Today is World Mental Health Day 2020, and what better day to share what you truly feel than on this special day? In culmination to this day, the porn video-sharing website YouPorn has partnered with the therapy platform BuddyHelp to launch 2020 Confessions. In response to the recent mental health crisis, this new confessional style category allows people to upload videos sharing their feelings in order to help clear their minds.
To truly support and give back to the cause, for every 1,000 video views, YouPorn revealed that it will be donating $100 to BuddyHelp. Here’s exactly how YouPorn and BuddyHelp want to help those in need manage their mental health.
“YouPorn believes that sharing experiences can help build community and ease feelings of isolation, which can also alleviate some of the mental health struggles currently affecting many. With this in mind, we have partnered with BuddyHelp to support their free online mental health service that connects callers with compassionate trained active listeners, and provides emotional support for when you just need someone to talk to,” reads the 2020 Confessions page.
In other words, both companies have teamed up because they believe that by simply speaking about mental health struggles, or struggles in general really, can be the first step towards getting help, if needed. After all, why do you think confessions are so important in specific religions? Because sharing personal feelings with someone, be that bad deeds or simply emotions, can not only make you feel better but can also lead to you receiving help.
Receiving help, in today’s digital age, is surprisingly not that easy. While we all gladly share perfectly-curated information about our lives, we’re less inclined to portray ourselves as individuals who also struggle with mental health problems. This new YouPorn category could become a safe haven where everyone can openly speak up about their feelings.
Screen Shot spoke to BuddyHelp founder David Braun about 2020 Confessions and what changes the platform could lead to. “BuddyHelp was born out of the global collective pain and suffering that the coronavirus brought upon the world. The lockdown was one of the most intense, and emotionally challenging experiences that many of us have ever lived,” explained Braun.
Shortly after, Braun was also confronted with an attempted suicide by someone close to him. “It became clear to me that I needed to take action, to do something and be part of the solution to the mental health crisis, rather than just standing by and watching as things evolved.” This was the moment that BuddyHelp was born.
BuddyHelp and YouPorn’s confessional style category differs from social media’s ‘one-to-many’ approach to communication—it offers people a place where they can be heard. The partnership aims to help as many people as possible using YouPorn’s important reach. When asked about other reasons behind this unlikely match, Braun added that “men are far less likely than women to seek support, and are also less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends or family. As one result of this, the suicide rate of men is 3 to 4 times higher than that of women, in the western world.”
Because YouPorn has a primarily male user base (75 per cent), this makes it a particularly vulnerable audience when it comes to mental health. That’s why 2020 Confessions is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the resources that are available.
And so far, this has proved to be a successful attempt. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive so far. People react slightly surprised when they hear the words ‘YouPorn’ and ‘mental health’ in the same sentence, but then when they look at the fundamentals they see why it makes so much sense, and are then very supportive of the initiative,” shared Braun.
We are currently going through a mental health crisis. Many people around us, from gen Zers to millennials, have been feeling isolated and lonely due to lockdown measures. But keep in mind that this is only temporary, adds Braun: “As scary and as challenging as it might be in the moment, just know that it will pass. Be mindful of the duality of life, try to see the positive in the negative and know that with great change, comes great opportunity. It is a great moment to try something you’ve been putting off. Create something new, learn a new language or a new skill. As Darwin once said: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’”
BuddyHelp’s mission is to democratise access to mental health care—removing all barriers and providing resources to all who need help because every human being deserves to feel their best. For World Mental Health Day, it is giving away 100,000 weeks of access to professional counselling for free. So, if you feel like this might be something you need or even just want to test, get on 2020 Confessions or BuddyHelp. If not, look at the different ways you can help others. Why not start by becoming a BuddyHelp volunteer listener?
Up until last month, Pornhub premium accounts cost $9.99 per month—a small fee to spend on quality porn for some but a definite no-no for others. And while most of us are used to looking for the exact porn we desire without spending a penny, the COVID-19 pandemic brought us one good thing: free porn, usually only accessible on premium accounts.
The point behind the idea was simple. How could pornographic websites like Pornhub incite people to respect lockdown rules and stay indoors? Give them free porn! By announcing its premium accounts would be free for 30 days, Pornhub aimed to encourage people to stay home in order to flatten the curve. And while that could have been true, many were quick to criticise the website’s initiative and point out that it might just be another way to snag those recurring credit card payments and automatically bill users when the free trial is over.
Although regular Pornhub users gladly accepted the offer and spread the word, right-wingers were not as open-minded. In the US, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) chief political analyst David Brody spoke to conservative Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a self-described “Christian conservative policy and lobbying organisation,” about Pornhub’s attempt to make its content free of charge.
To put things into perspective, Brody and Perkins are mostly known for their conservative and religious views of gay marriage and abortion—both of which they oppose. Prior to speaking to Brody on television, Perkins commented on Pornhub’s free premium accounts on his Christian talk-radio show called Washington Watch: “The predators are out while people, including children, find themselves with more time on their hands, porn pushers like Pornhub are making their content more accessible providing it free of charge.”
The porn industry definitely isn’t perfect, but we’ve witnessed previously how ridiculous and impractical it would be to establish a ‘porn block’. Calling Pornhub’s initiative a “pandemic inside a pandemic,” as Brody did on CBN, might have only caused more panic for whoever watches the channel. For others who stumbled on a video of this interview on Twitter, his statement only highlighted the irrationality many conservative Americans showed by blaming the porn industry’s actions against COVID-19 but still not agreeing to wear face masks like everybody else.
Don’t get me wrong, Pornhub’s free premium accounts did pose a few problems. Pornhub premium (free or not) always requires login credentials, which means entering an email address to create a user ID and password. While this could have potentially deterred minors from trying to create their own free account, most of them quickly realised an account could be created with any random email address and accessible without having to confirm it. Pornhub issued no obvious warning about age restrictions, with no box to check a person’s age—the age barriers are almost non-existent.
It makes sense therefore that US conservative leaders worry that the absence of barriers are here to tempt young users, and that porn companies will exploit the growing audience created by the COVID-19 lockdown measures. “As we see more and more people at stay-at-home order states, the porn industry is literally paying these people, in some cases offering literally free content, Pornhub being one of them,” explained Perkins during his radio show. “It’s an industry that preys on people, [when] they offer it free of charge, it comes at a high price,” he added.
Although porn consumption did increase during the pandemic, the statistics Pornhub shared seem reasonable—the website saw a 24.4 per cent increase in traffic after it offered free premium accounts. Very few would describe this as “preying on people.”
Conservatives seem to be concerned with the wrong things. Pornhub’s free memberships might allow a handful of 13 year olds to watch better quality porn. But as adult actress Tana Lea told the Daily Beast in Porn Is ‘Free’ During Coronavirus and Right-Wingers Are Losing Their Minds Over It, “These kids were looking at Pornhub anyway.” Instead, many porn actors celebrated Pornhub’s initiative by highlighting how it could help relieve certain people from the stress caused by the coronavirus.
Adult actress Sophie Dee went as far as telling the Daily Beast: “I honestly feel like domestic abuse rates are so high right now and guys jerking off need help. It’s helping them release pressure.” And if that is the case, what’s wrong with that? It’s about time people realise how COVID-19 and the lockdown impacted households where domestic violence was already an issue. A little porn never killed nobody.