Archives for Pornography

Pornography

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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Pornography

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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Addictions

Child Porn Offenders and the Sentencing Process Part One: Recidivism and Escalation

In previous postings to this site, I have written about the differences between sexual addiction and sexual offending, the various types of sexual offenders, the treatment of sexual offenders, and therapist reporting requirements when dealing with sexual offenders. However, I have for the most part left a crucial aspect of this therapeutic relationship unaddressed – advocating for (or against) sexual offenders (in particular, child porn offenders) in the sentencing process.

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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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Pornography

Don Jon and Porn Addiction: A Hit and Miss Portrayal


CAUTION: Don Jon may be highly triggering for sex and porn addicts. Those recovering from sex and porn addiction should view this film with caution, perhaps bookending the movie with calls to a sponsor or another supportive person in recovery.

The Flick

The late-summer/early-fall film season has presented moviegoers with not one but two sex addiction themed, A-list cast, wide-release offerings. First there was Thanks for Sharing, glowingly
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Pornography

Pants Down in the Workplace

Darn those I.T. People...

Robert, a 35-year-old married father of two kids, first phoned me in a panic. He told me he’d been called into his supervisor’s office, along with his firm’s head of human resources, to discuss his “inappropriate use” of a company-owned laptop and smartphone. Both devices had gone in for routine maintenance, with the I.T. department checking for viruses, worms, and the like, and as that work was being done hundreds of pornographic images and videos were found on both the phone and his computer. And this was not the first time Robert had been confronted about misusing company devices. Two years earlier an extensive amount of porn had been found on his laptop, and back then he was both verbally reprimanded and reminded (in writing) of the firm’s “business only” usage policy. Robert and his supervisor had laughed it off as an episode of “boys being boys.” However, his boss had told him very clearly that if it happened again it would definitely be an issue - one that could potentially affect his future with the company. “So anyway,” Robert told me, “they say I have to go into counseling if I want to keep my job.”
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Pornography

The Prevalence of Porn

Americans Gone Wild

There seems to be a lot of media fear-mongering about online porn, citing a wide range of statistics on usage. To listen to some, you’d think that everyone and his grandmother is online 24/7 engaging in digitally driven self-pleasure. Interestingly, both the porn industry and anti-porn activists have a tendency to cite the most inflated numbers they can find to make their particular point. The sex industry does this so they can charge more for advertisements, while anti-porn types do this to point out our moral flaws and the all-pervasive nature of this supposed problem. That said, there are some relatively reliable statistics on porn usage.
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Fantasy

Men, Women, and Sexual Objectification

Mars and Venus

Men and women typically experience sex - both fantasy and reality - in different ways. It has long been known that when it comes to sex men tend to be visually oriented, whereas women tend to be more interested in a connection or relationship. Basically, when a man sexually admires a woman, he is usually focused on certain body parts and their potential use for him (as sexual objects). When viewing pornography, for instance, males are typically most aroused by a rapid-fire succession of images depicting concrete sexual acts and/or specific sexual body parts. Females on the other hand tend to be most aroused by sexual imagery that includes or at least infers some type of emotional connection.
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Pornography

Teenagers, Porn and Sexual Addiction: What’s the Problem?

A Whole New World
When I was a teenager, finding and looking at porn took work. In order to find some naked pictures, either I or one of my friends would have to locate and surreptitiously raid one of our dads’ stashes of Playboy magazines, rely on someone who’d inherited a magazine from his older brother, or raid a magazine from the local gas station.

Once in a while, if we were very lucky, one of us would find some old porn in a neighbor’s trash can or in a dumpster. Basically, our options were extremely limited, and we mostly played sneak-a-peek with whatever sexy pictures we could find.

A mere twenty-five years ago, the chances of a suburban teenager getting hooked on porn were roughly equivalent to that same kid getting hooked on heroin—close to zero. For the most part, our lack of access to pornography (and heroin, for that matter) prevented addiction.

Those days are long gone. In the Internet age, hardcore pornography is widely and instantly accessible to anyone who goes looking for it, and even to people who aren’t looking for it. (The number of seemingly benign words you can type into Internet search engines that bring up porn is actually kind of shocking).

If a teenaged boy or girl is curious about sex today —and most are—all they need to do is find a porn site, click a button that says “Yes I’m 18,” and they’re in. He or she doesn’t have to flash a driver’s license as proof of age or even borrow a parent’s credit card to pay for anything. Pornography of every ilk imaginable is now ubiquitous, accessible 24/7 from any smartphone or laptop, and more often than not it’s free.
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Fantasy

The 12 Steps as Therapeutic Tasks for Sexual Addiction Recovery (Continued): Steps 4 through 9

Stepping It Up in Treatment

Sex addicts, like many in early addiction recovery, are often highly resistant to the idea of attending 12-step recovery meetings. Their reasons are myriad and usually without merit, though they sure can sound convincing on first listen.

Basically, it boils down to this: individuals who hang out in adult bookstores, cruise local red light districts looking for prostitutes, download hard-core pornography on work computers and masturbate in their office during business hours, post hi-definition photographs of their exposed genitalia on dating websites, and openly announce their extramarital availability on Ashley Madison (with a face photo but without a second thought) are the same folks who become very concerned about being “spotted” at one of “those” meetings.

“What if someone sees me there and thinks I’m a pervert?” they fret. Never mind the fact that these meetings usually take place in churches, school classrooms and local businesses after hours with no neon signs announcing what’s going on. Resistance to change is what it is, and even though sex addicts invite risk when acting out, they are risk averse in terms of being seen in 12-step sexual recovery meetings like SAA, SLAA, SCA, SA, and SRA. It is therefore up to the addiction therapist, when working with a 12-step-averse client, to bring the themes, neurobiological rewiring, and experience of 12-step recovery into the treatment arena—especially in a group therapy setting. Once the sexual behavior problem has been clearly assessed and client/treatment goals and expectations aligned, sex addiction treatment is well served by the therapist initiating discussions on themes like surrender, feeling out-of-control/powerlessness, developing personal integrity, asking for help, accepting responsibility, turning it over, establishing accountability, etc., all within the framework of cognitive behavioral treatment.
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