Rebuttal to study claiming porn is not addictive

See our press release here.

Drs. Vaughn R. Steele, Cameron Staley and Timothy Fong with Nicole Prause published a paper recently, in Current Sexual Health Reports, opposing the idea that pornography, or as they call it visual sexual stimuli (VSS), is harmful.  These researchers claim, “The theory and research behind ‘pornography addiction’ is hindered by poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification.” They even declare, “VSS use can reduce health-risk behaviors.”

Steele, Staley, Fong, and Prause flat-out deny any links between porn use and erectile dysfunction; the neurological “craving” response (though they acknowledge other, similarly stimulating substances create one); and other scientifically proven results of porn use. These researchers accuse psychologists and mental health experts of perpetuating these “lies” to bolster up “a large, lucrative industry.” By ignoring all the evidence, Steele, Staley, Fong, and Prause insure that another large, lucrative industry (the pornographers) remain in power.  They use popular opinion as evidence rather than citing scientifically proven results; which, if researched, would prove their assumptions wrong.

However, those who actually understand how the brain works are not as easily fooled. Dr. Donald Hilton wrote a rebuttal to the paper, criticizing Drs. Steele, Staley, Fong, and Prause for ignoring proven neurological theories and sound research practices. He illuminates the weaknesses of the arguments by making clear their lack of research, basing their theories on assumption.

Dr. Hilton is an expert on the issue of pornography addiction. He is a board certified neurosurgeon; a Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio; a director at Methodist Hospital for residency training; a director of Spine Fellowship at the University of Texas at San Antonio Medical School; and is on the editorial board of Surgical Neurology International, a peer-reviewed journal. Clearly, he knows what he’s talking about.

According to Dr. Hilton, these researchers did not take into account the increase in HPV infections and throat cancers due to increased anal and oral sex. They misunderstood the correlations between porn use and decreased rape statistics in the Czech Republic – a country with one of the highest rates in sex trafficking, so addicted users can rape someone regularly for an affordable price. They also claim that porn use has not increased in use or transformed in content. Gail Dines, among many other researchers and scientists, has discussed this issue at length and proven this theory false. Dr. Hilton irradiates and eviscerates many more invalid arguments.

Dr. Donald Hilton is a member of Morality in Media’s board of directors. His paper appears in the March 2014 edition Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, a peer-reviewed journal. CLICK HERE TO READ HIS PAPER.

 

Written by Hysen Sisco, Communications Coordinator

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NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

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