No. 12 Winter 2021

Venice Mardi Gras 2021

This is Mary Sharpe some years ago buying a mask in Venice in the run up to the Mardi Gras festival. As a result of the fresh spring energy, we are bringing you lots of news and information to inspire you towards a hopeful and happier 2021. All feedback is welcome to Mary Sharpe: [email protected].

How They Made Us Doubt Everything- BBC Sounds

No. 12 doubt

How They Made Us Doubt Everything is an excellent series on BBC Sounds by journalist Peter Pomerantz. In it he explores how the multibillion-dollar corporations create doubt in the mind of the public. Tehy do this to stop us questioning their practices and the impact of their products on our health.

In the 1950’s Big Tobacco created a “playbook”. This was a set of tactics for use in the media to cause confusion and doubt. Journalists are often time poor or not best able to understand the scientific arguments used by industry pundits to put them off the scent. 

This series does not cover internet pornography, though we know for a fact that that industry is using the exact same playbook and techniques to put users and the public at large off the scent about porn harms. Let’s hope Mr. Pomerantz extends the ambit of his industries next time to include Big Tech, especially Big Porn.

Five languages of love – Relationship Tool

 No. 12 Five languages love

Love? Tis a mystery.

But one way to help demystify it is by understanding the five languages of love. Use this relationship tool to improve your love life. Suzi Brown, the Reward Foundation’s education consultant, sets out below how we can use it to our advantage.

MindGeek, world’s largest porn company challenged by Canadian Parliament’s Ethics Committee

No 12 Pornhub 2021

MindGeek, the parent company of online pornography website Pornhub, faced scrutiny for its role in facilitating—and profiting from—child sexual abuse and exploitation. Its executives were questioned by the Canadian Parliament’s House of Commons Ethics Committee in early February 2021. See here for more details. This links to excerpts of their actual testimony.
We believe that this is the first time a major commercial pornography supplier has had to explain its actions to lawmakers in public.

Who Has Asked Us Recently to Discuss Internet Pornography?

While we might not be able to do any face-to-face engagement with the public during lockdown, we have been busy on Zoom.

Counterculture New Culture Foundation

Mary took part in a panel discussion with New Culture Forum‘s Counterculture series. The programme was called How worried should we be about porn? in mid-February. It was hosted by former politician Peter Whittle and has now been seen by nearly 10,000 viewers.

In Conversation withThe safeguarding unit of a London law firm Farrer & Co invited Mary Sharpe to take part in their “In Conversation with….” series to discuss internet pornography and young people with partner Maria Strauss. It went down very well. As a result two safeguarding organisations have invited us to speak to their members too.

No. 12 Fathers Network Scotland

In late January Darryl Mead spoke to Fathers Network Scotland on Sexual Dysfunctions and the Internet. On 11th March at 10.00 a.m. Mary is scheduled to speak to them on Screen time and the Adolescent Brain. See Fathers Network Scotland for the session details.

Research Highlights

No 12
Lack of flirting capacity drove people into involuntary singledom

A considerable proportion of the population is involuntarily single; that is, they want to be in an intimate relationship, but they face difficulties in doing so. The current paper attempted to assess some possible predictors of this phenomenon. More specifically, in a sample of 1228 Greek-speaking women and men, we found that participants who scored low in flirting capacity, capacity to perceive signals of interest and mating effort, were more likely to be involuntarily single than in an intimate relationship, and experienced longer spells of singlehood. See Involuntary singlehood and its causes: The effects of flirting capacity, mating effort, choosiness and capacity to perceive signals of interest

Evidence of Benefits from “Rebooting” i.e. quitting porn

A growing number of individuals using online forums are attempting to abstain from pornography (colloquially termed “rebooting”) due to self-perceived pornography-related problems. The present qualitative study explored phenomenological experiences of abstinence among members of an online “rebooting” forum. A total of 104 abstinence journals by male forum members were systematically analyzed using thematic analysis.

A total of four themes (with a total of nine subthemes) emerged from the data: (1) abstinence is the solution to pornography-related problems, (2) sometimes abstinence seems impossible, (3) abstinence is achievable with the right resources, and (4) abstinence is rewarding if persisted with. Members’ primary reasons for initiating “rebooting” involved desiring to overcome a perceived addiction to pornography and/or alleviate perceived negative consequences attributed to pornography use, especially sexual difficulties. The Pornography “Rebooting” Experience: A Qualitative Analysis of Abstinence Journals on an Online Pornography Abstinence Forum (2021)

UK government research on pornography and harmful sexual behaviour

The issue of violence against women and girls in today’s society is extremely serious. Figures for domestic violence, non-fatal and fatal sexual strangulation and general sexual harassment continue to rise at an alarming rate, especially in lockdown. Two recently published literature reviews on the relationship between pornography’ use and harmful sexual attitudes and behaviours for the first time sought the views of the frontline workers who deal with those abused and the abusers. These reviews found the following: that the majority of frontline workers dealing with those abused spontaneously cited pornography as an influential factor for harmful sexual attitudes and behaviour towards women and girls. See here for more details.

Social media and depression

There has been lots of talk in recent years about whether social media use (SMU) is linked to depression. This new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that it may be. We look at social media use in our free lesson plan on Sexting, Pornography & the Adolescent Brain. We looked at depression a lot in Mental Effects of Porn. This new study looked at 990 Americans aged 18-30 years who were not depressed at the start of the study. It then tested them six-months later. Baseline Social Media Use: “was strongly and independently associated with the development of depression during the subsequent 6 months. However, there was no association between the presence of depression at baseline and an increase in SMU over the following 6 months.”

See here for more details.

No. 12 joke