Do Bahamains have a pornography addiction?

By Jeffarah Gibson

Tribune Features Writer

jgibson@tribunemedia.net

GROWING concerns over pornography addiction globally are making local health professionals take a closer look at the often taboo issue that can impact mental health.

Recent reports noted that about 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites; 90 percent of children ages 8-16 have viewed pornography, and 35 percent of all internet downloads are related to pornography.

In light of these statistics, the Community Counselling and Assessment Centre (CCAC) here in Nassau is hosting a forum on pornography addiction. It will be held on June 18, from 9.30am to 10.30am at the Wesley Methodist Church on Blue Hill Road and Chapel Street. The forum’s presenter will be Dr Tracey King.

“During this forum on pornography addiction we hope to delve deeper into this mental health issue. Several areas of discussion will include what is pornography addiction, how prevalent is it, why do some people use pornography, what is the difference between casual use and addiction, the impact it has on the person, and ways to treat it,” Dr King told Tribune Health.

Though not an official diagnosis, pornography addiction can be described as a wide range of sexual behaviours done in excess that have a negative impact someone’s life and those close to them.

Some signs of pornography addiction include obsession with pornographic materials (including internet porn), decreased time spent doing other activities, increasing time spent using pornography in self-satisfying sexual behaviours, use of drugs or alcohol to heighten sexual experiences, and more.

“It is difficult to determine how common this problem is locally. Mental health issues in the Bahamas are not tracked adequately enough in order to obtain accurate statistical information, especially as it relates to prevalence. However, an increase in international statistics has led to a growing concern about pornography addiction over the years,” said Dr King.

“According to several international studies, men tend to struggle more with pornography addiction. Reported consumption rates for men have been between 50-99 percent, whereas 30-86 percent for women.”

Dr King said they hope the upcoming forum will be an informative one and open the discussion on a topic that is considered taboo by many.

“People in general tend to avoid discussing mental health issues. But the taboo nature of pornography addiction also adds to the reluctance of discussing it. However, conversations about mental health problems are important. They help to increase awareness of these issues and decrease the stigma that surrounds them,” she said.

Everyone is invited to attend the community forum as it is geared towards increasing awareness and education about this issue.

“It also aims to encourage the community to engage in the much needed conversation about mental health issues,” said Dr King.

The Community Counselling Centre hosts several mental health related community meetings throughout the year that are typically held at the Wesley Methodist Church.

For more information, contact 242-323-3293/5.