I have some more questions with regard to the neuroscience behind pornography consumption. I’m noticing a lot of inherent bias in the reporting of this specific field, with many details being underlined or flat-out misrepresented to skew the whole, or majority of the findings to support outcomes or results favorable to the view that pornography use is harmful and should be banned or regulated, which is logically, philosophically, and scientifically untrue.
Assuming Prostasia’s first study proves groundbreaking, conclusive results, would it be possible to fund future studies with this goal in mind? If we can establish an unbiased overview of the neuroscience involved with pornography consumption, we can eliminate any plausible rationale for groups like FightTheNewDrug and YourBrainOnPorn to stand on.
These two groups are not charities, they’re political action groups.
I believe an inquiry into whether or not the brain compartmentalizes fictional content and ‘real’ content would be fruitful.
I’m not a specialist in either neuroscience or psychology, but I think studying pornography consumption effects on the human brain is simply pointless.
Neurology is great to learn more about observable conditions, like psychological phenomena that we simply have little to no knowledge of.
Psychopathy for example, which is quite an atypical, yet repetitive condition, has been understood way more in more depth thanks to research about the brain structure of people who were psychopathic. But once again, in this case, we have a holistic observation of some problem, and we use neurology to learn about the details in order to solve it.
Reversing this course of action, meaning: learning about the details of the brain activity and structure in order to create a holistic observation is an antithesis to the scientific method. You literally would try to find evidence to support some sort of preexisting conclusion.
I don’t know much about Fight The New Drug, and Your Brain on Porn. But I’ve seen a lot of people who were recommending NoFAP movement to others, making various claims referring to one of the books from I think the Your Brain On Porn, and the conclusion I’ve made about those claims is that in lack of any visible negative effects of pornography consumption, they tried to prove some negative effects do exist by investigating brain scans of people using a lot of pornography, and making conclusions among the lines of “people using pornography have an increased size of the amygdala, which correlates with the proclivity to feel fear, meaning pornography causes you anxiety”.
The only instance in which the study in of neurological aspects of fictional and real pornography usage could have any use would be to debunk peoples unfounded claims in regards to this topic, but I doubt it would be worth the cost.
I’ve been going thru their website and it feels very much like a propaganda mill that tries to misrepresent findings to support a “porn harms” agenda.
It was very stressful reading thru it all, because I know for a fact that masturbating to pornography of any kind has no causal relationship with crime, aggression, or abuse and a weak, almost coincidental correlation with abuse, in that individuals already predisposed to commit sex crimes simply like certain kinds of material that just so happens to correspond with their predisposition.
I never associated my pornography consumption or sexual preferences with stress until learning about obscenity laws. I was confident in my preferences and I knew for a fact that it is harmless. I never began exhibiting stress, worry, or negative intuition with it until I learned about the troubled history of pornography with the law. It wasn’t until that I learned that I or anybody else could be jailed I always associated it with freedom of expression and positive philosophy, and still do. I consider pornography a valid and invaluable form of personal expression and indulgence.
I’ll concede that it can be addictive, but so can anything. Only after universal consensus by which it can be properly recognized by either the DSM 5 (or later) or the ICD-11. Despite similarities in neural imaging with hard drug addicts, porn “addicts” do not exhibit functionally identical distributions.
These claims make pornography and masturbation seem like smoking cigarettes, when they’re not. The physiology of the brain and the fact that introducing external chemicals which alter neurochemistry is not an argument in favor that pornography consumption is addictive. The fact that you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms akin to smoking or drinking, or even any risk of injury as a result of going cold turkey is a sign that they are not the same.
This is an interesting and good topic. I have struggled with porn addiction for 15+ years and only last year started looking at it as such, it led me to start thinking of porn as being 100% harmful and something I must abstain from. I had joined the forum called NoFap (which are an anti-porn/anti masturbation site) and although there are some open minded people there: it seems the general idea is the mindset of trying to snuff any sexual urges or desires, which quiet frankly, for myself at least, is the absolute last thing I could do to help my own healing.
I don’t think porn addiction is as real a thing as people may tend for it to believe. I’ve had friends fall into a slump where they think they’re “addicted” but as soon as they abstain from any form of pornography consumption or masturbation for at least 3-6 days, they’re back to normal and continue to “fap” once or twice each week.
Something tells me that it’s not really how an “addiction” is supposed to work and that a lot of it has to do with the moral and social incongruence of the subject matter.
I believe addiction is possible, but then again so are gambling addiction and other forms of pattern behavior addiction. I think the key causes of this type of addiction are moreso in the individual and how prone they are to it, of anything, with only a slim minority of people being hardcore prone to it.
I also think that there’s a lot of overlap with general obsessive behavior surrounding the topic, wherein you have people who are genuine fans of the content and simply consume it and you have people who take great interpersonal shame with the subject matter but still do it.
I have a hard time taking groups like FightTheNewDrug, YBOP, and NoFap seriously when they work with literal right-wing lobbyist groups such as Morality in Media (National Centers on Sexual Exploitation) and their sites are formatted like literal propaganda, repeating claims ver batim and ad nauseum, recycling the same biased scientific literature while reaching for whatever they can and attacking literature that doesn’t support their contentions and ignoring the massive wealth of empirical data and information that doesn’t support, or outright rejects their claims about pornography and addiction or pornography and harm.
You wanna talk about citation bias?
But yes, I’ve also looked at those groups before and they generally seem to be filled with just… not the smartest types of people.
They’re just going to do the same thing you’re doing. They’ll call your research “biased” as it comes from a special interest group with a strong vested interest in the research. If the research comes out negative, they’ll happily cite it.
Yes these sites certainly have a ‘preachy’ modality to them.
I appreciate your opinion/facts on the subject matter of porn addiction. I quiet honestly haven’t done much research or self reflection on the topic in my adulthood. I do struggle a lot with other mental health difficulties which include OCD and PTSD.
I’m just beginning to seek sources for such things.
I agree I never thought of many things to be such a big deal regarding pornography, even the fictional outlets that people use with pornography. It had never occurred to me that people would think it a big deal or make a big deal about it. There is BDSM porn everywhere along with other content that people surely don’t adamantly label as creating thoughts in people’s heads to harm people. I truly believe that porn is porn. As you said, if someone is predisposed to harming others than it may be that they consume porn, but it does not mean that anyone that consumes porn has any urges to harm others. I am completely perplexed why any person would make a big deal about a drawing, cartoon character, or writing that was created.