Sex & Technology

Teens, Digital Devices, and Sexual Problems

Tech: Sex Ed for All, Sex Problems for Some
The holidays are over and young people are diving headlong into use of their brand new digital devices. In addition to video games and social media, some kids, especially adolescents, are using their freshly acquired laptops, pads, smartphones, and the like as a gateway for sexual exploration, experimenting with pornography, sexting, video chat, “friend finder” apps, and more. Unfortunately, for some kids these...
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The Question Sex Addiction Critics Don’t Want You to Ask…..

Guest Blog - Stefanie Carnes PhD, LMFT, CSAT-S

Over the years I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Stefanie Carnes and her work as both a clinician and a trainer of clinicians. Currently, she serves as President of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals and as a National Clinical Consultant for Elements Behavioral Health. She is also the author of numerous well-regarded...
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Lesbian Women, Love Addiction, and “The Urge to Merge” – An Interview with Dr. Lauren Costine

Ten years ago the first edition of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men was published in response to what I viewed as a meaningful missing puzzle piece for gay men to learn and grow. At that time there were few if any self-help books specific to gay men. Thus, gay men had to interpret their challenges and experiences through the written lens of heterosexual life and culture. Although...
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Sex & Technology

A Review of Recent Research on Teen Sexting

For the last several years, teen sexting scandals have sporadically hit the news, most recently in Long Island, NY, where two 14-year-old boys sent a sex video (involving another minor) to a large group of their friends, and in Cañon City Colorado, where a hundred or more high schoolers turned sexting into a game of “whoever collects the most nude pics of fellow students is King of the...
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Toddlers and Tech: From Alarm to Acceptance

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything that’s invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.
—Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
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Sex Addiction Treatment

Naked in Public: An Interview with Therapist and Author Staci Sprout

I have long argued that the literature and treatment protocols for sexual addiction are heavily skewed toward male clients – as if it is only men who act out sexually. At least part of this shortcoming arises from the fact that female sex addicts are less likely than their male counterparts to seek direct help for a sexual problem, which makes them harder...
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Celebrity Hypocrisy – It’s Not Just Them

Same Story, Different News Cycle
Fame: Reality TV star Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting was an active, respected member of a highly visible conservative Christian church, and he served as Executive Director of FRC Action, a conservative Christian political group affiliated with and sponsored by the equally conservative Family Research Council.
Reality: Duggar has admitted to molesting at least five underage girls, including two of his younger sisters, to repeatedly cheating on his wife, and to being a porn addict.
Fame: Weight loss icon and Subway sandwich pitchman Jared Fogle presented himself as an advocate for childhood health and wellbeing via speeches and his Jared Foundation – an organization focused on raising awareness about childhood obesity through educational programs and tools provided to parents, schools, and community organizations.
Reality: Fogle recently pled guilty to a variety of child porn charges and to crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors.
These, of course, are just a few of the stories about supposedly exemplary people betraying the public trust. Think about Tiger Woods acting as a role model while cheating on his supermodel wife. Think about famed evangelical pastor Ted Haggard repeatedly condemning homosexuality while secretly having sex with male prostitutes. Think also about General David Petraeus, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Congressman Mark Foley, Senator Larry Craig, Senator John Edwards, Governor Eliot Spitzer, actor Rob Lowe, actor David Duchovny, actor John Travolta, biker Jesse James, President Bill Clinton, and dozens of other well-known men who’ve been caught with their pants down.
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Dealing with Sexual Betrayal: 6 Things Therapists Need to Know

In the wake of the recent Ashley Madison hack and data dump, sexual infidelity is in the news more than ever. Because of this, a growing number of spouses are actively checking up on what their partners are doing with their free time. Smartphone apps, texts, emails, and the like are being surreptitiously (and sometimes overtly) checked, and countless scores of cheaters are being found out. Plus, some unfaithful spouses are using news of the hack as an opportunity to come clean about previously hidden sexual behavior by voluntarily disclosing their infidelity. As a result, therapists of all stripes are encountering a rising tide of betrayed spouses, nervous cheaters, and couples in crisis. For clinicians who don’t specialize in this type of work, the loaded, swiftly changing emotions that surround sexual and romantic betrayal can lead to a lot of clinical second-guessing. To help alleviate some of this anxiety, I’ve created a short “Infidelity FAQ” for therapists, presented below. This list is created based on existing research and more than 20 years of clinical experience – specializing in intimacy issues such as infidelity.

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Does Porn Re-Wire the Brain?

The Plastic Brain
The brains of human beings are highly adaptive. This is actually one of our most useful evolutionary traits, helping us to not only survive, but thrive. In fact, our wonderfully malleable brains are why we, and not tigers or sharks or bull elephants, are at the top of the food chain. In other words, as humans we are not entirely reliant on our instincts like most other species. Instead, our brains receive, process, and adapt to external inputs – learning and mutating along the way. This neurobiological ability to quickly adapt and evolve is known as neuroplasticity, and, in most respects, it is a uniquely human trait. Sharks, for instance, think and behave almost exactly the same today as they did 100 million years ago. Their non-plastic brains have not evolved in 100,000 millennia. Meanwhile, human brains are evolving almost by the minute in response to our environment and experience.

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Child Porn Offenders and the Sentencing Process: Part Two, Psychosexual Evaluations

Different Motivations, Different Risks

In part one of this posting I discussed the increasingly aggressive sanctions[i] that are levied against most child porn offenders, noting that current sentencing guidelines have been driven primarily by media, political, and social paranoia rather than research based facts about offenders and their behaviors. Essentially, the legal system seems to think that if a person is looking at child pornography, a hands-on offense is sure to follow. This is not in fact the case. Unfortunately, this shortsighted approach is the tactic du jour in most US courtrooms.

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