Pornography

New Research on ED and Hours of Porn Use Inconclusive

Sexual Medicine Open Access has just published a paper coauthored by Nicole Prause and Jim Pfaus entitled “Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction.”[i] This was not a study on porn users complaining of unexplained erectile dysfunction (ED), and, despite the study's title, no penile responses or erections were measured in the laboratory.[ii] Rather, the authors pulled data from four earlier studies, none of which investigated ED as a function of weekly porn use, and then they "reanalyzed" those data to make claims about ED as a function of porn use.

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Addictions

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part One – Initial Action Steps

For the last five years (at least), Jerry, a handsome 36-year-old office manager, has put the search for sex ahead of all else – even though he’s not having any in-person sexual encounters. Instead, he looks at and masturbates to hardcore pornography for several hours each weeknight and all day on the weekends, and occasionally he engages in mutual masturbation with strangers via webcam. Until a few years ago he tried to also date in real life, usually going out with nice women who were interested in a long-term relationship. He says that he really liked one of them, but that he was never really present with her and she eventually broke things off. He admits that on their dates he was usually more focused on going home and going online than on her. As it turns out, she broke up with him because she thought he was cheating on her (and in a way he was). That was three years ago, and Jerry has not been on a date since. He has tried several times to quit using porn, and sometimes he manages to do so for a day or two. But before long he feels depressed and lonely and he goes back online as a way to escape the pain. Recently, he’s started using his office computer to access porn during work hours – a situation that he knows will not end well. And yet he continues.

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Addictions

Does Your Client Have a Problem With Love Addiction?

It’s March. Valentine’s Day is a distant memory and wedding season looms. Essentially, this is the time when psychotherapy clients often want to review and discuss their romantic relationships. For clients who struggle with problematic behavioral choices related to love, attachment and intimacy, in particular love addiction (also known as romance addiction and relationship addiction), this can be a very difficult undertaking. These individuals see friends and loved ones finding relationship success, while they take one manic spin after another on the relationship merry-go-round – desperately hoping to find that one special person who can make them feel complete and worthwhile and loved for longer than a few days or weeks at a time.

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Relationships

When is a Relationship (Romance, Friendship, Whatever) Worth Saving?

A few weeks ago I was given a spreadsheet showing which of my online blogs and articles (on numerous websites) have gotten the most views. And no matter the website, the postings that topped the charts almost always dealt on some level with relationships and intimate emotional connections. And why not? After all, relationships help us to feel understood, loved, and part of – all of which are deeply important human needs. It’s only natural that people would be interested in this topic.

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Sex & Sexuality

The Viagra Conundrum

I’m of a certain age – if you don’t know what “certain age” means, then you’re not there yet – and I tend to watch television programs geared toward my demographic. With these shows I am inevitably treated to a barrage of commercials featuring impossibly attractive middle-aged and older couples looking unusually romantic in some wonderfully bucolic setting. Most often they’re either cuddling by a lake at sunset or sipping Chardonnay on the veranda of a remote mountain cabin. Whatever the locale, these doe-eyed twosomes are very clearly in the process of kindling and/or rekindling the flames of their relationship. Suddenly, before I can start to feel too badly about the fact that neither of these people has even an ounce of extra belly fat, they look into one another’s eyes and they experience “the moment” – the instantaneous realization that a bed is nearby and they both want to use it for a purpose other than sleeping. Then the ad’s voiceover screams: “Hey old guy! Yeah, you with the aching back! If you take one of these pills, you can become the sexual dude that you were 30 years ago!”

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Addictions

Resolutions for Change: What are the Chances for Success?

Making Resolutions...

The season for overindulgence is finally past. Now is the winter of our discontent with all of that intemperance, and our desire to make commensurate life changes.

This year I will stop overeating and bingeing on junk food, and I will lose at least 20 pounds.
This year I will cut down on my drinking.
This year I will limit myself to $50 per week at the casino.
This year I will stop smoking pot and taking other drugs.

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Trauma

How Trauma Work Best Occurs in Addiction Treatment (Part One)

What Is Trauma?

My esteemed colleague, Dr. Christine Courtois, provides a brief definition of trauma in her new book, It’s Not You, It’s What Happened to You, writing: “Trauma is any event or experience (including witnessing) that is physically and/or psychologically overwhelming to the exposed individual.” She then notes that trauma is highly subjective; incidents that might be highly traumatizing to one person may be humdrum for another. (Some people are more resilient than others.) She also notes that there are many types of trauma:

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