David Ley is the author of The Myth of Sex Addiction and Ethical Porn for Dicks. He has written 30 or so blog posts attacking and dismissing NoFap, porn addiction, sex addiction, porn-induced sexual dysfunctions and porn’s effects on relationships. David Ley chronically asserts that porn use is harmless and if someone develops problems it’s because they had “other issues”. TV shows, magazines, websites too often turn to Ley as an “authority” on porn addiction and porn’s effects because the medical researchers – who would give an accurate picture of the state of internet addiction research – generally aren’t focused on internet porn specifically. Nor are they as readily available as eager Dr. Ley. He therefore gets to shape the debate in the media despite his utter lack of education in the neuroscience of addiction and sexual conditioning, and having never published any original research.
David Ley and his close ally Nicole Prause often work in tandem, with both equally cited as “the experts,” while actual top addiction neuroscientists, who have published highly respected studies on porn users (Voon, Kraus, Potenza, Brand, Laier, Hajela, Kuhn, Gallinat, Klucken, Seok, Sohn, Gola, Kor, etc.), are omitted. Neither Ley nor Prause are affiliated with any university, yet some journalists, perhaps influenced by Prause’s potent media services, mysteriously prefer both over the top neuroscientists at Yale University, Cambridge University, University of Duisburg-Essen, and the Max Planck Institute. Go figure.
For years Ley and his close ally Nicole Prause have conspired overtly and behind the scenes, manipulating journalists, sharing talking points, emailing governing bodies, and even influencing the peer-reviewed process in dubious ways (these 2 pages provide extensive documentation of said behaviors: page 1, page 2, page 3). Both regularly defame, harass and cyber-stalk individuals and organizations that have warned of porn’s harms or published research reporting porn’s harms. Sickeningly, this includes cyberstalking and defaming young men who have publicly spoken about recovering from porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. Documentation in these links: See documentation: Gabe Deem #1, Gabe Deem #2, Alexander Rhodes #1, Alexander Rhodes #2, Alexander Rhodes #3, Noah Church, Alexander Rhodes #4, Alexander Rhodes #5, Alexander Rhodes #6, Alexander Rhodes #7, Alexander Rhodes #8, Alexander Rhodes #9, Alexander Rhodes#10, Alex Rhodes#11, Gabe Deem & Alex Rhodes together#12, Alexander Rhodes#13, Alexander Rhodes #14, Gabe Deem#4, Alexander Rhodes #15. Both Prause & Ley are obsessed with debunking porn-induced ED as nothing would be more damaging to their pro-porn agenda (Prause/Ley also waged a 3-year war against this academic paper and the Journal’s parent company, MDPI).
Recently, Prause and Ley escalated their unethical and often illegal activities in support of a porn industry agenda. For example, On January 29, 2019, Prause filed a trademark application to obtain YOURBRAINONPORN and YOURBRAINONPORN.COM. In April 2019, a group headed by Prause and Ley engaged in unlawful trademark infringement of YourBrainOnPorn.com by creating “RealYourBrainOnPorn.com.
To advertise their illegitimate site, the self-proclaimed “experts” created a Twitter account (https://twitter.com/BrainOnPorn), YouTube channel, Facebook page, and published a press release. In a further attempt to confuse the public, the press release falsely claims to originate from Gary Wilson’s home town – Ashland, Oregon (none of the “experts” live in Oregon, let alone Ashland). Judge for yourself whether the “experts” further the interests of the porn industry or the authentic search scientific truth by perusing this collection of RealYBOP tweets. Written in Dr. Prause’s distinctive misleading style, the tweets extol the benefits of porn, misrepresent the current state of the research, and troll individuals and organizations Prause has previously harassed.
In addition, the “experts” created a Reddit account (user/sciencearousal) to spam porn recovery forums reddit/pornfree and reddit/NoFap with promotional drivel, claiming porn use is harmless and disparaging YourBrainOnPorn.com and Gary Wilson. It’s important to note that Prause, a former academic, has a long documented history of employing numerous aliases to post on porn recovery forums. (YBOP is now engaged in legal action with Prause and her pro-porn allies).
Conflicts of interest (COI) are nothing new for David Ley. Lawyers pay him good money to “debunk” sex & porn addiction; he sells books “debunking” sex & porn addiction; he collects speaking fees for “debunking” sex & porn addiction. All this while harassing and defaming individuals and organizations who speak up about the possible negative effects of internet porn.
However, Ley officially has now crossed the line. He is collaborating with porn industry giant xHamster, which purchases his services to promote their websites (i.e. StripChat) and to convince users that porn addiction and sex addiction are myths! Notice how Ley is going to tell xHamster customers what “medical studies truly say about porn, camming and sexuality”:
Will Ley tell xHamster customers that every study ever published on males (about 70) links more porn to less sexual and relation satisfaction? Will Ley tell them that all 52 neurological studies on porn users/sex addicts report brain changes seen in drug addicts? Will he inform his audience that 50% of porn users report escalating to material they previously found uninteresting or disgusting? Somehow I doubt it.
Specifically, David Ley and the newly formed Sexual Health Alliance (SHA) have partnered with a xHamster website (StripChat). See “Stripchat aligns with Sexual Health Alliance to stroke your anxious porn-centric brain.” Stripchat purchases the SHA’s presentations, thus indirectly compensating Ley and others for their porn-friendly services.
A year after this post first appeared, Ley asserted he is not directly compensated by a “porn company,” yet this is splitting hairs: Stripchat compensated the SHA which in turn compensated SHA board member Ley. This is akin to a smoking apologist doctor claiming he wasn’t directly paid by Phillip Morris, but was instead compensated by The Tobacco Institute. Nice try, David. (To be fair, Ley also asserts that Stripchat is not the only purchaser of SHA presentations and that only a portion of SHA revenue comes from Stripchat. So what?). No one is buying Ley’s one-degree-of-separation spin, including journalists (Sexcam therapy – Inside the cam site offering psychosexual therapy to anxious users):
“It’s a relentless flesh-show, except for one incongruous window. There, a man lounges casually in a blue open-neck shirt in front of a sunny backdrop. Click on him and you enter a chat with Dr David Ley, a psychosexual therapist hired by Stripchat to offer free group therapy sessions for site users.”
In their promotional tweet we are promised a slate of SHA brain experts to soothe users “porn anxiety” and “shame” (Ley and other SHA “experts” are light years away from being brain experts).
The fledgling Sexual health Alliance (SHA) advisory board includes David Ley and two other RealYourBrainOnPorn.com “experts” (Justin Lehmiller and Chris Donaghue). RealYBOP is a group of openly pro-porn, self-proclaimed “experts” headed by Nicole Prause. This group is currently engaged in illegal trademark infringement and squatting directed toward the legitimate YBOP. Put simply, those trying to silence YBOP are also being paid to collaborate with the porn industry to promote its/their businesses, and assure users that porn and cam sites cause no problems. (Note: Nicole Prause has close, public ties to the porn industry as documented on this page.)
The official StripChat Twitter account reveals the true reason for paying SHA “experts”: to soothe their anxieties to prevent the loss of paying customers. The SHA will accomplish this by “talking about the latest research on sex, camming and addiction,” that is, cherry picking the work done by “their” researchers. Will Ley/SHA mention that hundreds of studies link porn use to myriad negative effects?
In this article, Ley dismisses his indirectly-compensated promotion of the porn industry:
Granted, sexual health professionals partnering directly with commercial porn platforms face some potential downsides, particularly for those who’d like to present themselves as completely unbiased. “I fully anticipate [anti-porn advocates] to all scream, ‘Oh, look, see, David Ley is working for porn,’” says Ley, whose name is routinely mentioned with disdain in anti-masturbation communities like NoFap.
But even if his work with Stripchat will undoubtedly provide fodder to anyone eager to write him off as biased or in the pocket of the porn lobby, for Ley, that tradeoff is worth it. “If we want to help [anxious porn consumers], we have to go to them,” he says. “And this is how we do that.”
While being compensated to bolster the talking points of the porn industry, Ley has a few more conflicts of interest.
“Disclosure: David Ley has provided testimony in legal cases involving claims of sex addiction.”
In 2019 David Ley’s new website offered his well-compensated “debunking” services:
David J. Ley, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and AASECT-certified supervisor of sex therapy, based in Albuquerque, NM. He has provided expert witness and forensic testimony in a number of cases around the United States. Dr. Ley is regarded as an expert in debunking claims of sexual addiction, and has been certified as an expert witness on this topic. He has testified in state and federal courts.
Contact him to obtain his fee schedule and arrange an appointment to discuss your interest.
Conflict of Interest #3: Ley makes money selling two books that deny sex and porn addiction (“The Myth of Sex Addiction,” 2012 and “Ethical Porn for Dicks,” 2016). Pornhub (which is owned by porn giant MindGeek) is one of the five back-cover endorsements listed for Ley’s 2016 book about porn:
Note: PornHub was the second Twitter account to retweet RealYBOP’s initial tweet announcing its “expert” (pro-porn) website, suggesting a coordinated effort between PornHub and the RealYBOP experts. Wow!
Conflict of Interest #4: Finally, David Ley makes money via CEU seminars, where he promotes the addiction-deniers’ ideology set forth in his two books (which recklessly(?) ignore dozens of studies and the significance of the new Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder diagnosis in the World Health Organization’s diagnostic manual). Ley is compensated for his many talks featuring his biased views on porn use. In this 2019 presentation Ley appears to support and promote adolescent porn use: Developing Positive Sexuality and Responsible Pornography Use in Adolescents.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Peruse these pages for many more incidents involving David Ley:
- Nicole Prause’s Unethical Harassment and Defamation of Gary Wilson & Others
- Nicole Prause’s Unethical Harassment and Defamation of Gary Wilson & Others (page 2)
- Nicole Prause’s Unethical Harassment and Defamation of Gary Wilson & Others (Page 3)
- Nicole Prause’s Malicious Reporting and Malicious Use of Process.
- Nicole Prause & David Ley libelous claim that Gary Wilson was fired from Southern Oregon University
- Prause’s efforts to have Behavioral Sciences review paper (Park et al., 2016) retracted
- Article by University of Wisconsin student newspaper (The Racquet) posts false police report by Nicole Prause (March, 2019)
- Aggressive Trademark Infringement Waged by Porn Addiction Deniers (www.realyourbrainonporn.com)
Update: StripChat announces another David Ley session: Stripchat Brings Announces Online Therapy Session to Address “#NoNutNovember”
Note: The above is really targeting Nofap.com and its founder Alex Rhodes. See – Nicole Prause, David Ley & RealYBOP’s long history of harassing & defaming Alexander Rhodes of NoFap.
Update (November, 2019): Finally, some accurate media coverage on serial false accuser, defamer, harasser, trademark infringer, Nicole Prause: “Alex Rhodes of Porn Addiction Support Group ‘NoFap’ Sues Obsessed Pro-Porn Sexologist for Defamation” by Megan Fox of PJ Media and “Porn wars get personal in No Nut November”, by Diana Davison of The Post Millennial. Davison also produced this 6-minute video about Prause’s egregious behaviors: “Is Porn Addictive?”.
Update: Ley now has very own “StripChat” page: https://stripchat.com/
Update: Short article takes a swipe at David Ley & other RealYBOP experts teaming up with xHamster/StripChat
You’ve heard of Snapchat. But have you heard of Stripchat?
The site, which is basically a strip club through the lens of a web camera, recently conducted an internal survey among its users. Forty-two percent of users report experiencing “some” anxiety about the time they spent on the site. Eleven percent of users say they experience “frequent or constant” anxiety.
Furthermore, 29 percent of married users report that they are worried their streaming constituted cheating, while 31 percent of married users revealed that Stripchat caused problems in their relationships.
Stripchat takes these numbers seriously: “Anxiety and relationship stress are serious issues,” they acknowledge. “Camming should be a source of pleasure and refuge from the stress of daily life—not something that adds to it. That’s why Stripchat is making a commitment to be a leader in mental and emotional well-being for its users.”
Thus, Stripchat announced its partnership with the Sexual Health Alliance “to bring clinical psychologists, sex researchers and relationship therapists onto its global cam platform to answer questions about sex addiction and online infidelity” as of August 1. It will also discuss “ways these can be balanced in your life.”
Some of these questions include the following:
- “Is camming cheating?”
- “Can you fall in love with a cam model?”
- “Is porn addictive?”
Given that Dr. David Ley, who led the August 1, session, authored a book entitled The Myth of Sex Addiction, it seems plausible that the answer to the latter question will be a resounding “no.”
The porn industry makes more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It also makes more than NBC, CBS, and ABC combined. Rumor has it that the porn industry as a whole nets between $6 and $97 billion annually. So Stripchat convincing its users that porn may be addictive and hurtful to their relationships is not exactly what some might call a good business model.
Max Bennett, the Vice President of News Media at Stripchat, commented that the initial August 1 session was “a chance for them to get past some of the myths and stigma surrounding porn, and talk to an expert what science actually says.”
But what does the science really say?
For starters, using pornography shrinks the grey matter in the brain, the Max Planck Institute reports. It makes men more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. It is also known to cause mental health issues in men and women, including anxiety, depression, and body image issues.
It’s not surprising that one in three Stripchat users report that Stripchat caused problems in their relationships. People who use porn love their partner less and are more sexually dissatisfied. Pornography has also been shown to increase marital infidelity by 300 percent.
So even if Stripchat’s experts find that porn is not addictive and camming is not cheating, there are still plenty of other questions that the so-called sexuality experts need to answer. Max Bennet notes that “the outside world doesn’t always accept” people who use pornography. Maybe there is a reason for this sentiment.
According to “science,” if Stripchat truly wants to be a leader in mental and emotional well-being for its users, it would advise them to quit stripchatting altogether.
Update: Another article: “Sexcam therapy – Inside the cam site offering psychosexual therapy to anxious users“
Words: Andy Jones
16th September 2019
The home screen of Stripchat’s sexcam site is mass of pink, moving flesh. Each square features the face and body of a semi-naked performer, writhing and thrusting in their own little video world.
School_Teach, a dark haired “temptress” with a Pulp Fiction-era Uma Thurman bob and a heaving cleavage, is deep-throating a banana. MilkyFetishMegan appears to be a huge pair of faceless, headless breasts, nipples like beady eyes staring out of the screen. GingerSnaps, a polyamorous couple (winners of the YNOT award for “Best Cam Couple, 2019”), are pleasuring one another and three different women. I click into the video and Queen’s Somebody to Love plays in the background. All the performers are broadcasting live from their bedrooms, in every corner of the world.
It’s a relentless flesh-show, except for one incongruous window. There, a man lounges casually in a blue open-neck shirt in front of a sunny backdrop. Click on him and you enter a chat with Dr David Ley, a psychosexual therapist hired by Stripchat to offer free group therapy sessions for site users.
He’s here because Stripchat’s clients are anxious. The site recently carried out a survey of 6,000 users, the majority of which are men aged 18 – 24. It found that 11% worry “a lot” about their use of webcams. In fact, the site was surprised by the earnestness of users’ queries, which ranged from: “Is masturbation unhealthy?”, to: “Am I cheating on my partner?” And worryingly: “Am I ruined for real relationships?” Meanwhile, a staggering 40% said they have fallen in love with performers.
With a level of social conscience largely unseen in the porn world they decided to tackle these issues head-on. Which is where Dr Ley comes in: therapist and author of The Myth Of Sex Addiction.
Ley says Stripchat, alongside the Sexual Health Alliance, approached him because they wanted a psychologist who was supportive of “non shaming, healthy approaches” to tackling the issues which can arise with regular sexcam use. The question is, can a brief session of online counselling truly help someone who thinks they’re addicted to porn and cam girls?
In one open door session he reaches several hundred users, and as with the other windows, once you’ve joined, you get to ask Dr Ley questions. Some are mocking (one users says Ley looks like “an alcoholic doctor”) but most are openly concerned. “Is spending four hours a day looking at sexy webcams too much?” queries one user. Dr Ley seems to think not: “If you spent five hours a day watching TV, would you be worried that you’re addicted to TV?” he asks.
In fact, offering a slightly skewed analogy, Dr Ley argues that “there’s a difference between feeling your use of pornography is out of control and it actually being out of control. You can feel like you are out of control on a roller coaster, but all of the time you are perfectly in control.”
From answers like these, it’s hard to know whether the “therapy” is there to offer serious help or to keep people on the site by putting a verbal plaster over some very real fears. After all, drowning out the noise of a hundred moans of pleasure is the relentless kerr-ching of transactions. Access to the performers is mediated through an interface that charges you by the interaction. The sound of money thrums louder here than at any expensive bar. Users buy tokens in packages – i.e. 90 tokens for $9.99, 2255 tokens for $199.99 – and every token spent gets a loud “ping” onscreen which allows them to interact with their chosen performer. It’s not unusual, says the site, for a single punter to spend $10,000 a month on sexcams. From that perspective, it doesn’t make a huge deal of sense to their business model to hire a therapist who’d tell users to log off.
Which, arguably, is exactly what some might need. Far from a niche problem, therapist Paula Hall of sex and porn addiction counsellors The Laurel Centre says sexcam addicts make up an increasingly large number of the clients who come to her for help. She says users become hooked on the fantasy that this is a more personal relationship than simple, free-to-air pornography.
“People start spending more time and money than they intend to,” says Hall. “They keep chasing that same dopamine hit. They start noticing they are not spending time with loved ones, or are leaving the club early to spend more time on these sites. They might then gravitate to using them at work. Often it ends with them using the work computer. That can end their career and I’ve seen people lose a marriage over it.” Earlier this year, 38-year-old Andrew Barnbrook even defrauded his employer of £250k in order to fund his addiction to camming with one specific woman.
It’s understandable that the lines between reality and fantasy can become blurred. Each Stripchat show gives the viewer an intoxicating insight into a performer’s world; for that tiny window of time, you’re in their room, almost as if – say it quietly – you had gone back to their place after a date. It’s a plastic intimacy, but every detail has the power to pull you in further: the empty cup in the background with the inspirational slogan on it, the mismatched pillow and duvet set, the name tattooed above a right hip. KirstieVegas, a red lipped brunette camming from France has a Captain America pillowcase. Is that because she loves Captain America or because Marvel films are a good hook to get men chatting?
And they do love to chat. User questions roll-in to the performers with machine-gun rapidity, from politely framed sexual requests – “please tell me to masturbate” – to chit-chat about histories and hobbies – “Where are you from?”, “Do you play COD?” – to blunt demands – “Are you really cumming?” and “Can you squirt?” (this last question features in every chatroom I enter).
Stripchat’s performers have even begun to take steps to deter their fans from becoming obsessive. “I let users know that I am not interested in dating and I establish boundaries,” says Melrose Strip, 26, a cam girl of 3 years. She can broadcast to 1000 users, four times per week and says she’s continually walking a tight-rope between keeping the guys interested and fending off negative attention.
Darnell*, 27, has been using cam sites for two years. I find him on a sexcam confessions thread of the forum “NoFapp” – an anti-porn use site where men counsel each other on how to stop masturbating to hardcore images. Also on NoFapp are wives and girlfriends who are either hoping to save their partner from the clutches of sex addiction or are trying to make sense of its fallout. Darnell is scared his work colleagues or family will find out how he spends most evenings.
He says his sexcam use came out of Pornhub. “That was my gateway drug,” he says over email. He began obsessing over a Russian cam girl who he saw on the free-to-air porn site. But, having grown bored of the same 6 – 7 videos available of her, Darnell began looking for more and stumbled across her profile on a paid-for sexcam site. This, he says, was his chance to chat to her for real.
“I thought I was better than the other guys that were already chatting to her,” he says. “I’d say things like: “Your dimples when you smile are so cute.” Or I’d ask her about an R’n’B track I’d heard her play on a previous video. She responded really well. I felt like I’d won the hot girl at school.”
Darnell says this new kink felt more refined than watching basic porn flicks that were created for everybody. He became more obsessive. He’d Shazam all the tracks that his cam girl would play in her sex shows just so he could chat to her about them and was quickly running up bills of $40 – 50 a week on her shows.
“It was better than dating,” he says. “There was no rejection, no games. You’d chat to a sexy girl and then you’d get the sex. You’d watch her masturbate, see how she gets off. But then I’d get agitated when other users made comments about her body, that she had a pretty pussy. I was angry they wanted her too.”
Darnell has graduated to other cam girls too but is keen to slow his use down. “I’m spending $400 a month and drinking black coffee to stay up chatting to them, to keep them all happy. I love it but hate myself at the same time.”
I think about Darnell as I watch Dr Ley in his Stripchat window. He says there is no evidence porn is addictive, that it’s actually advisable you ejaculate 21 times a month for the good of your prostate and that – if you are worrying you are spending too long with online sex – you should simply up your intake of activities you consider “healthy” i.e. exercise or socialising, rather than reduce your porn consumption. Our issues with porn, he says, are not necessarily linked to the porn itself but rather to the shame society foists on us for watching it.