Helping Tens of Thousands Quit Porn for Good: Interview with Fortify

by Mar 20, 2018Help Kids Heal, Tech Solutions

Quit porn for good! That’s the first thing you see when you arrive at the Fortify landing page. Now that’s a pretty bold statement for any recovery tool or support community to make. Then add in that this is FREE to teens age 13-17 and it sounds almost too good to be true. So what’s it all about?

Keep reading and we’ll give you the full scoop in our exclusive interview with Clay Olsen. He’s the co-founder of Fight The New Drug (FTND) and CEO of Fortify.

Fortify is a science-based recovery tool to help individuals quit pornography through comprehensive training, real-time analytics, and interactive support.

You should know that Fortify has been rebuilt from the ground up this last year. At Protect Young Minds we were so impressed with these changes that we’ve decided to become affiliates.

"Have you wanted to talk to your kids about pornography, but didn't know what to say?! I've felt that way for quite some time and finally found a solution - Good Pictures Bad Pictures. . . I highly recommend this book to all people with children. A must have for all parents!" - Amazon Review. CLICK HERE to learn more about Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids.

Also, keep in mind that Fortify is not a therapy program. It can be used at any stage of the recovery process (self guided for those on their own, or inside a therapeutic experience as a complementary tool). Check out their video introduction:

A parent’s guide to the NEW Fortify

PYM: What prompted the creation of Fortify?

Clay: To answer that, let’s go back to how we started Fight the New Drug (FTND). Our original goal was simply to spread awareness. We wanted to be this “megaphone of information” that would change the conversation about pornography in our culture. We still hold to that goal.

But as FTND grew, more and more emails kept coming in asking us for help. At first it was hundreds, then it was thousands and then it was tens of thousands. Some requests were coming from kids as young as 8 years old! We knew we had to do something.  

Our initial solution was to point everyone to solid resources within their own communities.  And we still do that! But we found that many of our followers weren’t ready to engage in that kind of in-person support. Many were not yet willing to talk to their parents, and of course, too young to seek therapy on their own.  

We decided to develop a simple online (and now mobile) experience where anyone, regardless of age or income, could find support, education, and data tracking to help them take real steps towards recovery and ultimately quit porn for good.

PYM: What’s the secret to Fortify’s success?

Clay: Fortify is a science-based recovery tool to help individuals quit pornography. We do this through comprehensive training, real-time analytics, and interactive support, so that more people can find greater happiness and lasting love. Think of it kind of like a Fitbit for your recovery, but also with training and community support.  

Fortify has three main components to help individuals quit porn for good:

  1. Learn: First it helps you learn and get educated about the issue you’re struggling with. In addition to encouragement and motivation, it provides creative strategies to help people overcome pornography use.
  2. Connect: Next, it provides community and support from thousands of other individuals from over 155 countries worldwide going through this same path of recovery.
  3. Track: Finally, Fortify helps people track daily patterns and identify risk factors. We track very specific success metrics and feed that information back to the individual and their allies so they can analyze the data and make adjustments. Additionally, we help people develop a personalized plan for their own long-term healing.

In all these ways, Fortify is a tool that can be used as support in any phase of the recovery process whether it’s pre-therapy, alongside therapy, or aftercare. And it’s FREE for youth to use.

Parents can also be added as an “Ally” (at no cost) by the user which will allow the parent to login to their own dashboard to check progress, send messages, and gain insights in an exclusive online community of other parents.

PYM: How does Fortify work to help users quit porn for good?

Clay: Fortify teaches sound principles and proven mindfulness practices. Parents should know that Fortify is not prescriptive in any way. Rather than telling people what to do, we lay out many recovery options that they can consider. It also doesn’t diagnose and it doesn’t cross boundaries that would interfere with their culture, religion, or values. It simply allows people to create and track their own path to recovery.

Fortify is backed by science and research. We’ve brought together a team of professionals, researchers, and clinical advisors to help steer and guide the development process. Then we made sure it was easy to use with expert software developers and designers. So we’ve really invested an enormous amount of time and attention to make Fortify the highest quality possible.  

One other thing worth mentioning is that Fortify is highly “gamified”. Especially for youth, research has shown these built-in incentives can keep individuals more engaged throughout their recovery which increases their likelihood to quit porn for good.

PYM: Can parents be good allies (accountability partners) to their kids? How involved should parents be in their child’s Fortify experience?

Clay: It goes without saying that parents are a child’s most natural ally. As a way to further strengthen a youth (or adult) making progress, Fortify provides an option for others to be be able to “watch” progress and provide support. We recommend that parents not require a child to allow them to be a Fortify ally. Let that come from them.

The concept of allies is about building a team with people you trust –linking arms and finding success together. Youth can have an unlimited number of allies in Fortify. And here’s the cool thing, each user can determine what information they share with each ally.

PYM: What can parents look for as benchmarks for success?

Clay: That’s what’s so great with the ‘new’ Fortify. The old platform was heavy on educational videos and email notification. But now we’re feeding so much data back to the user (and anyone the user invites in as well). Within Fortify we are helping both individuals and professionals by gathering data in three main areas:

  1. Daily Tracking: By encouraging daily tracking we’re able to help the user and their allies discover patterns and trends that are occurring in their life that they may not have been aware of.
  2. Risk Factor Assessments: There are eleven primary risk factors that have been shown to be associated with this compulsive behavior and we monitor them all.
  3. Outcome Success Metrics: We measure a number of key areas of well-being that many people find improve as pornography is removed from their life.

So the ability for an individual (or their parents) to see progress is very palpable in the new platform.  

PYM: Speaking of setbacks, how should parents react to them?

Clay: As the parent or ally to a youth in recovery, understand that setbacks are a part of the process. The idea of a teenager signing up for Fortify (or going to see a therapist or having a moment of clarity) and thinking that from that moment on they will never struggle or fall back is a naïve way of looking at the recovery process. There will be periodic relapses. Expect them. The more we learn about the neuroscience of compulsive patterns, the more we understand that it can take time for the rewiring process to occur.

We always tell parents to remember to respond with love, understanding, and encouragement. It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding with disappointment, judgment, shame, and consequence. However, in order to maintain trust with your teenager, as well as the ability to help steer things in a positive direction and keep lines of communication open, we recommend stepping back from those tendencies and focusing on what could be learned from the setback. For example, what kind of mood, activities, etc. led up to this? Are there patterns or behaviors that can addressed? Help them get back up and to continue trying. Not in a forceful way, but in an “I’m in your corner. I’ve got your back” kind of way.

Try to use setbacks as an opportunity to prepare for future success rather than dwelling on the past. If they feel like you’re both part of the same team striving to head in the same direction, rather than opposing teams battling against one another, you’ll find much more success.

PYM: We’ve heard you say that most individuals who write to Fortify/FTND seeking help began their compulsion to use porn as a child. Does that still hold true?

Clay: No question. The data completely supports that. There are very, very few adults out there dealing with major sexually addictive patterns in their life where this struggle started in later years. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve met anyone that fits that mold.

Virtually everybody we know struggling with this was introduced to pornography as a child or teen – which is shown to be a major risk factor. The earlier you are exposed; the more dramatically it heightens your risk for compulsive patterns and addictions.

PYM: What evidence is there that Fortify works?

Clay: We’ve had over 100,000 participants use Fortify over the years and we’ve been measuring things from day one. We’ve seen significant declines (84%) in depressive symptoms of our users. We’ve also seen an 88% reduction in porn use, which is fantastic! Of course, many of those individuals indicated zero use by the end.

Maybe the most important statistic, however, is that large majorities of active Fortify users (90% in one survey) report that Fortify has helped them move towards more long-term change.

If you’d like to read some of the direct feedback, you can read some of their testimonials here.

PYM: How long should recovery take?

Clay: Defining recovery by length of time is really difficult. So much depends on factors such as personality, genetics, culture, how long they have struggled, how intense their struggle is, are they working with a professional therapist, and so on. Each individual comes into Fortify with different life experiences and unique challenges.

So instead of asking how long will this take, we prefer saying, “We are here for you as long as it takes.” In addition to whatever else you have to support your progress, we want to give you extra encouragement, support, tools, resources, and knowledge to be able to keep getting up and move, day by day, in a more healthy direction to quit porn for good.

PYM: Is there’s one secret to recovery, what would it be?

Clay: Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to recovery. On a basic biological level, this is a literal rewiring process and it can take time. Ultimately recovery is determined by the individual’s focus and attention to it. A parent can be extremely committed, but maybe their child not so much. Those individuals, of course, are not going to see much results. Recovery is not about what the parents want, it’s about what the individual wants.    

Sign up for Fortify through PYM affiliate link

At Protect Young Minds we are thrilled to affiliate with and support Fortify as they work to help thousands to quit porn for good. Fortify also offers a 7-Day FREE trial for adults, student discounts and is always FREE for teens. Don’t forget to apply PROMO CODE: protectyoungminds when signing up through our affiliate link.

"Have you wanted to talk to your kids about pornography, but didn't know what to say?! I've felt that way for quite some time and finally found a solution - Good Pictures Bad Pictures. . . I highly recommend this book to all people with children. A must have for all parents!" - Amazon Review. CLICK HERE to learn more about Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids.

We know that everyone is coming to this conversation with different experiences. Some of you have children that have already developed compulsive habits to use pornography. Our heart goes out to you. But there’s hope! Along with taking advantage of our own resources, we encourage you to learn more about Fortify and what this platform offers teens (and adults) who are ready to take responsibility on their own path to quit porn for good.

Want to learn more?

Get your FREE Guide: 5 Things Teens Wish Their Parents Knew about Porn, based on a presentation by Clay Olsen of Fight the New Drug. Click on this image:

CLICK HERE

There are affiliate links in the blog post. When you use them to make purchases, we thank you for supporting Protect Young Minds!

Marilyn Evans
Marilyn Evans is a popular speaker, writer, and coach. She is best known for her honest and real-life approach to helping families confront uncomfortable topics like pornography.


Marilyn holds a degree in Family, Home and Social Science from Brigham Young University. She is the Founder and CEO of Parents Aware. As well, she co-hosts and produces the Media Savvy Moms podcast.


Marilyn is the mother of five sons and has lived to tell the story. She and her husband currently live in southern Ontario with two of their sons and their dog Mandi.

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