Tag: pornography

Utah Declares War On Porn Epidemic

A colleague of mine wrote this excellent article published in Psychology Today on this proposed bill.

Utah Declares War On Porn Epidemic

Eye-with-the-word-sex-ref-011

David J. Ley Ph.d.

Utah state Senate resolution that porn is addictive and destructive to marriage

Utah Declares War on Porn Epidemic

Republican State Senator Todd Weiler in Utah has introduced a resolution to the Utah legislature, calling on the State to recognize and oppose the destructive, addictive nature of pornography. Disturbingly, this legislative action is based on hyperbole and morality, ignoring much of what is known about pornography and its effects. Further, the Senator’s resolution relies on pseudoscience in a manner which has no place in governmental action.

The full text of the bill is available.

The bill suggests that pornography represents a public health crisis, damaging teens’ brains, affecting the state of marriage, increasing rates of rape and sexual violence, and causing a host of other social problems. Weiler calls on the State Government of Utah to engage in education, research and prevention efforts to address this “epidemic.”

It would take far too long to address in entirety, each of the insubstantial claims made by Weiler’s resolution, but a few salient points are clear:

WHEREAS, this early exposure is leading to low self-esteem and body imagedisorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages, and an increased desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior;

Weiler suggests that pornography exposure causes low self-esteem in teens, and leads to risky sexual behaviors. In fact, a massive study in the United Kingdom, which reviewed over 40,000 research articles on the effects of porn on teens was unable to substantiate any such effects.  A longitudinal study conducted in the Netherlands found that pornography exposure in teens explained less than 1% of the behavior of such teens, including risky sexual behavior. Blaming porn for such problems is a distraction of the worst sort, ignoring the critical issues of education, poverty, family variables and substance use/mental health

WHEREAS, exposure to pornography often serves as childrens’ and youths’ sex education and shapes their sexual templates;

The Weiler resolution suggests that pornography often serves as sex education for teens and children. Here, surprisingly, we agree. Pornography unfortunately IS often a form of sex education for youth, most notably, when they have not received sex education which adequately prepares the youth for the world of modern sexuality. Weiler seems to be indicting the state of Utah’s sex education curriculum. One can only hope that he will thus support greater sex education efforts for youth in Utah. (Utah is currently embroiled in a battle against comprehensive sex education)

WHEREAS, recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically
addictive, which means the user requires more novelty, often in the form of more shocking material, in order to be satisfied;
WHEREAS, this biological addiction leads to increasing themes of risky sexual
behaviors, extreme degradation, violence, and child sexual abuse images and child pornography;

SCR 9 suggests that pornography use causes a biological addiction, which leads to desire for more extreme porn, and which causes sexual violence, including sexual abuse of children. Sadly, Weiler appears unaware of the wealth of research demonstrating that increased porn access in societies correlates strongly with a decrease in sexual violence and sexual crimes. Further, Weiler’s promotion of the concept of porn addiction in legislation, furthers psychological damage to the citizens of Utah. Research has shown that belief in porn addiction causes feelings of distress and depression, feelings unrelated to actual porn use.

WHEREAS, pornography use is linked to lessening desire in young men to marry,
dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity;
WHEREAS, this link demonstrates that pornography has a detrimental effect on the
family unit;

It’s in the final terms of Weiler’s bill though, where his conservative interests become most clear. Throughout the resolution, it is clear that Weiler believes that it is men who watch porn, and women who are abused by it. There is a pervasive heteronormative tone throughout the resolution, suggesting that Weiler’s main concern is that pornography decreases males’ interest in marrying women and having children. The fact that pornography is often a safe, healthy outlet for women, and for those who are not heterosexual, and live in socially conservative areas such as Utah, seems ignored.

There’s really little new in Weiler’s resolution. The Meese Commission, US Senate hearings by Sam Brownback, etc, have all involved political efforts to deem pornography as a public health issue. Pseudoscience such as sex addiction, or the famous testimony about “erototoxins” often makes an appearance, to support the moral agenda which is truly behind these politics. In Utah, groups such as Fight the New Drug are presenting similar morally-laden pseudoscience in public schools, in place of sexual education.

Utah is, according to numerous reports, one of the states with the highest rates of pornography use in the US. In 2013, Weiler introduced a similar resolution, which was passed by the Utah senate, declaring that pornography was a “gateway” behavior which affected teens’ brains. Clearly, Weiler, and the Utah Senate are concerned about what high rates of porn use in their state will do. Perhaps they should instead be wondering what it means, that so many in Utah are unable to express or understand their sexual desires, and turn to pornography as a private outlet. Utah remains committed to abstinence only sexual education, and prohibits teachers from instructing teens about contraception.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201601/utah-declares-war-porn-epidemic

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

http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Sex-Addiction-David-Ley/dp/1442213051/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450151095&sr=1-1&keywords=the+myth+of+sex+addiction

Videos-Candida Royalle-RIP-Tuesday-Sept 15-The Erotic Literary Salon-live

Porn star turned erotic feminist video producer and director, died too young this past week. She was the first to introduce couples-oriented pornography. Candice and I enjoyed a duet lap dance with Sex Therapist Mitch Tepper, while he was in his wheel chair. Hear the details – story at the next Salon, this Tuesday, September 15.

The Untold Story of Candida Royalle

Candida talks about Femme Productions: “I created the Femme line in order to put a woman’s voice to adult movies and give men something they could share with the woman in their life. I like to call my Femme movies “sensually explicit”, or as one viewer described them, the “Rx for couples”. You’ll find them to be less graphic and lacking in the traditional “money shot”, a staple of most adult films. You’ll also find story lines, good original music and real characters of all ages. Counselors often prefer to use my movies in their work with couples because of their “woman friendly” approach and what they call “positive sexual role modeling.” So if you’re looking for something both of you can enjoy, you’ve come to the right place!”

http://candidaroyalle.com/about-femme-productions/ – excerpt from her films.

Actress Candida Royalle

Feminist porn producer and director, Petra Joy’s article in her honor:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/11851832/Candida-Royalle-the-feminist-porn-queen-Im-missing-her-already.html

 

Tonight-The Erotic Literary Salon-Live, VIRTUAL-REALITY PORN IS COMING, AND YOUR FANTASIES MAY NEVER BE THE SAME

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Erotic Literary Salon, tonight in Philadelphia.

955318675886310719-erotic-literary-steamy.one-sixthWIRED

VIRTUAL-REALITY PORN IS COMING, AND YOUR FANTASIES MAY NEVER BE THE SAME by Peter Rubin

AS A KID, Ela Darling fell in love with the idea of virtual reality. This was the late ’90s, early 2000s; Johnny Mnemonic and the Nintendo Virtual Boy had already come and gone, and VR had moved from brain-busting sci-fi concept to schlocky punch line to faded cultural footnote. But still, Darling was an avid reader and D&D player, and the idea of getting lost in an immersive world—“making visual what I was already losing myself in books for,” as she puts it—was something she found not just exciting but romantic.

Not surprisingly for an active reader, Darling went on to get a master’s degree and become a librarian. Perhaps more surprisingly, she then stopped being a librarian and started acting in pornographic movies. (Yes, that means she officially became a sexy librarian. Fun fact: She has the Dewey decimal number for the Harry Potter books tattooed on her back.) And after a few years of bondage scenes, masturbation videos, and girl-on-girl movies, Darling attended the E3 videogame trade show and tried an early version of the Oculus Rift, the headset that jump-started the current VR revolution. “The first thing I think of when I hear of new technology,” she says, “is ‘How can I fuck with it?’ or ‘How can I let people watch me fucking on it?’ Usually there’s one or the other application if you think hard enough.” With Oculus, Darling didn’t have to think too hard at all; now, at 28, she’s busy forging a future as creative director (and star performer) of VRtube, a nascent online studio and distribution center for VR porn.

It’s not just enterprising actresses who think this way. Call it Rule 34a: Whenever a new media technology appears on the horizon, someone pops into a comment thread to say, “I can’t wait to see what the porn industry is gonna do with this.” And indeed, from VCRs to CD-ROMs to streaming video, nearly every home entertainment platform of the past 40 years was either popularized or downright pioneered by companies that could help people watch other people getting freaky. It generally works out well for everyone: If half of all videotapes for sale in the US in the late ’70s hadn’t been X-rated, it might have taken VCRs a lot longer to reach critical mass in the early ’80s.

Yet no visual technology has ever been so perfectly suited to sexual applications as VR. Yes, video brought sexually explicit content from theaters into homes, but virtual reality promises to eclipse even that shift. Historically, we’ve found titillation at a remove. In erotic woodcuts, DVDs, even streaming webcam shows, there’s a frame—whether a book, a Polaroid border, or a screen—through which we experience whatever it is that turns us on. VR is more than just another iteration. It doesn’t just change the frame. VR erases it. It allows us to exist inside the environment. The NSFW possibilities are endless. Yes, we’re at the dawn of this thing, and all the easy points of reference—Star Trek’s holodeck, the Matrix, Community’s Dreamatorium—are years of refinement and R&D away. The real question is what we’ll do in Year One.

Here’s what we’re not going to do: pull a Lawnmower Man. That is, we’re not going to put on full-body haptic suits, climb into gyroscopes, and transform ourselves into shimmering posthuman forms that overcome our bodily shackles and merge with one another in a transcendent liquid singularity. A huge part of the reason VR has finally tipped into mainstream consciousness is that it’s lightweight and low-­footprint: a headset display, some sort of input controller, and sound. Sure, the libidinally aspirational can shell out for omnidirectional treadmills and mo-cap harnesses to facilitate Peak Air-Hump. Japanese sex-toy company Tenga has even helped design a complicated prototype that syncs a virtual sex simulator with … well, you can imagine with what. But for the foreseeable future, VR will be aural and visual only; if localized tactile feedback is what you’re after, you’re gonna need to handle that yourself. (Good riddance, “teledildonics.” You’re the worst word ever, and you’ll be despised long after your passing.)

WITH VR, YOU’RE NOT WATCHING A SCENE ANYMORE.

YOU’RE INHABITING IT.

We’re also not going to lose ourselves in a panoply of CGI flesh calibrated to our every kink and whim. Not that people ­haven’t tried: The past two years of VR game development are littered with the husks of abandoned projects with names like Sinful Robot. The problem is, as their developers learned, creating a fluid 360-degree video­game is already difficult—and making it stereo­scopic and photo-realistic complicates things exponentially. Players can handle the janky facial animations in an action game like Far Cry 4 because they’re secondary to the purpose of the game (i.e., Shoot Everything). Certainly, depictions of sex can be arousing at low fidelity, as erotic comic books and vast swaths of hentai anime suggest. But obliterate the proscenium the way VR does and suddenly those lossy signals lead straight to the uncanny valley, that very unsexy place where things look sorta real but not real at all. The vast majority of VR-­capable “adult games” are Second Life–like knockoffs with graphics that look like waxy (and waxed) blow-up dolls. While a VR version of phone or FaceTime sex isn’t tenable yet—even if you could see each other, you’d have headsets on—the most promising avenue appears to be 360-degree 3-D video, like the kind some people are using to produce VR concert experiences or the projects showcased at Sundance’s New Frontiers program in January.

When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus RIft, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.
When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus Rift, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.

Regardless, what we are going to do is find something virtually (sorry) unheard-of in pornography: intimacy. The thing that’s going to take us there is “presence,” that phenomenon that occurs when head-tracking latency, screen quality, and processing wizardry combine to trick your brain into thinking that you’re existing in a virtual space, rather than just watching a screen that extends past the edges of your vision. If your brain believes it, your body reacts in kind—with all the responses that come along with that.

So if you’re standing at the edge of a skyscraper in VR and you lean over the side, you experience vertigo. If you’re in a darkened corridor on an alien spaceship and you hear a rustle behind you, you freak the fuck out—full, heart-pounding fight-or-flight response. If you’re sitting in a musician’s apartment while he noodles on a piano, his dog sleeping behind you on the hardwood floor, you feel serene. (This isn’t speculation; I’ve done all those things in various VR environments—some CG, some video—and I’ve had all those reactions.)

The big question is whether sexual content in VR will induce the same reptile-brain response. Ela Darling would certainly like to know. She found like-minded colleagues last year when they posted on Reddit about wanting to make VR porn. They flew her from California to Maryland last April; in true tech startup fashion, they turned out to be 20-year-old college students. (“It was very Weird Science,” Darling says.) Nonetheless, they shot a test scene in their dorm room. Rather than invest in an array of pricey high-end Red cameras like many other fledgling VR video companies, they went decidedly DIY, taping together two GoPro cameras to create a stereo­scopic 3-D image with a wide field of view on the cheap. (Again in true tech startup fashion, Darling initially wore an R2-D2 swimsuit.) After she flew back to LA, one of the students emailed her; he’d finished processing the test scene and was so blown away by the result that he wanted her to be a partner in the venture. “This is unlike any porn I’ve seen,” he wrote. “It’s like I’m watching an actual person.”

More great articles: http://www.wired.com/2015/02/vr-porn/