During the 10 years that Fight the New Drug has been spreading awareness on porn’s harms, a lot has changed.
For one thing, porn has become a greater force to be reckoned with due to technological advancement. Its content has become more violent and extreme in many ways, as well as more accessible and available.
The conversation surrounding porn has also changed. It used to be discussed in society through largely moral dialogue and personal opinion. Now, thanks to decades of scientific research and countless personal experiences, we can talk about porn as a non-religious organization and open up the conversation to a wider audience.
The subject of healthy sexuality and real love isn’t a stagnant set of bullet points—it’s a vibrant and moving discussion, ever-changing with the times. It’s an exciting time to get involved in the conversation about porn’s proven effects on consumers, relationships, and society at large.
If you’re wanting to change the conversation on porn to be the relatable, powerful, and accessible topic that it can be, here are 10 different ways you can do that.
1. Remember that people fight for different reasons.
When you talk to someone about the harms of porn, try and share a side of the subject that speaks to that person. Everyone comes to this conversation from a unique motivation, and we all connect to the topic in different ways. Click through our Get the Facts pages to get a good idea of the various angles you could bring up with someone—the brain, relationships, or societal issues are great places to start.
2. Start with science.
Consider starting a conversation from the get-go by sharing discussion points about the proven harmful effects of porn that are not religious, moral, or legislative. Because of its history, many people immediately assume their own personal stances when you introduce the topic of porn, but sharing science and research can be helpful in finding common ground. By sharing right away that FTND’s platform comes from scientific research and personal life accounts, you can help pave the way for a conversation based in fact that draws people in regardless of their background.
3. Do something visible.
We love hearing stories from Fighters all over the world who have taken bold measures to get the message about porn out there. One Fighter, Garrett Jonsson, did 30 marathons in 30 days while wearing handcuffs, and a couple of months later, he biked from US coast to coast dragging chains. He did all of this to spread awareness on the heavy weight of porn’s negative effects on people and society.
Obviously, not everyone can do insane physical challenges like that, but there are an infinite amount of possibilities for bold statements you can make in your own life using your own talents.
4. Keep that glass half full.
Positive talk is the way to go. Most people can only handle so much discussion about negative things before they get burned out and what’s called “compassion fatigue.”
Remember the positive, happy side to every argument. For instance—anti-porn is also pro-love. The link between porn and sex trafficking is a chance for a grassroots social justice movement. Porn leaves consumers lonely, but ditching porn opens doors for fresh, authentic connection. Your partner may suffer due to your porn consumption, but he or she will treasure your gesture of commitment and love if you choose him or her over porn. Inspire others with the positive side of this conversation paired with the facts. You’ll probably end up inspiring yourself just talking about it!
5. Rep our gear.
A bit of self-promotion? Yes, because our gear is awesome and is created to start fresh conversations about porn all around the globe every day. We have stickers to put on your water bottles or laptops, totes and hats, and shirts with a huge variety of statements from bold to subtle. This gear bridges the gap between you and strangers and can help encourage conversations to start that would never have otherwise. You might be surprised by how much more likely people are to be intrigued than weirded out.
6. Talk to kids.
The average age of first exposure to porn is between 8 and 11 years old. Kids everywhere are encountering content that can have an immense impact on their brains’ development while lacking the understanding and maturity to defend against it. When we think about spreading awareness on porn’s harms, we usually think of our peers or adults in general. Whenever it’s appropriate, if you’re a parent or family member, consider talking to the kids in your life on a level they can understand. They are the future, and helping to equip them with the real facts on porn will impact them and those around them in the future. Here’s our conversation guide tool to give you step-by-step ideas on how to do that.
7. Speak openly and confidently.
Many of you might feel like this is an odd topic to bring up publicly. Porn is, after all, (usually) a private activity in someone’s life and could be seen as too personal to discuss. But consider how powerful it is when someone speaks with passion and honesty about a subject that matters to them. Makes you want to listen, doesn’t it? Try speaking about porn like anything else you’re passionate about, with confidence and openness. Don’t abide by the secretive stigma. If you speak like you want to have a normal, honest conversation about something that matters to you, those around you might just be willing to talk and think honestly about it, too.
8. Give a story, not a platform.
Every person has a unique story when it comes to porn, whether it has been a significant part of his own life, she’s been hurt by her partner’s porn consumption, he knows someone who has been trafficked, etc. Talk about porn’s harms from your personal story, rather than sounding like you are spouting off line item from some agenda. Story-telling is more accessible and less likely to put someone on the defensive.
9. Be a Fighter couple.
If you and your significant other are on the same page about porn’s harms, try repping the movement as a unit. Start joint conversations with friends, strangers, and other couples. Ideas about real love and relationships have a different ring coming from a couple rather than from just one person. Let your real love shine. If people see your love for each other and how much you have fun and enjoy being together, they will get a first-row view of the health and vibrancy of porn-fighting love.
10. Practice gratitude.
How has the fight for love impacted your life and the lives of people you care about? Spend time daily or weekly practicing mindful gratitude for your own story and the ways your world is better because of the movement for real love. True thankfulness and joy are the most powerful communicators there are. People will crave what they see in you even before you even open your mouth.
These are just some ideas. The conversation is in the hands of every Fighter—spend some time thinking about the unique ways you can change the conversation for the better.