Ep. 73 - Podcast Thumbnail Title: Podcast Thumbnails

#73 – Remembering Gary Wilson

Ep. 73 - Podcast Thumbnail Title: Podcast Thumbnails

These days, phones or any internet-enabled device are increasingly used to browse the Internet and through this portal, people find it all too easy to log onto different sites. Now, with just a click or two anyone can easily access extremely explicit material such as pornography. Since this is readily available particularly in streaming media,  watching it can easily become habitual, which in turn leads to addiction. 

To further understand the phenomenon of internet porn addiction, we will be dedicating this episode to Gary Wilson, a neuroscience enthusiast, who generously takes time to share his knowledge and experience for this cause. His research is going to be timeless as we continue to learn from his book that tackles the physiological effects of porn. 

Gary’s research aims to provide a more concise description of how pornography affects the brain. As result, his research focused on uncovering the reality that pornography has a large cascading effect on your psyche, physiology, and how you interact with yourself and others. Wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, his legacy can live on, and he knows that he did a great thing, and it was worth every effort. 

Come and join us in this episode as we share the talk that he gave at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. There he expounded what pornography does to the brain, the physiological effects of porn, and sex addiction claims on sex and sex addicts, comparison of drug addicts to a sex addict, compulsive sexual behavior disorder, and all about fake news about porn. He also cited multiple studies, statistics, and research to further explain his points which are truly informative, enlightening, and beneficial for everyone.

  • The world of sex has been so politicized.
  • Misleading and questionable studies on porn
  • Big claims on sex addicts
  • The brain activity of porn addicts
  • Individuals with greater cue-reactivity to porn had less desire to have sex.
  • Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder
  • Demographics of couples who use porn
  • Consequences of regular exposure to sexual media
  • Pornography consumption effects scale

Episode Transcript:

Andrew Love 

Welcome back to Love, Life, and Legacy, a podcast dedicated to helping you navigate these hyper-sexualized times to build a vision for your intimacy for your sexuality so that you can create a family that radiates with love. And in today’s episode, we’re remembering an amazing guy named Gary Wilson, who recently passed away and who is the forefather of scientific exploration of addiction to pornography, he will be remembered forever as a true patron saint of the porn addiction community. So let’s get into how amazing he is. And then we’re going to hear from him from a previously recorded talk. Enjoy.  Welcome back.

Today is a very special episode. It’s in memory of a great man of a fallen hero out in the battlefields here and the sexual addiction porn recovery world. And I wanted to link after my introduction here, we’re going to listen to a talk that he gave at the National Center on sexual exploitation, and it’s about a 45-minute talk. He really gets into the details about what pornography does to the brain. And the reason why we’re doing this, at the time of this recording is that death is relatively recent. It was just a few days ago.  You’re probably going to listen to this episode, maybe a couple of months down the line, because in High Noon, we have a bunch of episodes kind of ready that were already created, so I’m just going to put this on the pile. But his legacy is going to be timeless, okay? His name is Gary Wilson.

And like I said, we’re going to get into the talk. But first, I want to give you some context as to how important he is and how he’s directly impacted you and your life.  Gary Wilson wrote the book called Your Brain On Porn. He also gave this TED talk that has over 12 million views. I haven’t checked recently, but there’s a lot of views. But more importantly, he’s been the tip of the spear for this movement for a long time, and he paid the price he really paid. I don’t believe that he was sick for no reason. I think he harbored a lot of stress that came from the backlash from being out there, being challenging the pervasive norms. I want to just explain that a little bit. 

Gary Wilson had no intention to get into this game of sexuality, sex, addiction, all this stuff. That’s not his field. He was just a scientist, his wife was dealing with sexuality. His wife was on the internet. She had a chat forum where she was helping people understand orgasms. And she’s written a book called Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow. I think she’s written a few books, but she’s really studying more about the female orgasm more than anything.  In this chat form, she started attracting all these men, which were not the people that she was trying to serve. But they kept on coming to her and asking her if she could help with their porn addiction. She’s like “I don’t know.” She’s trying to offload these guys. Being a scientist, her husband, Gary started figuring this out. What are these guys dealing with? and Greg getting into science. One thing to note, a very important fact about Gary Wilson is he’s apolitical and non-religious. He has no religion. He doesn’t believe in God. He’s agnostic. He doesn’t care. He’s just like, most people just don’t really care about God. 

This was not a concern of his and politically, he’s more on the left side of things. He’s not a conservative trying to force people to be like him. He’s just kind of a more liberal, libertarian kind of guy who believes in personal freedoms, but he’s also a scientist. And in the world of science, we have to understand that psychology, most fields of science, they’re completely overshadowed by political agendas. It’s really hard to find clean science that is impartial and just raw science just for the sake of discovery. Because Science can be expensive. Putting on studies can be expensive. Getting funding is how you continue your research and where you get that funding matters. Because people don’t just give money like Pepsi is not going to give a ton of money to some research organization that is going to talk about how bad Pepsi is for you. Even though we all know it is, they’re going to fund studies that try to find the good aspects about Pepsi, how Pepsi can make you smarter and faster, and all this stuff. You have to really follow the money with a lot of the studies. But Gary’s research, he had no agenda. He just wanted to understand how porn was impacting the brain. 

In his research, he went so deep into this in order to uncover the fact that porn has this massive cascading effect on your Psychology, on your Physiology, on how you interact with yourself and the world around you. When he unearthed this, he got into massive backlash from people who have agendas. There are people in Psychology today in very reputable organizations that are very much political. They’ve been politicized and the world of sex has been so politicized. Do you want to know why? Because the pornography industry, because the sex industry has a lot of money at stake, and they don’t want you to think that there’s anything wrong with it.  That’s why there’s plenty of psychologists that will tell you that porn is not only normal, but you need it. Same with masturbation, but they’re not coming from an objective standpoint, for the most part. So what Gary Wilson did was he exposed a lot of just the raw data, the raw science, the impartial studies, and they revealed that there is such a thing as an addiction to pornography. And people fought him to death. Like they just wanted him to go away. They tried to discredit him. 

There’s a group of people, these two people in particular, who are just horrendous, and they even created a fake website that was like his website just spelled a little bit differently, that was legitimizing pornography, saying it was a good thing. These people were constantly trying to bring Gary Wilson down, and it took a toll on his health. You guys have to know this. I believe that he died prematurely for the sake of this cause. We see this in war, actual physical war, that somebody would be on the battlefield. They get shot and they get killed, fighting for the cause that they’re in the battle of. It’s not always so clear when somebody’s fighting psychological battles or culture. This is really a cultural battle. But I believe that he did get sick. We were supposed to have Gary on this podcast. We contacted his wife, and he was just too sick. This is about a year ago, he was not out for it. I didn’t know the extent of his sickness, but he was trying to not do interviews at that time. Lo and behold, he was really sick. I just wanted to pay tribute to this man, because of my early talks, the talks that I created at the beginning of High Noon that I took with me and went around the country, went around America, and then Canada. That was predominantly the science behind that was from Gary Wilson. Our origin story is deeply connected to Gary Wilson. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.

In his episode, I just want you to hear him speak. Hear his passion. Hear what he gave his life for, that he gave his life for this cause. We just pray for him, wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, that his legacy can live on, and that he knows that he did a great thing. It was worth every effort, but also know that this information was fought for and it comes at a great expense. It’s really up to us to use this information to implement it, to take it into our lives, and to say “Yes. All of your efforts were worth it because now you’re a free person.” So without further ado, please welcome Gary Wilson. Enjoy.

Gary Wilson 

These are examples of headlines, articles that are either debunking porn addiction or debunking porn and public health problem, such as organizations dispute, the notion of sex addiction. Well, there were about four organizations last year, including ASEC, that decided that porn sex addiction doesn’t exist. Or you have Utah’s Anti-Porn Crusade has entered a crazy new phase. You read these articles, and what you discover over and over is that you have similar talking points.

With similar talking points, if you look closely at what they’re linking to, you’ll find just a handful of actual studies to back up these talking points. The talking point is porn addiction doesn’t exist as of those two studies. Using porn is good for your relationship. There’s the study you’ll see. Porn use leads to more egalitarian attitudes towards women. The one you see in porn use provides many benefits and very few drawbacks, and that’s the one you see. This presentation is really I guess, a smackdown of these five studies. Now you can find a critique of these five studies on the microfiche because of the peer-review speech reviewed by PhDs. They can all be found on this page on my site, Your Brain On Porn, questionable and misleading studies.

What we’re going to start with is myth number one, or I call it “Talking Point”. Porn and sex addiction don’t exist and this is based on the claim. The claims made about Nicole Prause’s EEG studies are brainwaves study. We’re going to look at each one individually. Now, we’re going to examine them separately, but in reality, we’re going to find out that it’s really each one half of a single very flawed study. And the other reality is both studies support the addiction model. Here we’re going to start with this mouthful of a study. Sexual desire not hypersexuality is related. I guess I should come up here to use this, right? Sexual desire, not hypersexuality is related to neurophysiological responses elicited by sexual images. Since I don’t want to state that anymore, we use sort of a shorthand for studies. It’s usually the first author and the date, so we’re going to call this Steele et al. (2013). 

Here are some of the headlines, sex addiction is fake. People are just horny. That was the main message from the study. Sex addiction is not a real disorder. Here are just some bits about the study before we get started. The key part is, the spokesperson was Nicole Prause. It was published in 2013. It’s a brainwaves study, EEG studies on porn users. It had 52 subjects that were recruited through ads. Here’s the ad, “Requesting people who were experiencing problems regulating their viewing of sexual images.” 

The truth is, she didn’t really find out if any of them or some of them were porn addicts. In fact, she later admitted that some of them had few problems. It also had no control group. It had no control group. Now, why is that important? Whenever you do a brain study on addicts, any type of addicts you have to compare their brains to non-addicts, that is the rule of all studies. But she didn’t have any and yet she made really big claims.  We’re going to start with her first claim. The first claim is that the brains of sex addicts did not look like the brains of other addicts. And this is a quote from this interview of Nicole Prause, “Their brains did not respond to images, like other addicts due to their drug of addiction.” Okay, that’s a claim. The second claim, sex addicts aren’t addicted. They simply have a high libido. Here’s the actual quote from her press release, “Hypersexuality does not appear to explain brain responses to images any more than just having a high libido.”

What about her claims? Well, the truth is that not only were both claims untrue. Steele et al., the study, reported the exact opposite. Their brains, the subjects’ brains looked exactly like the brains of drug addicts. And the subjects with greater brain activation to porn had less desire for sex with a real person but not less desire to masturbate to porn.  What we need to look out a little bit to understand these two Nicole Prause EEG studies is something called Cue Reactivity. This is what is often measured in trying to determine if someone’s an addict in experimental studies. It is basically greater brain activation in response to stimuli related to addiction. Let’s say you’re a cocaine addict. You saw this white powder. They would be doing a brain scan of you and you’d have really high brain activation and you would also have cravings. But if you’d never use cocaine in your life.  You’d look at his white powder and nothing would happen. You’d have a little bit of brain activation, certainly no cravings. Now often, Cue Reactivity is assessed through what we call brain scans or FMRIs and they’re looking at the different parts of the brain and how much blood flow goes to these different parts. And again, they have to compare the brain activation of addicts to non-addicts. This is actually coming from the Valerie Boone study, which compared actual porn addicts to non-addicts. 

Now, Prause didn’t use brain scans. She uses what is called EEG’s, which are brainwaves. And EEGs measure the electrical activity on the scalp. It’s not even clear what causes brain waves. And the results from brainwave studies, especially for addiction are really up to quite a bit of interpretation. The advantage of these studies is that they’re far less expensive to do and easier to do than FMRI’s. Here are the EEG readings called the p300 wave. It’s just one of the brainwaves that Steele et al. was assessing. The idea is if you’re paying close attention, you have a higher EEG reading. If you’re not really paying attention, you’re sort of bored, you’re paying less attention.  But let’s say the guy on the left is actually watching porn. He may be paying attention because the porn star looks like his kid sister, not necessarily because he’s sexually aroused. We again, it’s up to interpretation. Here’s what it might look like with an addict, a cocaine addict. They would have a much higher EEG reading for a picture of cocaine than they would for looking at a picture of a sunset, a chair, a dog, a horse, whatever. And then they say “Wow, that looks like Cue Reactivity.” You’re paying more attention. Here is Steele et al., Nicole Prause’s study. The top line is porn. The second one in sort of purple-ish blue is sexual. This is skydiving or mutilated bodies, etc., so it was a lot higher for porn. In fact, Steel et al.’s brain activation pattern mirrors the spikes you see when drug addicts look at pictures related to their drug addiction.

Look at that difference between normal and porn images. Nicole Prause completely misrepresented her findings to the media. And everyone bought it and they still buy it today. No one seems to read studies anymore. Here is John A. Johnson, a senior professor at Penn State whose specialty was analyzing study methodology and he commented underneath this interview with Nicole Prause. When the study came out in 2013, he says “My mind still boggles at the Prause’s claim that her subjects’ brains did not respond to sexual images, as drug addicts brains respond to their drug, given that she reports higher p300 readings for the sexual images. Just like addicts who show p300 spikes when presented with their drug of choice. How could she draw a conclusion that is the opposite of her actual results?”

Well, John Johnson’s not alone. You go to my website under the Critique and you’ll see five peer-reviewed papers listed. All of them agree with John A. Johnson, that Steele. et. al.’s finding of greater brain activation to porn, aligns with the porn addiction model. How many have heard of the Cambridge study? There are actually six of them, but everyone just sticks to mentioning the first. That was the very first brain scan study that compared actual porn addicts to non-addicts. And what did find, they found that the brain activity in the porn addicts looks just like that, that occurs in drug addiction.

Well, Valerie Voon decided to spend, Valerie Voon and the 11 neuroscientists, spent a long paragraph talking about Steele et. al., and they said “Hey, your findings are just like ours. You found Cue Reactivity.” Here’s the actual complex quote. Thus, both DACC activity in the presence of CSB study means compulsive sexual behavior. And the p300 activity reported in the previous CSB study that still at all may reflect similar underlying processes of attentional capture, which means Cue Reactivity, what happens in addicts. Prause misrepresented the findings. Here is the second claim by Prause: Steele et al. found that sex addicts simply have a high desire.  Now, here’s a mouthful. This is the only result, the entire results from that study are larger p300 amplitude differences to pleasant sexual stimuli relative to neutral stimuli was negatively related to measures of sexual desire. What does that mean? Well, first of all, negatively means lower. And the translation is individuals with greater Cue Reactivity to porn had less desire to have sex, less desire to have sex, the opposite of the claim. But they didn’t have less desire to masturbate to porn, according to the study. And here’s John Johnson giving her some stuff again.

The only significant correlation was a negative correlation with the desire for sex with the partner. In other words, the stronger the brain responds to the sexual image, the less the desire the person had for sex with the real person. This sounds to me like the profile of someone who is so fixated on images that he, she has trouble connecting sexually with people in real life. I would say that this person has a problem, whether you want to call this problem addiction is arguable. But I do not see how this finding demonstrates a lack of addiction nor do I, nor did anyone else. That really looked at it.  The reality is Steele et al. did not find high desire. And you can go to that same section on my website and find about 25 studies that falsify the claim that porn addicts simply have a high desire. It’s a myth. Have you ever seen this article by David Lay? David Lay is a close buddy of Nicole Prause, it’s called Your Brain On Porn, it’s not addictive. It was targeted towards my website, but it had nothing to do with my website. It’s a 2013 article and it’s only about Steele et al.” What’s interesting is on the internet when people want to debunk porn addiction, they cite this article. 

Now, the thing you want to do if someone cites it is to ask them “Hey, what is this article about?” They’ll usually say “I don’t know, it’s just debunks everything. Just read it.” If they say it’s about an EEG study (Steele et al.). Say “Hey! You know, can you find an excerpt from that Steele et al. study and show me where it says ‘Their brains didn’t look like addicts’? ” Well, you’re not going to find it. Because it doesn’t exist. Their brains look like addicts. In summary, I’m supposed to summarize all these. You have talking points, spokesperson prows misrepresented the findings. The brains look like addicts, and the subjects with greater brain activation porn actually had less desire. Five peer-reviewed critics say, “Hey, it looks like addiction does.” Now here’s the other thing, I’m just going to mention I don’t have time. Is it suffering from really serious flaws? I said it didn’t have a control group, but the subjects were heterogeneous. What does that mean? When you’re doing brain scans on addiction, and you have a control group and the addicts, you have to make sure that they’re similar. You have to have either all males or all females, usually all left-handed or right-handed, close to the same age, close to the same IQ. And especially with porn, what is well established is that males and females have very different neurological responses. 

The porn and certainly gays and straights have very different responses in the brain to the same porn. This just should have prevented this study from ever being published. Also, we don’t know how many worse porn addicts. Lastly, Prause didn’t screen them for not only porn addiction, didn’t screen them for other mental disorders, didn’t screen them for drug use. That’s what you have to do with all brain studies on addicts.  Here’s our second Prause. One, modulation of late positive potentials, bisexual images, and problem users and controls inconsistent with porn addiction. Another mouthful; What’s important here are the words “Inconsistent with Porn Addiction” in the title usually don’t see things like that. Here’s the headline; Your porn addiction isn’t real. Porn addiction isn’t really an addiction. If you go to every single one of the articles out there debunking porn as a public health problem, this one is cited. 

Here’s the interesting thing. It was published two years later. Number two, this might be a little bit hard to understand, but Prause actually uses the old EEG readings from Steele et al., and he didn’t do anything new. Just use the old EEG readings, then grab together some new subjects and compare them to the old EEG readings. It’s really, she finally finished the second half of the study. And again, they were assessing Cue Reactivity. They’re calling it LPP, it’s just another brainwave they’re assessing, so don’t get all caught up with p300 LPP.  Here’s Prause claiming on her old SPAM lab website that she had debunked porn addiction with a single study. To this day, Prause claims that our solitary EEG study has falsified porn addiction not to bunk falsified. It means, there’s no need to study it anymore. We’re done. Complete. Go home, and she believes it too. Well, here’s the brainwave she took. The black and gray are the controls. The red and green are the addicts. 

She said one of the subgroups, she had to get a subgroup of her subjects, in order to get them a little bit lower than the rest. Cross claims that this subgroup of so-called porn addicts should have had higher EEG readings than controls. And that’s how she debunked porn addiction. But you see, there are six peer-review papers that disagree with her. They think the lower brain activation is actually consistent with the addiction model because the six papers say “Problematic porn users if they’re looking at vanilla porn, they usually have less of a response. They get bored. They get what’s called habituation. They need something stronger.” Prause said it was an addiction. Neuroscientists disagree. So what is habituation or tolerance?  Well, tolerance is a sign of addiction, the need for greater drugs to get the same high or more stimuli, to get the same high. With drugs or alcohol, you’re drinking more alcohol, you’re taking more drugs. With porn, the porn user usually escalates into more extreme material to get sexually aroused. What’s interesting is that in the conclusion, Prause et al. said, “You know, maybe they’re right. Habituation might be a good explanation for what we found.” And then Prause cited this paper called Kühn and Gallinat and said. 

“You know, our findings were just like theirs pretty much”. All of you have probably heard of Kühn and Gallinat. How many have heard of porn uses related to less gray matter? So that’s the study. It’s the most famous study done on porn users. It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. What it found was that higher levels of porn use correlated with less reward system gray matter. The key one is less brain activation to images of vanilla porn.  And here’s the lead author Simone Kühn saying “Well, this could mean that regular porn consumption dulls the reward system.” And she said, “Therefore, we assume subject with higher pornography consumption require ever stronger stimuli to reach the same reward wealth levels.” So this is an addiction. Prause et al. and Kühn and Gallinat found the same thing. Prause called it “debunking addiction”. Kühn and Gallinat called it “addiction”, looking like an addiction. And here’s one of the six papers by Metu Scola, that was critiquing it.

And here he says “The conclusion presented in the studies titled, inconsistent with porn addiction is ungrounded concerning the current model of addiction. And then he went on. He said, “Unfortunately, the bold title of Prause et al. has already had an impact on mass media, this popularizing a scientifically unjustified conclusion. Due to the social and political importance of the topic of the effects of porn consumption, researchers should draw future conclusions with greater caution. Again, these other peer-reviewed papers disagree with promises assertions. Back to this blog post. This blog post was really written by both David Lay and Nicole Prause. This was done in 2013. And why is this important?  Back in 2013, David Lay, Nicole Prause said this in the blog post about Steele et al. If viewing porn actually was habituating, or desensitizing, like drugs are, then viewing pornography would have diminished electrical response in the brain. 

That’s exactly what Prause found in 2015 when she had a control group. What they’re saying is “If we had a control group, and we compared it to them, and we found less, then that would be like drugs and like an addiction.” Well, that’s exactly what they found, which is right. Lay and Prause in 2013 or Prause in 2015. There’s sort of arguing with each other. Let’s say Prause never found Cue reactivity. The big problem with this is you can’t falsify a model with a single study. 21 other studies have found Cue reactivity and cravings, neurological studies in porn users. Now, there’s no need to write down this list. It’s on the front of my page on YBOP. These studies also found many other addiction-related brain changes. And these studies are simply 21 of 39 studies at the top of why DLP, all of them have reported findings completely consistent with the addiction model. 

On that list, 14 reviews are consistent with the addiction model. And finally, compulsive sexual behavior disorder will be in what’s called the ICD 11. The World Health Organization has published the ICD which has diagnostic criteria and numbers for mental and physical disorders. It’s going to be in there, and that’s going to be an umbrella term where you can actually diagnose porn addiction, or sex addiction, or cybersex addiction, or whatever the heck you want to call it. It’s going to be in there. So really, the false suffocation claim by Prause is without support. In the end, I’ve already explained Prause’s EEG study. She took the old readings from the 2013 study, compared them to a control group. She found lower readings. She said, “I debunk porn addiction.” The neuroscientist and six other peer-reviewed papers say “No, you didn’t. It looks just like addiction.” And that’s pretty much the end of the story, except we have five. You can’t falsify it when 38 other neuroscience studies support the addiction model. 

Okay, that was pretty heavy, I know. But that’s what you came for is a research smackdown, so let’s keep smacking. This might be a little bit easier, so we won’t have all those words like EEG and stuff that make our brain go jello. Using porn is good for your relationship. Here’s the headline. This is based on a single study by Taylor Kohut. I called Taylor Kohut, the Nicole Prause of the great white north. He’s in Canada. The name of the study, another mouthful. Can’t we make these things shorter? Perceived the Effects of Pornography on Couple relationship Initial Findings of an Open-Ended Participant Informed Bottom-Up Research. 

We’ll call it Kohut et al. (2017). How did Kohut come up with porn use being great for relationships? Well, first, he just had what was an open-ended question, “Hey, how do you feel about porn?”, “Oh, I’m just going to tell you.” The participants just rambled on and on. And then after the fact, he took the ramblings, put them on a paper and decided what was important. What he didn’t do was correlate porn use to sexual or relationship satisfaction, no mathematical correlations, just “Hey, I’m going to ask people how they feel.” That’s it. But the real problem is here. The second methodological tactic is that the couples were far from normal or representative. 100% of the men pretty much use porn on their own, but 95% of the women regularly use porn on their own, 83% had used it before they became couples. And there are the demographics. You got about 430 subjects with an average age of 33. But here’s the key, you’re gonna find this surprising. 

Females in long-term relationships have very low rates of regular porn use. Here’s the latest because they haven’t asked this question since 2004. Question from the largest nationally representative survey of the US found only 2.6% of married women regularly use porn. Now you’re going to say “Well, I think that’s low.” Maybe it is. But you got to think about what’s going on here. It’s for married women only. And it’s all age groups. 60s 70s 80s 90s. And the other thing is regularly using porn, not having seen it in the last year, so that’s quite different. It’s way different. Here are the codes of subjects, 95% of the women use porn. Here’s nationally representative. That’s how you get the results you want. You pick your subjects carefully. Here’s another way to look at it. Here’s 97% of the US population. Here’s a Kohut sample of regular porn users, females, and couples. He had skewed samples. But even though we had skewed samples, interesting enough, and you didn’t see this in any of the articles, they found problems. 

They found that porn replaces partner sex in 90 responses. Decreased sexual arousal-71 responses, addiction-60 responses, loss of intimacy damaged relationships. There were problems but that somehow didn’t make it into the articles about it. The reality on the front of YBOP, here’s the page, it lists studies that have to do with relationships. There are almost 60 studies linking porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction as far as I can find. As far as I can see, in men’s analysis, every single study on men finds porn use related to less sexual and relationship satisfaction.  Here are the studies. And the reason I’m doing it is not to take pictures because they’re all there to let you know, these are not fake studies as Nicole Prause has often claimed they actually exist. And on that same list is the second list of studies 24 that link porn use for porn addiction to sexual problems, or lower sexual arousal. That’s a whole lot of studies that just don’t jive with Mr. Kohut, do they? And then there are women. 

Maybe you’ve heard the myth that porn use is no problem for females. But again, I have this list on my website. And what we have is maybe about five or six studies that show that porn use is linked to maybe better sexual satisfaction, but about 30 to less satisfaction. And here’s the key, is when you see these headlines, and you’ll see them always linking to two or three of the same studies saying that “Porn use is fine for women.”  Remember, they’re talking about the far end of the spectrum of the two to three percent of the women who regularly use porn and who are in a long term relationship. That’s a small percentage. They never provide the raw numbers because you’ll see “Over here we have 400 at this end, we have four at this end.”, so it can be quite deceiving. Anyhow, the point is, number two is the real key one is that he had a skewed sample of 95% of women who regularly use porn. Whereas in the largest US survey, only 2.6% of married women have visited a porn site in the last month. The reality is quite different. Almost 60 studies link porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction. Six of them are longitudinal. 

Longitudinal means you follow the couples over time, and then you can tell “Well, is porn really affecting them?” That’s what these six found. Oh no! Another study by Taylor Kohut. This question was asked by Mary earlier. Using porn makes you more egalitarian. You want to be a feminist, watch some porn. This is based on a single study by Taylor Kohut, another mouthful. He can’t make anything small. Is pornography really about making hate to women? Pornography, Users Hold More Gender Egalitarian Attitudes than Non-users and a Representative American Sample, Kohut et al. (2016). Kohut, et al. ‘s findings go against nearly every study ever published. Here’s a 2016 review of the literature, 135 studies. Regular exposure to sexual media had a range of consequences like higher levels of body dissatisfaction, greater self-objectification, greater support for sex’s beliefs, and of adversarial sections beliefs, greater tolerance of sexual violence towards women. Then, in experimental studies, this content leads to both men and women having a diminished view of women’s competence, morality, and humanity. That’s the reality. The question is, how did Kohut et al. design his study to come up with these results? 

He framed egalitarianism, so those religious populations would score lower and secular populations would score higher. Look at the first three questions. If you say yes to those, you are egalitarian, “I support abortion rights. I think of myself as a feminist. I believe that the institution of the traditional family actually hinders its members.” I would suspect now I’m an atheist, sorry. I’m an atheist. But I would suspect that religious populations would tend to score lower than secular on those first three, especially with that first one. Then we have to answer “No” to four and five, you hold egalitarian views. Family life suffers when women have a full-time job. Five, most men are better suited emotionally for politics than are women. Whatever you think the first three are going to cause religious populations to score lower. Why is that important? Follow me on this. 

Nearly every study ever done finds that religious populations have been using less porn. I don’t know if any of you’ve seen some of the headlines out there about “Utah is the number one state in porn use.” That’s a lie. That’s all been debunked. Why is that important?  Well, here’s what you do. Kohut created his egalitarian criteria, and he knew that secular populations would score higher. He already knew that porn use rates are significantly higher in secular populations. Now you can create a nice correlation between egalitarianism and porn use. More porn makes you more egalitarian. I like it. It’s clever. Unfortunately, no other study agrees with them. Here are 25 studies and that same section that links porn use to sexes and egalitarian attitudes towards women. No surprise there.

All these put together, Kohut created criteria so that secular populations would score higher, they have higher porn use. Now you have a correlation and the reality is number four, nearly every study reports greater porn use correlating with less egalitarianism. But this is one of my favorite ones put out there. It was one of the major ones put out in motion 47 that proved that porn use was beneficial.  Last one, and the least well-known myth. Porn use has many benefits and very few drawbacks. These claims pretty much arise from studies that utilize a questionnaire the questionnaire is called Pornography Consumption Effect Scale. I’ll call it the PCES. PCES has 47 questions and it was created in this paper called Hald and Malamuth (2008). It’s the most egregious paper on porn ever published, in my opinion. Much more egregious than the ones we’ve seen. Each question is categorized as a Positive-a-porn or a Negative-a- porn. And then you can score each question as one, not at all. Or seven, to an extremely large extent. Here are the actual excerpts, I’m going to give you the translation of three findings of the PCES from Hald and Malamuth (2008). 

First finding, porn use was almost always beneficial with few if any drawbacks for anyone. That’s not surprising. The second finding, the more hardcore porn you use, the greater its positive effects on your life. In other words, the PCES found that the more porn you use, the better your life is. Straight up, like that. And putting it all together, the more porn you use, the more you believe porn represents real sex. And the more you masturbate to porn, the greater the positive effects it has in every area of your life. In other words, if you’re not using porn, it is having severe negative effects on you. You need to start using porn. Now how could the PCES produce these wonderful results? It’s all in how you design anything. The first problem is that Hald and Malamuth (2008) just decided, “Well, I think this is negative, I think this is positive and it was really like throwing darts at a board.” And here are some examples of positive effects, has added to your knowledge of anal sex, have taught you new sexual techniques, have made you experiment more in your sex life. These are all positives that has made you more insight into your sexual fantasies, have improved your knowledge of oral sex, has increased your sexual activity. Is that positive for an 11 year old? I don’t know. You tell me. What it’s really saying is, have you learned all about sex from porn? That’s what these six questions are asking.

It’s really asking if you have learned about sex through porn, it’s positive in your life. Here are some negative questions: Has it made you less sexually liberal? Has made you experiment less in your sex life? Has your sexual activities been reduced? Again, it’s context. You can’t say if this is positive or negative. Maybe you’re a sex addict, and you want to cut down. Well, that would be which, that would be a positive. If you cut back down, or maybe experiment less, maybe your wife doesn’t want to try the crazy stuff, you use some porn or hang off the chandelier. Maybe experimenting less would be good for your marriage. I don’t know. The second problem with the PCES is that it gives equal weight to questions that do not assess equivalent effects. Over on the left positive has added to your knowledge of anal sex that’s positive on the right has reduced your quality of life. In other words, you could learn about anal sex, but you could also have lost your job and divorced and it’s pretty much a wash.

Let’s take this to the end. If you put it together, you have basically the false equivalencies given to you on the previous slide plus self-perception. Self-perception means “Oh, this is how I think porn affects me.” Let’s look at a young addicted porn user and how he might answer these questions. He has porn on his TV, no girlfriend, let’s see. 14 has added to your knowledge of anal sex. “Oh, yeah, that’s a seven.” Has positively affected your view on the opposite gender, “Oh, yeah. Six.”, “I think porn stars are hot.” 28, overall has been a positive supplement to your sex life. Seven, “I never masturbate without it.” Now let’s see how you might score on some of the negative questions. Has made you less tolerant towards sex. One, “Are you kidding? I watch sex four hours a week.” 25, has reduced your quality of life. One, “I can’t imagine life without porn.” 40, has led to problems in your sex life. “No, I’m a virgin.” Number one. In other words, your marriage could be destroyed. And you could have chronic ED, but your PCES score can still show that porn has been just great for every aspect of your life.

It’s all math people. Here’s one recovering porn user who looked at the PCES and he said “Yeah, I’ve dropped out of university, have lost friends, got into debt, still have porn in the CD, and never had sex in real life. But at least I know all the porn star acts and I’m up to speed on all the different positions. So basically, porn has enriched my life to no end.” Now, there’s a lot more that can be said about this very egregious study. Here’s our critique. But what’s interesting is there is an even longer critique by the psychology professor on that same page, and he really tears it up. He says “In short, if I had been the reviewer on this manuscript, I would have probably rejected it based on inadequate statistical methodology, as well as various conceptual problems that scientific speak for it was a pile of crap.”  It is impossible given the nature of the data to draw any firm conclusions. And he says the PCES is a psychometric nightmare.

Here’s the real nightmare folks, if you put in the PCES or the study that created it into Google Scholar search, and you come up with 273 citations. This is a “zombie paper” that is creating more and more papers that come up with what results. What do you think? Porn use is never a problem. It’s always been official. There might be that many papers out there who have been born by the PCs, all reporting very questionable results.  I’m going to finish up now and anyhow if you are reading articles or in a debate, look for any of these talking points. Look at what they link to and you usually find these five studies.

Go to my website, get yourself some ammunition, link to some peer-reviewed material, and debunk the nonsense. The reality is quite different. It is quite different from what the naysayers say. As I said, there are 39 neuroscience-based studies. These lists are all on the front page of my website that supports the addiction model. 14 literature reviews didn’t mention this, but 22 studies report findings consistent with tolerance with escalation, and even a few studies reporting withdrawal symptoms. 

That’s an addiction. There are again 60 studies that like porn use to list sexual and relationship satisfaction. Didn’t mention this, 50 studies linked porn use to poor mental health for cognitive functioning, and 25 studies linked porn use to an egalitarian attitude. And finally, here’s an analysis: 22 studies from seven different countries were analyzed. Consumption was associated with sexual aggression in the US internationally among males and females in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.  In other words, there’s a whole lot of articles out there with a whole lot of propaganda. And I guess we can use that term since people are using it today. It’s fake news. It truly is fake news. Really check out those articles and check for what they’re citing. Okay, thanks a lot.

Andrew Love 

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