Week-End sex related news items or: why am I not shocked about pornography?

My top three stories (aside from all the hoopla about Herman Cain (see my blog  Narcissism, Sex, Power and Herman Cain 11/2/11) relate to the utterly over-the-top, flailing around that is taking place in the attempt to respond to the epidemic of internet pornography addiction and child pornography.

First is a story in the Chicago Tribune from which reports that the Wisconsin state Assembly had before it a bill to make the viewing of pornography on a school district’s computer reason to revoke a teacher’s license. This is reportedly built on the notion that teachers’ licenses should be revoked for “immoral conduct.”

What are we to make of this?  The 2010 Neilson data showed that more than 25% of those with internet access at work viewed pornography during working hours (an increase from the 2007 figures).  Another statistic from the Internet Filter Software Review states that a total of 40 millionU.S.adults regularly visit pornography websites, and that 20% of men say they access pornography at work.

My own opinion is that most attempts to outlaw pornography are probably not going to make much of a dent in the epidemic.  A second story from Forbes.com reports that a 22 year old man fromLong Beachdeveloped an online relationship with a 10 year old boy fromOklahomawhom he met online while they were both playing the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on their Xbox LIVE gaming stations.  The upshot was that the man got the boy to text him phone photos of his genitals.  I mention this disaster only to illustrate the idea that where there’s a web there’s a way and that the attempt to stem the tide of sex addiction by making pornography illegal may be as effective as prohibition was is addressing alcohol use, let alone alcohol addiction, which is to say not at all.

The third article that caught my eye was one from the New York Times with the headline “Life Sentence for Possession of Child Pornography Spurs Debate over Severity.”  This is for real. Many sensational headline cases of excessive sentences for child porn viewing turn out to be cases where the defendant had also committed “contact offenses” such as child molestation.  Not so in this case.  Here a circuit court judge inFloridaon Thursday gave a sentence of life without parole to a 26-year-old stockroom worker who had hundreds of pornographic images of children on his home computer.  The man had no previous criminal record.  The article points out that “…a growing body of scientific research shows that …many passive viewers of child pornography never molest children” and that “…we ought to punish people for what they do, not for our fear.”  The question remains whether punishing everybody who becomes obsessed with pornography of whatever kind will solve the problem anyway, even if the punishment is “appropriate.”  The whole idea of sexual obsession as a disease (like alcoholism) is lost in the debate.  So is the idea of rehabilitation and recovery through treatment.



Scariest Halloween Sex Addiction Headlines (and one nice one)

Catholic pedophile investigator jailed for child pornography

Oct 29, 2011- 7 hours ago by JohnThomas Didymus

Christopher Jarvis, a man appointed pedophile investigator and “child safeguarding officer” for the Diocese of Plymouth, South West England, has been jailed 12 months for possession of thousands of child pornographic images. ..According to Daily Mail, Christopher Jarvis, 49, was in charge of investigating child sexual abuse allegations and child protection in 120 churches and parish communities for nine years. …

Police investigators, at Jarvis’ Plymouthresidence, found on his computer, more than 4,000 pornographic images, mostly of boys aged 10 to 12.   Details of the nature of the images emerged in his trial. About 120 of the images were classified “Level Four” abusive images, showing scenes of rape; 12 were classified “Level Five,” showing scenes of torture and sadism. Jarvis was also accused of viewing erotic images of sexual relationship between a child and an adult male.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/313563#ixzz1cDFMvocd

My Take: This is very scary indeed and opens up a very large topic as to the ways in which some clergy members are placed at grave risk for sexual addiction/sexual offending.  The scariest part to me is that this man had been in charge of investigating child sexual abuse allegations for nine years.

ACLU Sues to Block Enforcment of law limiting Sex Offenders’ internet access

NEW ORLEANS— The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sued Monday to block enforcement of a new state law that limits sex offenders’ access to social networking websites and other online forums, claiming the restrictions are overly broad and unconstitutional.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is named as a defendant in the federal suit, said he will “fight this with everything I have.”….The ACLU also argues that the law’s definition of a social networking website could be interpreted to include “most of the Internet.”….

“Just about every website in existence incorporates a ‘mechanism for communication’ among users, whether that mechanism is as simple as a ‘comments’ section or as complicated as a web-based email service, such as Yahoo or Gmail,” the group wrote in a court filing.

A first conviction for violating the law carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A second conviction is punishable by at least five years and up to 20 years in prison.

My Take:  This seems like yet another example of the kind of panic reaction based on no real evidence that the proposed law will actually accomplish anything.  I will post a longer report on recent evidence as to what works and what doesn’t in terms of law enforcement, monitoring, etc. vs. what works and what doesn’t in terms of treatment and rehabilitation.

Sexual satisfaction part of successful aging

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 25, 2011

A new study of older women finds that successful aging and a positive quality of life are linked to sexual satisfaction.

The report is published online in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society….As expected, sexual activity and functioning (such things as desire, arousal and ability to climax) declined as a woman aged, as did reported physical and mental health…..However, in contrast to sexual activity and functioning, satisfaction with overall sex life was not significantly different between the three age cohorts studied: age 60 to 69; 70 to 70; and 80 to 89.

Approximately 67 percent, 60 percent, and 61 percent of women in these three age groups, respectively, reported that they were “moderately” to “very satisfied” with their sex lives.

This surprised researchers who surmised that sexual satisfaction would decline with age.

My Take: This does not surprise me.  I have long been aware that the idea that sexuality is absent from old age as well as the idea that sexual urges are somehow unseemly in the elderly is simply an expression of a very ageist stereotype. However, this finding should alert us to the fact that it is often an older person who needs help with the problem of sexual addiction and not just the young or middle aged.



Week-End Sex in the News: Top Headlines – Internet Pornography, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Child Pornography

My news alerts usually consist of a seemingly endless stream of stories about people being arrested on porn charges or other scintillating stories relating to sex and sex addiction such as: “New Brunswick Nearly Leads Canada for the Crime of Stalking” or “Sex Offenders go AWOL in Scotland”.

Today, however there were a few that were both sensational and in some way relevant.  Here they are in no particular order with my comments.

1.   Internet pornography ‘destroying men’s ability to perform with real women’

October 22, 2011 – 5:32 pm by News Desk | Permalink | Print This Article |

London, Oct 22 (ANI): Internet pornography is destroying men’s ability to perform with real women and creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom, according to a new research.  Exposure to lurid images and films in the new media is de-sensitising so many young people that they are increasingly unable to become excited by ordinary sexual encounters, the report said.

The result of this over exposure is that impotence is no longer a problem associated with middle-aged men of poor health but is afflicting men in the prime of their lives.  The report explains that the loss of libido 30 years early is caused by continuous over-stimulation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to sexual pleasure, by repeatedly viewing pornography on the Internet.

A ‘paradoxical effect’ is created whereby with each new thrill, or “dopamine spike”, the brain loses its ability to respond to dopamine signals, meaning that porn-users demand increasingly extreme experiences to become sexually aroused.

“Erotic words, pictures, and videos have been around a long while, but the Internet makes possible a never-ending stream of dopamine spikes,” the Daily Mail quoted Marnia Robinson, the author of the report as saying.  “Today’s users can force its release by watching porn in multiple windows, searching endlessly, fast-forwarding to the bits they find hottest, switching to live sex chat, viewing constant novelty, firing up their mirror neurons with video action and cam-2-cam, or escalating to extreme genres and anxiety-producing material.

“It’s all free, easy to access, available within seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can’t achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the internet,” she added. (ANI)

My Take:  This is a really important report and suggests the need for further study.  It is important for two reasons:

(1) Because it deals with the brain chemistry associated with bombarding oneself with internet pornography and sexualized imagery in general

(2) Because it points to the fact that use of sexual or pornographic imagery as a drug is creating a “tolerance” for the experience, much like the tolerance for narcotics, such that we require greater and greater amounts (or greater intensity of experience)

2. Gwyneth Paltrow rolls in the hay at former N.Y. stables for sex-freak role in ‘Thanks for Sharing’


Gwyneth Paltrow appears to be taking it off for the cameras again. A source tells us the actress shot some racy scenes for the film “Thanks for Sharing” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Carriage House, a former stable at 159 W. 24th St. that’s been converted into condominium apartments. The movie is reportedly about three people who undergo a 12-step treatment for sex addiction. An insider tells us that in one of the scenes, Paltrow performs a “striptease via Skype” for co-star Mark Ruffalo, who wasn’t on the set. Hubba hubba. We wonder if Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, ever engage in similar video chats. A spokesman for Paltrow didn’t get back to us by deadline.

My Take: So I confess that I think it’s great that there are movies being made about sex addiction. Even bad movies, movies that glamorize it, or portray the sufferers or their treatment in misleading ways.  As long as the film does not use the concept as exploitation and makes a stab at some kind of relevance, it will at least get the problem out there into the public dialogue more.  A great example was the movie “Choke” with Sam Rockwell which came out a few years ago.  I have not seen “Shame” yet…

3.  Anonymous Takes Down Massive Child Pornography Server, Leaks Usernames

by Max Eddy | 11:00 am, October 23rd, 2011

In a move that we can all get behind, hacker group Anonymous has announced that they have taken down a huge cache of child pornography and released 1,589 usernames of the website’s patrons. The action came as part of Operation Darknet, which targets illicit websites that are part of an unindexed and therefore unsearchable corner of the Internet.

The server in question is owned by Freedom Hosting, and apparently services over 40 child pornography websites. The largest of these, disturbingly called Lolita City, was said to contain over 100gb of child pornography.

Interestingly, the Anonymous hack is extremely well documented. In two separate Pastebin posts, the hackers involved provide a timeline of events, as well as some of the methodologies they used in tracking and taking down the servers…

My Take: Hackers doing what they do best and judging by the comments, people are cheering.  However, what everyone seems to want to know is now what?  Will law enforcement actually do something with the information?  And for those of us on the treatment end of things, what will happen to the suspects, when they are finally run to ground?  Maybe the next hacking enterprise could deal with collecting some data that would help with addiction research.  Call me, we’ll talk.