Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction

By | May 10, 2019

Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction



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“This is the most considered, thorough and accurate account of internet porn addiction that exists at the time of writing.” Professor Anthony Jack, from the foreword.

When high speed internet became widely available a few years ago, growing numbers of people began to worry that their porn use was running out of control. Far from preparing them for fulfilling relationships, viewing an endless stream of porn videos led to unexpected symptoms. Perhaps most surprisingly, for the first time in history erectile dysfunction was becoming a significant problem for young men.

This led to one of the largest informal experiments in the history of science. Tens of thousands of people have tried abstaining from sexually stimulating material in a process they call ‘rebooting’. Many of them reported startling changes, from improved concentration and elevated mood to a greater capacity for real-life intimacy.

Gary Wilson has listened to the stories of those who have tried giving up internet porn and related them to an account of how the reward system of the brain interacts with its environment. And now a growing body of research in neuroscience is confirming what these pioneers have discovered for themselves – internet pornography can be seriously addictive and damaging.

In Your Brain on Porn Wilson provides a concise introduction to the phenomenon of internet porn addiction that draws on both first-person accounts and the findings of cognitive neuroscience. In a voice that is generous and humane, he also offers advice for those who want to stop using internet pornography.

The publication of Your Brain on Porn is a landmark in our attempts to understand, and remain balanced in, a world where addiction is big business.

Gary Wilson is the presenter of the popular TEDx talk ‘The Great Porn Experiment’ and hosts the website ‘Your Brain On Porn’, which was created for those seeking to understand and reverse compulsive porn. He taught anatomy and physiology for years and has long been interested in the neurochemistry of addiction, mating and bonding.

Anthony Jack is Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, Neurology and Neuroscience and Research Director of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.

“In Your Brain on Porn Gary Wilson sets out to explain how abundant free pornography is causing serious problems for thousands of, mostly young, people. As well as providing a survey of the science of addiction for general readers, Your Brain on Porn gives guidance on how to break out of addictive porn use. Porn addiction is an important phenomenon and in Your Brain on Porn Wilson gives us valuable resources for understanding and addressing it.” Dr Nicole Oei PhD, Addiction, Development and Psychopathology (Adapt) Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam

“In this important book, Gary Wilson correctly identifies the obsession with pornography as a fetish – using an inanimate object for sexual arousal/gratification – and discusses the biopsychosocial consequences that often result from compulsive use of pornography for sexual arousal. The book describes many examples of the “rebooting” process that is necessary for sexual functioning to heal. He also explains the changes in brain physiology when sexual addiction hijacks normal sexual behavior – including why recovery takes time.” Reid Finlayson, MD, Medical Director, Vanderbilt Comprehensive Assessment Program, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

“As is the case so often with new phenomena, science lags behind lived experience. Gary Wilson brings the two together powerfully as he explores the addiction that dare not speak its name. This book crackles with energy, urgency and humour. It offers up the hope of recovery to those struggling with internet porn addiction and it does so with compassion and informed authority.” Dr David McCartney, Primary Care Addiction Specialist

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