"I'm a practicing Muslim woman who has tried quitting porn several times. I feel so ashamed of myself, and I'm too embarrassed to get help."

Preliminary  community research from Naseeha Mental Health (2018) and from Young Muslims (2020, 2021) shows that pornography consumption is a struggle in the Muslim community. Although 59% of immigrant-origin Muslim youth* indicated that they viewed pornography, only 13% felt that they could turn to their families or communities for support. To provide much needed support for struggles with pornography, The Family & Youth Institute collaborated with Young Muslims and NASEEHA to conduct preliminary research which informed the creation of this Pornography Addiction Toolkit. We recognize that consuming pornography is not the same as being addicted to it. Although the focus of this toolkit is centered on addiction to pornography, the resources provided may still be useful to those who are not addicted. 

For more information on preliminary research findings, please check out the FYI’s Needs Assessment . The research is ongoing and we are continuing our research efforts by interviewing individuals struggling with pornography. If you would like to participate in this study, please email us at: info@thefyi.org. Your information will be protected and remain confidential.
Note: To create this toolkit, The FYI team selected relevant resources from a variety of platforms while keeping cultural and religious sensitivities in mind. Other content, views, and opinions expressed on these platforms do not necessarily reflect the vision and views of The FYI. 

This toolkit was developed by Issra Killawi, B.A., Mariam Rasheed, LMSW, and reviewed by Madiha Tahseen, PhD, Shakil Mirza, B.Sc, MPH, Siham Elkassem, MSW, PhD (c), Rafee Al-Mansur, LMFT, and Sameera Ahmed, PhD. Reviewers provided feedback on the toolkit based on clinical and/or community experience with pornography addiction. 

"My teenage son began spending countless hours in his room after school. Weeks later, I realized that he was addicted to porn."

For years, The FYI has received requests from individual and communities for resources to support their loved ones struggling with pornography addiction. In 2018, NASEEHA conducted a survey of over 200 Muslims in Canada showing a first glance at pornography consumption among Muslims. Inspired by these findings and coupled with the community requests for support, The FYI embarked on building upon this study in order to understand pornography among Muslims as well as provide research-informed resources. Guided by the principles of community-based participatory research (Wallerstein & Duran, 2010), The FYI partnered with NASEEHA and Young Muslims to conduct a three-pronged needs assessment of pornography use among American Muslim youth.

  • • First, we conducted a review of current research on pornography amongst both American-Muslim and other-religion youth.
  • • Second, we interviewed individuals from diverse professional backgrounds (e.g., clinicians, imam, social worker) who served individuals struggling with pornography. Interviews were coded for common ideas and concepts.
  • • Third, an online survey was created and disseminated by Young Muslims. The data was cleaned and analyzed by The FYI team.
  • • The Preliminary Research Findings were presented here. Also check out the upcoming FYI Report for more comprehensive analyses.
  • • The research is ongoing and we are continuing our research efforts by interviewing individuals struggling with pornography. If you would like to participate in this study please email us at: research@thefyi.org
The research findings were then used to guide the solution-seeking process. In collaboration with NASEEHA, resources have been gathered together in The FYI Porn Addiction Toolkit.
One of the biggest barriers to getting help from porn addiction is the stigma that exists in the Muslim community. Let’s go through some of these assumptions and how we can correct them. Reducing stigma starts with us and reversing our own misconceptions, and then sharing that knowledge and empowering others!

1. In many of our communities, sexuality is discussed only in the context of shame and sin. When we speak about sexual desire from a point of shame and sin only, we create a narrative that makes it even more difficult to support those who are struggling. 

Let’s reframe this: Our faith recognizes that we are created with sexual desires, and it sets boundaries for these desires to be met while protecting our overall well-being. As human beings with this natural desire, we sometimes struggle with them and need guidance. 

2. Many people believe that porn addiction only impacts men. Let’s reframe this: Research shows that while more males than females view porn, a relatively high percentage of viewers are female.2 This stigma can lead to increased shame for a woman who is addicted to porn, making it even more difficult for her to ask for help.

3. If you’re a practicing Muslim, you don’t struggle with porn addiction. Praying and reading Qur’an will prevent you from watching porn.

Let’s reframe this: Responses from a survey conducted by Young Muslims show that of those who viewed porn (199), 70% describe themselves as regularly or very practicing and believe that viewing porn is immoral. Struggling with a porn addiction does not deem a person unworthy of being helped, nor does it always indicate that he/she is less committed to their beliefs.

4. Those who are addicted to porn actively sought it out.

Let’s reframe this: With the ease of access to porn, it’s likely that many people were exposed to porn accidentally and this opened the door to their addiction. In 2010, approximately 1 in 4 youth Internet users reported an unwanted exposure to sexual material.3 More recently, 46% percent of young people report being exposed to porn accidentally or unintentionally.4  Among Muslim young adults, 61% of Muslim young adults were exposed to explicit material between 11 to 14 years old.
Check out the following pages for research-informed resources based on your unique struggle with pornography:

"My marriage is falling apart after I caught my husband watching porn. What should I do ?"

This toolkit was funded in part with generous support from: