Can Porn Use Lead to Cheating?

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Using pornography may lead to infidelity in committed relationships, according to more than one study on the subject. Porn weakens relationships by cutting through intimacy. When you’re distracted by porn, you have less time and attention to your partner. Then there is also the issue of creating and living in a fantasy world, which can lead to cravings for alternatives to your partner. If you are into using pornography, or your partner is, understand how it puts your relationship at risk.

Porn and the Urge to Mess Around

We all have urges. We all have fantasies. It’s normal to admire another person outside of your relationship or even to give a passing thought to what it would be like to be intimate with that person. If we are in committed relationships, though, we resist those urges and we spend minimal time in those fantasies. For a healthy relationship, time and attention to sexual needs are given to one’s partner, not a third person. In one study, from the University of Florida, researchers found that men who regularly used pornography were more likely to cheat on their partners. The study was published in the journal Social, Psychological and Personality Science and it cited earlier research that found similar results. Different studies show the results from different angles

When investigating men who cheat, studies find that they are more likely to be regular users of pornography. The more recent study looked at men who used porn. The more often they used pornographic materials, the more likely they were to cheat. There is a clear and definite connection between porn use and infidelity. For most men who enjoy pornography, it offers them a form of sex with no strings attached and with attractive partners. Although logically men know that this is a fantasy world, regular use of porn increases the urge to cheat because it makes them feel as though there are attractive and willing alternatives to their partners out in the real world.

Porn and a Weakened Relationship

Another way in which pornography use may lead to cheating is through a general weakening of the relationship. Studies have found that porn use by one person weakens his or her commitment to a partner. The researchers questioned people in relationships about porn use and commitment. The relationships ranged in length from a few months to a few years. They found that regular porn use lessened commitment in both men and women, but the effect was stronger in men. The study also involved an experiment with regular porn users only. Half were asked to give up using pornography for three weeks, while the other half had to give up a favorite food. Those who gave up porn use showed greater commitment to their partners at the end of the three weeks.

Those who had to give up food but could still use porn showed no significant change in commitment. Clearly there is a link between porn use and relationship strength. That giving up porn can re-strengthen a commitment is promising for anyone who fears the loss of a partner to pornography and infidelity. If you or your partner are using pornography and are troubled by it, try giving it a break for a few weeks and see what happens. You may just find that your intimacy grows, that your sexual satisfaction is more complete and that you feel more committed to each other than ever.

What is Porn Addiction

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We characterize porn addiction as a phenomenon of the brain marked by compulsive use of pornography which proves difficult to stop despite negative consequences, and which often worsens over time.

To date, the American psychological community has yet to officially recognize porn addiction as a disorder. However, a building body of scientific evidence and thousands of personal stories from our community leads us to conclude that the unprecedented availability of pornography in the era of the Internet has resulted in an undeniable problem, one that is destructive to individuals and, consequently, society as a whole. This problem has come to be called “porn addiction” by many, including those of us in the community here at NoFap®.

Our understanding of porn addiction is largely compiled from analysis of our surveys and the thousands of personal stories our users have posted to our forums, as well as reports gathered from other porn recovery websites. We bring to bear as much current brain science as we can to this body of anecdotal evidence. One of the main goals of NoFap is to increase interest in the topic of porn addiction in order to spur further scientific study, which will in turn deepen our understanding of porn addiction. Until the scientific community fully validates or corrects the claims made by our users, we acknowledge that our claims are not popularly held.

Markers of Pornography Addiction

Not all porn use can be characterized as addictive use, but individuals may consider their porn use addictive if it has any or all of the following markers:

  • An increase in pornography use over time. Someone with porn addiction may go from using porn a couple times a week to using it many times a day.
  • An increase in the intensity of pornography used. As with any addiction, porn addiction provides diminishing returns on the addictive “hit,” and users may need an increasingly intense experience to find satisfaction. Just as an alcoholic may start with beer and later seek out hard liquor in ever-increasing quantities while their system builds a tolerance to alcohol, those with porn addiction may seek out more graphic, taboo, or deviant porn after “softcore” or “vanilla” porn stops delivering what the addiction craves.
  • An inability to easily stop pornography use despite negative consequences. A porn user may find that their porn use leads to bad things happening in their relationships, family, health or career, yet cannot get themselves to stop. This is THE telltale sign of addiction.

Symptoms of Pornography Addiction

We have found among our community that pornography addiction has been associated with both physical and psychological symptoms. Members of the community have reported that engaging in heavy pornography use has caused or worsened these symptoms while quitting porn has alleviated or eliminated them.


  • Sexual dysfunctions, such as erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation
  • Decreased sensitivity from overstimulation
  • Fatigue


  • Low self-esteem or -confidence
  • Sense of shame
  • Low mood or agitated mood*
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased libido
  • Disinterest in sex in favor of porn
  • Clouding of consciousness, or “brain fog”

* While some individuals in the community have claimed that quitting pornography has helped them along with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, etc… we do not advise anyone to quit porn as a means of treating any psychological disorder or condition. In fact, the rebooting process can in some cases cause a temporary “flatline” of emotions, and quitting any addiction can put one at risk for emotional upset. If you are in treatment for depression or any psychological problems we strongly recommend you continue that treatment and let your doctors and counselors know you are trying to quit an addiction. If you feel you may have depression and are not in treatment, we advise you to seek out professional help.

How Porn Addiction Works

A growing body of scientific research characterizes both substance and behavioral addiction as disorders involving the reward system of the brain. A reward system is a group of neural structures that help us learn from our environment by reinforcing behavioral responses to certain stimuli. These structures include circuits of neural pathways which, over the long course of evolution, developed to activate when we seek out things that benefit us.

When we encounter beneficial stimuli, our reward system gives us pleasurable feelings by releasing chemicals manufactured within the brain called neurotransmitters. Because we want more of these good feelings, we seek out more of the stimuli. Each additional time we encounter these stimuli, we release more neurotransmitters, get more pleasure, and reinforce our drive to yet again seek out those stimuli.

This process is fundamental to how we learn to interact with our environment. It’s how we learn to seek out behaviors that are good for our survival and the survival of our species, behaviors like eating food, having sex, and spending time with people we enjoy.

Addiction is a disorder of this reward system, and since the reward system is all about learning, researchers have called addiction a kind of “pathological learning”. We learn to crave things in excess of what is healthy, to the point where we actually learn behaviors that are detrimental rather than beneficial for our survival. Therefore, we conclude the problem we call pornography addiction is a phenomenon that develops when the reward system is distorted in such a way that we pathologically learn to crave pornography.

But how did pornography come to be seen by our brains as a beneficial stimulus that should seek out? Our brains couldn’t have developed to view pornography as beneficial, because in the primitive world where the human brain evolved pornography didn’t yet exist! The solution here is that our brains aren’t built to see porn as beneficial, but they are built to see sex as beneficial. After all, only individuals who find sex pleasurable are going to pass along their genes. This is beneficial to the survival of the species.

The hitch, of course, is that certain key structures within the reward system of our brain simply are not able to distinguish between pornography and sex. In part, the reward system includes our “upper brain” prefrontal cortex, which can make sophisticated decisions and distinctions. But the parts of the reward system involved in sensing pleasure and storing memory are in the “lower brain” limbic system.

The limbic system is not very choosy. It evolved millions of years ago, long before humans developed refined thinking. Nothing in this primitive part of the brain was baked in to distinguish, say, fruit from candy bars, or sex from masturbating to pornography. The prefrontal cortex can make these distinctions–which is why we can make these distinctions–but as far as the limbic system is concerned, if you’re eating a colorful handheld snack packed with sugar, you’re eating fruit! And if you’re sexually aroused, looking at sexually aroused people, feeling genital pleasure, and climaxing… well, you’re having sex!

The question remains, then, how do our brains progress from having a limbic system that confuses pornography with sex to developing a disorder where we compulsively seek out pornography? It’s a complex riddle that researchers have not fully untangled. However, we do know that one key to the riddle is that modern pornographic stimuli are different in nature than the sexual stimuli that were available to our evolving primitive brains. Pornography is more available, more novel, and more intense than any sexual experience our brains evolved to handle, and can easily overwhelm the limbic system.

Problem 1: Porn is More Available than Primitive Sex

Our reward system was not built to handle the current widespread availability of pornography. This is not a flaw of our brain. This is a flaw in our modern environment. The reward system does a good job of getting us to seek out things that make us feel good, but it did not evolve to do a great job of putting on the brakes when we encounter too much of a good thing. Our reward system didn’t evolve to self-limit, because in the primitive world, it never had to limit itself!

The primitive environment our brain evolved in provided all the limits we needed. Sex and food only ever posed a threat to the survival of an individual (or his genes) if there wasn’t enough of it. That’s the reality our limbic systems evolved to handle, and it’s the reality our limbic systems still see.

But we now live in a world where sex and food can pose a threat to survival if we have too much! Our brains have not had a chance to evolve to meet this reality. We have brains wonderfully designed by evolution to handle a world of scarcity, but which find themselves woefully unprepared for a world of abundance.

To frame this in another way which may be more relatable to those not addicted to porn, consider the classic case of a brain prepped for scarcity but stranded in a world of abundance: our cravings for sugars and fats. We find sugar enjoyable because we’re wired to seek out sugar, but in craving sugar, our reward systems don’t differentiate between the occasional piece of fruit foraged from the jungle and the massive supply of candy bars found in convenience stores. Our reward system treats all candy bars as those rare pieces of ripe fruit and encourages us to eat as many as we can get our hands on while we can. If an individual’s reward system is able to overcome the other parts of the brain which discourage overeating, that individual is going to end up eating a lot of candy bars!

Problem 2: Pornography is More Novel than Primitive Sex

Likewise, the reward center of our brain doesn’t distinguish between the limited novel sexual experience of an attractive mate from a distant clan and the practically unlimited novel sexual experiences now available at any time on any of the electronic boxes we carry around.

More than just abundant sexual stimulation, our reward system is built to crave novel sexual stimulation. The reward centers of evolving humans didn’t merely seek to have a lot of sex to maximize their chances of passing on their genes; they sought to have a lot of sex with a lot of different people, thus ensuring a wider spread of our genes. Therefore, our reward systems are primed to seek novel sexual stimuli–sex with people we’ve never had sex with before. This can be observed in a phenomenon behaviorists call the Coolidge effect: mammals of either gender will seem disinterested in having sex with a partner they’ve just had sex with, but will show renewed sexual interest when presented with a new partner to pair with.

This craving for novelty is why most porn users, whether they are addicts or not, would not be satisfied to simply look at one picture or video for the rest of their lives. If they owned only one picture, they’d get bored with porn pretty quickly! Prior to the Internet, porn users often had a stash of magazines and videotapes to use and would add to their collection every so often to keep things from getting too stale. Now that we all have high-speed Internet access, there is an unlimited amount of new porn available on-demand 24/7, and no porn user need ever be bored! (Rather, it is now impossible for one human to watch all the pornographic content that now exists!) Once a certain performer or sexual act or kink gets too familiar, there are always new performers and acts and kinks to explore!

Problem 3: Pornography is More Stimulating than Primitive Sex

There is a phenomenon found in many animals where a counterfeit or unnatural stimulus with exaggerated features will elicit a response that is more intense than the response elicited by the natural stimulus. This phenomenon is known as a supernormal stimulus.

For example, cuckoo birds lay their eggs in a surrogate bird’s nests. The cuckoo eggs elicit a supernormal brooding response in the surrogate bird, who will prefer to hatch the cuckoo egg over their own eggs. Male stickleback fish will more ferociously attack decoys than they will real invaders as long as the decoys are painted red, making them a supernormal stimulus for the fish. And the julodimorpha beetle has been observed preferring the stimulating golden curves of empty beer bottles over female mates; they will attempt to mate with the bottles and continue doing so until they die.

Humans are not immune to the effects of supernormal stimuli. Porn addicts who flock to videos of actresses with body parts surgically enhanced beyond normal limitations, or cartoon images of characters with body parts drawn to proportions beyond what even surgery can do. Fantasy has no limitations. Even sexy romance novels and erotica are catering to our craving for the supernormal, plunging us into the intensity of narratives and relationships authored to stimulate our deepest sexual and emotional needs, but which would never occur in the real world.

Of course, for many porn addicts, the Internet itself becomes a superstimulus: an endless supply of erotic material that becomes more attractive to them than anyone sexual partner or relationship could ever be.

On a chemical level, this supernormal intensity is delivering to us a neurochemical payload that is stronger than any primitive sexual stimulation would incur. And since the reward system is designed to impel us to learn by repeating and reinforcing our behaviors, exposure to supernormal stimuli makes us crave further exposure to supernormal stimuli.

When pornographers combine intense stimuli with novel stimuli, they create ever-kinkier products with the potential of snagging more and more porn users into porn addiction. Porn producers aren’t doing this out of malice or cunning. They are simply using creativity and free-market principles to find out what sells. This leads to ever-devolving trends in pornography production. Mainstream porn is not becoming a tamer and more vanilla. It is becoming kinkier and more seductive. While some may find this disturbing from the viewpoint of sexual moralism, the leadership of NoFap finds it disturbing because it means, quite simply, that pornographers are getting better at creating pornography addicts.

Tolerance: When the Abundant, Novel, and Supernormal Becomes the New Normal

A common marker for the progression of any addiction is tolerance. Tolerance occurs when an addict no longer gets the same payoff from stimuli that used to “do it” for them. Most people are familiar with alcohol or drug tolerance. An alcoholic may start with a few beers a night to drinking a couple of six-packs or switching to hard liquor; a heroin addict may start with a bump every now and then only to die from an overdose years later because he needed to mainline large doses daily to get his fix.

In pornography addiction, tolerance seems to build when a user needs to look at more porn, more novel porn, more intense porn, or a combination of these in order to satisfy themselves. This is where pornography addiction gets dangerous.

If an addict builds up a tolerance to porn, he may need it more abundantly. Just spending 10 minutes cruising porn sites may not be enough, and he will begin spending more and more time with porn until it begins cutting into his career or family life.

Or he may need porn that is progressively more novel, searching for videos with actresses and sexual acts he’s never before seen. Many porn addicts on NoFap report shock when they realize that a certain kink or fetish they once found stomach-turning is now the only thing that can get them off. The addictive quest for novelty in porn has led some porn addicts to search for extreme, taboo and even illegal material.

Porn addicts may also search for ever more super-stimulating porn, searching for videos, images, and stories which provide a more intense dose of fantasy. They need porn that depicts a more intense, unrealistic version of bodies, sex, and relationships. This can mean anything from searching out images of more extreme body enhancements, to buying HD video that shows sex in higher detail than one can ever see in real life, to seeking more violent and abusive bondage videos, or reading erotic stories that draw them deeper and deeper into a fantasy that seems more appealing than real life. The result here is that genuine real-world sex and relationships will be less and less appealing to the porn addled mind. Porn addicts in relationships will find their partners less and less appealing, while porn addicts without relationships will see less and less reason to be in one.

The chemical mechanism of sensitization seems to involve a protein called deltafosb. As the reward system of the brain floods with more neurotransmitters in response to pornography, deltafosb builds up in the cell nuclei, enhancing the neurotransmitters–particularly dopamine–prompting them to have a greater effect. The result is one of diminishing returns: more stimulating material needs to be viewed because over time it provides less and less pleasure.


One of the more notorious effects of tolerance to sexual stimuli happens when a male porn addict finds himself in a real-world sexual situation. The allure of a normally sexual partner barely registers a libidinous response, leading to what has been termed PIED: porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Having a sexual encounter fizzle due to PIED can be a tragic experience, especially for young men and teenagers who are just beginning to familiarize themselves with the sexual dimensions of their lives and identities. The numbers of young men experiencing erectile dysfunction would have been unthinkable in decades past before the Internet made porn so widely available. Studies show between a 600% and 3000% increase in erectile dysfunction among young men since the emergence of Internet pornography.

Two other physical effects prevalent among reports from porn addicts have delayed ejaculation (among men) and genital desensitization. Delayed ejaculation (DE) is a problem where a man may be able to achieve an erection while finding it difficult or impossible to reach a sexual climax, which can, in turn, lead to frustration during sex. While the phenomenon of DE is well-documented as a side effect of anxiety disorders or the use of certain medications, it has not been well-studied among porn addicts and its causes are unclear. We theorize that in the case of porn addiction, DE has the same underlying causes as PIED. However, it may also be partially related to the phenomenon of genital desensitization reported by many porn addicts. Genital desensitization seems to be a temporary numbing or neuropathy caused by over-stimulating the nerves of the genitals during masturbation. A phenomenon that has come to be called “death grip” can occur among men and women who handle their genitals too tightly, and the use of over-stimulating toys can also contribute to the problem of desensitization. This seems to acclimate the genitals to an intensity of sensation that orificial sex is unable to match, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction when it’s time to have sex with a partner. Members of the NoFap community and other sexual health resources suggest that taking a break from masturbation–or simply switching to a softer touch or a gentler toy–can reduce or eliminate this symptom.

More insidious than the physical effects of porn addiction is its reported effects on the addict’s emotional and psychological well-being. Porn addicts report that in addition to being physically incapable of performing during sex, they find themselves altogether less interested in having sex. While some may speculate this is due to discouragement after experiencing sexual performance issues, most of our users report a decreased libido for real sex after having satiated their sexual appetite with porn. Furthermore, tolerance toward sexual novelty and super stimulation may be a contributing factor to the loss of libido. The brain of a porn addict may be so acclimated to videos, images, and stories of impossible partners or exaggerated sex act that more commonplace sexual experiences are simply not enough to arouse.

Anecdotal reporting among the NoFap community suggests a strong consensus that porn addiction is a contributing factor, if not the cause, of a wide range of other emotional and psychological issues including anxiety disorders, social anxiety, and depression. It is not uncommon to find that among any population of addicts, many start down the path of addiction as a means of self-medication for issues that are poorly treated, untreated, or subclinical. By self-medicating with porn, an addict may be escaping from or denying an underlying problem without treating it, which may in turn only compound that problem–leading to more self-medication and the development of an addictive pattern. And, as with any addiction, porn addiction may be part of a larger addictive routine which includes co-addictions or even codependent relationships.

On that note, relationships, family, work, and school issues are often the presenting problems in a porn addict’s life. Some may not wake up to the problem of their addiction until their children find their porn stash or their spouse is unable to deal with their emotional or sexual withdrawal. Others may skip classes in order to watch porn when class time is the only time they can count on privacy in their dorm room. Still, others may be reprimanded or fired from work for cruising porn sites on the company’s dime. These anecdotes are only too common in reports from members of our community.

Beyond the personal fallout of porn, addiction is the social fallout suggested by the sum of each individual story. What is society losing when a family is torn apart by porn addiction? Is the next great innovator failing to innovate because she spends too much time with porn?

Who Gets Hooked, and Why

Today, everyone has a brain built to seek out novel sexual experiences and everyone has access to porn, but not all people are addicted to porn. It’s difficult to say why anyone person develops a porn addiction while another person does not. However, we feel that part of the answer is that porn addiction often develops when a person, however unconsciously, uses their reward circuitry to train their brain to seek out porn in response to certain common triggers. For example, a person will consistently turn to pornography when they are bored and alone, or as a way of making themselves feel better when they have uncomfortable emotions.


The physical structure of the brain can be changed by repeating behaviors due to a mechanism called neuroplasticity. For instance, when a top athlete trains at jumping hurdles on a track, she is training her muscles but also rewiring the synapses of her brain to more quickly respond to her thoughts and environment when jumping hurdles on a track.

Similarly, a person who habitually uses pornography when he is bored in his bedroom is priming his neural circuitry to more quickly think of pornography whenever he is bored in his bedroom. A person who uses pornography to distract herself from feeling lonely late at night is training her neural circuitry to more quickly crave pornography whenever she feels lonely late at night. Through the mechanism of neuroplasticity, these people have literally reshaped their brains to the point where it’s difficult for them to think of anything except pornography in certain situations. This is why certain situations become triggers prompt porn usage.

Addiction makes a full circle when the addictive behavior causes conditions which then trigger the need to once again act out the addictive behavior.

For instance, John uses porn when he’s bored or lonely. Feeling lonely on a Friday evening, instead of calling up some friends, he goes to his favorite porn site and masturbates for a couple of hours. Since he looked at porn, he missed his chance to find friends to hang out with, so he just watches videos for another hour or two until he feels bored enough that he turns to his go-to solution for boredom: more porn.

Other compulsive or addictive behaviors can be added to this cycle. Candice uses porn when she feels ashamed of herself. Saturday morning she sleeps in and misses an appointment. Ashamed, she goes to her favorite erotic fiction site and spends a couple of hours reading pornographic stories. Afterward, she feels ashamed of wasting the day reading stories on her favorite taboo subjects, so she makes herself feel better by shopping online. Regretful of once again giving into her shopping compulsion, she spaces out from her guilty feelings by reading more porn.

At this point, porn addiction has become a snake eating its own tail.

There is Hope: Rebooting

The process of abstaining from pornography, masturbation, or even orgasm altogether to overcome sexual addictions is dubbed rebooting. By allowing the porn-addicted brain to unplug from pornography, much of the damage inflicted by heavy pornography use may be repaired. This is almost like restoring your brain to “factory settings” – hence, a reboot.

The science behind the brain’s ability to heal from addiction is based on the same science behind the ways the brain gets twisted by addiction. Neuroplasticity is a double-edged sword, able to shape our neural pathways to create unhealthy behaviors, but also able to reshape our brains back to normal functioning.

NoFap’s mission is to facilitate users and empower them to help each other while they undergo the reboot process. For more on the reboot process,

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Wake Up You Sleepy Head!

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There are those teenagers who never need a wake up call, god love em! But for most parents mornings are traumatic. The pit in your stomach feeling of here we go again. the abuse, the yelling, the cajoling, the threatening, none of which really works. Here’s the thing, your kids will eventually get up. They know that, and you know that. But as long as your are a willing partner and enabler, they will depend on you to make sure that happens! Works for them!!! But starting your day this way every day, does not work for you!!

Let them know today what you will and won’t do to help them with the new morning wake-up

1. Spend the first hour of the morning making it your mission to get them up.
2. Listen to their usual morning abuse as you continue to update them about how much time they have left before the bus/ride/walk to school is approaching.
3. Give them a lateness excuse because they just couldn’t get their ass out of bed.
4. Give them a ride if they choose to stay in bed and miss their bus/ride/walk to school
1. Let them know that you understand that this transition to early AM’s is really hard. You understand that they do not want to get up this early, and that they hate it.
2. Share with them what you are not willing to do with respect to getting up on time.(use above list)
3. Share with them what you are willing to do:
  • Work with them to come up with a plan. Perhaps you are willing to give them two wake-up calls. But if they choose to ignore those reminders you will NOT continue to shake, scream, or otherwise annoy the hell of them until they get out of bed.
  • Be happy to drive them to school or bus stop at the appointed time. But if they choose to not to get up in time to make the ride, they will be responsible for their own transportation that day. DO NO LET THEM CALL UBER UNLESS THE ACCOUNT USES THEIR DEBIT CARD AND MONEY!!! (SEE NOTE BELOW)You will not wait around for them to get up and out!
  • Buy any new required clocks or alarms they might need to rouse them out of their deepest sleep
NOTE: I have recently been made aware that teens are using UBER as their own private limousine service. Thanks mom and dad for making it so easy for me to be entitled and lazy!! I know driving kids hither and yon is a pain in the ass, but that is just part of the parenting job description. Allowing your kids to get rides on demand feeds their already entitled little egos that “I want what I want when I want it!!!” DON’T DO IT. Trust me you will regret it. I will write further about this in a blog next week.
Your teens have got to learn to be responsible for getting up on-time. My college freshman tell me that this is their biggest challenge when they get to college. Most of them report that they sleep through most of their first classes because they never developed their own plan for wake-up, instead relying on their annoying parents to do it for them. This is your practice time. It takes years to develop good AM rituals that work. This will take some trial and error. But please stick with it. You both deserve a better start to your day.

Cybersex Addiction Linked to Altered Pleasure Center in Men

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Recent findings from a German research group point to tell-tale signs of altered pleasure center function in men with cybersex addiction who view pornographic images. Dysfunctional alteration of a brain area known as the pleasure center is a standard finding in all people affected by various forms of substance addiction; similar alteration commonly appears in the brains of people affected by non-substance-related conditions called behavioral addictions. In a study presented in March 2015 to the 2nd International Conference on Behavioral Addictions, researchers from Germany’s University of Duisburg-Essen looked for tell-tale indications of pleasure center alteration in men with cybersex addiction, a form of sex addiction that overlaps with a behavioral condition called Internet addiction.

Addiction and the Pleasure Center

A pleasure center is an interconnected group of structures in the human brain known formally as the nucleus accumbens. As its nickname implies, this brain area is responsible for producing pleasurable or rewarding sensations in response to certain human actions and activities. Survival-oriented activities that trigger a rewarding sensation in the brain include having sex and eating tasty food. The brain has a natural preference for these activities since they help keep people alive. However, the pleasure center also kicks into gear when humans do a range of other things, including consuming alcohol or mind-altering drugs/medications and taking part in recreational activities such as shopping, playing games and gambling. If a person repeatedly consumes excessive amounts of alcohol or mind-altering drugs/medications or repeatedly engages in non-substance-based pleasurable activities, he or she can trigger ongoing changes in the pleasure center’s chemical mixture. Essentially, these changes set the stage for the onset of addiction by making that person reliant on continued participation in the activity in question in order to feel a sense of normalcy. The potential for addiction is a well-established principle in the context of substance use. In contrast, the concept of non-substance-based behavioral addiction only received official recognition from the American Psychiatric Association (the prime source for mental health definitions in the U.S.) in 2013.

Cybersex Addiction

Essentially, cybersex addiction is sex addiction (dysfunctional and damaging involvement in sexual fantasy, thought or behavior) manifested through the use of the vast range of materials accessible through the Internet. Since Internet addiction is a separate manifestation of behavioral addiction, some researchers view cybersex addiction as a specific instance of addicted Internet use. Indications of cybersex addiction include using the Internet to access sexual material is clearly inappropriate settings, repeatedly failing to limit the consumption of sexual material through the Internet, feeling preoccupied with sex-related Internet use while engaged in other activities, using consumption of Internet-based sexual material to avoid dealing with personal problems, prioritizing the consumption of Internet-based sexual material over established relationships or responsibilities, shielding the extent of sex-related Internet use from other people and using the Internet to support illegal sexual activities.

Altered Pleasure Center Function

In the study presented at the 2nd International Conference on Behavioral Addictions, the University of Duisburg-Essen researchers used a small-scale project involving 20 heterosexual men to help determine if people with cyber sex addiction undergo critical changes in their normal pleasure center function. All of the men underwent a real-time form of brain analysis called fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) while accessing pornographic materials over the Internet. In addition, each study participant took a screening test, called the Short Internet Addiction Test-Sex, designed to detect indications of cybersex addiction. The researchers specifically focused their attention on a portion of the pleasure center known as the ventral striatum; this structure plays a central role in determining the strength of any given person’s pleasurable or rewarding responses to various activities. When they compared the ventral striatum activity of the men with high scores for cybersex addiction to the scores of the men with low scores for cybersex addiction, the researchers concluded that men with high scores experienced clearly heightened levels of pleasure or reward while viewing pornographic images that personally appealed to them. Based on their findings, the study’s authors believe that cybersex addiction is associated with an unusually high level of activity in the pleasure center during the viewing of Internet-based pornographic material. Critically, they also believe that men with relatively severe indications of cybersex addiction experience greater degrees of pleasure center alteration than men with relatively moderate or mild indications of cybersex addiction.

Top 10 Tips To Help Your Child If He/She Is Bullied

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At some point in their life, children pass through the phase of being bullied. It is that phase where they themselves fear telling anyone about the happenings. To take the child out of the fear of bullying is also a difficult task as they start fearing everyone. Although, there are different ways through which this situation could either be avoided or faced fairly.

Top 10 Tips To Help Your Child If He/She Is Bullied

Below are 10 tips mentioned to help a child from bullying:

  • If the child is being bullied at the basic level, then have a talk with the teacher and understand the root cause of the problem. The school nowadays has a separate section dealing with such kind of issues. In addition, make your child understand that if something like that happens, they should inform the school department immediately.
  • Make your child positive about things. When a child is young, try to teach him/her a gentle behavior so that they don’t trouble anyone and don’t get troubled by anyone.
  • Talk to your child every day. This is an important practice parents should maintain about asking how their day was. This would encourage the child to tell about the happenings of the day.
  • Tell your child to help everyone. Therefore, in this situation, if anyone else is being victimized, then they could be helpful to him or her.
  • Make your child learn some of the phrases that would help them to use when needed like “I will tell the teacher about it”, “I will tell your parents” etc. Such sentences could really save your day.
  • Encourage your child to stand up for such situations. It is important for the kid to defend himself if something wrong is happening to him/her. Therefore, telling them about things and encouraging them to take a step against it could be another helpful step in teaching the child.
  • Educate your child about these things. Let the child know what exactly a bully is and what are the preventive measures to be taken if something like that comes up.
  • If there is any severe case of bullying that has happened, then it should never be taken lightly. Always report about it and let other people also know about the scenario, so all children know about the consequences of such an act.
  • In school, teachers should have some activities scheduled during school hours. Then having some role-play for the scenario depicting bully and then finding ways to prevent it.
  • In the end, always support your child in any such case. Because the child may become a bit sensitive during such a period and may need moral support. Ask your family members and friends to be friendly with him and encourage him about things as well.
  • Being bullied is the worst experience any child could get. Then getting a lesson and working against it could help the person to know and understand the whole problem. If the child gets full- family support, then there is no other encouragement needed.

The post Top 10 Tips To Help Your Child If He/She Is Bullied appeared first on Parenting Tips and Advice.

An Alternative to Violence in Computer Games and TV Films

A younger pal, a boy of 14 years, changed into engrossed in a recreation on his computer computer. Looking over his shoulder one could see a column of running figures which he turned into busy annihilating with a sequence of apparent explosions. To the observation that the sport seemed to be extremely violent came the reply that there has been no blood. If this one element had the power to sanitise this specific juvenile activity, the same couldn’t be stated of the tv film of a few, so referred to as, first rate-heroes, that he selected for his next diversion. Violence of all kinds, bloody and cold, appears to be the dominant feature of the amusement furnished for, and chosen via, modern-day youngsters.

The problem of the referenced encounter become male and one would possibly count on younger ladies to choose greater non violent entertainment. However, it seems that a few superb-heroes are female, and with extra girls intending to fill combat roles in the navy, it’s far possibly that they too proportion the interests in their brothers. So with the television channels and the Internet reaching the adolescents of every country, it is not unexpected that many human beings marvel if this phenomenon isn’t always a causal element within the worldwide upsurge in terrorism, drug wars and campus massacres.

The end that the portrayal of violence poses a chance of dangerous effect on children has been reached via many august our bodies inclusive of the US Surgeon General and several country wide academies and public health organizations. It has been discovered that young visitors run the danger of mastering competitive attitudes and behaviour, becoming inured to the struggling of others and growing excessively terrified of themselves turning into the victims of violence.

Contrary to the young man’s implied declaration that the absence of blood in his computer recreation excused his indulgence, it’s been located that violence this is offered as sanitised or glamorised can be extra dangerous, because it hides the pain and struggling that violence can reason. The cutting-edge army is happy to recruit young people with laptop gaming skills as nicely prepared to teach as pilots of its drone automobiles and weaponry, thereby promoting them from virtual violence to real violence of a in addition sanitised nature.

It is the electricity of huge enterprise that sustains violence in tv programmes, movies and computer video games. Violence, like intercourse, captures audiences, however whereas laws exist to save you kids seeing the beginning of life, they will witness the cease of existence in all its agonising variety and horror. For concerned mother and father the answer may be to wean their offspring from digital gadgets and back to books. Fortunately, there are nevertheless authors who consider that children may be entertained without lodge to violence and provide books suitable for bedtime reading that is assured to initiate a giggle and induce sleep this is unfastened from nightmares.

5 Family Fun Activities That Should Be on Your Priority List This Holiday

Originally from

The weekends are the best time to
bond with your kids with some family fun activities. Instead of a
movie-marathon, find new ways to enjoy quality time as a family.

Stuck on ideas? We’ve got you covered. Here are five activities to try with
your little ones. 

1. Get Cooking

It’s tempting to dine out on the
weekend, but why not make home-cooked dinner a family fun event?

Homemade pizza is a great option. Throw some wheat germ into the dough mix,
squash and beat the dough into shape. Next, let your kids choose their favorite
toppings and watch your pizzas rise.

Cooking also lets you prepare a round-table feast that’s often lost during the
week. Dedicated Sunday to cooking as it’s a great way to get everyone together,
catch up, and enjoy quality time. 

2. Go Treasure Hunting

One of the best family activity
ideas is to set up your own treasure hunt. You can either use Geocaching for
local treasure hunts or plant goodies in the garden and draw up a map with

To make the map more effective, soak the map in coffee so it browns and rips at
the edges. You can even hide the map in the house and let the kids find it when
they’re clearing away toys or making their bed.  

3. Head to an Escape Room 

For a weekend filled with fun
family stuff, rely on an escape
 to deliver.  Discover clues and
brainstorm the best way to leave as quickly as possible. It’s a great way to
flex your team-building skills and spend valuable time together. 

Also, escape rooms let you create unique memories as you’ve had to think out
the box to get out of a challenging task. What a great way to create a
feeling of achievement for you and the family! 

4. Take a Road Trip

Road trips are one of the best
family-friendly activities as you can stock up on snacks and belt out your
favorite tunes
 as you hit the road.

You don’t have to go far either as there are fascinating places to visit
regardless of your location. For example, tour through your local region and
bulk up your history. 

5. Play Board Games

This is one of the easiest family
activities to partake in. If you don’t have Trivial Pursuit or Cludo laying
around then head to a thrift store for a selection.

Board games not only improves
cognitive skills
 but lets you spend
uninterrupted time with your loved ones and have an unforgettable night.

Which of these Family Fun Activities Will You Try?

There is a world of family fun
activities out there and the weekend is the perfect time to do them. Whether
it’s picking up a skill like cooking to spending the afternoon at an escape
room, there are plenty of ways to have an unforgettable time together. Happy

Did you find this article useful? Check out more of our family-related content,
covering everything from lifestyle to travel.

Signs of Teen Depression

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Parenting Tips

Is My Teen Depressed? Signs of Teen Depression

If you’re the parent of a teen, then you most likely understand that teenagers can become moody in a quick minute. One minute they’re happy-go-lucky and the next they’re locked in their room crying their eyes out.

Yes, the teen years can be marked with emotional highs and lows, as each teen is going through chemical and emotional changes that can take them for a loop at times.

However, when it comes to depression, it’s a lot more than just feeling the blues for a day or two. Depression is much more serious, and if not detected and treated, it can lead to a miserable life filled with negative – and sometimes harmful – thoughts and behaviors.

Teen depression statistics

Depression is a topic that many people will not talk about. They’ll feel ashamed and keep silent about it, which will not help anyone. Consider some teen depression statistics from the National Institute of Public Health:

  • The onset age for teen depression is 14
  • At least 20% of teens by the age of 18 will have experienced depressive states.
  • 80% of these will not reach out for treatment.

These stats are alarming enough, but even worse is that those teens who struggle with depression and don’t receive treatment are more likely to suffer from substance abuse, eating disorders, bullying, and academic performance, there has also been an increase in the use of cbd oils because it’s said to help with depression.  This is why it is essential to be able to recognize the sighs of depression in teens and take appropriate action.

Symptoms of teen depression

Granted, periods of sadness come and go all throughout life. A teen can have a few days where they feel super sad, or maybe even a week or two. It could very well be situational, like a relationship break up, the loss of something valued, identity issues, and so on. But the sadness usually resolves without much effort.

However, when the sadness lingers or deepens significantly, it could be depression. Take a look at some of the signs of teen depression as outlined on the Mental Health America website:

  • Sleeping more than usual.
  • Tired all the time. Moping around. Not having the energy to do very much.
  • Extreme sadness.
  • A change in mood. He/she used to be in a good mood most of the time, but lately he/she is cranky and very sad.
  • Not interested in the things he/she used to be interested in, including school or sport activities, hobbies, etc.
  • Not wanting to hang out with friends or family members.
  • Appetite changes. May eat more or less than usual.
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Becomes very critical of self, others, and life in general. Verbally says he/she is worth nothing, nothing ever goes his or her way, etc.
  • Spending a lot of time dwelling on negative thoughts
  • Makes comments about how hopeless or depressed he/she is
  • Pain in the body
  • Making alarming comments like, “I wish I could just disappear” or “This world would be better off without me”.
  • Writing poetry or journaling about death

Granted, some of the signs above indicate behaviors that many teens do from time to time. But if your teen is having some of these symptoms, he or she could clearly be struggling with depression.

The causes of depression

Depression has various causes. It can be hereditary and run in the family or it can result from a traumatic or stressful time in a person’s life. For example, a teen may become quite depressed after a breakup or the divorce of the parents. Or, depression can result from feelings of confusion, fear of rejection, not feeling like they fit in, and so on.

What can I do if my teen is depressed?

If you suspect that your teen is depressed, there are several things you can do. First, sit down and have a real heart-to-heart conversation with your teen. Let him know that you are concerned based on the signs that you see. Go to him in a gentle, caring way. Be prepared for him to avoid the conversation or maybe even lie to you. Many teens are afraid to open up to parents for one reason or another.  Have the conversation anyway, letting your child know that he or she is safe to share anything and everything with you.

Treatment for depression

You can also consider getting your teen to a clinical counselor in order to be evaluated. It is helpful to have a clinician talk with your teen so that a proper diagnosis can occur.  Counselors are trained to seek out the warning signs of depression and help teens deal with the symptoms via therapy. In some instances, especially for more moderate depression based upon physical causes, anti-depressant medication may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms. You also need to remember that there are natural treatments like kratom that havepain relieving properties and that will help your kid overcome depression.

If you think your teen is struggling with depression, talk to him or her. Ask him if he’d be open to meeting with a counselor. Let him know that treatment can help and that no one has to struggle with depression alone. If you’re not sure who to turn to, ask your doctor or local mental health clinic for a referral.  Rest assured that you’re not in this alone, as there is help available for teen depression.

The post Signs of Teen Depression appeared first on Parenting Tips and Advice.

School Psychologists and the Problems They Face

Originally from

School psychologists deal with everyone and everything as a part of their jobs, though most don’t realize the problems they face. Budget cuts and poor prioritization result in them being under-funded and overworked. Bureaucracy intended to keep things neutral and fair ends up being oppressive.

Counselors and psychologists spend more time giving tests, filling out paperwork and going to meetings about changes to IEP or discipline than counseling students and making diagnoses. The fact that they are assigned to far more students than is feasible to service mean many kids fall through the cracks.

The school psychologist is then left with the “burning platforms”, the urgent crises like suicide attempts, acts of violence and the parent begging for a change in the IEP. They don’t have time to spend with the student with worsening depression, signs of psychosis or challenging family problems. Click here to read a great infographic that explains these issues and their root causes.

Infographic by:

Types of Phonological Processes2


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Ciberseguridad para niños

¿Tienes hijos? Seguro que, tengan la edad que tengan, ya conocen y manejan perfectamente los dispositivos con los que te conectas a Internet. Tabletas, celulares y computadoras no tienen secretos para ellos y, ya sea para jugar o para comunicarse con otros compañeros, son parte importante de su vida cotidiana, pero ¿los emplean con seguridad? Aprende claves de ciberseguridad para niños.

¿Cómo impulsar esta cultura de ciberseguridad para niños? Esta es la pregunta del millón para muchas familias y, para ello, hay que tener muy presentes los peligros que entrañan un mal uso de las nuevas tecnologías. Si tienes hijos evita estos nueve comportamientos cuando se conecten a Internet:

1- Sin control: Dado que el acceso a las nuevas tecnologías y a los dispositivos tecnológicos se realiza a edades cada vez más tempranas conviene que tengas muy presente que si le dejas el móvil o la tableta a tu hijo debes tener siempre instalado un filtro de control parental para evitar que pueda acceder a páginas o contenido inapropiado para su edad. De la misma manera, existen navegadores y buscadores que fomentan la ciberseguridad para niños ¿Los conoces?

2- Sin supervisión: La temprana edad en la que se inician los niños en las TIC exige nuestra presencia en su uso y aprendizaje. Internet no es una niñera o un juguete que entretiene a los pequeños y nos permite hacer otras cosas. Si estás presente, aprenden mucho mejor. Elige bien las aplicaciones que les descargas y opta siempre por aquellas que sean educativas y con las que puedan aprender jugando.

3- Sin medida: Gran parte del uso que los menores hacen de Internet, en especial hasta los 10 años, es lúdico. Los juegos son muy divertidos, pero tienen un componente adictivo que debe ser controlado por los padres con horarios y momentos puntuales y concretos que fomente un consumo moderado de las nuevas tecnologías. Y esto es aplicable tanto en niños, como en adolescentes con el uso de dispositivos móviles. La nomofobia es cada vez más frecuente entre los jóvenes. ¿Conoces estos riesgos asociados al uso excesivo de las redes sociales?

4- Sin referencias: A medida que entran en la adolescencia, nuestros hijos reclaman más espacio para ellos y más independencia. En el terreno de las nuevas tecnologías, esta independencia viene marcada por el uso del teléfono móvil y la mensajería instantánea, así como de las redes sociales. Déjales claro que nunca acepten conversaciones o solicitudes de amistad de personas que no pertenezcan a su círculo de amigos y a los que puedan poner cara en la vida real. Que sean más mayores no significa que no deban tener muy presentes estos consejos de ciberseguridad para niños.

5- Sin privacidad: Indispensable cuando abordamos la ciberserguridad para niños, en especial cuando hablamos de adolescentes, es que les enseñes a configurar sus requisitos de privacidad para evitar que personas ajenas a su círculo puedan ponerse en contacto con ellos, ver sus fotos o acceder a sus datos personales a través de redes sociales o servicios de mensajería. Evita situaciones de Sexting o Grooming.

6- Sin diálogo: Aunque pueda molestarles, es importante que los padres y madres conozcan quiénes son los amigos de sus hijos en redes sociales o a quién tienen de contactos en sus grupos de WhatsApp u otras aplicaciones. No se trata de controlarles, sino de fomentar una relación de confianza y diálogo que permita hablar sin problemas de nuevas tecnologías y, en el caso de que los hubiera, comentar un problema.

7- Sin respeto: Por desgracia, las nuevas tecnologías han traído consigo nuevas prácticas de acoso a otros compañeros del colegio o el instituto, que se conoce como Ciberacoso, y que se puede presentar a través de grupos de WhatsApp o en redes sociales. Conciencia a tu hijo de que esto es un delito y, tanto si lo sufre como si conoce algún caso debe ponerlo en tu conocimiento o en el de responsables educativos que también son una parte importante cuando hablamos de ciberseguridad para niños. ¿Sabes cómo detectar y denunciar el ciberbullying?

8- Sin precauciones: Es habitual entre los menores que las redes sociales sean un vehículo para mostrar aspectos de su vida cotidiana que incluyen celebraciones, viajes, fiestas con amigos… Como te hemos dicho antes, configura los parámetros de seguridad para evitar que tu hijo pueda etiquetar o ser etiquetado en foto y hazle entender que mostrar todos los aspectos de su vida puede resultar perjudicial para su privacidad.

9- Sin descanso: Muchos jóvenes están ‘pegados’ al teléfono móvil e incluso se lo llevan a la cama para seguir chateando o navegando antes de dormir, una conducta inapropiada que interfiere tanto en sus hábitos de sueño como en el necesario descanso y les perjudica para sus estudios y su capacidad de concentración. A ciertas horas, el móvil también debe descansar.

¿Te han quedado claros estos consejos de ciberseguridad para niños? Tenlos siempre a mano con esta infografía que te ayudará a recordarlos.

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