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PREVENTING AND COMBATING THE DEVASTATING HARMS OF
PORNOGRAPHY, PROSTITUTION, SEX TRAFFICKING & SEXUAL SLAVERY
My Story of How I Temporarily "Turned Lesbian" and Had a Relationship with a Woman (Because I Was So Disgusted with The Male Customers at the Strip Club Where I Worked)

- By Vanessa Belmond - Ex-Porn Performer, Stripper, Camgirl & "Escort"

- Anti-Porn and Anti-Prostitution Writer, Speaker and Activist

- AntiPornography.org Volunteer

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One of the most telling things that reveals how much female strippers really don't like their male customers, is how many strippers "turn lesbian." Most "dancers" I knew when I was stripping got so tired of dealing with men every night at the club that they eventually started dating and having sex with other women. This should tell the men that go to these clubs how much the strippers truly "like" them.

I was one of these women for a couple of years. I wasn't a lesbian, but after a few years of stripping I found the idea of going home to a man every night to be nauseating. I had always liked men, more than women even, but working in a strip club night after night for a long period of time completely changed that. It's sad now when I think back on it. I really lost respect for men and no longer trusted them. (Because the ones I met sadly gave me no reason to!)

I couldn't stand any of the men I dealt with at the club -- even the so-called "nice" ones were always trying to push my boundaries or pry into my personal life. As far as I (and just about every other stripper I met) were concerned, all of the male "customers" were constantly annoying and only good for one thing; money. 

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I was twenty years old and had never had a real relationship before, and I was tired of being single. (I had had plenty of casual sex in my teens, but that was different.) I couldn't imagine being in a relationship with a man because of how much they disgusted me from working at the strip club, so in my mind that left only one option: women. I had had sex with women before; on camera, in threesomes, or to "put on a show" for a man, but I had never considered being in a relationship with one. But working in the sex industry changed almost everything about me, including the gender of people I would consider being in a relationship with.

It all started in the strip club. (Of course. Where else?) The club was empty and there was a new "dancer" practicing on the stage. She was clumsy and awkward, attempting to do pole tricks and failing miserably. The second she got off the stage I told my friend, "I'm going to go upstage her." I was just a little catty back then. 

I smugly went on the stage and proceeded to show off all of the acrobatic pole tricks I knew. I flipped upside down, held the pole with one leg, and then slid into the splits. The new stripper, Gina*, was watching the whole time, and after I was done she came up to me and gushed over how good of a dancer I was. 

I was incredibly insecure at that time and needed any validation I could get, so I basked in her compliments. I hadn't liked Gina very much before, but the way she looked at me -- like I was important -- quickly changed my mind. But I would soon learn that under Gina's outgoing, friendly, and "life of the party" facade, she was even more insecure than I was.

Gina had grown up without much of a family. Her mother was a drug addict and her father was pretty much out of the picture. Gina told me stories about how her mom had jumped from man to man, and had even slept with some of Gina's boyfriends. Left to her own devices, Gina dropped out of high school in her junior year and never went back. By the time I met her, she had been through more in twenty years than most people had been through in their entire lives. Abusive relationships, rape, drugs and promiscuity, had marred her childhood and teen years. Because of this, Gina was obsessed with having her own family to gain some sort of love and sense of security, and she became desperate to get pregnant. 

Despite wanting so urgently to have children, Gina made it clear that she was interested in having a relationship with me, and so we began dating. Soon after that we moved in together and things got interesting. By interesting, I mean that I found out how truly damaged Gina was. 

Gina slept with any man that so much as looked at her, bringing home men for sex that she had just met at the gas station or the strip club. Because we were both also doing porn at the time, I didn't feel like I could say anything to her. I mean, I was having sex with other people on camera -- both men and women -- so what could I really say, and how could I really object, without feeling like a hypocrite or having a double standard?

My relationship with Gina was strange. We spent a lot of time together and were very close emotionally, but only rarely engaged in sex. In fact, I hardly even thought about having sex with Gina, yet it never occurred to me that maybe I just wasn't a lesbian. The truth was, of course, that I just didn't want to be in relationship with a man because I was afraid of intimacy, after seeing the way so many strip club "johns" behaved at the club -- cheating on their partners, etc.

So I continued my relationship with Gina. I needed her compliments, her companionship, and her admiration. Compared to her, I had my life together, I seemed "okay." Truthfully I wasn't "okay" at all, (see my other articles for details), but I certainly wasn't willing to admit that to anyone, especially myself. 

Eventually things got worse and Gina's level of desperation to become a mother noticeably escalated. She slept around even more than before, and tried to get pregnant with any guy that seemed half-way decent. Gina actually got to the point of imagining pregnancy symptoms, constantly thinking that she was pregnant. Because Gina had been told by a doctor that she was infertile, I figured that it didn't really matter, since she would never get pregnant. At the time I didn't even think about the fact that all of that sleeping around was putting her at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. When you're doing porn you have to put things like STD risks out of your mind, or you won't be able to do it. 

As time went on, things continued to go downhill and Gina got even crazier. She invited two meth addicts to stay with us (without asking me), thinking that she could "save" them. These addicts, a couple named Christian and Trina, made the already growing gap between Gina and me that much wider. 

Christian was a loser that was too screwed up on drugs to work. He spent all of his time spending Trina's money, doing drugs, and bragging about a tattoo shop that he owned five years ago. Trina wasn't much better. She got fired from every strip club that she worked at and resorted to streetwalking in order to earn money by prostituting herself. This couple fought constantly, and I often wondered why Trina kept Christian around. What was the point of being with someone who just took from you, and never gave anything back?

Gina seemed to think that she could help these two kick using meth, but we caught them smoking it in the apartment more than once. The fact is, they just didn't want to quit. They only wanted somewhere to live rent-free for awhile. So after about two weeks of their drama, I threw them out.

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Gina never got much work in porn to begin with, and she only made it worse when she gave herself some terrible homemade tattoos. You heard me right, she somehow got ahold of a tattoo gun and decided to tattoo herself. The tattoos were awful; a big black blob on her wrist and some clumsily drawn stars on her lower stomach. Obviously this did not make any director or producer want to hire her. 

Gina didn't make much money from stripping either, and by this time she had quit even trying to work at strip clubs. Eventually she started having sex with an old club customer for the princely sum of forty dollars a week. Obviously she wasn't making enough to help out financially, so I got stuck with all of the bills and the rent. Gina refused to look for a regular job, and she even had the nerve to criticize me for not making enough money. 

I finally woke up and saw what was going on. I was in the same kind of relationship that I had seen so many other strippers and porn performers involved in. I was that pathetic girlfriend supporting a deadbeat partner. Being with another woman didn't make it any better, because the truth was that I was just like all of the other girls I knew with loser boyfriends, only mine happened to be a girlfriend. This made me begin to consider that maybe men weren't the enemy. Maybe it was just the ones I was meeting with my current lifestyle. (Of course it took me years before I completely figured this out and accepted it.)

After a while I kicked Gina out. It would be years before I realized that I was never in love with her, and that I wasn't really a lesbian. I was just disillusioned with men and lonely. Gina and I remained friends for some years after we broke up, but eventually we fell out. The last thing I heard from her was that she was living with a man that was addicted to pornography and gambling, and that she had two kids with him. (I guess she wasn't really infertile after all!) 

When I think back on this part of my life I marvel at how much the sex industry changed me; from someone who loved and valued men, to someone that hated men so much that I resorted to trying to "make myself" become a lesbian to avoid having intimate relationships with them. No matter how much I said the industry wouldn't negatively affect me, the truth is that it did. It gave me  a very distorted and inaccurate view of men because my exposure to them during that time was mostly limited to "johns" -- men who pay women for sexual services. (Which includes porn users and strip club customers too, by the way, not just men who pay prostituted women for one-on-one sex.) 

Spending seven years immersed in the sex industry -- surrounded by men who thought it was OK to pay women for sexual gratification, rather than develop truly respectful relationships with them as whole human beings -- cheated me of authentic interactions and connections with all of the good and caring men that I could have been spending time with. (The ones who would never dream of paying a woman for sex.) 

I am only now starting to see the many ways that the sex industry turned me into someone I never wanted to be, and how much it harmed and cheated me and everyone else involved -- including the "johns" -- of so much that would have been much more meaningful and fulfilling. I hope others will learn from my mistakes and not waste years going down a dead end path like I did.

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*All names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

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Check out my related article: My Story of Why I Didn't Enjoy Doing "Lesbian Porn" (And Why "Lesbian Porn" Made for Men Is Completely Fake and Just as Harmful and Brutal as Straight Porn)

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Please feel free to read more of my writing about my life, and the harms of pornography, prostitution, stripping, sexual abuse and related issues. Click HERE.

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DESCRIPTION
 
Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality takes an unflinching look at today’s porn industry: the stories woven into the images, the impact on our culture, the effects on us as men and women, the business machine that creates and markets porn, and the growing legitimacy of porn in mainstream media. Above all, PORNLAND examines the way porn shapes and limits sexual imaginations and behaviors.
 
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PORNLAND also looks at how our porn culture affects the way women and girls think about their bodies, their sexuality and their relationships. PORNLAND: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality argues that rather than sexually liberating or empowering us, porn offers us a plasticized, formulaic, generic version of sex that is boring, lacking in creativity and disconnected from emotion and intimacy.
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND EXCERPTS
 
Introduction - Porn and the Industrialization of Sex (Excerpt)
 
One - Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler: Paving the Way for Today’s Porn Industry

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Three - From the Backstreet to Wall Street: The Big Business of Porn

Four - Grooming For Gonzo: Becoming a Man in a Porn Culture

Five - Leaky Images: How Porn Seeps into Men’s Lives

Six - Visible or Invisible: Growing up Female in a Porn Culture (Excerpt) 

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Seven - Racy Sex, Sexy Racism: Porn from the Dark Side (Excerpt)

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Conclusion - Fighting Back

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For more information about the documented harms of pornography please visit the extremely informative website Pornography Harms at PornHarms.com.  

"Dedicated to providing the most accurate peer-reviewed research on the harm from pornography, along with relevant news and opinion."  


This outstanding website comprehensively addresses the harms of pornography in regards to all of the following categories: addiction, brain science, children, cybersex, family, Internet, Internet safety, marriage, men, psychological, prostitution, relationships, research, self image, sex trafficking, sexting, sexual violence, societal, STDs, teens, and women.

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"Frequently Asked Questions & Responses to Pro-Pornography Arguments"

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~~  NO-PORN PLEDGE  ~~

Have you taken the NO-PORN PLEDGE at NoPornPledge.com yet? If not, now would be a really great time to do so!  Please click here or the banner below.

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Read the reasons why they have signed in the No-PornPledge Guestbook. Click here. Don't forget to join them by signing the pledge and sharing your reasons why in the guestbook there as well!

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At AntiPornography.org we are working to prevent and combat the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual slavery, as well as all other forms of sexual exploitation, through public education and advocacy. We are:
 
 
Anti-Censorship, Pro-Free Speech, Nonreligious, Anti-Banning

Anti-Sexism, Anti-Exploitation, Anti-Slavery, Anti-Violence ~

Pro-Education, Pro Safe, Healthy, Respectful, Equality-Based Sexuality 

Pro-reasonable regulation of the pornography industry for the health and safety of the performers.

*Please see FAQ for more information on all of the above.  Thank you!

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RESOURCES, FRIENDS, SUPPORTERS AND ALLIES:

NOTE: All those marked with * are friends, subscribers or followers of AntiPornography.org at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or one of our other social networking websites, or have demonstrated support for our work otherwise, such as providing content for this website or linking to us or to one of our blogs and/or social networking projects. Also please note that the below list is a work in progress and that it is not complete. Please share any errors, omissions or suggestions here. Thank you!


WOMEN AND GIRLS FOCUSED RESOURCES:  

(For family, children, men and addiction focused resources, please scroll down.)

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ORGANIZATIONS GROUPS AND WEBSITES:  

*Culture Reframed      Pornography FAQ      *ResistPorn Culture (UK)     No Porn Pledge     *Against Pornography

*Anti-Porn Feminists (Anti-Porn London)    Men Against Porn / Prostitution / Patriarchy     *The Violence of Pornography (Graphic) 

  *No Porn Northampton    Playboy: Talkin' Trash     *Girls Against Porn      Bin the Bunny      Stop Patriarchy

*JoinPornBusters YouTube Channel    The Price of Pleasure Documentary Film Website  

*Come Back From Your Fantasy (Sex-Positive Anti-Porn Feminist Tumblr, by young feminist Kelsey Ruane)

*Make Love Not Porn (Not technically anti-porn but shows differences of porn vs. real life.)

Somebody's Daughter   *Fight the New Drug  *pornTRUTH   

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'ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ACTIVIST INDIVIDUALS, AUTHORS AND FILMMAKERS:  
 
 
 
 

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ANTI-PROSTITUTION/TRAFFICKING/SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ABUSE SITES, ETC:
 
 
The above channels are AntiPornography.org pjts with MANY videos & helpful resources! 
 
 
 

Polaris Project     Breaking Free     SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation)  

The Lola Green Baldwin Foundation    Stop Demand Foundation  Genderberg

*SCASE (Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation)    Our Voices Matter   

*CAASE  (Chicago Coalition against Sexual Exploitation)  StopTraffickingDemand.com

*BSCC (Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition)  Beauty from Ashes   *Not for Sale Campaign 

New York Anti-Trafficking Coalition   Coalition for Action on Sexism and True Equality

*Is There Something I Can Do?  *StAT (Stand Against Trafficking)  *Stop Slavery Here

*Artists United for Social Justice  Freedom & Justice Center (For Prostitution Resources)

Donna M. Hughes, PhD  (Dignity List)   Chicago Coalition for the Homeless  

Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault    Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault 

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FEMINIST, WOMEN & GIRLS ADVOCATE ORGANIZATIONS & GROUPS, ETC:

*Equality Now    *The F-Word    *Off Our Backs     *Women for Women International

     *Global Fund for Women  *London Feminist Network  *Feminist.com

*The National Organization for Women (NOW)    Feminist Majority Foundation  (FMF)

*Feminist Campus   Ms. Magazine  *Safe World 4 Women   *Women's Law Society

*WomensLaw.org   *U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Women's Issues  

*SIGI.org  *GlobalSister.org  FeministGifts.com  *The Date Safe Project  *VAWNet  

*No Statute of Limitations   *RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) 

*The National Domestic Violence Hotline  *Guard Yourself Now  *UK Feminista

Chicago Foundation for Women    *The Women's Media Center  The F-Files

*Free Girl Foundation  *Girls Fight Back   *The Girl Effect   *Girls for Gender Equity   

*Girl Fest Hawaii   *Rain & Thunder    Daughters of the Sun - A Youth Leader Project

*Biting Beaver  *No Excuses / No Mercy   *RadFem Hub
 
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MEN AGAINST SEXISM, VIOLENCE, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION  & ABUSE, ETC.

NOMAS (National Organization of Men Against Sexism )    *Men Can Stop Rape     *My Strength Campaign  

*Men Stopping Violence      *A Call to Men UK       *The White Ribbon Campaign (CA)  

  *Reclaiming Sex From XXX       *Byron Hurt       Jackson Katz   

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MEDIA, FREE SPEECH, & OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS & SITES:

 *Media Education Foundation Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

Miboda Agency

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MESSAGE BOARDS AND FORUMS FOR HELP, INFORMATION & SUPPORT:

There are MANY anti-porn groups and pages at Facebook.
 
Just search GROUPS and PAGES for "anti-porn," "antiporn," "anti-pornography" & "antipornography" and similar terms.
 
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FAMILY, CHILDREN, MEN & ADDICTION FOCUSED RESOURCES:   

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, AND WEBSITES: 

*National Center on Sexual Exploitation      *Pornography Harms      *Enough Is Enough      ProtectKids.com     

*Pornversations - College tour of an ex porn performer and an ex porn addict    Protect Young Minds

 National Law Center  for Children and Families    *Traffic Control, the Movie     Maryland Coalition Against Pornography   

It's Time We Talked      Utah Coalition Against Pornography       BraveHearts       Diamond Heart Foundation

Report Online Child Pornography/Exploitation at CyberTipLine.com or 1-800-843-5678

*Darkness 2 Light    *XXX Church    Department of Justice  ThePornTalk.com  

Social Costs of PornographyConference Videos   Papers   Report of Findings

*Safe Eyes (InternetSafety.com)  *Convenant Eyes   Internet Filter Review     *Women for Decency     AntiChildPorn.org

Say No to Pornography Pakistan - Let's Wage a War Against Pornography Blogspot

Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation  (C.A.S.E.) (Canada)

CANADA - List of other anti-pornography and related Canadian organizations

(Scroll down on above link to get to the list of organizations)

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ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY ACTIVIST INDIVIDUALS, AUTHORS, AND THERAPISTS:  

*Pat Trueman  (Founder of Pornography Harms) Pamela Paul  (Author of "Pornified")

Dr. Jill C. Manning (Author:"What's the Big Deal about Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation")

Dr. Judith Reisman   *Dr. Robi Sonderegger

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ANTI-PROSTITUTION/TRAFFICKING/SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ABUSE SITES, ETC:  

*Shared Hope International     Free the Slaves

*IJM Institute (International Justice Mission)   *Global Centurion   *Live2free

*ECPAT - USA (End Child Prostitution & Trafficking)  *Beyond Borders (ECPATCanada)

*T-Stop (Texas Sex Trafficking Obliteration Project)   *Love146 NYC Task Force

*End Slavery NT (End Slavery in Tennessee and Beyond)   *Chab Dai Coalition

*Justice and Care (South Asia)  *Rock Against Slavery   End Demand

Overexposed, the Movie   Call and Response, the Movie    *Nowhere2Hide

CASEY (Community Against Sexual Exploitation of Youth. Canada)   

 
 

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OTHER RELATED ORGANIZATIONS, GROUPS, WEBSITES & CAUSES:

*Parents Television Council   *Web Wise Kids   *InternetSafety.com

*ClearInternational   *Cyber Safety Book  (Ken Knapton)   *Optenet PC

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PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION AND COMPULSION HELP AND SUPPORT:  

*PornAddictionHelp YouTube Channel - AntiPornography.org project with MANY videos & resources!

*Inner Gold    *Fight the New Drug   *Compulsion Solutions   The Mindful Habit

*Porn Game Over    MeadowCrest   Your Brain on Porn    HealthySex.com (Wendy Maltz)   Reboot Nation

Sexual Recovery Institute    *Just Be Well    *No-Porn.com  No-Porn.com Message Board

*Impulse Treatment Center (Sex Addict Treatment - Don L. Matthews)   *Covenant Eyes   *Stepping Inward

*Mindful Recovery   My Porn Addiction Story - Porn Addiction Help from a Former Addict

Porn Addicts Anonymous  Porn & Relationships Q&A (By "Porn Trap's'" Wendy Maltz)  Addicted to Internet Porn

Porn Addict Hubby  (Relationship Rescue for Wives & Girlfriends of Internet Porn Addicts)

Partners of Sex Addicts Resource Center    The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH)

Don't Reward Bad Behaviour - Guidance for Partners of Porn Addicts  Desert Solace

Petra Bueskens of PPMD Therapy (Australia)   PPMD Therapy Facebook   Guilty Pleasure

QuitPorn Group Text Hotline - "To become a member and join our group text community, start by texting QUITPORN to 23559"  Twitter: @QuitPornHotline  YouTube: QuitPornTextHotline

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LOOKING FOR A SEX OR PORN ADDICTION THERAPIST OR COUNSELOR? 

Check out this very helpful directory of over 1,000 entries in the United States!

http://www.abattleplan.com/counselors-therapists-sex-addiction-directory/

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ACCOUNTABILITY SOFTWARE:

Saavi Accountability -- The only online accountability program that works with all online addictions. It is also the only program that sends notifications instantly via text message to an accountability partner so that they can be supportive when an individual needs it the most at the point of weakness, while they are accessing the online content. The software was created by a young man (26) who overcame his addiction and is trying to help others.  

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ADDICTION MESSAGE BOARDS & DISCUSSION FORUMS FOR HELP & SUPPORT:

No-Porn.com Message Board

Porn Addict Hubby Discussion Board  (For Wives & Girlfriends of Internet Porn Addicts)

NOTE: There are MANY anti-porn and porn addiciton discussion groups and pages at Facebook.

Just search GROUPS and PAGES for "porn addiction", "pornography addiction", "sex addiction", "anti-porn," "antiporn," "anti-pornography" & "antipornography"

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For more than 50 personal stories documenting the harms of compulsive and/or excessive pornography use and/or pornography addiction please see our "Porn Harm Stories" page.  Thank you.

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NEED HELP WITH PORN ADDICTION?

CHECK OUT THE MINDFUL HABIT!

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OTHER HELPFUL FAQs & Q&As: (By other anti-pornography organizations, etc) 

*Gail Dines Q&A     *Against Pornography FAQ    Pornography FAQ - By Pro-feminist Michael Lovan

  *Shelley Lubben Q&A (Ex-Porn Star)    Prostitution FAQ at Genderberg      Fight the New Drug FAQ   

(Note: The No Porn Northampton FAQ is in the bottom half of their sidebar. In addition to the usual questions about pornography it addresses questions and concerns about activism against sexually oriented businesses such as "adult bookstores.")

AntiPornography.org's "Frequently Asked Questions & Responses to Pro-Pornography Arguments"

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Shared Hope International specifically focuses on fighting the demand for commercial sexual exploitaiton, including addressing pornography as a very significant demand factor for sex trafficking. 

Please see their excellent report on this issue:

Pornography: Creating Demand for International Sex Trafficking

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"Pornography is a marketing device for sex trafficking: It normalizes degradation and violence as acceptable and even inevitable parts of sex, and uses the bodies of real women and children as objects. The difference between pornography and erotica is clear in the roots of the words themselves -- porne means females slaves, eros means love -- so pornography, like rape, is about violence and domination, not sex. Millions of lives depend on our ability to separate pornography from erotica, and to disentangle violence from sexuality."

Gloria Steinem, 2006

For information about Gloria Steinem's important work of fighting against the harms of pornography, sex trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, including videos and an audio interview, please see our page on Gloria Steinem. Click here.

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For more information on how pornography fuels prostitution and sex trafficking, please see our page on Pornography and Trafficking.  Click here.  Thank you!

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YOUR HELP IS NEEDED. PLEASE DONATE IF YOU ARE ABLE TO.

Please remember that it is not up to AntiPornography.org, the other organizations listed on this page, the government, or "someone else" to do the entire job of fighting against the devastating harms of pornography, prostitution, trafficking, and other forms of sexual exploitation or abuse. It is an enormous job and the responsibility lies with each and every one of us to do our part as part of the bigger team of those who are choosing to be part of the solution of creating a more just and humane world for everyone, rather than be part of the problem.

So thank you in advance for whatever you are able to contribute to the cause, whether in the form of a tax-deductible donation or your actions. What you do does matter, so for the sake of all those across the world who are being exploited and abused, and for the sake of the future of humanity, please do what you can to create a more compassionate and safer society for all.

Thank you for whatever you are able to give or do to help create a better world for everyone, especially for women, children and future generations.

 YOUR SUPPORTIVE ACTIONS & YOUR DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. 

THEY CAN AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! IT'S VERY MUCH APPRECIATED AND REALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

 

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