Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019): Excerpt analyzing Steele et al., 2013

Link to original study – Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019)

Excerpt critiquing Steele et al., 2013 (citation 105 is Steele et al.)

Evidence of this neural activity signalizing desire is particularly prominent in the prefrontal cortex [101] and the amygdala [102,103], being evidence of sensitization. Activation in these brain regions is reminiscent of financial reward [104] and it may carry a similar impact. Moreover, there are higher EEG readings in these users, as well as the diminished desire for sex with a partner, but not for masturbation to pornography [105], something that reflects also on the difference in erection quality [8]. This can be considered a sign of desensitization. However, Steele’s study contains several methodological flaws to consider (subject heterogeneity, a lack of screening for mental disorders or addictions, the absence of a control group, and the use of questionnaires not validated for porn use) [106]. A study by Prause [107], this time with a control group, replicated these very findings. The role of cue reactivity and craving in the development of cybersex addiction have been corroborated in heterosexual female [108] and homosexual male samples [109].

Comments: Steele et al., 2013 was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn/sex addiction. It wasn’t. As the above review by medical doctors explained, Steele et al. actually lends support to the existence of both porn addiction and porn use down-regulating sexual desire. How so? The study reported higher EEG readings (relative to neutral pictures) when subjects were briefly exposed to pornographic photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction.

In line with the Cambridge University brain scan studies, this EEG study also reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlating with less desire for partnered sex. To put it another way – individuals with greater brain activation to porn would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with a real person. Shockingly, study spokesperson Nicole Prause claimed that porn users merely had “high libido,” yet the results of the study say the exact opposite (subjects’ desire for partnered sex was dropping in relation to their porn use).

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  1. […] Study spokesman Nicole Prause claimed that frequent porn users merely had high libido, yet the results of the study say something quite different. As Valerie Voon (and 10 other neuroscientists) explained, Prause’s 2013 findings of greater cue-reactivity to porn coupled with lower desire for sex with real partners aligned with their 2014 brain scan study on porn addicts. Put simply, the actual findings of the 2013 EEG study in no way match the unsupported “debunking” headlines. Seven peer-reviewed papers expose the truth about this earlier study by Prause’s team: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. […]

  2. […] Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019) – Excerpt ana… […]

  3. […] Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019): Excerpt analyz… […]

  4. […] in relation to their porn use). Seven peer-reviewed papers explain the truth: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. For more read an extensive […]

  5. […] Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review (2019) – Excerpt… […]

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