The Truth About How Porn Affects Us

The Truth About How Porn Affects Us

In the popular media, pornography has seemingly become the default source of blame for any and all sexual problems. Why are we in a “sex recession?” Porn. Why do we have such a big problem with sexual violence? Porn. Why are sexual difficulties like erectile dysfunction so common? Porn. 

The truth, however, is that science has a complex and nuanced story to tell about the effects of porn

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Is Porn Really a Threat to Public Health?

Is Porn Really a Threat to Public Health?

The war on porn has reached a fever pitch. Political elites, religious authorities, and a number of other public figures are coming out in ever larger numbers to warn us about the inherent dangers of pornography. Among other things, they claim that porn is "addictive," that it's causing men to commit rape and sexual assault, and that it's completely destroying our sex and love lives. In other words, they're pretty much arguing that porn is the cause of virtually all of the world's sexual problems. 

However, when you take a look at the research, what you see is that these claims just don't add up.

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Five Scientific Facts You Should Know About Porn

Five Scientific Facts You Should Know About Porn

There’s a war on porn taking place right now. 

A growing chorus has emerged claiming that porn is addictive, that it’s causing misogyny and sexual violence, that it’s leading people to have riskier sex, that it’s creating an epidemic of erectile dysfunction, and that it’s destroying our relationships. These are just some of the many reasons the US state of Utah recently went as far as to formally declare porn to be a “public health crisis.”

Is porn really such a destructive force, though? It’s difficult to come to that conclusion when you actually look at what the research says. Here are five things scientists have found by studying the effects of pornography that challenge the notion that porn is responsible for so many problems.

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Interview With The Sex Researcher: Dr. Nicole Prause

Interview With The Sex Researcher: Dr. Nicole Prause

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you're probably a fan of sex research. But have you ever wondered who is behind the fascinating studies and theories discussed on this site? How did those folks get into this field in the first place? Where do their research ideas come from? And what is a day in life of a sex researcher really like? From time to time, I interview prominent sex researchers, scholars, and therapists in order to give you some insight into these and other provocative questions.

Today's interview is with Dr. Nicole Prause, a sexual psychophysiologist and neuroscientist based in Los Angeles. Below is the full text of a recent email interview I had with her.

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Why We Should Stop Calling Porn “Addiction” An Addiction

Why We Should Stop Calling Porn “Addiction” An Addiction

The concept of “pornography addiction” is one that has generated a lot of debate in the popular media. Although pretty much everyone seems to agree that there are indeed some people out there who are distressed about their porn use, there has been much controversy about whether it is appropriate to apply the “addiction” label in such cases. A new study published in Biological Psychology provides provocative evidence in favor of dropping the addiction label because what’s going on inside the brains of so-called porn “addicts” is nothing like what you would expect from someone who has an addiction.

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The Brain In Love (VIDEO)

The Brain In Love (VIDEO)

In this fascinating TED talk, Dr. Helen Fisher explores what happens inside the brain when we experience romantic love. To that end, Fisher describes a series of studies she conducted in which people were put in MRI machines and shown images of their loved ones. The incredible results help to explain why romantic love is such an intense and consuming state, why some couples are able to maintain passion longer than others, and why breakups can be so devastating. Fisher also explores the similarities between romantic love and addiction (for instance, you see tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse in both cases), and even considers parallels to romantic love in the animal kingdom. Check out the full video below for more on the neurochemistry behind love.

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