A pinboard by
George Ng

Ph.D in Biotechnology who have joined a Biotechnology startup in Hong Kong


Pornography addiction rewires our brain, desensitises us from desiring intimate relationships

The Internet Porn, Masturbation And Decreased Sexual Desire Cycle High speed internet and unregulated access to internet porn have resulted in a high percentage of our youths dependent on Internet Porn. Studies have shown that Problematic Pornography Use (PPU) is not only addictive and comparable to the addiction of hard drugs like Heroin and Methamphetamine (aka Crack) (read more). It leads to fantasy sex and a cycle of masturbation and decreased desire for intimate sex with their human partners (read more).

Internet Pornography Use And The Rewired Brain Pornography can be roughly divided into soft-core and hard-core. Desentization after prolonged use of soft-core pornography leads not only to erectile dysfunction, it leads to the shrinking of a part of our brain's reward system called the striatum or caudatum. As our brain reward centres becomes satiated, this inability to receive the same level of arousal or high from soft-core porn leads to the craving for more intense and higher frequency of stimuli and leads some go on to hard-core pornography to get a bigger kick for the same feeling of reward (See The Video).

PPU And The Obssesive-Complusive Trait 70% of males aged 18-30 who habitually used pornography weekly, sought treatment for Obssesive-Complusive Disorder (OCD) and Internet Porn addiction in this study (read more). Paroxetine have in clinical studies been proved effective in treating OCD and anxiety disorders.

Artificial Neural Networks And Filtering of Internet Porn Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are computational models based on large collection of simple neural units or artificial neurons, mimicking how our human brain works. Axons in our brain fires chemical signals between neurons inorder to relay messages from our brain. Similarly, ANNs consists of artificial neurons connected to many other neurons and each neural unit either enhance or inhibit the propagation of signals depending on a threshold (limiting) function (read more). NNs have been used to filter Pornographic images(read more)


Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update.

Abstract: Many recognize that several behaviors potentially affecting the reward circuitry in human brains lead to a loss of control and other symptoms of addiction in at least some individuals. Regarding Internet addiction, neuroscientific research supports the assumption that underlying neural processes are similar to substance addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recognized one such Internet related behavior, Internet gaming, as a potential addictive disorder warranting further study, in the 2013 revision of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Other Internet related behaviors, e.g., Internet pornography use, were not covered. Within this review, we give a summary of the concepts proposed underlying addiction and give an overview about neuroscientific studies on Internet addiction and Internet gaming disorder. Moreover, we reviewed available neuroscientific literature on Internet pornography addiction and connect the results to the addiction model. The review leads to the conclusion that Internet pornography addiction fits into the addiction framework and shares similar basic mechanisms with substance addiction. Together with studies on Internet addiction and Internet Gaming Disorder we see strong evidence for considering addictive Internet behaviors as behavioral addiction. Future research needs to address whether or not there are specific differences between substance and behavioral addiction.

Pub.: 24 Sep '15, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Internet Pornography Use, Perceived Addiction, and Religious/Spiritual Struggles.

Abstract: Prior work has demonstrated that religious beliefs and moral attitudes are often related to sexual functioning. The present work sought to examine another possibility: Do sexual attitudes and behaviors have a relationship with religious and spiritual functioning? More specifically, do pornography use and perceived addiction to Internet pornography predict the experience of religious and spiritual struggle? It was expected that feelings of perceived addiction to Internet pornography would indeed predict such struggles, both cross-sectionally and over time, but that actual pornography use would not. To test these ideas, two studies were conducted using a sample of undergraduate students (N = 1519) and a sample of adult Internet users in the U.S. (N = 713). Cross-sectional analyses in both samples found that elements of perceived addiction were related to the experience of religious and spiritual struggle. Additionally, longitudinal analyses over a 1-year time span with a subset of undergraduates (N = 156) and a subset of adult web users (N = 366) revealed that perceived addiction to Internet pornography predicted unique variance in struggle over time, even when baseline levels of struggle and other related variables were held constant. Collectively, these findings identify perceived addiction to Internet pornography as a reliable predictor of religious and spiritual struggle.

Pub.: 29 Jun '16, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 6, Pages 17: Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions' A Review with Clinical Reports

Abstract: Traditional factors that once explained men’s sexual difficulties appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, decreased sexual satisfaction, and diminished libido during partnered sex in men under 40. This review (1) considers data from multiple domains, e.g., clinical, biological (addiction/urology), psychological (sexual conditioning), sociological; and (2) presents a series of clinical reports, all with the aim of proposing a possible direction for future research of this phenomenon. Alterations to the brain's motivational system are explored as a possible etiology underlying pornography-related sexual dysfunctions. This review also considers evidence that Internet pornography’s unique properties (limitless novelty, potential for easy escalation to more extreme material, video format, etc.) may be potent enough to condition sexual arousal to aspects of Internet pornography use that do not readily transition to real-life partners, such that sex with desired partners may not register as meeting expectations and arousal declines. Clinical reports suggest that terminating Internet pornography use is sometimes sufficient to reverse negative effects, underscoring the need for extensive investigation using methodologies that have subjects remove the variable of Internet pornography use. In the interim, a simple diagnostic protocol for assessing patients with porn-induced sexual dysfunction is put forth.

Pub.: 05 Aug '16, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

'Sex for life'? Men's counter-stories on 'erectile dysfunction', male sexuality and ageing.

Abstract: Discourse on male sexuality in mid-to-later life has exploded in recent years (Gullette 1998). Attention to this topic has been spurred by the advent of (highly profitable) sexuopharmaceutical 'solutions' to erectile changes affecting older men. 'Success' stories abound in the media and in medical literature related to the restoration of faulty erections and ailing sex lives through drugs such as Viagra (sildenafil citrate), Uprima (apomorphine) and Cialis (tadalafil). In this paper we explore some of the ways in which notions about ageing and male sexuality are changing in popular cultural and medical texts in response to the advent of Viagra and the increasing authority of biomedicine in this area. We also demonstrate how the recent biomedical endorsement of 'sex for life' (the imperative to maintain an active youthful masculine [hetero]sexuality - defined in terms of male orgasm through penetrative sex) may be challenged by the very accounts of older men who are, or have been, affected by erectile difficulties and have used drugs like Viagra themselves. We present the perspectives of mid-to-late life heterosexual men in New Zealand whose stories question the contemporary biomedical privileging of erections and intercourse 'at any cost and at any age'. We argue that the current push to identify and treat so-called erectile dysfunction (and restore erections and penetrative sex to relationships) neglects some men's own experiences of alternative modes of relating sexually that they identify as 'normal', 'healthy', 'enjoyable' and 'satisfying' for them and their partners; and undermines their understanding of such changes as positive outcomes of ageing, experience and maturity.

Pub.: 01 Apr '06, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

A mid-level video representation based on binary descriptors: A case study for pornography detection

Abstract: With the growing amount of inappropriate content on the Internet, such as pornography, arises the need to detect and filter such material. The reason for this is given by the fact that such content is often prohibited in certain environments (e.g., schools and workplaces) or for certain publics (e.g., children). In recent years, many works have been mainly focused on detecting pornographic images and videos based on visual content, particularly on the detection of skin color. Although these approaches provide good results, they generally have the disadvantage of a high false positive rate since not all images with large areas of skin exposure are necessarily pornographic images, such as people wearing swimsuits or images related to sports. Local feature based approaches with Bag-of-Words models (BoW) have been successfully applied to visual recognition tasks in the context of pornography detection. Even though existing methods provide promising results, they use local feature descriptors that require a high computational processing time yielding high-dimensional vectors. In this work, we propose an approach for pornography detection based on local binary feature extraction and BossaNova image representation, a BoW model extension that preserves more richly the visual information. Moreover, we propose two approaches for video description based on the combination of mid-level representations namely BossaNova Video Descriptor (BNVD) and BoW Video Descriptor (BoW-VD). The proposed techniques are promising, achieving an accuracy of 92.40%, thus reducing the classification error by 16% over the current state-of-the-art local features approach on the Pornography dataset.

Pub.: 01 Jul '16, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Problematic internet pornography use: The role of craving, desire thinking, and metacognition.

Abstract: Defined as sexually explicit material that elicits erotic thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, internet pornography is a prevalent form of media that may facilitate problematic use and craving for engagement. Research suggests that superordinate cognitions and information processing, such as desire thinking and metacognition, are central to the activation and escalation of craving in addictive behaviours. The current study aimed to contribute to the literature by testing the proposed metacognitive model of desire thinking and craving in a sample of problematic pornography users, while revising the model by incorporating negative affect. From a theoretical perspective, environmental cues trigger positive metacognitions about desire thinking that directly influence desire thinking, resulting in the escalation of craving, negative metacognitions, and negative affect. Participants were recruited via an online survey and screened for problematic internet pornography use. Path analyses were used to investigate relationships among the aforementioned constructs in a final sample of 191 participants. Consistent with previous research, results of this study validated the existence of metacognitive processes in the activation of desire thinking and escalation of craving, while indicating that desire thinking has the potential to influence negative affect. Additionally, results supported the role of significant indirect relationships between constructs within the revised model of metacognition, desire thinking, and psychopathology. Collectively, the findings demonstrate the clinical value of a metacognitive conceptualisation of problematic pornography use. Exploring the metacognitive mechanisms that underpin problematic internet pornography use may give rise to the development of new treatment and relapse prevention strategies.

Pub.: 20 Feb '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Declines in Sexual Frequency among American Adults, 1989-2014.

Abstract: American adults had sex about nine fewer times per year in the early 2010s compared to the late 1990s in data from the nationally representative General Social Survey, N = 26,620, 1989-2014. This was partially due to the higher percentage of unpartnered individuals, who have sex less frequently on average. Sexual frequency declined among the partnered (married or living together) but stayed steady among the unpartnered, reducing the marital/partnered advantage for sexual frequency. Declines in sexual frequency were similar across gender, race, region, educational level, and work status and were largest among those in their 50s, those with school-age children, and those who did not watch pornography. In analyses separating the effects of age, time period, and cohort, the decline was primarily due to birth cohort (year of birth, also known as generation). With age and time period controlled, those born in the 1930s (Silent generation) had sex the most often, whereas those born in the 1990s (Millennials and iGen) had sex the least often. The decline was not linked to longer working hours or increased pornography use. Age had a strong effect on sexual frequency: Americans in their 20s had sex an average of about 80 times per year, compared to about 20 times per year for those in their 60s. The results suggest that Americans are having sex less frequently due to two primary factors: An increasing number of individuals without a steady or marital partner and a decline in sexual frequency among those with partners.

Pub.: 08 Mar '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Unbuckling the Bible Belt: A State-Level Analysis of Religious Factors and Google Searches for Porn.

Abstract: While the link between individual religious characteristics and pornography consumption is well established, relatively little research has considered how the wider religious context may influence pornography use. Exceptions in the literature to date have relied on relatively broad, subjective measures of religious commitment, largely ignoring issues of religious belonging, belief, or practice. This study moves the conversation forward by examining how a variety of state-level religious factors predict Google searches for the term porn, net of relevant sociodemog raphic and ideological controls. Our multivariate findings indicate that higher percentages of Evangelical Protestants, theists, and biblical literalists in a state predict higher frequencies of searching for porn, as do higher church attendance rates. Conversely, higher percentages of religiously unaffiliated persons in a state predict lower frequencies of searching for porn. Higher percentages of total religious adherents, Catholics, or mainline Protestants in a state are unrelated to searching for porn with controls in place. Contrary to recent research, our analyses also show that higher percentages of political conservatives in a state predicted lower frequencies of porn searches. Our findings support theories that more salient, traditional religious influences in a state may influence residents-whether religious or not-toward more covert sexual experiences.

Pub.: 10 Mar '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Damaged Goods: Perception of Pornography Addiction as a Mediator Between Religiosity and Relationship Anxiety Surrounding Pornography Use.

Abstract: Recent research on pornography suggests that perception of addiction predicts negative outcomes above and beyond pornography use. Research has also suggested that religious individuals are more likely to perceive themselves to be addicted to pornography, regardless of how often they are actually using pornography. Using a sample of 686 unmarried adults, this study reconciles and expands on previous research by testing perceived addiction to pornography as a mediator between religiosity and relationship anxiety surrounding pornography. Results revealed that pornography use and religiosity were weakly associated with higher relationship anxiety surrounding pornography use, whereas perception of pornography addiction was highly associated with relationship anxiety surrounding pornography use. However, when perception of pornography addiction was inserted as a mediator in a structural equation model, pornography use had a small indirect effect on relationship anxiety surrounding pornography use, and perception of pornography addiction partially mediated the association between religiosity and relationship anxiety surrounding pornography use. By understanding how pornography use, religiosity, and perceived pornography addiction connect to relationship anxiety surrounding pornography use in the early relationship formation stages, we hope to improve the chances of couples successfully addressing the subject of pornography and mitigate difficulties in romantic relationships.

Pub.: 14 Mar '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Evaluating the Dimensionality of Pornography.

Abstract: Pornography may be a construct with a single trait or one with many traits. Research in the past was inconsistent in this regard with most researchers assuming that pornography was unidimensional (with one single trait of pornography). However, the considerable amounts of residual variation found in these studies beyond that explained by the single trait hints at what might be a multidimensional construct (with multiple traits such as sensitization and differentiation). Consequently, in this study, we intended to address the question of whether pornography consisted of a single trait or if it was multidimensional. Using MTurk, 2173 participants from the United States and the Commonwealth of Nations (in which pornography is not strictly illegal) were recruited and asked to rate how pornographic they thought a list of different depictions were. The data were analyzed utilizing the cross-validation procedure in which two subsamples were created from the main sample and one was used to establish the model building and the other to validate the model. Various models, including first-order and higher-order exploratory and confirmatory factor models, were tested. Results indicated that a bi-factor (multidimensional) model generated the best model fit, and that it was most appropriate to consider pornography multidimensional. The final model contained two dimensions ("Sensitization" and "Differentiation"). While sensitization revealed the participants' general tendency to rate all items to be more or less pornographic, differentiation revealed the participants' tendency to differentiate highly pornographic items from less pornographic items. Based on the findings of this study, we suggest that future research on the usage and effects of pornography be conducted while taking into consideration the multidimensional nature of pornography.

Pub.: 02 Apr '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17

Can Pornography be Addictive? An fMRI Study of Men Seeking Treatment for Problematic Pornography Use.

Abstract: Pornography consumption is highly prevalent, particularly among young adult males. For some individuals, problematic pornography use (PPU) is a reason for seeking treatment. Despite the pervasiveness of pornography, PPU appears under-investigated, including with respect to the underlying neural mechanisms. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we examined ventral striatal responses to erotic and monetary stimuli, disentangling cue-related 'wanting' from reward-related 'liking' among 28 heterosexual males seeking treatment for PPU and 24 heterosexual males without PPU. Subjects engaged in an incentive delay task in the scanner, in which they received erotic or monetary rewards preceded by predictive cues. BOLD responses to erotic and monetary cues were analyzed and examined with respect to self-reported data on sexual activity collected over the 2 preceding months. Men with and without PPU differed in their striatal responses to cues predicting erotic pictures, but not in their responses to erotic pictures. PPU subjects when compared to control subjects showed increased activation of ventral striatum specifically for cues predicting erotic pictures but not for cues predicting monetary gains. Relative sensitivity to cues predicting erotic pictures versus monetary gains was significantly related to the increased behavioral motivation to view erotic images (suggestive of higher 'wanting'), severity of PPU, amount of pornography use per week and number of weekly masturbations. Our findings suggest that, similar to what is observed in substance and gambling addictions, the neural and behavioral mechanisms associated with the anticipatory processing of cues specifically predicting erotic rewards relate importantly to clinically relevant features of PPU. These findings suggest that PPU may represent a behavioral addiction and that interventions helpful in targeting behavioral and substance addictions warrant consideration for adaptation and use in helping men with PPU.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 14 April 2017. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.78.

Pub.: 15 Apr '17, Pinned: 17 Apr '17