Porn on the brain

More academic than explicit but beyond PORN and other ICD's Computers and access are major players add agonists and be aware the door to the problem is already open,its just one step closer for some.

channel4.com/programmes/por...

The flagship of the programme is an impressive neuroscience study involving Channel 4 and Dr Valerie Voon from the University of Cambridge. In it, Voon conducts a functional MRI experiment to test whether a group of men who admit to being compulsive porn users show different patterns of brain activity to a control group. The study hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, so caution is needed, but preliminary results reveal an interesting trend – compulsive users tend to show heightened responses to porn-related images within brain networks that mediate reward and motivation. These responses are, on the face of it, quite similar to those observed in people with drug or alcohol addictions.

Official bodies in psychiatry don't recognise compulsive porn use as an addiction. That's largely because the boundary conditions haven't been mapped out, the prevalence is unknown, and crucially – unlike the case with drugs or gambling – it's unclear to what extent (if any) compulsive use of porn harms lives. Professor Matt Field, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool, was interviewed as part of the programme. When asked what he thinks about compulsive porn use being framed as a separate addiction, he said: "Like anything people find pleasurable, whether it's chocolate or running or playing video games, internet porn can be addictive.

From what we know of impulse control disorders such as gambling addiction, it seems obvious that online porn, like anything that makes people feel good, might lead to compulsive behaviour, and that this compulsion might interfere negatively with people's lives. But that doesn't mean it will, and it doesn't mean that online porn is generally harmful. As Voon says, her results are neutral about non-compulsive porn use: "This is not dissimilar to the majority of the population who have tried legal (smoking/alcohol) or illegal drugs (cannabis, club drugs) but only a small proportion run into difficulties."

Voon and Field: as clichéd as it sounds, we simply need more research on porn use before leaping to ignorant conclusions about its addictive or harmful effects. What Porn on the Brain does best is get us all thinking about what sort of research that might be.

2 Replies

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  • so,VERY USEFULL.. NOT

    the winky wanky bird everytime it blinks it wanks ......doant throw sand in his eyes madame

    heel a wanka himself to death....L.O.L..yes. PORN hold on till i turn the page,.....writing these blogs are not gonna do anything RESEARCH IS BIG BIZ, attach parkinsons tag and your quidds in

    funding research into which colour toilet paper PD suffers prefer is probably in phase 2a trials

    NOT ORGANISED NOT FOCUSED WITHOUT COOPERATION

    WHAT WAS THE CONCLUSION OUTCOME HOPES of world parkinsons congress,

    WHAT CONGRESS, IT WAS WELL ADVERTISED was it on TV NEWS .......MAYBE PAGE 7

    OF DAILY SPORT. BILLY CONNELLY NOW HAS PD, THAT IS SAD BUT MAYBE HELPFULL IN AWARENESS/ SIGNIFICANCE AND FORCING COOPERATION IN RESEARCH ACTUALLY EXPEDITING A CURE RATHER THAN RESEARCH WITHOUT END

  • Having done research on this topic as a medical professional, I met an astounding number of porn "addicts" by their own admission. This is when porn is no longer intermittent and recreational, but becomes a "need" and interferes with other parts of your life (which it eventually does like other addictions). Porn addiction (typically accompanied by a sex addiction) does ruin lives - marriages often cannot be saved, jobs are lost (either porn use is discovered in the workplace or work is not completed b/c of porn use), addicts no longer find pleasure in "normal" sex and can only become aroused with atypical sex practices, like other ICDs - nothing seems to deter the addict from acting on the craving or trigger, certain types of porn/sex use can be illegal leading to legal problems, etc. Despite knowing these risks of addiction or living through the repercussions, like other addictions this is not enough to stop. True addicts need professional help and the sooner the better before this habit becomes increasingly difficult to "break". If you think your porn use is more than a casual activity when bored, but rather an important part of your life, a way of handling stress, the thought of not using porn or sex causes acute symptoms of anxiety, the risks of porn use do not cross your mind when you "need" to use porn/sex, etc - please seek help or at least speak to a therapist well-versed in this area of psychopathology.

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