Beware These Skewed Statistics About Porn “Addiction”

Truthiness in porn statisticsGail Dines is doing the rounds and she’s back in Australia promoting censorship of porn, saying that “there is no room for porn in a just society.” The response to that is a whole other blog post (although I have 2 comments on that story).

Today Joel Tozer, a freelance writer, offers his reply to Dines’ piece here. And while it’s mostly OK, I’ve got a problem with his basic assumption that porn is “addictive” and his use of a University of Sydney study to back it up.

Firstly, there is no scientific consensus on the topic of “porn addiction”. There is no diagnosis of pornography addiction in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Porn is not inherently “addictive” although some people may develop behavioural compulsions with it. The phrase “porn addiction” has become widespread thanks to its use by fundamentalist Christian organisations offering “cures” and anti-porn conservatives. It’s not helped by the numerous pseudo-psychological articles found online and the media’s constant unquestioning use of the term.

The whole dirty ball of lint will then be expanded by a piece of research which has been conducted by Gomathi and Raj Sitharthan at the University of Sydney. I can see that their preliminary statistics are about to propagate throughout the media and become a new “truth” about porn, even though their research doesn’t come close to being the whole story.

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To quote from the Joel’s article:

A world-first study in Sydney has found that almost half of all adults first watched pornography between the ages of 11 and 13…

Preliminary results from the University of Sydney study show many men, and women, are spending massive amounts of time and money viewing porn. Of more than 700 adult Australians surveyed, about one-third looked at internet porn three to five times a week, while 28 per cent look at it almost every day – half of them for between 30 minutes and three hours. A few are spending up to 14 hours watching porn.

Co-researcher Professor Raj Sitharthan says many are becoming addicted to the safety of online pornography to the point where some are unable to achieve orgasm during intercourse.

Here’s the thing the article doesn’t tell you: that university study was created specifically to study “porn addiction”. It’s basic premise was that porn addiction is real and it sought to find participants who felt they had a problem with porn.

Here’s the abstract, taken from this University of Sydney Page:

The Impact of Internet Pornography
The purpose of this research is to further our understanding of Internet Pornography Addiction/ Problematic Internet-Enabled Sexual Behaviours .The study is exploring the support / treatment currently available for internet pornography addiction. The investigation is also exploring help seeking behaviour for internet pornography addiction and the barriers to seeking assistance.

When you click through to the survey, the questions are very specific in their tone. Under the heading of “The Impact of Internet Pornography”, the questions are:

How often do you find that you stay on-line longer than you intended?
How often do you neglect household chores to spend more time on-line?
How often do you prefer the excitement of the Internet to intimacy with your partner?
How often do you form new relationships with fellow on-line users?
How often do others in your life complain to you about the amount of time you spend on-line?
How often do your grades or school work suffer because of the amount of time you spend on-line?
How often do you check your e-mail before something else that you need to do?
How often does your job performance or productivity suffer because of the Internet?
How often do you become defensive or secretive when anyone asks you what you do on-line?

And that’s just the first page of questions. There’s another page of very similar questions before things get specific about first use of porn, what kind of porn is used etc.

I actually wanted to take part in this survey because I thought it might be about porn use. When I encountered those first biased questions I realised that I did not not fulfil their criteria – or their agenda. So I filled it out anyway, hoping to at least even up their figures a little bit.

By the way, question 41 is “Would you like to seek professional assistance to manage your dependence viewing pornographic materials?”

Question 42 says “If you answered Yes to question 41, how would you like to receive assistance to manage your dependence on pornographic materials:
* send me booklets
* via the internet
* face-to-face individual counselling
* group counseling

So, it’s pretty clear that this is not research about porn use. It’s research about porn “addiction” and one of its aims is finding the best way to cure that “addiction”.

The problem with today’s SMH article is that the figures produced by this survey are being quoted out of context. The statistics are being used to imply that ALL Australians accessed porn early and that lots of people have some kind of problem with it or use it constantly. The article doesn’t acknowledge that the survey was designed to find people who already thought they had some kind of problem with it.

Now, watch the truthiness propagate out. These figures will start to pop up in mainstream media outlets without any fact checking. They’ll be repeated ad nauseum until it becomes The Truth.

Unfortunately, this is often the problem with a lot of research into porn. It often approaches the subject as if porn use is a problem that needs to be solved, or it has an anti-porn slant. This is why I’m really looking forward to the results of the Pornography Research Online study being conducted by Clarissa Smith, Feona Attwood and Martin Barker, three UK academics who are interested in studying porn use. They want to be as objective as they can with the results.

If you haven’t already, I recommend you take their private and confidential survey.

I also recommend the Sexademic’s excellent debunking of the “addiction” myth here.

Related posts:

16 Replies to “Beware These Skewed Statistics About Porn “Addiction””

  1. Well, I have to say that my partner of five years prefers watching internet porn and linking hot porn videos on a daily basis, rather than having sex with me. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a hot couple, and sex is incredible, when it happens. We enjoying watching porn together. I guess my question is, can viewing porn for hours on a daily basis, for a man, can somewhat de-sensitize their need for sex with their partner? We are both 50+, in great shape, and look younger that our years. But, how do we, as women, compete with these 20 year olds that our partners love to watch, and get off on?

    1. Anakis, I said above that some people may develop behavioural compulsions when it comes to porn. As the Sexademic points out, obsessive behaviour can be the result of stress, procrastination or it is a simple personality trait. If your partner is watching hours of porn every day and it’s getting in the way of your relationship then that’s a problem. You need to tell him that it’s making you unhappy and you feel insecure because of it. If you can watch porn together and have good sex, that’s fine. It just sounds like he’s spending TOO much time on it. He needs to cut back. And maybe you should see a counsellor about your relationship.

      And I’m only offering that as vague advice, I’m not a trained psychologist, by the way.

  2. A couple things; in the DSM5, they’re proposing a new disorder called Hypersexual Disorder, which funnily enough includes Pornography Addiction. Colour me sceptical, but I think there has been a big push to have this included.

    Second, Ms Dines’ presentations in Sydney and Melbourne, she’ll be showing the usual stuff we’ve seen on “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!”, right? Um, isn’t it illegal to publicly screen X-rated material in Victoria and NSW? Wouldn’t it be a shame if the police were tipped off and she was charged, especially inside NSW Parliament House? Just sayin’ ya know…

    1. It’s still only “proposed” and, just going by Wikipedia, they’re very careful about saying it’s not “addiction”.

      You’re right about it being illegal to screen x-rated material. Of course, she might get away with it because it’s “academic”. I know I got to see lots of fab porn at the Erotics Conference in Brisbane. It’s because we academics are higher beings who can cope with seeing porn. Fiona Patten has pointed out that Senator Brian Harradine had a public porn screening at Parliament House in Canberra in 2000 in order to scuttle the introduction of the “non violent erotica” classification. She says they enjoyed a fine selection of transexual porn on that occasion.

  3. Good advise, Ms. Naughty, on my previous post. My partner has been a videographer and cameraman for many years, and now has a desire to shoot amateur porn videos. He has advertised on many porn sites as well as his own blog. Of course, I discovered this on my own; as he has many monikers. He has never said a word to me previously, until I called him on it, recently. I believe there is a trust issue here. He calls porn his hobby, and his alone. My comment is probably off-topic, but would welcome any input.

  4. Heavy porn users report having all the characteristics of those addicted to drugs. Nearly every self-identified “porn addict” we have communicated with (1,000’s) can answer yes to all seven questions below. What other possible brain mechanisms, other than an addiction process, could be responsible for symptoms that exactly match drug addiction. It is well established by researchers that both chemical and behavioral addictions involve the same pathways and similar mechanisms. In fact, pathological gambling will be placed in the addiction category in the new DSM.

    If you answered yes to at least 3 of these questions, then you meet the medical definition of addiction. This definition is based on the of American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) and the World Health Organization (ICD-10) criteria.

    1) Tolerance. Has your use increased over time (escalation)?

    2) Withdrawal. When you stop using, have you ever experienced physical or emotional withdrawal? Have you had any of the following symptoms: irritability, anxiety, shakes, headaches, sweats, nausea, or vomiting?

    3) Difficulty controlling your use. Do you sometimes use more or for a longer time than you would like? Do you stop after a few drink usually, or does one drink lead to more drinks?

    4) Negative consequences. Have you continued to use even though there have been negative consequences to your mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family?

    5) Neglecting or postponing activities. Have you ever put off or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of your use?

    6) Spending significant time or emotional energy. Have you spent a significant amount of time obtaining, using, concealing, planning, or recovering from your use? Have you spend a lot of time thinking about using? Have you ever concealed or minimized your use? Have you ever thought of schemes to avoid getting caught?

    7) Desire to cut down. Have you sometimes thought about cutting down or controlling your use? Have you ever made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use?

    Addiction processes is the only physiological choice available to explain these common symptoms. There would need to be a yet undiscovered evolved pathway only for porn. Whic there is not. What possible common brain mechanism you propose to explain the signs and symptoms of an addiction?

    The definitive physiological sign that Internet porn dependency involves addiction mechanisms is that nearly 100% of self-identified porn addicts report significant and multiple withdrawal symptoms.

    Ockham’s razor leads to only one connclusion

  5. Response to Sexademic.
    As far as Sexademic, she purposely omits established facts and weaves half truths to convince (or confuse) those who don’t understand the neurobiology of addiction.

    If you don’t want the gory details, Sexademic arguments against the existence of porn addiction are based the following false premises:
    1) Addictions to natural rewards (Interent porn, Junk food, gambling) involve different neurological mechanisms.
    – False: All addictions involve the same brain pathways and mechanisms.

    2) Dopamine is not involved with both behavioral and chemical addictions
    – False: All addictions involved dopamine activation and then dopamine dysregulation.

    3) Sexual stimulation (viewing porn) and orgasm do not involve dopamine
    – False: Sexual stimulation increases dopamine levels higher than any natural reward. Orgasm cannot occur without dopamine.

    4) Novelty does not raise dopamine.
    – False: This is an established fact.
    ———————————————
    This is from Dr. Nora Volkow, Head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and one of the top addiction researchers in the world.:
    In recognition of the change in the understanding of natural addiction, advocating changing the name of the NIDA to the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction, as quoted in the journal Science: “NIDA Director Nora Volkow also felt that her institute’s name should encompass addictions such as pornography, gambling, and food, says NIDA adviser Glen Hanson. She would like to send the message that [we should] look at the whole field.'”

    This is a question to Eric J Nestler, one of the top 5 addiction researchers in the world. QUESTION: Do these changes occur naturally in your brain without the influence of a drug of abuse?
    ANSWER: . “It is likely that similar brain changes occur in other pathological conditions which involve the excessive consumption of natural rewards, conditions such as pathological over-eating, pathological gambling, sex addictions, and so on.” .
    ——————————————–
    Here are just a few of Sexademics purposeful “mistakes” (Citations upon request) to confuse the uninformed:
    1) Her primary claim is that is that dopamine isn’t about pleasure (which it is not) so it cannot be involved with porn addiction. WTF? Heroin, alcohol, cocaine all cause “pleasure”. Feel free to Google dopamine and addiction and try to find one person that agrees that dopamine is not involved with addiction.
    Simplified: All addictions involve dopamine dysregulation. Dopamine is the craving molecule. It is all about motivating you to have sex, eat, fall in love. Without it you would not masturbate, watch porn, eat, or even drink water. Of course dopamine is not the final pathway for reward. This has been common knowledge for twenty years.

    2) She implied dopamine was not related to sexual behavior.
    FACT: Dopamine is necessary for sexual desire and sexual motivation. If “reward circuitry” (nucleus accumbens, or hypothalamic) dopamine is experimentally blocked or inhibited in animals there is no sexual activity. FACT: Dopamine is necessary for activation of the penile erection centers in the brain. Inhibit the dopamine and it inhibits erections.

    3) She said there was doubt about dopamine and addiction.
    FACT: No one agrees with her. Addiction researchers (especially Nora Volkow, the head of NIDA) all agree that ALL addictions start with dopamine dysregulation (decline in D2 receptors, higher D1 receptors, and lower dopamine in response to natural stimuli).

    4) She implied that porn addiction could be different in mechanisms.
    FACT: Addiction researchers (especially Nora Volkow, the head of NIDA) agree that both natural addictions (food, Internet porn, gambling) and drug addiction involve the same mechanisms and pathways, starting with dopamine dysregulation. There are 3,000 research studies on dopamine and addiction, so there must be something to it. (SEE VOLKOW above)

    5) Sexademic suggested that novelty (as in porn) does not activate dopamine. A LIE: In fact, dopamine levels do spike in response to both novelty and seeking. This is why some addiction researchers want to rename the “reward circuitry”, the “seeking circuitry.”
    Dopamine’s response to novelty, seeking, and surprise is exactly what makes Internet porn different from porn of the recent past, such as magazines or even DVDs. With fast connections and free porn, a user can constantly activate the dopamine system by switching scenes, or genres of porn. With each new scene or flavor of porn the user gets a hit of dopamine.

    6) Sexademic claims that dopamine may not lead to orgasm:
    FACT: Dopamine levels continue to rise up until orgasm and immediately drop. Animals are given drugs that mimic dopamine to produce erections and copulation. Orgasm does not happen without dopamine (Sexademic cites a 1977 paper as evidence- and it doesn’t support her).

    7) She purposely leaves out research on dopamine receptors. Although she is correct in that some people have lower D2 receptors prior to developing an addiction, new research shows that overconsumption of junk food can do the same. The new model is that excessive consumption of natural rewards can desensitize the pleasure response of the brain (lower dopamine D2 receptors).

    8) She uses the non-scientific term “burnout” to try to denigrate those who say porn can be addictive. FACT: I’ve never heard of “burn out”. But I think she may be referring to desensitization, which begins with a decline in D2 receptors, which happens in all addictions. This leads to tolerance and the need for greater and greater stimulation. Heavy porn users comment on the need for more “extreme” versions of porn (tolerance) in order to get the same excitement, or erections, or masturbate (desensitization).

    1. My response to your assertions is the same as Jessi’s: Citation needed.
      http://sexademic.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/explaining-porn-watching-with-science/#comment-1395

      I’m not really seeing anything to conclusively back up your claim that the “addiction pathways” are the same.

      Your list from the DSM could be used to discuss any form of addictive OR obsessive behaviour.

      I’m going with the qualified sexologist and the peer-reviewed studies on this one.

  6. Thank you for not blocking my response to your request for citations. Sexademic posted “citation needed” on her website under my post, then immediately blocked me from posting. Very sad tactic. I never knew she existed until she started posting on our Blogs.

    Since all of my points are common knowledge in the addiction science field, it’s a bit hard to choose citations. The burden of proof is on Sexademic since she is proposing a new theory of addiction that does not involve dopamine dysregulation, and she believes there are new undiscovered pathways for behavioral addictions that do not involve dopamine. She seems to be saying that eating, sex and orgasm don’t involve dopamine. Another bizarre claim is if something causes pleasure (sexual stimulation and orgasm) it can’t be addictive.

    I’ll go in the same sequence as above. Please be aware that addiction research includes thousands of studies that negate her rather hard to follow claims.

    FIRST GROUP OF NUMBERS (1-4 False premises): You need go no further than the first two quotes to end sexademics claims. I’ll provide citations for the first false premises sexademic presents.
    ———————————
    1) IN FACT, ALL ADDICTIONS INVOLVE CHANGES IN THE SAME BRAIN PATHWAYS AND MECHANISMS.

    “NIDA Director Nora Volkow also felt that her institute’s name should encompass addictions such as pornography, gambling, and food, says NIDA adviser Glen Hanson.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/317/5834/23.1.citation (have to pay for this one)

    This is a question to Eric J Nestler, one of the top 5 addiction researchers in the world.
    QUESTION: Do these changes occur naturally in your brain without the influence of a drug of abuse?
    ANSWER: . “It is likely that similar brain changes occur in other pathological conditions which involve the excessive consumption of natural rewards, conditions such as pathological over-eating, pathological gambling, sex addictions, and so on.”
    http://neuroscience.mssm.edu/NeuroscienceLabs/NestlerLab/faq.php

    Introduction to Behavioral Addictions (2010)
    http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00952990.2010.491884
    Growing evidence suggests that behavioral addictions resemble substance addictions in many domains, including natural history, phenomenology, tolerance, comorbidity, overlapping genetic contribution, neurobiological mechanisms, and response to treatment, supporting the DSM-V Task Force proposed new category of Addiction and Related Disorders encompassing both substance use disorders and non-substance addictions. Current data suggest that this combined category may be appropriate for pathological gambling and a few other better studied behavioral addictions, e.g., Internet addiction.

    Food Addiction, Substance Dependence Share Common Ground (Neural Correlates of Food Addiction ) 2010
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/740487
    “We already know what the imaging profile is for addictive behavior and what the profile is for the reward system, which is the dopamine system. What they’re really saying is that this is a nonspecific activation pattern that is not stimulus sensitive. No matter what the addiction, it’s going to affect the same areas”

    The influence of deltaFosB in the nucleus accumbens on natural reward-related behavior. J Neurosci 2008;28:10272-7
    http://www.jneurosci.org/content/28/41/10272.long
    ”..the work presented here provides evidence that, in addition to drugs of abuse, natural rewards induce ?FosB levels in the Nac…our results raise the possibility that ?FosB induction in the NAc may mediate not only key aspects of drug addiction, but also aspects of so-called natural addictions involving compulsive consumption of natural rewards.”

    Overlapping Neuronal Circuits In Addiction And Obesity: Evidence Of Systems Pathology (2008), Nora Volkow
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607335/
    “Our hypothesis is that adaptation in the reward circuit and also in the motivational, memory and control circuits that occur with repeated exposure to large quantities of highly palatable food is similar to that which one observes with repeated drug exposures”

    Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1931610/?tool=pubmed
    Overall, there are many behavioral and biological commonalities between sugar-sweetened beverages and drugs of abuse
    Studies have shown that intermittent sugar availability (12 h/day) produces signs of dependence in rats, including escalation of intake, mu-opioid and dopamine receptor changes, behavioral and neurochemical indices of withdrawal, and cross-sensitization with amphetamine.

    Evidence For Sugar Addiction Behavioral And Neurochemical Effects Of Intermittent Excessive Sugar Intake Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39. Epub 2007 May 18
    ”After a month on this intermittent-feeding schedule, the animals show a series of behaviors similar to the effects of drugs of abuse. These are categorized as “bingeing”, meaning unusually large bouts of intake, opiate-like “withdrawal” indicated by signs of anxiety and behavioral depression (Colantuoni et al., 2001, 2002), and “craving” measured during sugar abstinence as enhanced responding for sugar”

    Is there a common molecular pathway for addiction? Nature Neurosci 2005;9:1445-9.
    http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v8/n11/full/nn1578.html
    “Growing evidence indicates that the VTA-NAc pathway and the other limbic regions cited above similarly mediate, at least in part, the acute positive emotional effects of natural rewards, such as food, sex and social interactions. These same regions have also been implicated in the so-called ‘natural addictions’ (that is, compulsive consumption for natural rewards) such as pathological overeating, pathological gambling, and sexual addictions. Preliminary findings suggest that shared pathways may be involved.”

    The neurobiology of pathological gambling and drug addiction: an overview and new findings.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607329/?tool=pubmed
    ”If PG represents an addiction, it should share with drug dependence core features. Many of these features, as well as others, such as tolerance and withdrawal, appear relevant to pathological gambling and drug dependence (Potenza 2006). In that pathological gambling may be conceptualized as an addiction without the drug, direct comparison of both disorders may provide insight into the core neurobiological features of addiction and guide the development and testing of effective treatments”

    —————————————————
    2) IN FACT, ALL ADDICTIONS INVOLVED DOPAMINE ACTIVATION AND THEN DOPAMINE DYSREGULATION
    – SEE ALL CITATIONS UNDER #1

    Addiction: Decreased Reward Sensitivity and Increased Expectation Sensitivity Conspire to Overwhelm the Brains Control Circuit (2010)
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.201000042/full

    The Neurobiology of Substance and Behavioral Addictions.
    http://www.cnsspectrums.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=912
    ” Biochemical, functional neuroimaging, genetic studies, and treatment research have all suggested a strong neurobiological link between pathological gambling and substance use disorders”

    The Addicted Brain – Nestler and Malenka (2004)
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-addicted-brain
    “How is it possible that diverse addictive substances–which have no common structural features and exert a variety of effects on the body–all elicit similar responses in the brain’s reward circuitry? How can cocaine, a stimulant that causes the heart to race, and heroin, a pain-relieving sedative, be so opposite in some ways and yet alike in targeting the reward system? The answer is that all drugs of abuse, in addition to any other effects, cause the nucleus accumbens to receive a flood of dopamine and sometimes also dopamine-mimicking signals”

    Addiction A Disease of Learning and Memory
    Steven E. Hyman, M.D. Am J Psychiatry 162:1414-1422, August 2005

    ”A large body of work, including pharmacological, lesion, transgenic, and microdialysis studies, has established that the rewarding properties of addictive drugs depend on their ability to increase dopamine in synapses made by midbrain ventral tegmental area neurons on the nucleus accumbens (38–40), which occupies the ventral striatum, especially within the nucleus accumbens shell region (41). Ventral tegmental area dopamine projections to other forebrain areas such as the prefrontal cortex and amygdala also play a critical role in shaping drug-taking behaviors”
    ——————————————–
    3) IN FACT, SEXUAL STIMULATION INCREASES DOPAMINE LEVELS HIGHER THAN ANY NATURAL REWARD. ORGASM CANNOT OCCUR WITHOUT DOPAMINE ACTIVATION.. DOPAMINE IS NECESSARY FOR SEXUAL DESIRE AND SEXUAL MOTIVATION.

    Dopamine and sexual function
    http://www.nature.com/ijir/journal/v13/n3s/pdf/3900719a.pdf

    Dopamine: helping males copulate for at least 200 million years: theoretical comment on Kleitz-Nelson et al. (2010).
    http://content.apa.org/pubmed/bne/124/6/877

    Dopamine release in the medial preoptic area is related to hormonal action and sexual motivation.
    http://content.apa.org/pubmed/bne/124/6/773

    Dopamine, the medial preoptic area, and male sexual behavior.
    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0031-9384(05)00316-1
    ——————————————————
    4) IN FACT, DOPAMINE LEVELS DO SPIKE IN RESPONSE TO BOTH NOVELTY AND SEEKING. THIS IS WHY SOME ADDICTION RESEARCHERS WANT TO RENAME THE “REWARD CIRCUITRY”, THE “SEEKING CIRCUITRY.”

    Contextual novelty changes reward representations in the striatum (2010)
    http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/5/1721.short
    ‘These findings support a view that contextual novelty enhances neural responses underlying reward representation in the striatum and concur with the effects of novelty processing as predicted by the model of Lisman and Grace (2005).

    The Emergence of Saliency and Novelty Responses from Reinforcement Learning Principles Neural Netw. 2008 December; 21(10): 1493–1499.
    ”The central hypothesis of this paper is that the appearance of an unpredictable stimulus will consistently generate a positive reward-prediction error, even if that object happens to be a “negative” object that is always punishing. In support of this hypothesis, the agent exhibited a positive reward-prediction error whenever an (unidentified) object appeared, but not when nothing appeared.”

    Multitasking The Brain Seeks Novelty
    Researchers have found that novelty causes a number of brain systems to become activated, and foremost among these is the dopamine system. This system, which lives deep in the brain stem, sends the neurotransmitter dopamine to locations across the brain. Many people incorrectly think of dopamine as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter because drugs that create euphoria, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, cause an increase of dopamine in particular parts of the brain. However, a growing body of research shows that dopamine is more like the “gimme more” neurotransmitter.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-poldrack/multitasking-the-brain-se_b_334674.html

    Pure Novelty Spurs The Brain
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060826180547.htm
    ————————————————

    The above citations falsify the seven (1-7) specifics listed as “sexademics purposeful mistakes” in my post. Science usually works by providing specific hypothesis then providing evidence to back it up, not through making unsupported claims that run counter to the current paradigm, and then asking others to shoot them down.

    1. I will invite the Sexademic to reply to your assertions. She is also better qualified to comment on the links you have posted.

      I have quickly flicked through the links here. I’m not an expert in neurology. What I do know is that I’m not seeing anything there that says porn is in and of itself “addictive”. To quote Jessi:

      “Dopamine may indeed play a role in all compulsive behaviors but the narrative of porn as an external factor that takes over your system is a false (and overwhelmingly Christian) explanation that fails to recognize sexual histories and user conceptions of sexuality.”

  7. The thing I don’t get about claims of addiction, is that this should therefore apply to any media that triggers the ‘reward circuitry’. Are we prepared to call people who enjoy sporting events ‘sports addicted’, people who enjoy sci-fi ‘Star Trek addicted’, people who enjoy a particular style of art ‘Art Noir addicted’, people who enjoy detective books ‘Hardy Boys addicted’? It still seems to be based, at root, on the magical powers of masturbation. It may not give us hairy palms anymore, but it still, apparently, has the power to control us.

    If that’s the case, then the problem isn’t pornography, but masturbation. Decouple the tool from what is really being argued. A vibrator or fleshlight could equally be ‘blamed’ the way I understand this. So, come out and say that the real issue is people masturbating.

    1. This is a good point AJ.

      I also have an issue with the concept of calling obsessive behaviour “addiction” because it requires us to assume that the thing on which the behaviour is focussed is an “addictive” thing which therefore must be regulated. And I don’t doubt that’s part of the reason why the conservatives who want to ban porn use this terminology. They want the government to classify porn as a dangerous substance like heroin. The motivation for this is their own moral belief system and their desire to impose those morals on others. They know the end result and go looking for any “evidence” that will back up their aims.

      If porn is addictive like heroin, why am I OK? I’ve spent 11 years looking at it everyday. Fact is, I find most of it incredibly boring. But even back when I enjoyed it, I wasn’t obsessively spending hours masturbating over it, neglecting my husband and the housework and all my wifely duties. That’s what the “addiction” narrative says should have happened. So why am I – and the vast majority of porn users – immune from its supposedly dangerous addictive effects?

  8. **I’m only going to leave this one comment as my voice was requested on this thread**

    Yes, Gary, I did block you from commenting on my blog. You are what we in the internet generation call a “troll”. I welcome debate and differing opinions on my blog and rarely blacklist anyone. After post-bombing the comment sections on multiple articles and not allowing me to post responses on your blog I felt this was appropriate.

    In addition, the fact that you repeatedly referred to me condescendingly as a mere “blogger” or “public health person” is a cheap tactic to discredit me. I spent two years in an intense, research-based, multi-disciplinary, Ford-funded sexuality program at an accredited university, studying under some of the sharpest researchers and academics in the field.

    None of the studies you link to in any way prove that porn is addictive, can cause ED (seriously, if anything porn makes your dick work better), or will turn people off to real world sex. You’re making huge leaps of logic to support your theory. So, I repeat, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT PORN IS INHERENTLY ADDICTIVE.

    But, for fun, let’s apply your logic to the situation at hand: your trolling.

    Arguing on the internet involves the reward system. Each time you “win” an argument your brain is flooded with dopamine and you need a bigger a bigger hit each time (in this case we could say posting longer responses are bigger hits). Arguing in real life takes far more energy but with the internet everyone has access to page after page after page of every type of argument they could possibly imagine! Nature didn’t intend us to have conflict at this rate or level and our primitive minds become “hooked” on this fast and easy conflict. Arguing in public isn’t as enjoyable and users become desensitized to in person arguments with their mates, the way nature intended it.

    So, Gary: are your addicted to arguing on the internet? Or are you just an asshole?

Comments are closed.