Archives for Sex & Technology

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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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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Pornography

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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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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Sex & Technology

Recovery from Cybersex Addiction: Part Three – Tips on Using Cybersex Boundary Plans

As discussed in my previous posting to this site and in my recently published book, Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age, coauthored with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, the definition of cybersex sobriety and the content of cybersex boundary plans both vary according to the needs and life circumstances of the addict in question. That said, whatever the definition of sobriety and whatever the boundaries in a particular addict’s plan, the purpose is to hold the addict accountable to his or her commitments – particularly when faced with challenging life circumstances, emotional pain and other powerful triggers.
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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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Sex & Technology

Does Your Client Have a Cybersex Problem?

Levels of Cybersex Use In today’s digitally driven world it can be difficult to distinguish between those whose involvement with online sexual behavior is recreational, those whose involvement is “at-risk,” and those who are cybersex addicted (those whose lives and functionality are negatively affected by repetitive online sexual activity). This is compounded by the fact that most of the people who are struggling with cybersexual activity who enter psychotherapy choose to talk about their symptoms (depression, anxiety, issues with sleep, inability to form lasting relationships, and the like) rather than their problematic patterns of cybersexual activity. Making matters worse, current therapeutic evaluation tools (standard bio-psycho-social assessments) typically do not ask clients much about their sexual lives or sexual histories, meaning these issues can easily go undiscovered and unaddressed (to the client’s detriment). This non-discovery is aided and abetted by the very nature of the Internet, which, in addition to being highly affordable and continually accessible, allows for relatively anonymous use, making it easy for cybersex abusers to keep their behaviors private and to psychologically compartmentalize what they are doing.
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Sex & Technology

Can Protective Software Help Addicts Maintain Sobriety?

Battling Tech with Tech It’s no secret that access to 24/7 digital technology can facilitate addiction. The Internet and related technologies have greatly increased the average person’s ability to affordably and anonymously access an almost endless array of addictive substances (illicit drugs, prescription medications, and the like) and activities (spending, gambling, video gaming, pornography, non-intimate sexual encounters, and the like). The simple truth is that if you know where to look, you can find anything you want online. As a result, over the last two decades, as digital technology has proliferated, the number of people walking into therapists’ offices with addiction-related issues (especially behavioral addictions) has steadily and significantly increased.
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Sex & Technology

As Usual, CES Previews New Pathways to Sexual Pleasure (and Addiction)

For more than 20 years I’ve been involved in the treatment of intimacy disorders and sexual addiction. As such, it’s hardly a surprise to me, as I write about in my book Closer Together, Further Apart, coauthored with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, that two decades of digitally driven access to sexual content and partners has pushed the pedal to the metal on the sex addiction bus. Frankly, ever since the Internet came along - vastly increasing the anonymity, affordability, and accessibility of highly stimulating sexual content and potential partners - the incidence of compulsive/addictive sexual behavior among men, women, and even adolescents has steadily risen. Sometimes it seems as if every new advance in digital technology brings with it a new venue for addictive sexual fantasies and behavior - no matter the technology’s intended purpose - and a new crop of sex addicts.
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