This section of the site provides critiques of studies and commentaries about which YBOP and others have serious reservations. In some, the methodology raises concerns. In others, the conclusions appear inadequately supported. And, in others, the title or terminology used is misleading given the actual study results. Some grossly misrepresent the real findings. Others cherry-pick studies and misrepresent the studies they do cite. Clicking on the name of study takes you directly to an analysis of it. In the analysis you will find links to the original paper. In addition to critiques of studies, selected propaganda pieces are debunked. (If you are looking for studies relevant to porn use visit this page.)
In response to proliferation of biased articles in the press YBOP wrote this: How to recognize biased articles: They cite Prause et al. 2015 (falsely claiming it debunks porn addiction), while omitting over 50 neurological studies supporting porn addiction (April, 2016). For a debunking of nearly every talking point and cherry-picked study see this extensive critique: Debunking “Why Are We Still So Worried About Watching Porn?”, by Marty Klein, Taylor Kohut, and Nicole Prause (2018). If you want a simple video addressing many of the myths propagated by researchers or bloggers see: (Video) PORN MYTHS – The Truth Behind Addiction And Sexual Dysfunctions, by Gabe Deem. The following talks (on vimeo) were presented at the 2018 NCOSE conference:
- “People Recognize Porn-Science Propaganda When They See It” by Jacob Hess – An overview of tactics employed by “astroturfers” who deny the possible negative effects of porn use.
- Gary Wilson – “Porn Research: Fact or Fiction?” – Wilson exposes the truth behind 5 studies propagandists cite (all listed below) to support their claims that porn addiction doesn’t exist or that porn use is largely beneficial.
Update (April, 2019)
In an attempt to silence YBOP’s criticism, a handful of authors formed a group to steal YBOP’s trademark. See this page for details: Aggressive Trademark Infringement Waged by Porn Addiction Deniers (www.realyourbrainonporn.com).
If you are looking for an analysis of a study that you cannot find on this “Critiques of Questionable & Misleading Studies” page, check this page: Porn Science Deniers Alliance (AKA: “RealYourBrainOnPorn.com” and “PornographyResearch.com”). It examines the trademark infringers’ “research page,” including its cherry-picked outlier papers (many are not actual studies), bias, egregious omissions, misrepresentation of the studies it does list, and outright deception.
Commentaries Published in Academic Journals
- Critique of “Prause et al. (2015) the latest falsification of addiction predictions“ (2016), Nicole Prause, Vaughn R. Steele, Cameron Staley, Dean Sabatinelli, Greg Hajcake (Prause et al., 2016)
- Critique of “The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model” (2014), David Ley, Nicole Prause & Peter Finn (Ley et al., 2014)
- Dismantling the “group position” paper opposing porn and sex addiction (November, 2017)
- Analysis of “Data do not support sex as addictive” (Prause et al., 2017)
- Critique of Nicole Prause’s “Porn Is for Masturbation” (2019)
The Joshua Grubbs CPUI-9 and So-called “Perceived Pornography Addiction”
- Is Joshua Grubbs pulling the wool over our eyes with his “perceived porn addiction” research? (2016)
- New study shatters the “moral incongruence model of pornography addiction” (2020)
- Research suggests the Grubbs, Perry, Wilt, Reid review is disingenuous (“Pornography Problems Due to Moral Incongruence: An Integrative Model with a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”) 2018. Formal criticisms (by researchers) of “Pornography Problems Due to Moral Incongruence: An Integrative Model with a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” (2018):
- Dysregulated Pornography Use and the Possibility of a Unipathway Approach (2018), by Paul J. Wright
- Stuck in the Porn Box (2018), by Brian J. Willoughby
- Hitting the Target: Considerations for Differential Diagnosis When Treating Individuals for Problematic Use of Pornography (2018), by Shane W. Kraus & Patricia J. Sweeney
- Theoretical Assumptions on Pornography Problems Due to Moral Incongruence and Mechanisms of Addictive or Compulsive Use of Pornography: Are the Two “Conditions” as Theoretically Distinct as Suggested? (2018) by Matthias Brand, Stephanie Antons, Elisa Wegmann, Marc N. Potenza
- What should be included in the criteria for compulsive sexual behavior disorder? (2020): The “Moral Incongruence” section.
- New study invalidates the Grubbs CPUI-9 as an instrument to assess either “perceived pornography addiction” or actual pornography addiction (2017)
- Religious People Use Less Porn and Are No More Likely to Believe They Are Addicted (2017)
- Critique of: “Damaged Goods: Perception of Pornography Addiction as a Mediator Between Religiosity and Relationship Anxiety Surrounding Pornography Use“ (Leonhardt, Willoughby, & Young-Petersen, 2017)
- Transgression as addiction: religiosity and moral disapproval as predictors of perceived addiction to pornography (2015), Grubbs JB, Exline JJ, Pargament KI, Hook JN, Carlisle RD.
- Perceived Addiction to Internet Pornography and Psychological Distress: Examining Relationships Concurrently and Over Time (2015). Grubbs JB, Stauner N, Exline JJ, Pargament KI, Lindberg MJ.
- Is Utah #1 in Porn Use?
Two Highly Publicized Nicole Prause EEG Studies
1) Sexual Desire, Not Hypersexuality, is Related to Neurophysiological Responses Elicited by Sexual Images (Steele et al., 2013).
Vaughn R. Steele, Cameron Staley, Timothy Fong, Nicole Prause
- Peer-reviewed critiques of Steele et al., 2013
- YBOP analysis – A critique of “Steele et al., 2013″: actual findings support the porn addiction model.
- Peer-reviewed critique: ‘High Desire’, or ‘Merely’ An Addiction? A Response to Steele et al. (2014) by Donald L. Hilton, Jr., MD.
- Peer-reviewed analysis: “Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours” (2014)
- Peer-reviewed critique: “Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update” (2015)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: “Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports” (2016)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: “Conscious and Non-Conscious Measures of Emotion: Do They Vary with Frequency of Pornography Use?” (2017)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: “Neurocognitive mechanisms in compulsive sexual behavior disorder” (2018)
- Peer-reviewed critique: “Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review” (2019)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: “The Initiation and Development of Cybersex Addiction: Individual Vulnerability, Reinforcement Mechanism and Neural Mechanism” (2019)
- Studies falsify the claim that sex & porn addicts “just have high sexual desire”
- Misinformed Media Touts Bogus Sex Addiction Study, (2013) by Robert Weiss, LCSW & Stefanie Carnes PhD
- Don’t Call it Hypersexuality: Why we Need the Term Sex Addiction, (2013) by Linda Hatch, PhD
- The Bogus Sex Addiction “Controversy” and the Purveyors of Ignorance (2014) by Linda Hatch, PhD
- YBOP response to Rory Reid’s so-called “critique” of Nicole Prause’s 2013 EEG study (Steele et al.)
- John A. Johnson PhD on Steele et al., 2013 (and Johnson debating Nicole Prause in comments section under his Psychology Today article)
- Nicole Prause’s unethical harassment and defamation of Gary Wilson & many others (initiated by Wilson’s critique of Steele et al., 2013)
2) Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with “Porn Addiction” (Prause et al., 2015).
Prause, Nicole, Vaughn R. Steele, Cameron Staley, Dean Sabatinelli, and Greg Hajcak.
- Peer-reviewed critiques of Prause et al., 2015
- YBOP critique of “Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with ‘Porn Addiction’ (Prause et al., 2015)”
- Peer-reviewed critique: Decreased LPP for sexual images in problematic pornography users may be consistent with addiction models. Everything depends on the model (2016)
- Peer-reviewed critique: Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Neurobiology of Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Emerging Science (2016)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Should compulsive sexual behavior be considered an addiction? (2016)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports (2016)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Conscious and Non-Conscious Measures of Emotion: Do They Vary with Frequency of Pornography Use? (2017)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Neurocognitive mechanisms in compulsive sexual behavior disorder (2018)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019)
- Peer-reviewed analysis: The Initiation and Development of Cybersex Addiction: Individual Vulnerability, Reinforcement Mechanism and Neural Mechanism (2019)
- Do Varying Levels of Exposure to Pornography and Violence Have an Effect on Non-Conscious Emotion in Men (2020) – Excerpt analyzing Prause et al., 2015
Porn Use and Sexual Dysfunction Studies
“Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction” (Prause & Pfaus, 2015). Nicole Prause & Jim Pfaus:
- Peer-reviewed critique of Prause & Pfaus, 2015 – by Richard A. Isenberg MD.
- Nothing Adds Up in Dubious Study: Youthful Subjects’ ED Left Unexplained – a critique of Prause & Pfaus, 2015 – by Gabe Deem
- Peer-reviewed: Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports (2016)
- New Study on Porn and Erectile Dysfunction is a Wax Banana [fake fruit], by Linda Hatch PhD (2015)
- New Research on ED and Hours of Porn Use Inconclusive, by Stefanie Carnes PhD (2015)
- Critique of “Is Pornography Use Associated With Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men?” (2015), Ivan Landripet, Aleksandar Štulhofer
- Sexual Function in 16- to 21-Year-Olds in Britain (2016)
- General Erectile Functioning among Young, Heterosexual Men Who Do and Do Not Report Condom-Associated Erection Problems (CAEP) (2015)
- Cyberpornography: Time Use, Perceived Addiction, Sexual Functioning, and Sexual Satisfaction (2016), Sarah Blais-Lecours, Marie-Pier Vaillancourt-Morel, Stéphane Sabourin, Natacha Godbout
- Profiles of Cyberpornography Use and Sexual Well-Being in Adults (2017) Marie-Pier Vaillancourt-Morel, Sarah Blais-Lecours, Chloé Labadie, Sophie Bergeron, Stéphane Sabourin, Natacha Godbout
- The 2018 Revision to the Process of Care Model for Evaluation of Erectile Dysfunction (2018), paid for by the maker of Viagra (Pfizer)
- Prause’s ongoing efforts to have Behavioral Sciences review paper (Park et al., 2016) retracted.
- Critique of “Is Pornography Use Related to Erectile Functioning? Results From Cross-Sectional and Latent Growth Curve Analyses” (2019), by Josh Grubbs
- Critique of claims surrounding “Sexual Responsivity and the Effects of Negative Mood on Sexual Arousal in Hypersexual Men Who Have Sex With Men” (2020)
Taylor Kohut Studies
- Critique of “Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, Bottom-Up Research” (2017), Taylor Kohut, William A. Fisher, Lorne Campbell.
- 2nd Critique of “Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, Bottom-Up Research” (2017), Taylor Kohut, William A. Fisher, Lorne Campbell: “Misleading Research on Pornography in the Popular Media.”
- Critique of “Is Pornography Really about Making Hate to Women? Pornography Users Hold More Gender Egalitarian Attitudes Than Nonusers in a Representative American Sample” (2016), Taylor Kohut, Jodie L. Baer, Brendan Watts.
- New study says porn users have ‘egalitarian attitudes’ — so what? (2015) by Jonah Mix.
Assorted Academic Papers
- Self-Perceived Effects of Pornography Consumption (2008), Hald GM, Malamuth NM (the PCES)
- No Evidence of Emotion Dysregulation in “Hypersexuals” Reporting Their Emotions to a Sexual Film (2013), Nicole Prause, Cameron Staley & Timothy W. Fong.
- Does Viewing Explain Doing? Assessing the Association Between Sexually Explicit Materials Use and Sexual Behaviors in a Large Sample of Dutch Adolescents and Young Adults (2013), Gert Martin Hald, Lisette Kuyper, Philippe C.G. Adam, John B.F. de Wit.
- Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by women in the United States: results from a nationally representative study (2009), Herbenick D, Reece M, Sanders S, Dodge B, Ghassemi A, Fortenberry JD.
- A Profile of Pornography Users in Australia: Findings From the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships (2016), Chris Rissel, Juliet Richters, Richard O. de Visser, Alan McKee, Anna Yeung & Theresa Caruana.
- Does exposure to erotica reduce attraction and love for romantic partners in men? Independent replications of Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989) study 2 (2017) Balzarini, R.N., Dobson, K., Chin, K. and Campbell, L.
- Sexual Arousal and Sexually Explicit Media (SEM): Comparing Patterns of Sexual Arousal to SEM and Sexual Self-Evaluations and Satisfaction Across Gender and Sexual Orientation (2017), Hald, Stulhofer, Lange.
- Critique of Samuel Perry’s “Is the Link Between Pornography Use and Relational Happiness Really More About Masturbation? Results From Two National Surveys” (2019).
- Critique of “Harder and Harder? Is Mainstream Pornography Becoming Increasingly Violent and Do Viewers Prefer Violent Content?” (2018).
- ‘Porn Studies Journal’, Fiona Attwood and Clarissa Smith (2013).
Paul Wright PhD Calls Out Porn Researchers’ Tactics
- Overcontrol in Pornography Research: Let it Go, Let it Go… (2021) by Paul J. Wright
- Pornographic Socialization as “Selective‑Exposure”: Let it Go, Let it Go II (2021) by Paul J. Wright
- YBOP article about Paul Wright’s two letters to the Archives of Sexual Behavior: Paul Wright PhD Calls Out Pro-Porn Researchers’ Deceptive Tactics (2021)
Lay Articles Related to Porn-induced Sexual Dysfunctions
- More on porn: guard your manhood—a response to Marty Klein, by Philip Zimbardo & Gary Wilson (April, 2016)
- Sexologists deny porn-induced ED by claiming masturbation is the problem (2016)
- Debunking Kris Taylor’s “A Few Hard Truths about Porn and Erectile Dysfunction” (2017)
- Debunking “Should you be worried about porn-induced erectile dysfunction?” – by The Daily Dot’s Claire Downs. (2018)
- Debunking the “Men’s Health” article by Gavin Evans: “Can Watching Too Much Porn Give You Erectile Dysfunction?” (2018)
- Debunking Justin Lehmiller’s “Is Erectile Dysfunction Really on the Rise in Young Men” (2018)
Lay Articles Related to Escalation of Porn Use
- Rethinking Ogas and Gaddam’s ‘A Billion Wicked Thoughts’ (2012)
- ‘A Billion Wicked Thoughts’ Is Only A Snapshot: Longitudinal studies are needed to reveal morphing porn tastes (2012)
- Studies Find Escalation (and Habituation) in Porn Users.
Addressing Claims About Rape Rates & Sexual Aggression
- Debunking the realyourbrainonporn (scienceofarousal.com) “Sex Offender Section”: The actual state of the research on porn use and sexual aggression, coercion & violence
- Studies linking porn use to sexual offending, sexual aggression, and sexual coercion (addresses claims about rape rates & porn)
- Rape rates are on the rise, so ignore the pro-porn propaganda (2018)
Debunking two Nicole Prause Op-ed’s targeting Fight The New Drug
- Op-ed: Utah students need real sex ed and ‘Fight the New Drug’ (2016)
- Op-ed: Who exactly is misrepresenting the science on pornography? (2016)
Uncategorized Lay Articles
- Debunking “Why Are We Still So Worried About Watching Porn?“, by Marty Klein, Taylor Kohut, and Nicole Prause (2018)
- Debunking the “Science of Arousal & Relationships” research page (AKA: “Real Your Brain On Porn”, AKA scienceofarousal.com”)
- Correcting Misunderstandings About Neuroscience and Problematic Sexual Behaviors (2017) by Don Hilton, MD
- Propagandists misrepresent peer-reviewed papers and ICD-11 search features to fuel false claim that WHO’s ICD-11 “rejected porn addiction and sex addiction” (2018)”
- Dismantling David Ley’s response to Philip Zimbardo: “We must rely on good science in porn debate” (March, 2016)
- YBOP response to Jim Pfaus’s “Trust a scientist: sex addiction is a myth” (January, 2016)
- YBOP response to claims in a David Ley comment (January, 2016)
- David Ley Attacks the NoFap Movement (May, 2015)
- Commentary on “Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong – In a Nutshell” (Johann Hari)
- A response to Jarryd Bartle’s article “Relax Folks! Pornography is Not the End of Civilisation” (2017)
- Exposing falsehoods in David Ludden’s “When Does Pornography Use Become Problematic?” (2020)
- Is Calling It Porn Addiction Dangerous? Video debunking Madita Oeming’s “Why We Need To Stop Calling It Porn Addiction“.
- Video: Porn Myths – The Truth Behind Addiction And Sexual Dysfunctions.