In his book, The Culture Code, Clotaire Rapaille reported some observations about the obesity crisis in America. In a seminar filled with experts, he debunked the belief that obese people would lose weight, if only they were educated about the harmful effects of being overweight and the health challenges that accompanied it. He remarked that if in a seminar room filled with professors and highly educated people, there were many who were obese, then the issue wasn’t education.

Rapaille’s theory was that for many people, obesity is not the problem. It is the solution. Obesity is the solution to depression, to loneliness, to identity crisis, to unwanted attention by a mother’s boyfriend and so on. I believe it is the same for masturbation and its accelerant, porn. At least in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a youth unemployment crisis. The unemployment rate is spiraling and Government’s solution – a push for entrepreneurship will not solve it. In any population, maybe only 10% will succeed as entrepreneurs. Of those who start businesses, perhaps only 10% will survive after the third year. So, for the masses, paid employment is essential. Ideally, Government should encourage mushroom businesses to grow to become employers of labour. With little work to do, our youth are confronted with both idleness and desolation. Sitting at home for years without a job, is enough to cause depression. Doing a job you hate can lead to frustration. Enter porn and masturbation as solutions.

Some people are dealing with family issues. They are grappling with the daily news of corrupt government agencies, massive looting and terrorism. It’s enough to drive anyone to despair. Enter the quick hormonal pills called porn and masturbation. They are relatively cheap, do not require external participation and can be done without leaving the house. All you need is an active imagination and data.

Young people struggle with loneliness and the desire to belong somewhere and to someone. Loneliness is not the absence of people. It is the absence of people who connect with and “get” you. Finding that is not as easy as many think. Some are also dealing with identity conflicts. They struggle with sexual restrictions placed by religion. They are told pre-marital sex is a sin, but are not really told what to do while they wait for marriage – sometimes for decades. Enter masturbation, the substitute, while they wait for church-sanctioned marriage. Some religions even forbid talking to the opposite sex, because it is said to lead to temptation; talk less of permitting going to the movies or a secular concert with them. So, the normal rite of passage for young people – socialization with the opposite sex – is truncated. Enter masturbation to help relieve the pressure and the feelings of inadequacy.

Finally, there’s the natural curiosity every young person has about sex and the daily arousal they have to deal with. If there are no safe spaces to vent or to seek knowledge, the alternative will be to employ whatever is readily available.

So my friends, porn is not really the problem. It has become the solution for many other underlying problems. We must fix those problems or at least intervene with urgency, if we hope to address the prevalence of porn in Nigeria.

PS: For some stats about porn and Nigeria, please go here.

For many, porn has become a solution for several underlying problems. Click To Tweet