Wiederhold Brenda K.. Editor-in-Chief, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. February 2017, 20(2): 71-71. doi:10.1089/cyber.2017.29062.bkw. Published in Volume: 20 Issue 2: February 1, 2017 (Download PDF)
A review of 10 years of research published in this journal found that pornography use has increased, primarily due to the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, which also provides anonymity.1 More recently, this journal published new research based on a sample of 832 adults, which found that 90% of men and 51% of women reported looking at Internet pornography. These researchers found that “cyberpornography time use is associated with sexual dissatisfaction through perceived addiction and sexual functioning problems. These patterns of associations held for both men and women.”2
These findings are congruent with previous research that shows use of pornography is associated with the following six trends, among others:
- “1. Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce
- 2. Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction
- 3. Infidelity
- 4. Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal, or unsafe practices
- 5. Devaluation of monogamy, marriage, and child rearing
- 6. An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.”3
What defines addiction to cyberporn? A researcher in Italy provides a recent definition: “Addicted people download, use, and trade cyber pornographic materials, and they are also very often involved in adult chat rooms, obsessed by cybersex and cyber pornographic materials.”4
In testimony before a U.S. Senate committee, Mary Anne Layden, PhD, Co-Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “I have also seen in my clinical experience that pornography damages the sexual performance of the viewers. Pornography viewers tend to have problems with premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Having spent so much time in unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid, and cyberspace, they seem to find it difficult to have sex with a real human being. Pornography is raising their expectation and demand for types and amounts of sexual experiences; at the same time, it is reducing their ability to experience sex.”5
What can people who use Internet pornography do to revive their interest in having sex with another person, as well as regain their previous level of sexual performance? Being a religious person isn’t enough; it won’t necessarily steer you away from cyberporn, as one study of 125 undergraduate men showed.6
However, a new study suggests abstinence from cyberporn as the first step: “Traditional factors that once explained sexual difficulties in men appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in sexual dysfunctions and low sexual desire in men under 40. Both the literature and our clinical reports underscore the need for extensive investigation of Internet pornography’s potential effects on users, ideally by having subjects remove the variable of Internet pornography in order to demonstrate potential effects of behavioral modification.”7
1. MB Short, L Black, AH Smith, et al. A review of Internet pornography use research: methodology and content from the past 10 years. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking 2012; 15:13–23.
2. S Blais-Lecours, M-P Vaillancourt-Morel, S Sabourin, et al. Cyberpornography: time use, perceived addiction, sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking 2016; 19:649–655.
3. J Manning. Hearing on pornography’s impact on marriage & the family. U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights, Committee on Judiciary, November 10, 2005. www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/manning_testimony_11_10_05.pdf (accessed December 5, 2016).
4. F Saliceti. Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). Procedia—Social and Behavioral Sciences 2015; 191:1372–1376.
5. J Reisman, J Sanitover, MA Layden, et al. Hearing on the brain science behind pornography addiction and the effects of addiction on families and communities. U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, November 18, 2004. www.ccv.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Judith_Reisman_Senate_Testimony-2004.11.18.pdf (accessed December 5, 2016).
6. JW Abell, TA Steenbergh, MJ Boivin. Cyberporn use in the context of religiosity. Journal of Psychology & Theology 2006; 34:165–171.
7. BY Park, G Wilson, J Berger, et al. Is Internet pornography causing sexual dysfunctions? A review with clinical reports. Behavioral Sciences 2016; 6:17.