The Great Porn Experiment and the Resurrection of Guys

Last week I posted a summary of Philip Zimbardo’s TED Talk on “The Demise of Guys,” in which he raised concerns about “arousal addictions” and the impact that they’re having on young men today. In a follow-up video, psychologist Gary Wilson takes a closer look at some of the brain research surrounding porn use and argues that we should also celebrate “The Resurrection of Guys.”

porn addiction pornography internet addiction

Before he goes too far, though, he has to admit that the data on how porn impacts a person’s brain is rather limited. And this is for three reasons:

  1. Researchers have a hard time finding young men who aren’t using porn to serve as the control group.
  2. Porn addiction has many of the same symptoms as conditions like OCD and ADHD. So doctors often misdiagnose porn addiction and medicate for these other conditions.
  3. People have a hard time believing that sex and porn can really be addictive.

Nonetheless, Wilson gives a great summary of what we can know from the curent state of the research about how porn use affects the brain. It’s worth watching for the summary alone.

Although Wilson clearly agrees with Zimbardo that constant arousal has a negative impact on young brains, he differs on one thing. Rather than focusing on “the demise of guys,” Wilson wants to draw attention to “the resurrection of guys.” According to him, increasing numbers of men are trying to break their porn addiction and develop healthier sexual lives. And he spends several minutes talking about the dramatic effects that this can have on the rest of their lives as well. Granted, he thinks most of them are doing this primarily because excessive porn use can lead to significant erectile dysfunctions. So they don’t have the most altruistic motives. But hey, it’s a start.

WARNING: Before you watch the video, I should let you know that Wilson researches porn and sex for a living. So he’s quite comfortable with both topics. If you don’t want to hear someone mention masturbation or other sexually-related topics, this probably isn’t for you.

Comments

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2 Responses to “The Great Porn Experiment and the Resurrection of Guys”

  1. Dwight Gingrich September 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Fascinating–thanks for sharing! I hope the father of my daughter’s future husbands sees this…

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