Newsletter No. 7 Festive Edition 2018

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Welcome to the latest edition of Rewarding News. We’ve lots of stories and news for you. You can keep up-to-date with our regular Twitter feed and the weekly blogs on the home page too.

Enjoy the magical Scott Monument on a wintry night in Edinburgh.

All feedback is welcome to Mary Sharpe

In this edition


Royal College of General Practitioners-accredited workshops

This year we ran 10 RCGP-accredited workshops on the impact of internet pornography on mental and physical health across the UK and Ireland. We had people flying in from as far afield as Finland, Estonia, Belfast and the Netherlands. Participants include GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, students, youth workers, social workers, teachers, counsellors, lawyers and sex therapists.

Team TRF in Glasgow with Katriin Kütt, a sex educator at the Eesti Tervishoiu Muuseum in Estonia and recovery coach Matthew Cichy from Belfast

We were delighted to partner with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice for the Glasgow workshop and with the law firm Anderson Strathern for the Edinburgh one. We also had a very supportive partnership with South West Counselling Service in Killarney where we shall be returning in February due to the high demand.

We are heartened by the interest, enthusiasm and desire for more workshops one of which will include Cork in the Spring. If you would like us to come to your area, please let us know soon as we are in the process of setting new dates and venues for 2019.

Darryl and Mary with Joy O’Donoghue and Anna Marie O’Shea of the SouthWest Counselling Centre in Killarney

World Health Organization recognises Porn Harms

This June the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized “compulsive sexual behaviour disorder” (CSBD) for the first time ever in its newly revised International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). See our blog on it. It managed through the selection committee of science and medical experts despite fierce opposition from interest groups connected to the multi-billion dollar porn industry including sexologists who deny that too much porn can ever be harmful.

Our Contribution to Research

The Reward Foundation not only monitors the new research about porn’s effects on a daily basis, but we also contribute to it and make it available to professionals who need to know. To that end our peer-reviewed paperthat summarized the research presented at the 4th International Conference on Behavioural Addictions (ICBA) was published in the professional journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity. Here is our blog on it. Please contact us if you would like access to the full paper. We are pleased to announce that a similar paper summarizing the latest research papers from this year’s 5th ICBA conference has been submitted and will be published, all being well, in early 2019. We’ll let you know when.

Autism, Porn and Sexual Offending

The vulnerability of young men on the autistic spectrum, especially those with high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, to internet addiction has been drawn to our attention. When someone with this kind of neurological condition from birth has been convicted of possession of indecent images of children, it becomes apparent that there are many inadequacies in the judicial system as it treats these people. We have written several blogs on the subject. See here too a Mother’s Story.

Trips by TRF

Cambridge, England

Our CEO, Mary Sharpe, was honoured to speak at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge in June this year at the invitation of its President, Jackie Ashley. Mary is an associate member there. The topic of Internet Pornography and the Adolescent Brain is always a good crowd puller and sure enough, the college was delighted with the 90 members of the university and public who attended. It was one of the largest crowds ever at the college for a public talk. We then enjoyed a Formal Hall dinner in the college dining room where Mary was the guest of honour. It was great to be back in Cambridge.

Frankfurt, Germany

We believe (as does Amazon’s bestseller’s list) that Gary Wilson’s book Your Brain on Porn – Internet Pornography and the emerging Science of Addiction is the best book on the market that explains the issues around internet pornography and its effects on health and relationships. With hundreds of recovery stories and well explained science, it makes the subject very accessible. To help promote it in other languages (already in Dutch, Arabic and Hungarian, others in progress) we attended the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. We met lots of useful people and hope to develop those contacts in the coming year.

Virginia Beach, USA

Students fWe were delighted to be speakers at the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH) annual conference this October in Virginia Beach, USA where we brought participants up to date on our lesson plans for schools and other workshop activities for professionals. Mary Sharpe, our CEO, is a member of the Board of Directors of this organisation and keeps up to date with developments among professionals in this field across the pond.

Budapest, Hungary

TRF was delighted to be invited to Budapest, Hungary to speak at an international conference hosted by the Ministry of Justice and NGO ERGO in early December. Mary’s paper was on the impact of internet pornography on human trafficking and best practices for dealing with it. There were speakers on sexual exploitation and child abuse from Paris and Washington DC.

Dawn Hawkins from the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation in Washington D.C.


TRF are continuing to teach is schools both in the independent and state sectors. Our 6 lesson plans are in the process of being piloted and improved before we roll them out at a very reasonable price to schools in 2019. Our CEO will be speaking about the link between pornography and sexting at a Policy Hub event on 31 January 2019.


Here is blog, a Parents’ Guide to Internet Pornography with information about largely free resources. It’s updated on a regular basis so look out on a regular basis.

Award for CEO

Mary Sharpe our CEO was nominated and selected for a NatWest WISE100 woman award for her work in a pioneering new field. We are delighted that our work is beginning to be recognized.

Media appearances

BBC (TV and Radio), Daily Mail, The Times, London Evening News and other news outlets have been writing about our work. See our media page for more details. Mary is due to appear in a documentary on BBC Scotland about children and pornography and on BBC ALBA in the Spring.

Julie McCrone from BBC Alba setting up a shot with Ruairdh Maclennan and Mary Sharpe

Warmest wishes for 2019

The staff and friends of The Reward Foundation would like to wish you all the very best for 2019. Please follow us on Twitter @brain_love_sex. If you know of anyone who’d like to learn more about porn’s impact on health and relationships please recommend Your Brain on Porn – Internet Pornography and the emerging Science of Addiction.

Copyright © 2019 The Reward Foundation, All rights reserved.

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