Tag: addiction

Tonight-Dec 15-The Erotic Literary Salon-Live, Your Belief in Porn Addiction Makes Things Worse

Tonight – http://theeroticsalon.com/category/press-release/

Your Belief in Porn Addiction Makes Things Worse

Sexual Addiction

The label of “porn addict” causes depression but porn watching doesn’t.
By David J. Ley Ph.D

Porn addiction is the idea that people (namely men) can become addicted to the widespread pornography, now so easily available on the Internet. You can’t turn over a rock these days, without finding some article, website, advocacy group, or therapist, claiming that porn addiction is a dangerous public health problem. The concept of porn addiction has a self-sustaining momentum, with online self-help groups, websites, TED talks, nonprofit groups, discussion boards and television shows, all promoting the idea that pornography triggers reward processes in the brain, and thus has the potential to become an addictive, destructive behavior. But, in recent years, chips have begun to appear in the facade of this monolithic morally-based concept.

In January 2015, Joshua Grubbs of Case Western, published (link is external)powerful research showing that seeing oneself as a porn addict was predicted not by how much porn one views, but by the degree of religiosity and moral attitudes towards sex. Now(link is external), Grubbs has published explosive follow-up research, demonstrating that believing oneself is addicted to porn actually causes pain and psychological problems, in contrast to the idea that identifying as a porn addict is a part of a road to recovery.

//creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Snake-oil tonics and treatments – not a thing of the past.
Source: By Mister Serum (The snake oil serum) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Grubbs is a careful and thorough researcher, whose methodology is always well-planned and detailed. He’s not a “one and done” kind of researcher. Instead, his research often involves multiple connected studies, which serve to demonstrate the replicability of his findings, and offer the ability to follow threads of causality and theory through multiple groups and strategies. This study is no exception.

Grubbs started with a large cross-section of adults (1,047 total; 619 women, 422 men, six prefer not to say) drawn from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (link is external)workforce database. 713 of these participants acknowledged using porn in the past year (338 women, 370 men, five prefer not to say). Researchers then assessed frequency of pornography use and perceived addiction to pornography, by looking at self-perceived compulsivity, how much effort the person puts into viewing porn, and degree of emotional distress related to porn use. Next, researchers identified several components of psychological distress, including depressionstress and anxiety. Finally, they measured personality traits, to ensure that they could rule out effects of personality, from the effects of pornography, and perceived porn addiction.

In these data, daily porn use was weakly related to feelings of anger. But, seeing oneself as a porn addict was strongly correlated with depression, anxiety, anger and stress. The effects of personality traits such as neuroticism, which would predict higher levels of negative emotional states, regardless of other issues, were statistically managed to assure that the effects detected were related to the variables of perceived porn addiction.

Grubbs’ team then replicated this study with another cross-sectional pool of participants, this time from three different universities. Out of 3,055 students assessed, 1,215 (396 women, 816 men, three prefer not to say) admitted to using porn in the past year. Results supported again that actual porn use had no reliable relationship to emotional issues, but perceiving oneself as addicted to porn did (again, anxiety, anger, stress, and especially depression were predicted by how strongly someone felt they were addicted to porn).

Cross-sectional research design is a common limitation to interpreting causality, especially in research with porn or sex. Cross-sectional research only allows a “snapshot in time” and cannot truly reveal causation or “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” So, Grubbs’ team then did a one-year follow-up on the students. Longitudinal research in this manner is the gold-standard for better understanding what things actually cause the problems, as opposed to merely finding a correlation.

392 of the students were eligible for the one year follow-up, and 106 completed the follow-up assessment. While that might seem like a small number for follow-up, analyses between this group and the other baseline participants showed that there were no significant differences. Thus, this followed-up sample is a good representation of the larger group.

Analyses confirmed that the self-perception as a porn addict predicted distress one year later, where either porn use or personality characteristics did not. If someone believed they were a sex addict, this belief predicted downstream psychological suffering, no matter how much, or how little, porn they were actually using.

This means that the large-scale promotion of the concept of “porn addiction,” in the media, on the Internet, by self-proclaimed experts and by an industry that preys off of an unrecognized disorder, appear to actually be hurting people. By telling people that their use of porn constitutes a disease, they are promulgating suffering and anxiety, instilling into people that their use of pornography means there is something wrong with them, and that this use has potentially dire consequences.

The word iatrogenic(link is external) describes illnesses or damages that are acquired as a result of treatment. If you go into a hospital for an appendectomy, and get a staph infection in the hospital, that’s iatrogenic harm. The porn addiction treatment model is iatrogenic, creating harm under the guise of providing treatment and support.

//creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Source: By Nik Azwaa Azmi from Ampang, Malaysia (Snake Oil) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The model of porn addiction is one which serves many people, those who sell treatments for it, those who believe that sex and porn should be feared or controlled, and those who believe that they are helping others by spreading the word about the dangers of porn addiction. Unfortunately, this concept is now shown to do a disservice to the very people it purports to help.

It’s no surprise to me that the label of porn addicts predicts fear, distress, depression and anger. Over recent years, I’ve seen many vulnerable people call themselves a porn addict, with much shame and fear, despite using less porn than many other people. As with Grubbs’ research, I’ve found that this self-imposed label has much to do with moral values about sex and pornography, and often comes from an impoverished understanding of human sexuality. People walk into my office reporting this, and contact me online, after they’ve been shamed and labelled in online discussion groups. When one has little understanding that ALL people struggle at times with their sexual desires, it’s very easy to listen to moralizing proclaimers of doom, and declare one’s sexual desires to be abnormal and unhealthy.

The large industry of intertwined media, therapists, coaches and advocates who have obsessively and gleefully promoted the idea that porn is addictive, claim that they help people by providing an explanation and an intervention for the problems related to porn. In response to Grubbs’ findings, it’s now their obligation to demonstrate empirically that their label, their treatments and their theories are beneficial. Because right now, the evidence suggests that their treatment is hurting people.

The people who are making money and fame from the idea of porn addiction may claim that science hasn’t looked at their theories the right way – or looked at the right people. They may try to discredit the work done by Grubbs, and challenge his findings. These proponents of porn addiction treatment will have to produce real research that supports their actual work, rather than mere extrapolations from other findings. Until then, the model of porn addiction is an unethical, harmful treatment which exploits people, just like the hucksters who sold snake oil and things like radioactive (link is external)materials as medicine were engaged in harmful, dangerous and illegal practice.

Read More:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201509/your-belief-in-porn-addiction-makes-things-worse

The Myth of Sex Addiction By David. J. Ley


Everything We Think About Porn is Wrong

Excellent article regarding Porn, originally printed by the Good Men Project, taken from The Daily Dot.


As a woman, and a person who talks a lot about sex, there are two things I’ve heard repeatedly about pornwomen don’t watch it, and feminists want to destroy it. These statements are both semi-correct and completely ludicrous, and as such are symptomatic of a larger problem: the whole porn conversation is ineffective and misleading. I’ll explain.


When we talk about porn, we usually fail to adequately address agency and the complexity of human sexuality. In doing so, we prevent any real progress or sexual liberation across the gendered spectrum. The way we think about porn is wrong, and assigning blame to either men as a group or the porn industry as a whole will foster neither critical conversation nor durable solutions to issues of sexual repression, violence against women and men, or exploitation. It is imperative that we start changing our conversation, beginning with the way we talk to young people, especially boys, about sex.


A large proportion of anti-pornography rhetoric from activists, feminists, and the average anti-porn human centers around the idea porn is a qualitatively male endeavor that caters specifically to the twisted sexual desires of men at the expense of women’s agency and sexuality. It is this idea that has led to a burgeoning humor industry of “porn for women,” including pictures of half-dressed men doing domestic activities. It’s funny because, obviously, women can’t possibly be aroused by or interested in consuming sexual materials in the same ways that men can.

Here’s the thing about “porn for women”: it already exists. It’s called porn—and it’s on the Internet. For some reason, no one wants to talk about the fact that women watch porn, too—and a lot of the time, it is the same porn men are watching. Though there are a whole host of politicians, religious leaders, and parents who want to convince you otherwise, women are humans and, therefore, are sexual beings. As such, many women need and want sexual outlets in the same ways that many men do. Even more importantly, many of these women and men are curious about sexual exploration and are turning to porn to find answers.

One of the greatest constraints to acknowledgement of this fact is that we as a collective society make every attempt to desexualize young people of all genders at the expense of both comprehensive sex education and validation of natural sexual feelings. Our rhetoric around youth and sex is dangerously misguided: sex is introduced as a solely reproductive act along with a myriad of strategies used to prevent you from doing it. STDs. Depression. Religious and familial ostracism. Damaged reputation. Pregnancy and teenage fatherhood. Destruction of marriage potential.

The general shaming of sexuality of young people runs concurrent to a world oversaturated in commercial sexuality, and yet we keep our friends, our families, and ourselves as non-sexual as possible despite clear biological sexual imperatives and cultural motivations. We raise our children to call their genitals by “cute” and unrelated names. We police clothing at school to keep boys from the uncontrollable sexual temptation of possibly seeing a shoulder. We instill early in girls a sinister and pervasive message: you are only worth as much as your sexuality, and thus, you should keep it “pure,” and private.

From the time we are born until we are old enough to independently consume sexual materials, we are discouraged from all sexual outlets or inquisitions. Masturbation is shameful, sexual thoughts are impure, natural sexual interest should be suppressed. The result of this process is the mass consumption of a free and secret sexual outlet: porn.


I am not arguing the semantics of at what age one is old enough to watch porn, nor am I advocating that we should oversaturate youth with porn or encourage anyone to have sex before they are ready. However, I do think that our approach to youth and sexuality is in part responsible for the problems in our porn culture that expose us to unrealistic and harmful ideals about our bodies and our sex lives. Porn perhaps reflects these problems, but I would argue that it certainly doesn’t cause them.

When we seek to completely restrict access to realistic approaches to sexuality, we force both the earliest sex education and sexual expression into a clandestine sphere controlled by mass media. Of course, porn provides young men and women with unrealistic, harmful expectations, and a lot of the time it is simulated sex, but the problem is that no one has ever told them any differently.

By restricting access to sexuality, I don’t mean suddenly telling eleven-year-olds that they should go have sex. I mean the cultural refusal to acknowledge the fact that at some point, a large proportion of young humans develop sexual urges and that our response to this thus far has been complete and total repression. We don’t talk to our kids about sex, unless it’s the  “when two people love each other” conversation. We don’t talk about the fact that bodies are weird and do weird things. We don’t talk about consent, we don’t talk about the vast scope of sexual possibility in both desire and act, we don’t engage in conservation about real bodies, real needs, and real consequences.

We don’t talk about sexual violence (against all sexes) or what to do if you and a partner have divergent sexual interests, or the fact that most people’s breasts and testicles are actually different sizes, that everyone enjoys different sexual things, or that on average, hard penises aren’t actually nine-inches long. Instead, we leave those we are responsible for educating to a world devoured by dressed-up, photoshopped, and scripted sex in an attempt to protect them from…from what? From the truth?

As Candice Holdorf writes in the Good Men Project, “I feel that porn limits us when we view it as the ultimate authority on sexuality. For those whose only sex education is pornography, sex must equal a penis entering a vagina, a big-busted women screaming as if she’s in the midst of an apoplectic attack, an impossibly endowed men pounding her like a jackhammer and both of them cumming (hard) at the same time, preferably with jiz  everywhere (especially on her face).”

Why are we relying on the capitalist media enterprise to falsely educate us about sexuality and then blaming the industry when they do just that? This is a great disservice, and our shifting of blame entirely onto pornography reads as little more than a self-diversion from our own failings.


Many (but not all) of the problems with porn culture can be understood as the consequence of a perfect storm. When our failure to have real conversations about sex and the permeation of violence, classism, racism, and sexism into the sex industry combine, the result is a culture with the potential to distort sex, misinform sexual consumers, and endanger men and women.

But here’s the thing about “the porn issue”: the porn issue isn’t really about porn. The issues of dehumanization, violence, racism, classism, and sexism in the sex industry are devastating and require impassioned opposition. The goal should be the destruction of power asymmetries, and as such advocacy should strive towards a sex industry that engages only willing and voluntary agents into non-coerced sexual activity.

But advocacy should also celebrate liberated, consensual sexuality. Many of the inequality problems within porn are resonating elsewhere as well, as they are symptoms of a larger exploitative socioeconomic, gendered, and race-based structure. The contention that consenting adults performing in filmed sexual acts that are available for public consumption is somehow immoral is itself anti-feminist, as it deprives the actors of agency over their bodies as well as perpetuates a highly anti-feminist view that a woman’s value is inherently degraded by mass consumption of their sexuality.

Turning our lens of blame to pornography for its universal and incontestable “exploitation of women” infantilizes the myriad of women who want to be in the sex industry (see: Wendy McElroy’s work) and those who consume porn—and weren’t forced by men to do either. Pornography itself isn’t the problem; the problem is that these dangerous elements are not being combated within the sex industry. Clearly, the solution is not prohibition.

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/everything-we-think-about-porn-is-wrong/

Meredith Loken is a Seattle-based Ph.D student, sexual violence researcher, sex-positive feminist, and cat enthusiast. She can be reached for comment at mmloken@gmail.com. This article was originally featured on the Good Men Project and republished with permission.

Photo via Crysco Photography/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Sex Addiction Does Not Appear To Be A Disorder, UCLA Study Says (VIDEO)

Within the sexological community the sex addiction model is a contentious one. I have always believed people are responsible for their behavior. Self-identifying as a sex addict often stems from that individual’s sex partner not wanting as much sex as they do or feeling an internal drive or urge for sex and not handling these feelings within the framework of what society consider’s a ‘normal’ situation.

Even the DSM-5 did not include sex addiction in their recently revised edition.


Excerpts from article on recent sex addiction research:

Celebrities Tiger Woods, Russell Brand and David Duchovny all blamed their copious amounts of sex on a disorder: sex addiction.

But UCLA researchers say sex addiction does not appear to be a disorder, according to their study, which appears in the current online edition of the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology.

The study involved 39 men and 13 women who reported having problems controlling their viewing of sexual images. UCLA scientist Nicole Prause and her colleagues monitored the volunteers’ brains while showing them erotic images.

“If they indeed suffer from hypersexuality, or sexual addiction, their brain response to visual sexual stimuli could be expected to be higher, in much the same way that the brains of cocaine addicts have been shown to react to images of the drug in other studies,” a UC press release on the study explained.

And yet, that did not happen. Instead of being caused by an actual disorder, hypersexuality may be a result of having a high libido, Prause said.

“Potentially, this is an important finding,” she said in the press release. “It is the first time scientists have studied the brain responses specifically of people who identify as having hypersexual problems.”

Tristan Taormino – BDSM Addiction – Dr. Hernando Chaves

‘The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey,’ was a talk given by Tristan Taormino at the University of Maryland along with Q&A. Dr. Hernando Chaves’ answer to “Can BDSM by Addictive” is one of the best I have read from a sexology professional. There is much controversy in the field regarding sex addiction and whether it even exists. I agree with Dr. Chaves, “So when someone comes along and says that BDSM play is addictive, ask them to accurately define kink addiction, ask for empirical evidence to support their perspective, and be skeptical.”


Can BDSM be Addictive?

By Dr. Hernando Chaves’ (Hernando Chaves, M.F.T., D.H.S., Licensed CA Marriage and Family Therapist, Doctor of Human Sexuality, and Human Sexuality Professor. Follow Dr. Chaves on Twitter @Hernando_Chaves)


“I (Tristan Taormino) asked my colleague Dr. Hernando Chaves to respond to this one. He says:”

I’m not in favor of the addiction term being used with any sexual expression for a number of reasons. It can promote the use of pejorative sex negative terminology, the creation and/or reinforcement of negative sexual identity, alleviate responsibility of choices and actions, and the inability of professionals to agree on an accurate definition of sexual addiction or testing measures as well as limited, controversial data and evidence supporting sexual addiction makes this a difficult concept to support. With so much uncertainty, it’s more harmful than helpful to attribute addiction to unique sexual expression.

That being said, I understand some people use their sexual expression in a manner that is out of control, compulsive, or as a way to cope with difficulties and unresolved issues in their lives. For most, sexual expression is an enhancer to pleasure and happiness. For some, their sexual expression is linked to pain and suffering, but not the good kind of pain and suffering that many in the BDSM community understand can be central to arousal, pleasure, and enjoyment. The untrained outside observer may see pain and suffering, even label it as abusive, and deem these sexual behaviors as problematic, symptomatic, and related to a disorder. They may miss the importance of consent and may not be able to differentiate the intent as coming from a place of empowerment, intimacy, satisfaction, or mutual pleasure.

Can BDSM, like food, gambling, Facebook, and video games, be misused to where it can become a problem? I would argue that BDSM cannot be addictive, but anything can become problematic if misused.

Read entire answer: