Brain Health,
Fringe,
Sci + Society,
51 MINS

#113: Porn Addiction and the Brain

January 30, 2016
MP3

This is the first and last Smart Drug Smarts episode that will ever reference sex with donkeys.

But we’re talking about Porn Addiction, so it’s not without cause, just this once.  Serious cause.  “Promoting the general welfare, and the psychosocial health of tens or hundreds of millions of people” type of cause.

In episode #113, I speak with Gary Wilson, author of Your Brain on Porn about Internet Porn Addiction and its shocking effects on the brain and its dopamine systems.  (I hate using words like “shocking” because most things claimed to be shocking just aren’t. But I think this qualifies.) If you haven’t heard of Wilson’s work before, get ready to fall out of your chair.  This stuff is not child’s play.

Except nowadays, high-speed Internet porn is child’s play…  What self-respecting kid hasn’t figured out how to get around Internet “parental controls” by the time he’s 11 years old? And that’s what makes the omnipresence of online porn — streaming video porn in particular — an amazingly powerful and largely unrecognized public health issue.

Porn Addiction: Not a “moral” issue.

Gary Wilson is not a moral crusader.  He’s a realist. He doesn’t have a bone to pick with the morality of porn, any more than a nutritionist is concerned with the morality of a bag of Cheetos. But he sees a growing problem, attested to by tens of thousands of men (and women too!) whose sexual dysfunction can be traced squarely back to the overuse of online porn.

And it goes beyond sex — way beyond.  The brain’s dopamine system is the major motivational system for everything we do, and desensitizing it with surging arousal from porn can cause the brain to “fight back” by lowering its overall sensitivity in all areas of life, including those that haven’t kept pace with online porn by throwing around free, effortless pleasure.

This can mean — lacking a normal motivational response from our dopamine system — that things in life which should seem “worth the effort” suddenly don’t feel that way.

This interview is fascinating, surprising, and I daresay important.  Brace yourself for some dirty words, and some scarier ideas.

PS:  Now that we have you reconsidering the consumption of one kind of modern-day junk food, why not sign up for a healthy Brain Breakfast instead – delivered weekly from Jesse’s brain to your inbox.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:22

    Your Brain on Porn

  • 00:01:47

    This Week in Neuroscience: Study indicates cognitive functioning improves when using standing desks

  • 00:04:13

    The audience interaction section.

  • 00:06:46

    Some disclaimers about the content of this week's episode, and an introduction to Gary Wilson's book

  • 00:10:28

    What led Gary to investigate the effects of porn and the creation of his website

  • 00:12:50

    What are some of the issues that arise as a result of internet porn addiction (and a link to the Reddit community NoFap)

  • 00:18:02

    Differences in pre and post-internet porn exposure in adolescence

  • 00:19:35

    Similarities between drug and porn addiction

  • 00:21:04

    The correlation between porn use and the rate of sexual dysfunction

  • 00:23:52

    Supernormal stimuli

  • 00:25:32

    What separates those who experience sexual dysfunction as a result of porn addiction and those who don't?

  • 00:26:36

    Delayed gratification and porn use

  • 00:28:03

    How is the dopamine system affected by porn exposure?

  • 00:30:05

    Is anything being done to warn adolescents about the dangers of porn addiction?

  • 00:32:34

    Modern porn vs porn of the past

  • 00:33:58

    Adolescents' tolerance to shocking stimuli

  • 00:35:19

    What does recovery from porn addiction look like?

  • 00:38:15

    What role does porn addiction play in relationships from women's perspectives?

  • 00:41:53

    What is the future of regulation with regards to internet porn?

  • 00:45:31

    Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: Should sex robots exist? The "for" argument; the "against" argument

17 comments

  1. Bill Conner says:

    SMART DRUGS SMARTS is one of my favorite podcasts and Jesse awesome.

    I don’t want to ruin NoFap as it may have helped peoples lives but I believe that you guys are entitled to a second opinion. Wilson may state and actually think he’s not on a crusade against pornography but it’s clear he and his partner clearly are. Plus the so-called science behind everything he cites isn’t actually what the research shows.
    http://s4.postimage.org/tbk9mlje5/1362354424212.png

    Your Brain on Porn – It’s NOT Addictive
    What neurological research ACTUALLY shows about the people who use porn
    http://tinyurl.com/jmfz4f8

    Your brain on porn: It’s NOT addictive
    http://tinyurl.com/h7yhvpj

    An Erectile Dysfunction Myth
    Pornography is not the problem.
    http://tinyurl.com/jt2azat

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Hi Bill — Thanks for these links and counterpoints. (I’m replying here before I’ve had a chance to thoroughly read them, so my internal jury is still out.) I’ve had a few emails already from people — including in one case an addiction-specialized psychologist — who are big believers in Gary Wilson’s work… But of course, science is not a popularity contest. 🙂

      I’ll be reading these links and their sub-sources and definitely appreciate your giving this “other side of the story.” Having spoken with Wilson though, I sure didn’t get the sense he’s on a “crusade against pornography” — just the recent streaming-video-on-demand variety.

    2. Gary Wilson says:

      To Bill Conner. Actually, the science is behind what I say. Nor am I on a crusade, as I am not religious, very liberal, and don’t want to ban porn.

      Unfortunately, it takes a whole lot more text to undo spin and false claims than it does to create them. Conner posted 1 anonymous blog post, and 2 articles (not 3) by David Ley, the author of ‘The Myth of Sex Addiction’. I’ll take the links in order:
      ——————————————————-

      Link #1 – the anonymous blog post by a “sexologist”. The post is 4 years old and nearly all of it is either misleading ad hominem attacks or simply false. It contains no citations. 3 years ago I wrote a 4-part, 4000-word response to the anonymous sexologist. See it here – https://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/comments/1ourjq/large_image_food_for_thought_a_psychologist_who/ccw5enx?context=3

      In the intervening 4 years, 23 neuroscience-based studies on porn users have been published that support the neuroscience presented in my TEDx talk (“The Great Porn Experiment”). So far, the results of every “brain study” (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal) offer support for the concept of porn addiction. In addition to reporting the same fundamental brain changes as seen in substance addicts, a few studies also reported that greater porn use is associated with erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, and reduced neural response to images of vanilla porn. The up-to-date list of current “brain studies” – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users

      These 23 studies also align with over 130 brain studies (PET, MRI, fMRI, EEG) published in the last few years. Without exception, these studies reported the same addiction-related brain changes as seen in substance addicts – http://yourbrainonporn.com/list-internet-video-game-brain-studies
      Internet porn addiction is, in fact, a subtype of internet addiction, as this recent review of the neuroscience literature points out: “Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015)” – http://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/5/3/388/htm

      As for porn-induced ED and low libido, all studies assessing young male sexuality since 2010 report historic levels of sexual dysfunctions, and startling rates of a new scourge: low libido. All documented in this article: http://yourbrainonporn.com/research-confirms-sharp-rise-youthful-ed

      Erectile dysfunction rates now range from 27 to 33%, while rates for low libido (hypo-sexuality) range from 16% to 37%. The lower ranges are taken from studies involving teens and men 25 and under, while the higher ranges are from studies involving men 40 and under. Prior to the advent of free streaming porn, cross-sectional studies and meta-analyses consistently reported erectile dysfunction rates of 2-5% in men under 40. That’s nearly a 1000% increase in youthful ED rates in the last 20 years.

      In addition, this page contains 10 studies that have correlated porn use with ED, low libido, anorgasmia, less brain response to sexual images, etc. Below the 10 studies you will find about 60 articles/videos by experts who describe and have treated porn-induced sexual dysfunctions (urology professors, urologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, sexologists, therapists) – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/porn-induced-ed-media
      ———————————————————————

      Link #2 & #3 both go to Ley’s “Your Brain on Porn – It’s NOT Addictive.” The commenter linked to it twice, apparently believing these were two separate articles. This is a 3-year old article by the author of “The Myth of Sex Addiction”, David Ley. It’s not about the neuroscience presented on YourBrainOnPorn.com. Instead, it’s about a single 2013 EEG study (Steele et al.) by SPAN Lab. In the blog post, Ley makes unsupported claims about the study. These claims by Ley and others have since been refuted by 3 peer-reviewed papers (below).

      This EEG study was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn addiction. Not so. This study actually supports the existence of porn addiction. Why? The study reported higher EEG readings (P300) when subjects were exposed to porn photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction.

      The simplified version of the facts:

      1) Steele et al. and Ley claimed that “sex addiction” was merely high sexual desire. However that’s not what the study found. Instead, Steele et al. reported greater cue-reactivity (P300) correlating with LESS desire for sex with a partner. In other words, subjects with greater brain activation for porn had more desire to masturbate than to have sex with a real person. Interestingly, lead author Nicole Prause has flip-flopped, and no longer believes that sex addicts have high libidos. From a Quora post by Prause –
      “I was partial to the high sex drive explanation, but this LPP study we just published is persuading me to be more open to sexual compulsivity.”
      https://www.quora.com/Is-there-such-thing-as-porn-addiction-And-if-not-what-would-be-the-problem/answer/Nicole-Prause?srid=oNci

      2) In a few interviews, lead author Prause claimed that the participants’ brains did not look like the brains of addicts. This is unsupported. In fact, this EEG study actually supports the existence of porn addiction. Why? The study reported higher EEG readings (P300) when subjects were exposed to porn photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction.

      The peer-reviewed papers analyzing Steele et al.:
      1) High desire, or ‘merely’ an addiction? A response to Steele et al. – http://www.socioaffectiveneuroscipsychol.net/index.php/snp/article/view/23833/32589

      2) “Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014). Excerpt in question – http://yourbrainonporn.com/neural-correlates-sexual-cue-reactivity-individuals-and-without-compulsive-sexual-behaviours-2014-0

      3) “Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update” (2015). Excerpt in question – http://yourbrainonporn.com/neuroscience-internet-pornography-addiction-review-and-update-excerpt-critiquing-steele-et-al-2013

      In addition, see 2 comments under a 2013 Nicole Prause interview by psychology professor John A Johnson:
      1) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201307/new-brain-study-questions-existence-sexual-addiction/comments#comment-542939

      2) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201307/new-brain-study-questions-existence-sexual-addiction/comments#comment-556448)

      You can read my very extensive critique here – http://yourbrainonporn.com/sexual-desire-not-hypersexuality-related-neurophysiological-responses-elicited-sexual-images-2013

      Shockingly, David Ley continues to claim that sex & porn addicts merely have high sexual desire. This claim has been falsified in the peer-reviewed literatures. See my article with 8 studies here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/studies-refute-claim-sex-porn-addicts-just-have-high-sexual-desire
      ———————————

      Link #4 – the David Ley article – “An Erectile Dysfunction Myth: Pornography is not the problem.”
      It should be mentioned that David Ley closed comments on that blog post after a Medical Doctor and PhD researcher commented:
      1) Comment by Lawrence A. Smiley M.D. – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201308/erectile-dysfunction-myth#comment-551676

      2) Comment by Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201308/erectile-dysfunction-myth#comment-553316

      The reality: Thousands of young men have removed a single variable (porn use) and healed chronic ED, anorgasmia, or low sexual desire, for which many had been treated by healthcare professionals without success. Here are a few thousand stories:
      1 – http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts
      2 – http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts-2
      3 – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/erectile-dysfunction-question#recovery

      Second, the page mentioned above, which contains 10 studies that have correlated porn use with ED, low libido, anorgasmia, less brain response to sexual images, etc., you will also find (below the 10 studies) about 60 articles/videos by experts who describe and treat porn-induced sexual dysfunctions (urology professors, urologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, sexologists, therapists) – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/porn-induced-ed-media

      Third, studies confirm a 1000% or more rise in youthful erectile dysfunction, and a multi-fold increase in youthful low libido. All documented in this article: http://yourbrainonporn.com/research-confirms-sharp-rise-youthful-ed
      —————————————————–

      In summary:
      1) We have several studies correlating porn use with low libido, ED, anorgasmia, and less neural response to sexual stimuli
      2) We have experts who say that porn causes sexual dysfunctions
      3) We have thousands of young otherwise healthy men who have recovered from sexual dysfunction by eliminating porn use
      4) We have a 1000% increase in youthful ED rates in the last 20 years, and a multi-fold increase in low sexual desire
      5) We have many brain studies that show the same brain changes in porn users as occur in drug addicts

  2. Gabe Deem says:

    Bill’s comment is “ACTUALLY” the second time I’ve seen that word capitalized lately ; )

    All the links above can easily be refuted. I don’t have all day but luckily for me it won’t take that long, as all I have to do is rip apart the TL;DR false sentence by false sentence.

    1st sentence “YBOP, the great porn experiment, and nofap are founded on the views of two people, Gary/Marnia.”

    FALSE: In 2006 Norman Doidge dedicated an entire chapter in his book The Brain That Changes Itself describing porn-induced ED, morphing sexual tastes, porn addiction. Chapter 4 if interested. Furthermore, YBOP was started as a result of young men complaining of unexplained ED, documenting that they recovered by removing their porn use. So, the entire reboot movement is “founded” on young men becoming dependent on porn for their erections, who eventually are no longer dependent on porn once they abstain for a while.

    2nd sentence “They present themselves as experts but aren’t.”

    False. They constantly point to other researchers work, and other experts, and have never claimed to be “experts” themselves. In reality though, most vocal supporters of “porn doesn’t cause problems” won’t debate Gary as they know it would be embarrassing for them, that is, if they ACTUALLY want to stick to science. There’s that word again.

    3rd sentence “There’s no empirical research evidence to support any of the claims made by YBOP.”

    FALSE: Yes there is. http://yourbrainonporn.com/research-articles-and-abstracts

    4th sentence “all the claims about negative effects of porn use can be accounted for by other explanations.”

    FALSE: A young man who is dependent on internet porn to masturbate by himself, as in, he cannot get an erection with his own hand and imagination, ruling out performance anxiety, but can get an erection with porn on, ruling out organic issues, who regains his ability to masturbate without porn after a period of going without porn, has not been explained in any way other than sexual conditioning. I’d still love to hear a better explanation.

    5th sentence “watching internet porn and masturbating to it is not problematic for the vast majority of people.”

    Citation? We’re seeing a dramatic increase (above 30%) in young people with sexual dysfunctions, both low libido, and erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, this is a straw man, as YBOP doesn’t claim that the “vast majority are negatively affected” anywhere, although we do not yet know if the “vast majority” of kids who grow up masturbating to internet porn would be negatively affected. Lastly, most substances that are known to be addicted do not hook the “vast majority” of people who try them, this doesn’t mean they can’t negatively impact some people.

    6th sentence “and for those who do have a problem with internet porn, it’s because of other underlying problems.”

    FALSE: Researchers have been able to sexually condition rats to be aroused by cadaverine (the smell of rotting flesh) simply as adolescent exposure and sexual conditioning. Those rats didn’t have pre-existing issues. The same can be said for many young men on forums who experience morphing sexual tastes. Nerve cells that fire together, wire together, whether one has issues or not. And again, not being able to masturbate without porn, but being able to masturbate with porn, shoots out that claim, as they don’t explain that.

    7th sentence “Addressing those underlying issues should be peoples focus, not abstaining from masturbation to internet porn”

    FALSE: Thousands of men have looked into the possibility of “underlying issues” to no avail, only to recover by removing internet porn. Tell that to them.

    Hope this was helpful. Much Love

  3. Anonymous Shmononynous (ES) says:

    Jesse, Gabe, Gary. what the heck can I take to try to get off this sauce I keep coming back and it’s ruining my life.
    I’m completely escalated in my fetish. I just want to live.

    Can tyrosine, phenylalanine, cdp choline, phosphatidylserine and omega 3 stacked with the other precursor amino acids help? I’m taking this but still struggling.

    I’m crying out for help. I know nootropics can help.

    Please give me some insight.

    Anything I have to do, I will do everything you suggest.any life style change.

    Gary only offers the research of the effects I need to know what heals . Will power is not enough to overcome this hyper sensitization to supra normal sexual stimuli.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Hi there Anonymous — I’d bounce you towards sites like Gary’s or the “Nofap” forums for this; it’s not an area of expertise for me, and if there are studies about use of supplements of any kind for breaking this addiction, I’m unaware of them. (I doubt the studies have been done.) There’s been interesting results recently in testing the effects of some psychedelic compounds on breaking addictions, but to my knowledge these have been addictions to exogenous compounds (things from outside the body) like nicotine or alcohol. So I wouldn’t recommend you run out and find some psychedelics — only that there might be interesting avenues of research-reading there.

      This might be a completely naive recommendation (and potentially quite difficult to implement) but it seems to me that a shortcut to willpower in not masturbating would be just staying in public constantly. I doubt your addiction is going to make you start masturbating in a Starbucks or while walking down the street, right? Could be an interesting experiment. Could you think of yourself like a little kid who needs to be constantly supervised and bounce yourself from one anti-masturbation chaperone to the next, until your habit is broken?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jesse, that’s a good idea about not being alone.

    But, how come no basic supplement recommendations to help me out?
    Is there some health implication legal binding actions going on that prevent you from making those statements without being a physician?

    Thank you for being you.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Hi Anonymous — I have no knowledge about any supplementation protocol that has been tested around this issue, so I’m erring on the side of caution. I don’t want to recommend something irrelevant or counterproductive just to “have an answer.” 🙂

    2. Jesse Lawler says:

      Anonymous — By the way: I forgot to mention one sure-fire way to drop the bottom out of your sex drive: Fasting. A couple days into my water fast, my libido pretty much flatlined. I’m not sure if “sex drive” and “porn addiction drive” are really the same thing — and obviously, you can’t water fast forever — but it seemed worth mentioning. More on fasting here: http://smrtdr.gs/29P3lh4

  5. Joel says:

    One of the biggest problems with investigating porn’s (and masturbation’s) effects on the
    brain is the dearth of scientific studies on the subject, which makes it difficult to draw any
    concrete conclusions at all. In fact, a 2009 study that sought to examine porn’s effect on the
    brain was scrapped after researchers couldn’t find a single man in their 20s “who never
    consumed pornography.”

    Seriously. Not a single one.

    Are the effects of pornography negligible?
    Date:
    December 1, 2009
    Source:
    University of Montreal
    Summary:
    A new study has been launched in Canada to examine the effects of pornography on men.
    “We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography. We couldn’t find any,” says the researcher.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111202.htm

    Psychology research links distress to perceived internet pornography addiction
    Date:
    September 16, 2015
    Source:
    Case Western Reserve University
    Summary:
    A study of Internet pornography users suggests a person’s own feeling of being addicted to
    online pornography drives mental health distress, not the pornography itself. The research
    adds a fresh perspective to commonly held concerns that Internet pornography can be a
    threat to mental health. The research suggests that feeling addicted to Internet pornography
    is associated with depression, anger, and anxiety, but that actual use of pornography is not.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150916185111.htm

    Wilson & his supporters can go on about all the so called “research”
    that supports their theories but at the end of the day it’s all just speculation and over
    emphasis on already dysfunctional research subjects.

    High-novelty-preference rats are predisposed to compulsive cocaine self-administration.
    Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Feb;36(3):569-79. doi: 10.1038/npp.2010.188. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

    Novelty, conditioning and attentional bias to sexual rewards.
    J Psychiatr Res. 2016 Jan;72:91-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.10.017. Epub 2015 Oct 27.

    The population of guys who will never marry or have a steady relationship is the growing
    trend in the westernized world. That’s a fact. The only two alternatives to taking care of the
    biological need to sexual release is to become a monk or masturbate. Any behavior can
    become a compulsion but it appears this only effects a very small number of humans. Any
    self control over a compulsion will make you calmer, and not self-medicating with opiates
    ten times a day will make you calmer and less sketched out, and mastery of anything will
    make you calmer and more confident, and everyone responds to you better when you exude
    calm and confidence. It’s just not some kind of magic science bullet, is all. It seems obvious
    to me there are benefits to moderation; I’m less interested in abstinence and will never be in
    a physical relationship with a women ever again. It’s tiring reading about all the emphasis
    placed on stopping masturbation/porn for the sake of having improved relationships with
    the opposite sex. Good luck with that in this new day and age. Times have changed and
    humans have modified themselves permanently. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. It just is.

    1. Gary Wilson says:

      Response to Joel: Your claim that it’s already dysfunctional men, and that porn use doesn’t cause problems doesn’t align with either anecdotes or studies.

      First, we have collected thousands of reports of men removing a single variable and healing ED, DE, anorgasmia, low libido, depression, anxiety, concentration problems, etc. About 3,000 such stories:
      http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts
      http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts-2

      Second, ED rates in men under have jumped 1,000% in the last 10 years. It’s all documented in this review of the literature I wrote with 7 navy doctors – http://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/6/3/17/htm.
      As documented there are no other variables that could account for any rise in youthful ED other than widespread use of internet porn. Claiming porn for this rise in sexual dysfunctions is supported by 16 recent studies that link porn use to sexual problems. The studies are here – http://yourbrainonporn.com/studies-reported-relationships-between-porn-use-or-porn-addictionsex-addiction-and-sexual

      Only a handful of studies have either had porn users stop using, or followed porn users over time: all have found that porn use either causes specific issues or leads to issues. for example, five studies have removed porn and observed the results. All 5 found significant changes.

      1 – “Trading Later Rewards for Current Pleasure: Pornography Consumption and Delay Discounting (2015)” – This study reported that greater porn use was correlated with less ability to delay gratification. The researchers assessed porn users a month later and found that continued porn use correlated with less ability to delay gratification. Finally, researchers divided subjects into 2 groups: Half tried to abstain from their favorite food; half tried to abstain from internet porn. The subjects who tried to abstain from porn experienced significant changes: they scored better on their ability to delay gratification. The researchers said:

      “The finding suggests that Internet pornography is a sexual reward that contributes to delay discounting differently than other natural rewards. It is therefore important to treat pornography as a unique stimulus in reward, impulsivity, and addiction studies and to apply this accordingly in individual as well as relational treatment.”

      2) “A Love That Doesn’t Last: Pornography Consumption and Weakened Commitment to One’s Romantic Partner (2012)” – The study had subjects try to abstain from porn use for 3 weeks. Upon comparing the two groups, those who continued using pornography reported lower levels of commitment than those who tried to abstain.

      So studies 1 & 2 above showed significant changes in subjects after only 3 weeks of trying to eliminate porn. Note that the subjects were not porn addicts, yet experienced significant outcomes.

      3) “Unusual masturbatory practice as an etiological factor in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in young men (2014)” – One of the 4 case studies in this article reports on a man with porn-induced sexual problems (low libido, fetishes, anorgasmia). The sexual intervention called for a 6-week abstinence from porn and masturbation. After 8 months the man reported increased sexual desire, successful sex and orgasm, and enjoying “good sexual practices.

      4) Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports (2016) – An extensive review of the literature related to porn-induced sexual problems. Involving US Navy doctors, the review provides the latest data revealing a tremendous rise in youthful sexual problems. It also reviews the neurological studies related to porn addiction and sexual conditioning via Internet porn. The doctors provide 3 clinical reports of men who developed porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. Two of the three men healed their sexual dysfunctions by eliminating porn use. The third man experienced little improvement as he was unable to abstain from porn use.

      5) Male masturbation habits and sexual dysfunctions (2016) – It’s by a French psychiatrist who is the current president of the European Federation of Sexology. While the abstract shifts back and forth between Internet pornography use and masturbation, it’s clear that he’s mostly referring to porn-induced sexual dysfunctions (erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia). The paper revolves around his clinical experience with 35 men who developed erectile dysfunction and/or anorgasmia, and his therapeutic approaches to help them. The author states that most of his patients used porn, with several being addicted to porn. The abstract points to internet porn as the primary cause of the problems (keep in mind that masturbation does not cause chronic ED, and it is never given as a cause of ED).

      Bottom line: Only 5 studies had porn users stop using porn. All 5 report significant changes resulting from removing porn. That means porn use caused these issues or sexual dysfunctions.

  6. Ken says:

    Found the studies cited in this article of interest. Seems you can “develop a TINY subset” of human
    conditions very easily to “make a case” to justify a narrative.

    The Truth About How Porn Affects Your Sex Life
    Is porn addictive? Does it cause penis problems? Here’s what the research really shows
    BY JUSTIN LEHMILLER
    July 11, 2016
    http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/how-porn-affects-your-sex-life

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Thanks Ken. It seems like there are studies on both sides of the issue — but, wow, what a topic! It certainly seems to press everyone’s hot buttons. I read the article in your link, and I couldn’t help but notice that the author is also a syndicated columnist for Playboy. Possibly worth keeping in mind, as Playboy isn’t a philosophically neutral publication when it comes to porn. (This isn’t to discredit the author or the studies cited; just sayin’.)

    2. Gary Wilson says:

      To Ken: Justin Lehmiller cherry-picked a study or 2 for each claim, while purposely omitting the preponderance of published evidence. In fact, 3 of the studies cited do not support his claims. Reality – Multiple and varied studies refute his claims about porn. Let’s examine the facts as they are, with peer-reviewed papers to support these claims.

      Lehmiller Claim # 1: “Porn is not addictive.” He cites only Prause et al., 2015, while ignoring 24 neurological studies (and 6 recent reviews of the literature) that support the porn addiction model. The list is here – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users

      Contrary to her claims, Prause’s anomalous 2015 EEG study actually supports the porn addiction model. In the following link you will find 4 peer-reviewed papers that state that Prause et al. 2015 found desensitization in frequent porn users, thus supporting the porn addiction model. Link – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/modulation-late-positive-potentials-sexual-images-problem-users-and-controls-inconsistent-porn

      See my first post above in which I address Prause’s first 2013 EEG study. As pointed out by PhD’s and MD’s Prause misrepresented the findings of her 2013 study to the media. As pointed out by several neuroscientists (in 4 separate peer-reviewed critiques), Prause’s 2015 findings align with Kuhn & Gallinat 2014 brain scan findings, which found that more porn use correlated with less brain activation in response to pictures of vanilla porn. Names of the papers:
      1) Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015)
      2) Decreased LPP for sexual images in problematic pornography users may be consistent with addiction models. Everything depends on the model (2016)
      3) Neurobiology of Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Emerging Science (2016)
      4) Should compulsive sexual behavior be considered an addiction? (2016)

      The key point that Prause continues to ignore: If porn use had no effect on the Prause et al. subjects, we would expect controls and “porn addicts” to have the same LPP amplitude in response to sexual photos. But Prause’s “porn addicts” had lower EEG readings than controls, which equates to less attention, and less interest. Put simply, those who use more porn may need greater stimulation for the response level seen in lighter consumers, and photos of vanilla porn are unlikely to register as all that interesting to them.

      I’ll make this very clear – all neurological studies published to date support the porn addiction model, including Prause’s anomalous EEG study.
      ——————–

      Lehmiller Claim #4 – “No link between porn use and erectile functioning.” This is absolutely false. There are now over a dozen studies linking porn use or porn addiction to sexual dysfunctions and lower brain activation to sexual stimuli. In addition, 15 stduies link porn use to lower sexual and reltionship satisfaction. The list – http://yourbrainonporn.com/studies-reported-relationships-between-porn-use-or-porn-addictionsex-addiction-and-sexual

      For example – “Online sexual activities: An exploratory study of problematic and non-problematic usage patterns in a sample of men (2016).
      An excerpt: “This study is the FIRST study to directly investigate the relationships between sexual dysfunctions and problematic involvement in OSAs. Results indicated that higher sexual desire, lower overall sexual satisfaction, and lower erectile function were associated with problematic OSAs (online sexual activities).”

      Lehmiller cites two studies claiming to have investigated correlations between porn use and erectile functioning. Both cobbled together data from earlier studies in an unsuccessful attempt to debunk porn-induced ED. Both were criticized in the peer-reviewed literature:

      Paper 1 – (Prause & Pfaus 2015) was not an authentic study and none of its data aligns with the authors claims. Once again one of the authors made false public statement about its methodology and findings. You can read all about the unsupported claims, false statements, and missing data here http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/data-missing-findings-misrepresented
      A medical doctor critiques Prause & Pfaus 2015 in the peer-review literature – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sm2.71/full

      Paper 2 actually found correlations that support porn-induced ED. Moreover, paper 2 was only a “brief communication” that did not report important data. Link to a lay critique and a peer-reviewed critique here – http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/study-young-men-ed-rates-31-low-libido-37-it-cant-be-porn
      ——————————————-

      Lehmiller Claim # 5 – “porn is good for your relationship”. Once again Lehmiller cite a lone study, while ignoring the preponderance of evidence. See this same link for15 studies that reported links between porn use and lower relationship and sexual sanctification (scroll down). http://yourbrainonporn.com/studies-reported-relationships-between-porn-use-or-porn-addictionsex-addiction-and-sexual.

      For example, this study published a few weeks ago – “Does Viewing Pornography Reduce Marital Quality Over Time? Evidence from Longitudinal Data (2016)”. This is the first longitudinal study on a representative cross-section of married couples. It found significant negative effects of porn use on marriage quality over time. The author’s statistical analysis led him to conclude that porn use was a major cause (not merely correlation) of marital and sexual dissatisfaction.

      An Excerpt:
      “This study is the first to draw on nationally representative, longitudinal data (2006-2012 Portraits of American Life Study) to test whether more frequent pornography use influences marital quality later on and whether this effect is moderated by gender. In general, married persons who more frequently viewed pornography in 2006 reported significantly lower levels of marital quality in 2012, net of controls for earlier marital quality and relevant correlates. Pornography’s effect was not simply a proxy for dissatisfaction with sex life or marital decision-making in 2006. In terms of substantive influence, frequency of pornography use in 2006 was the second strongest predictor of marital quality in 2012.”
      ————————-

      Lehmiller claims about porn and rape/sexual violence are unsupported:

      1) Contrary to claims the last few decades have had the highest rates of sexual assault. See this study — How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis” (2014)

      2) Recent meta study debunks Lehmillers claim “A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies” (2015). Article about it – http://www.healthnewsline.net/porn-addiction-can-make-you-sexually-aggressive-study/2534376/
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      Lehmillers claims about improved attitudes or less misogyny are unsupported by the majority of the literature (if you cherry-pick you can prove anything). Here are just the studies on teens that don’t match Lehmiller’s claim:

      1- Adolescent Pornography Use and Dating Violence among a Sample of Primarily Black and Hispanic, Urban-Residing, Underage Youth (2015)
      2- Adolescent pornographic internet site use: a multivariate regression analysis of the predictive factors of use and psychosocial implications (2009)
      3- Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material and Notions of Women as Sex Objects: Assessing Causality and Underlying Processes (2009)
      4- Adolescents’ use of sexually explicit internet material and their sexual attitudes and behavior: Parallel development and directional effects (2015)
      5- Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects (2007)
      6- Antecedents of adolescents’ exposure to different types of sexually explicit Internet material: A longitudinal study (2015)
      7- Pornography use as a risk marker for an aggressive pattern of behavior among sexually reactive children and adolescents (2009)
      8- Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents (2013)
      9- Relationships among cybersex addiction, gender egalitarianism, sexual attitude and the allowance of sexual violence in adolescents (2007)
      10- Social bonds and Internet pornographic exposure among adolescents (2009)
      11- The influence of sexually explicit Internet material and peers on stereotypical beliefs about women’s sexual roles: similarities and differences between adolescents and adults (2011)
      12- The use of cyberpornography by young men in Hong Kong some psychosocial correlates (2007)
      13- Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents (2007)
      14- X-Rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media (2009)
      15- X-rated material and perpetration of sexually aggressive behavior among children and adolescents: is there a link? (2011)
      ———————————

  7. ben says:

    Good show, lot’s to think about… anyone know the name of the blonde in the episode picture above?

    Also, at the 5m22s mark, there was a mention of a reality tv show that interviewed a listener on the topic of nootropics. It’s coming up on a year, is there any link to the program available?

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      It was on MTV’s “True Life.” I must admit, I never watched it (not much of a reality TV guy), but here’s the link.

      1. ben says:

        Thanks, btw, there’s a new book (The Porn Myth by Matthew Fradd) that seems to take on the subject very scientifically!

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