“Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports” – Excerpt analyzing Steele et al., 2013

Excerpt analyzing Steele et al., 2013:


A 2013 EEG study by Steele et al. reported higher P300 amplitude to sexual images, relative to neutral pictures, in individuals complaining of problems regulating their Internet pornography use [48]. Substance abusers also exhibit greater P300 amplitude when exposed to visual cues associated with their addiction [148]. In addition, Steele et al. reported a negative correlation between P300 amplitude and desire for sex with a partner [48]. Greater cue reactivity to Internet pornography paired with less sexual desire for partnered sex, as reported by Steele et al., aligns with the Voon et al. finding of “diminished libido or erectile function specifically in physical relationships with women” in compulsive Internet pornography users [31]. Supporting these findings, two studies assessing sexual desire and erectile function in “hypersexuals” and compulsive Internet pornography users reported associations between measures of hypersexuality, and reduced desire for partnered sex and sexual difficulties [15,30]. Additionally, the 2016 survey of 434 men who viewed Internet pornography at least once in the last three months reported that problematic use was associated with higher levels of arousabilty, yet lower sexual satisfaction and poorer erectile function [44]. These results should be viewed in light of the multiple neuropsychology studies that have found that sexual arousal to Internet pornography cues and cravings to view pornography were related to symptom severity of cybersex addiction and self-reported problems in daily life due to excessive Internet pornography use [52,53,54,113,115,149,150]. Taken together, multiple and varied studies on Internet pornography users align with the incentive-salience theory of addiction, in which changes in the attraction value of an incentive correspond with changes in activation of regions of the brain implicated in the sensitization process [31,106]. To sum up, in alignment with our hypothesis, various studies report that greater reactivity toward pornographic cues, cravings to view, and compulsive pornography use are associated with sexual difficulties and diminished sexual desire for partners.

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