes, you're correct. One of the things that we often will look at is things that reflect the abuse that we had. That is something. Yeah, I can absolutely understand that. I think that me being interested in movie-star stuff was because I always wanted to be famous. It's sometimes as simple as that. What do you seek in your life? Well, here you have an addiction and here's 900 different genres. You can find something that meets you.

Joshua Shea:

But again, this also can go back to the escalation point. I was never molested in any homosexual way whatsoever. I don't recall any homosexual activities or even curiosity things with neighborhood boys. Don't really recall any of that. I have seen homosexual pornography because I was looking for something else that would get me off that day, that would tickle my brain that day. Does this mean that I am latently gay? I don't think so. Does this mean that I'm interested in being with a guy or having a guy be with me? I don't think so because I don't feel those things in real life.

Joshua Shea:

We are not the pornography that we look at. It's like saying, "You are John Rambo or you are Chuck Norris or you are these people because you want to be a secret agent, looks danger in the eye every day because you like James Bond movies." That's not necessarily true and we have to remember that at the core pornography is a fantasy. It's not real life. That's one of the things that we need to teach children is that this is not a documentary. This is not a reality show. These are movies. These are scenes, this is fantasy. This does not exist in real life.

Joshua Shea:

I think that's a lot, when you're an addict, what you're looking at is a fantasy world. What would it be like if I was a gay man? I'm not, but here's what the porn looks like for gay people. I think, again, it's a natural curiosity. I think that if you are heterosexual and you've never wondered about any of the other gender or sexual identities, I think that you're probably lying to yourself. I think that if you're a homosexual and you've never wondered what it's like to be straight, I bet you're lying to yourself. I think we always wonder what's happening with the other people and the way that they are.

Joshua Shea:

Obviously, I'm very liberal when it comes to gender and sexuality and I don't judge anybody for any of it, but I think it's completely natural. Again, you're curious about people with different preferences and you love pornography and watching this, from a weird point of view I think there is a little bit of a sociological itch to be scratched in branching out and looking at porn. How is the other half living? How are these people who somehow have the guts to become porn stars, or whatever reason they're doing it, why is this poor man or woman letting this person piss on them? That's [crosstalk 01:31:53].

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's like the zoo.

Joshua Shea:

I don't care.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

The Zillow of porn.

Joshua Shea:

I don't care what's happening here. I want to know everything that happened up to this moment. What ad did she answer? How did she rectify with herself that being peed on or peeing on somebody was okay? To me, that's all fascinating. But for the addict, it just might be the thing that gets them off that day, yet they're not at all interested in doing it real life. So I don't look too deep into the content of porn to decide what's going on with somebody.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's super helpful. Super helpful because when I think about it and I'm pretty open about porn one way or another, I don't have an opinion or think it's in and of itself immoral, but I do think to myself, "Oh, they are, if someone..." I don't know if I would say "they are the porn they watch," but I know, I would think, "Oh, they like this genre. If you watch that, then that says something about you." I would think that, so that's helpful.

Joshua Shea:

If you're an addict, you've built a tolerance to that. So you have to find something new.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Totally, totally, totally. And when I think of it in that terms, and I also the movie term, "Am I every movie? Am I a reflection of every movie I've ever watched? Have I watched movies I don't particularly and I watched to the end? Yeah." Actually, that's really helpful for me in thinking about this whole topic, which is you're not the porn you watch. I'm not all the things that I've done, even the weird or whatever things, and that is very helpful. I don't think society as a whole... I mean, me, who, I've been to AVN, I've seen lots of porn, whatever. It's not really a big part of my life anymore, but I still had that in my head of the relation to what you watch is a reflection of who you are.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's something that I want to hear is we do not have to talk about... Or not "talk about," we do not have to use whatever is the actual content of what's going on as a reflection of that person, which is probably where the shame comes from, right? Most people are probably not super ashamed of watching missionary, regular, married sex, right? That's probably not where... The shame point probably has something to do with what they're watching. That makes, how do we de-stigmatize? Well, we de-stigmatize by saying, "You're not the porn that you watch."

Joshua Shea:

And that's exactly it. I think that makes a lot of people feel okay. The most powerful sessions I ever have with porn addicts are the first session when they finally recognize that I don't care what they looked at. I'm not going to judge them based on what they looked at. I probably looked at it too, but, "Whatever, dude, that's not what we're here to talk about. It's caused some problems in your life. Let's see if we can figure out how to change those things around." Our first trip is going to be looking back at trauma, but I think most recovery is about 75% trauma work and about 25% identifying triggers and identifying mechanisms by which you can cope with those triggers.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Yes, I agree. I agree. I love that.

Joshua Shea:

Thank you.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

And I love the work that you're doing and that you're willing to stand up and talk about this. I think it's so important. As a mom of young boys, I appreciate you, and I appreciate you standing up and saying, "We need to talk about this." Are there a couple of places, treatment programs that you list off in your repertoire. People do ask me for treatment spots. I always say The Meadows because I'm biased, so maybe you have other?

Joshua Shea:

I've heard great things about The Meadows. I know several people who have been through there. I have heard good reviews about Sierra Tucson and the things that have gone on there. I looked at both of those places when I was considering going there. There's Keystone in Pennsylvania, which I also looked into. I have a good friend who went there before me. Unfortunately, I was unable to make my insurance match up with them, but sounds like they've got a really decent program.

Joshua Shea:

I ended up at the Sante Center for Healing down in Texas. I appreciated it because they did have drug and alcohol, so I could relate to the alcohol folks, but they also had an eating disorder program. What was fascinating for me was that I had never really known people with open eating disorders before who would talk about them. It was so surprising how much we had in common because with drugs, with alcohol, it's about abstinence. You never touched this again. You never use this again. That's what recovery is. But with food or with sexuality, you have to develop a healthy relationship. Yes, I shouldn't look at porn, but that doesn't mean I should never have sex. That doesn't mean I can pull back on intimacy. Just because you have a difficult relationship with food, it doesn't mean you can stop eating it. It doesn't mean you should pig out. It means that you need to develop a healthy relationship.

Joshua Shea:

So the people who were in the eating disorder program and the people who were in the sex and porn addiction programs, they actually mixed our groups quite a lot because a lot of the philosophy was the same thing. And I feel very close to people who have eating disorders now because the recovery is so much similar to sex and pornography versus a chemical addiction. And as I said, that was a Sante Center for Healing. It's just outside Dallas in a tiny, tiny town called Argyle.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Are you familiar with the sex center... Center for Healthy Sex?

Joshua Shea:

No, but it sounds like a fun weekend.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

It's sex therapy in Los Angeles. I sometimes refer people.

Joshua Shea:

Is that the one that [Caron 01:38:11]... Not Caron's, but Weiss. Weiss, does he still have that open? I thought that he had closed it. Dr. Robert Weiss, who was one of the big founders of this, and one of the first people to study sexuality and pornography. Back 10 years ago, he ran a very intense program for two weeks in Hollywood or Los Angeles, right around there. I know somebody who went to that. I thought that he wasn't doing it anymore. But if it's the same thing, there's that. I can say I know one person went to that 10 years ago. It was decent.

Joshua Shea:

I know that, no relation, but there's another Weiss, Doug Weiss in Colorado. He does quite a bit with porn and sex addiction. In Pennsylvania, Eddie Capparucci, he wrote a great book called Going Forward, I think it is, about the inner-child issues of porn addicts, and the inner child issues they bring. Yeah, I think it's-

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Going Deeper.

Joshua Shea:

Funny, because I've read it three times, but I talked to Eddie so much. I just say "your book, your book," but that's a fantastic book.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

So he, Eddie Capparucci wrote a book, MenAgainstPorn.org and Sexually Pure Men.

Joshua Shea:

Yes, those are his websites.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

This feels like... Is that like pray the porn away?

Joshua Shea:

No it isn't.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Okay.

Joshua Shea:

And I told him I would have nothing to do with him if it was. He does have a very spiritual core to things, and personally he does, but the book Going Deeper, there's very, very, very little spirituality in it. It's about looking at the different characters that children fall into when it comes to that kind of dysfunctional life. Absolutely fantastic book for anybody who wants to read it out there.

Joshua Shea:

There are resources out there. And I you know a guy named Joshua Shea who wrote three books out there that you could find on his website or on Amazon. There's more and more out there than there ever was before. That was one of the reasons I started writing books was because, like I said, I can sit with the New England Journal of Medicine and enjoy going through the deep, dark details and statistics, but I know most people don't, and that's why I've written three, what I think very different, but very easy to understand, easy to get through in a couple hours books that will educate anybody who takes a look at them.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Your website is...

Joshua Shea:

Paddictrecovery.com.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

P addict? P addict, got it.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, you don't want to put the word "porn" in a URL, as I realized with my first URL. So I just went with P Addict Recovery and P can stand for "porn," P can stand for "post-traumatic disorder," which I also have, P can stand for "post-transformation," P can stand for whatever you want it to, it doesn't matter. If you were addicted to pterodactyls, they actually start with a P too, so I can help you.

Joshua Shea:

So really it's trying to be a bit of a catch-all because I learned the hard way that the SEO world doesn't like the word "porn" and that's something else that needs to be addressed. We need to not have these taboos on these words. When I go on somebody's podcast who has, oh, Blog Talk Radio, it's the worst system for having a podcast, but in their descriptions, they won't put the word "porn." Not "pornography," not "porn addict," not "recovering porn addict." They won't put anything like that. So for marketing purposes, I just have to go with the word P as much as I'd love to continue with the word "porn."

Joshua Shea:

I'm learning as I become an adult that you sometimes have to play by other people's rules, and that's part of my recovery. Yeah, it is. It really is.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

That's the worst.

Joshua Shea:

I know.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Life on life's terms. Well, Joshua, I am going to... What is your Instagram? I want people to be able to find you there as well.

Joshua Shea:

Yeah, everything's really easy. Paddictrecovery.com for my website, P Addict Recovery for my Instagram and my Twitter. If you want to email me, it is Paddictrecovery@gmail.com. So you can find all that there, search my name on the internet. I'm not hard to find. If you need books or coaching or access to other resources, I write a couple articles a week on my website. You need something answered, I'm right there and I'm in front of my computer 12 hours a day, so I can certainly answer a question for you.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Well, I really appreciate it. I appreciate you. Thank you. I know you do lots of these and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It didn't feel canned at all. I appreciate your time and I know that you are helping a lot of people who are very confused about this and it's an important work.

Joshua Shea:

Well, and I just want to throw out there to people, perhaps this is just wanton pushing my coaching, but somebody the other day asked me and it was [inaudible 01:43:23], "How many people have you seen recover who haven't had some level of professional help?" And I could not think of one person who recovered from sex addiction, porn addiction or betrayal trauma without seeing a professional of some kind. So just keep that in mind for anybody watching who may be feeling this, is that you need to reach out and ask for help. This isn't a broken bone that will heal on its own. This isn't something like diabetes or heart disease where you just take a medication in the morning or you give yourself a shot. This is something that the trauma is deep and you have to work with somebody else to get through it. And it can't be your best friend, it can't be your partner. It needs to be a third party who is rooting for you, but is not in every day, every moment part of your life. And hopefully somebody who's got some training in this. So just want to push that forward as well. Ask for help, it's okay.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

A hundred percent. Find an expert, find someone who specializes in this and talk to them. I tell people, even if you just have a discovery call, even if they just call you and say, "Am I a good fit for this?" You don't have to pay immediately. You can call and see, is this a good fit? Is this the right thing? And then see if it is. So I think that's also, people think the moment they pick up the phone, they're going to be charged.

Joshua Shea:

Right, and that's what I always tell people, that I offer a free initial consultation, get to know you. We're not going to solve everything in 45 minutes, I'm sorry, but you're going to get a vibe for me. And if that vibe is strong enough, and if that vibe is something that you think can help you get to the other side of where you need to get to, I'm there to help you. And it's not going to cost you way the equivalent of going to a super specialists in Norway, or fly out to Southern California, or something like that. I'm doing this to keep the lights on and help people. That's what's important to me now. I look at my whole life and all the crazy stuff I did from being a magazine editor to being a city counselor and all this, it was just to get where I am now. My life is not about getting rich. It's about helping other people, but you need the people to come to help.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Obviously. Yes, you're doing great work. So, wonderful. Thank you so much, Joshua. I really appreciate it.

Joshua Shea:

Me too. Thank you very much for having me. I have the message, but you have the medium. All right, it was nice meeting you Ashley. Bye now.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

Sounds good. All right, looking forward to it. Thank you so much. You as well. Bye bye.

Ashley Loeb Blassingame:

This podcast is sponsored by lionrock.life. Lionrock.life is a recovery community offering free online support group meetings, useful recovery information and entertainment. Visit www.lionrock.life to view the meeting schedule and find additional resources. Find the joy in recovery @lionrock.life.

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:46:40]