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About This Site
Submitted by Administrator on Mon, 11/29/2010 - 10:23
NOTE: You can hide the header of this site by going to the bottom of the left-hand column and choosing "Hide Site Header."
This site is secular, although everyone's views are welcome. It is primarily science-based, and no one here is trying to ban porn. This is not a commercial site. We created the site because we don’t like people suffering needlessly simply because they lack critical information for improving their circumstances themselves.
This site focuses on porn’s effects on the brain—male or female. However, since this has been predominantly a male challenge (and the self-reports are overwhelmingly from men), the site has a definite male slant. However, addiction is addiction, and more females are starting to report Internet porn problems. If you are female, you may want to see Articles of Special Interest to Women.
Although we don’t offer a structured program, we do share suggestions as to how others have reversed the unwanted effects of heavy porn use.
This site will help you understand exactly how today’s extreme Internet porn can alter the brain. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll realize that some primitive circuitry in your brain is just trying to do its job when it pushes you toward porn. And you’ll see how to outsmart it and restore your balance.
This site grew out of 15 years of research analysis on the effects of sex on the brain, and nine years of listening to recovering porn addicts. There’s a vacuum of critically important information about porn's effects on the brain. It is lost in the gulf that exists between the folks who see porn use as immoral, and the mainstream who sees Internet porn as no different from Dad’s Playboy magazines.
In our view, porn use isn’t a moral issue. Yet, to the human brain, Internet porn is as different from erotic magazines as “World of Warcraft” is from checkers. This has major implications for users' neurochemical balance.
You can start anywhere on the site, but it's important to understand your predicament. To get the basics, watch the series Your Brain On Porn, or read the overview on the front page. Next you may want to continue to "Articles" or "Videos" from the list below (which are the menu items at the top of the page).
- Support: Links to other helpful websites. YBOP has no forum.
- Rebooting: Read the basics before you get started. Browse the rebooting accounts.
- Tools for Change: Tools you can use to help you in your recovery, starting with rebooting and rewiring your brain. Contains many personal accounts and tips.
- Porn FAQ's: Here we (and porn users) answer the most commonly asked questions. Contains many personal accounts.
- Videos: View our presentations, and other videos on addiction and porn addiction.
- Articles: Porn related articles in six categories, covering a diverse range of subjects important to you. Written for the general public, with easy to understand science and porn users' stories.
- Research Page: Contains articles, excerpts and research that relate to porn addiction and recovery, as well as a Humor section. Also see the audio-visual presentations appear.
It's great to see so many visitors bounce back as they integrate the information here. Once they understand their options, they steer for the results they want. As we say, “Balance, not perfection, is the goal.” No one here cares what you do with your genitals. We do care that you are accurately informed about your brain. Welcome.
What is YBOP claiming?
1. Internet porn addiction exists.
2. All addictions entail a constellation of shared fundamental brain changes, which have been documented in both substance and chemical addictions, and which are reflected in a specific set of signs & symptoms.
3. Porn-induced sexual dysfunction exists.
4. Internet porn is inducing morphing sexual tastes in some users.
5. Internet porn is inducing various other symptoms (loss of attraction to real partners, social anxiety, depression, brain fog, lack of motivation and withdrawal symptoms) in some users.
6. Many who give up Internet porn often notice gradual improvement in items 3-5. The only variable they appear to have in common is Internet porn use.
7. Intense arousal has the power to condition sexuality, particularly adolescent sexuality, as a matter of neuroscience.
Is there any scientific foundation for these claims? Yes. In fact, it is "pseudoscience" to suggest that porn addiction does not exist. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (3000 addiction doctors and researchers) agrees that "sexual behavior addictions exist" and involve the same mechanisms and symptoms as other addictions. Social anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, brain fog and withdrawal symptoms are common in all addictions. Medical doctors have also acknowledged that porn-induced erectile dysfunction is occurring. You can read an overview with links to much research, which has revealed that adolescent brains are particularly plastic and hyper-responsive to reward.
Where is the scientific support for the suggestion that Internet porn addiction exists?
See this 2015 paper by two medical doctors: Sex Addiction as a Disease: Evidence for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Response to Critics (2015), which provides a chart from that takes on specific criticisms and offers citations that counter them. For a thorough review of the neuroscience literature related to Internet addiction subtypes, with special focus on internet porn addiction, see - Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015). The review also critiques two recent headline-grabbing EEG studies which purport to have "debunked porn addiction.
In addition, all published brain and neuropsychological studies support the claims made by YBOP (see: Brain Studies on Porn Users)
- Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn (2014) - A German study which found 3 significant addiction-related brain changes correlating with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that more porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation while viewing sexual photos. Researchers stated their findings indicated desensitization, and possibly tolerance, the need for greater stimulation.
- Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) - The first in a series of Cambridge University studies found the same brain activity as seen in drug addicts and alcoholics. It also found that porn addicts fit the accepted addiction model of wanting "it" more, but not liking "it" more. The researchers also reported that 60% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn.
- Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) - The second Cambridge University study: "Our findings of enhanced attentional bias... suggest possible overlaps with enhanced attentional bias observed in studies of drug cues in disorders of addictions. These findings converge with recent findings of neural reactivity to sexually explicit cues in [porn addicts] in a network similar to that implicated in drug-cue-reactivity studies and provide support for incentive motivation theories of addiction underlying the aberrant response to sexual cues in [porn addicts]."
- Sexual Desire, not Hypersexuality, is Related to Neurophysiological Responses Elicited by Sexual Images (2013) - This EEG study was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn addiction. Not so. YBOP lists this SPAN Lab study as supporting the existence of porn addiction. Why? The study reported higher EEG readings (P300) when subjects were exposed to porn photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction. In addition, the study reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlated with less desire for partnered sex. Nether results match the headlines. Read more.
- Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with "Porn Addiction" (2015) - Another SPAN Lab EEG study comparing the 2013 subjects from the above study to an actual control group. The results: compared to controls porn addicts had less response to photos of vanilla porn. The lead author, Nicole Prause, claims these results debunk porn addiction, yet these findings align perfectly with Kühn & Gallinat (2014), which found that more porn use correlated with less brain activation in response to pictures of vanilla porn. In other words, "porn addicts" were desensitized and needed greater stimulation than non-addicts. Big surprise (read more).
- Increased sensitivity to erotic reward cues in subjects with compulsive sexual behaviors (2015) - This upcoming fMRI study compared reward center activity of controls to compulsive porn users. Compared to controls compulsive porn users had far greater reward center activity and attentional bias when exposed to sexual cues. Both findings align with the two Cambridge studies (above), and the accepted model of addiction - incentive sensitization.
- Cybersex addiction is correlated with ventral striatum activity when watching preferred pornographic pictures (2015) - Finding #1 in this upcoming study: Reward center activity (ventral striatum) was higher for preferred pornographic pictures. Finding #2: Ventral striatum reactivity correlated with the internet sex addiction score. Both findings indicate sensitization and align with the addiction model.
The above studies are all the brain studies published on internet porn users. All support the premise that internet porn use can cause addiction-related brain changes. These study results are consistent with over 110 internet addiction brain studies, many of which also include internet porn use. In short, there's ample (and growing) peer-reviewed scientific support for the addiction model.
Together the Internet porn brain studies found:
- The 3 major addiction-related brain changes: sensitization, desensitization, and hypofrontality.
- More porn use correlated with less grey matter in the reward circuit (dorsal striatum).
- More porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation to sexual images.
- More porn use correlated with disrupted neural connections between the reward circuit and prefrontal cortex.
- 60% of compulsive porn using subjects in one study experienced ED or low libido with partners, but not with porn: all stated that internet porn use caused their ED/low libido.
- Enhanced attentional bias comparable to drug users. Indicates sensitization (a product of DeltaFosb).
- Greater wanting & craving, but not greater liking. This aligns with the accepted model of addiction - incentive sensitization.
- The younger the porn users the greater the cue-induced reactivity in the reward center.
- Higher EEG (P300) readings when porn users were exposed to porn cues (which occurs in other addictions)
- Less desire for sex with a person correlating with greater cue-reactivity to porn images.
- More porn use related with lower LPP amplitude when viewing sexual photos: indicates habituation or desensitization.
While we don't offer any estimates of percentages of guys with Internet porn-related symptoms, we do warn that Internet porn appears to be hooking a greater percentage of users than porn of the past. We base this claim on hundreds of recent Internet addiction/online gaming studies (some including Internet porn use). Some show percentages of addicts as high as one in four among young males.
High rates of Internet addiction in young males would be consistent with what young porn users report about their peers, i.e, that both Internet porn usage and related problems are extremely common. The rise of streaming tube porn sites is apparently a key variable in symptom prevalence/severity. We suspect that Internet porn addiction rates may someday rival food addiction rates because both junk food and Internet porn are supernormal variations of the two prime natural rewards the human brain evolved to pursue. More than two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight and almost half of those obese (most of them addicted to high-fat, high-sugar, extra salty foods).
It is most unscientific to ignore the Internet addiction studies and assert (as do porn-addiction skeptics) that only (nonexistent) studies that isolate Internet porn use could prove its existence. First, although Internet porn taps into our innate sexual programming in a hyperstimulating way (due to its constant novelty), Internet porn addiction is, above all, an Internet addiction--just like online gaming addiction and general Internet addiction. Without high-speed Internet, no Internet addictions would exist.
Second, the import of the public statement of the American Society of Addiction Medicine is that all addictions, behavioral and chemical, are evidence of a common set of fundamental brain changes and can be diagnosed from the same basic diagnostic questions, independent of the particular activity or substance. For example, if an Internet user reports (1) continued use despite negative consequences, (2) cravings, (3) inability to control use, and (4) compulsion to use, it doesn't matter if he's a gamer, a porn viewer, or a combination of the two. He has an Internet addiction.
Meanwhile, it's a good thing that porn-specific studies aren't needed to confirm porn addiction as a scientific matter, because the Internet porn study the skeptics insist they would need to accept the existence of Internet porn addiction cannot be done. First, control groups of non-porn users among young males would be very difficult to round up. Second, ethics boards wouldn't permit half of the subjects to be exposed to years of hardcore porn use in order to study the effects. Third, ethics boards would not allow research where porn users are asked to eliminate masturbation to porn for months to create ex-users for comparison.
It's also unscientific to hold up pre-highspeed porn addiction rates, or, even more absurdly, sex addiction ("hypersexuality") rates, as evidence that Internet porn addiction rates are low. How relevant are any of these other addictions to a condition dependent on highspeed Internet?
To state this another way: Since the research shows that Internet addiction and online gaming addiction exist and are not harmless, the burden of proof is now on the porn skeptics to reveal scientific reasons why Internet porn use would be uniquely harmless. (Keep in mind that Dutch researchers have already shown that of all cyber pastimes, cyber erotica is the most compelling, i.e., potentially addictive.)
Is there scientific evidence for the claim that Internet porn can recondition sexuality?
Both sexual conditioning and addiction are on the same spectrum in a sense. That is, addiction hijacks the sexual conditioning mechanism in the brain. See Natural and Drug Rewards Act on Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms with ΔFosB as a Key Mediator (2013)
Lots of guys are reporting porn-related sexual performance and other problems who do not view themselves as addicts. (Who here doing NoFap isn't/wasn't an "addict?") Their experience that they have somehow rewired their sexuality even without having fallen into addiction is supported by research on virgin rats. Using high-arousal states, scientists have successfully conditioned young rats to prefer same-sex partners and partners who smell like rotting flesh (normally aversive). Researchers have also shown that early sexual conditioning is more lasting than sexual conditioning induced in adults after normal sexual behavior patterns are established.