Pornography consumption and addiction – A cause for concern amongst Muslims in the UK
The advent of the digital age has undoubtedly brought with it substantial and undeniable advantages. It has revolutionised manufacturing, medicine and communication and is now thrusting artificial intelligence, machine learning and alternative digital currencies into the limelight.
Nevertheless, such promise and potential has also allowed for and facilitated the explosion of the adult entertainment industry and with it, the uncomfortable rapid rise of pornography consumption and addiction.
Data from Ofcom and studies at the national level indicate that pornography consumption is at an all-time high and is increasing year on year. Recent developments in the adult entertainment industry and increased internet usage, particularly over the pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns, only indicate that such prominence and regularity of consumption will not subside in the near future.
In such circumstances, it is paramount that the Muslim community has the capacity to maintain its sanctity and divert its attention away from pornography. Having said this, British Muslims are by no means immune to and protected from the rapid rise of adult entertainment.
Against this backdrop, Muslim Census conducted a survey of 542 British Muslims and completed a review of the scope of pornography consumption and addiction within the British Muslim population.
According to our findings, 83% of British Muslims have consumed pornography at some stage in their lives. This figure trends upwards across age groups, with younger Muslims displaying higher consumption rates alongside a higher frequency of consumption. Similarly, Muslim men demonstrate considerably higher consumption rates than their female counterparts, with an overwhelming majority of Muslim men reporting having consumed pornography.
Similarly, higher pornography consumption rates also coincide with higher rates of pornography addiction amongst Muslim men, with Muslim men being four times more likely to experience addiction than Muslim women. This trend is also evident amongst younger Muslims who have far more exposure to the adult entertainment industry, where they are three times more likely to experience addiction than older Muslims.
It’s important to note that the classification of pornography addiction is through self-identification rather than clinical diagnosis. Pornography addiction is not currently a medically recognised addiction despite addicts experiencing several neurological similarities with those addicts of various substances already categorised as clinical addictions.
Through the data collected, Muslim Census has also been able to identify the relationship between various risk factors and pornography consumption, with a view to support and facilitate the development and implementation of targeted interventions.
These risk factors included, amongst others, the age of exposure to pornography and the use of pornography as an educational tool where 50% of Muslims who have consumed pornography, used it as a source of education.
Beyond discovering rates of pornography consumption, Muslim Census sought to establish a comprehensive understanding of the impact of consumption on the lives of Muslims.
An overwhelming majority of Muslims experienced and identified detrimental impacts on their lives as a result of their consumption, with 77% noting detrimental impacts on spirituality. A further 65% noted detrimental impacts on their physical or mental health whilst 33% noted an impact on their work or education.
With such significant impacts, it is without surprise that almost all Muslims who have consumed pornography have attempted to stop. However, methods adopted to stop remain relatively unsuccessful and relapse rates remain considerably high – particularly amongst younger Muslims. Only 4% of Muslims who have consumed pornography have sought professional help and studies exploring various addictions and dependencies have proven that recovery rates are higher and more sustainable when therapy and professional help are included in the recovery process. Without the involvement of professional help, it is without surprise that the relapse rate remain high amongst the Muslim community.
What are the Next Steps?
Our data supports the view that a holistic approach encompassing religious, moral, educational and health perspectives is necessary to provide sustainable long term preventative measures to limit pornography consumption within British Muslim communities. Experts already exist within these fields and they must be empowered and supported with accurate and reliable data to inform the development of effective solutions. Through working with established experts and professionals, Muslim Census aims to provide this support.
For further comment on this study, or to view the data, please contact us.