Book Review: Porn and the Pandemic

Porn and the Pandemic is written by Joshua Shea, a pornography addiction educator and advocate and an addict in recovery. It’s part of a series of a collection of short books by publisher MSI Press covering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This book was written in less than 3 weeks in May 2020 to capture the impact of the pandemic on pornography use and, in particular, pornography addiction.

The book is written in the first person, with the author wearing the hats of ex-addict, educator, and journalist. Much of the book is devoted to interviews with a diverse set of people including addicts, webcam models, and therapists.

Some interviews capture the havoc that porn addiction can wreak on people’s lives. For instance, one interview got an STD from hooking up with someone he met online. He got an extra dose of medication from his doctor and slipped it into his wife’s morning vitamins so she wouldn’t notice. There are also interviews with addicts who relapsed with their porn addiction during the pandemic lockdown.

The author breaks down statistics that are available around pornography use, and points out what they do and do not capture. He also suggests that, based on the number of videos available for different search terms, statistics released may be fudged to have more mainstream acceptability.

The book shows how the adult industry has taken advantage of the pandemic, including a major site that offered free premium memberships. One site even offered laid off employees a larger cut of their proceeds on the site.

Various sites for accessing porn are discussed, including Youtube (who knew?), OnlyFans, and Chaturbate. There are interviews with both male and female cam models, including one who began camming during the pandemic.

There’s also the therapist perspective, including the therapist who has observed increased relapses during the pandemic among porn addicts that they’re treating.

What makes this book especially interesting is the number of different angles from which it looks at the issue. Not only is it relevant for people with a connection to pornography addictions, it offers insights into the industry that general readers are likely to find interesting. I certainly learned a lot (like porn on Youtube!). The short book format makes a quick read, and I would definitely recommend it.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.