Episode 18: What Research has to Say about Porn Viewing


Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Nicole Prause, founder of the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience (SPAN) Laboratory, in regards to the research she has personally done (and is aware of) concerning our relationships with pornography and erotic viewing materials. They cover all types of topics such as: What are some common correlations that are made in regards to porn viewing research that are completely inaccurate? Are we aware that those who view porn tend to be more egalitarian in their relationships? Why does it matter if we call problematic behavior by the right name (i.e. addiction vs. compulsivity vs. out-of-control, etc.)? Did you know that women respond to erotica in similar ways as men do and even share similar sexual tastes? Did you know that people who view erotic films report having increased desire for sexual activity with their spouse/partner? Objectification of women is definitely a problem, but violence? Not so much. Did you know that those who report having "out of control" behavior with porn viewing actually watch the same or less than those who don't identify with having a problem? And that research is now showing that those who see their behavior as problematic tend to come from religious or conservative backgrounds? Get up to date with what we think is science versus what is actually science in regards to positives and negatives that can come from porn/erotic viewing. 


Nicole Prause obtained her PhD at Indiana University with joint supervision from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction in 2007. Her concentrations were in neuroscience and statistics. She completed her APA/APPIC clinical internship at the Boston Consortium. Her clinical rotations were in neuropsychological assessment and behavioral medicine; her research fellowship was at Harvard University in alcoholism treatment. She was promoted to Associate Scientist at UCLA in 2014. Current laboratory interests include primary rewards, transcranial brain stimulation, and approach motivation. She is licensed as a psychologist in the state of California. Dr. Prause currently holds positions as the founder of Liberos LLC, an independent research institute, and Data Scientist in Los Angeles.


Resources mentioned during podcast:

Religion, Spirituality and Sexual Addiction: A Critical Evaluation of Converging Fields

Position of the Mormon Mental Health Association

Trib Talk: Porn and Public Health

Treating Out of Control Behavior by Doug Braun-Harvey and Michael Vigorito


Other Resources:

Prause et al. (2015) the latest falsification of addiction predictions


Other subjects mentioned:

Masters and Johnson

The Meese Report 

Lifestar Network

Fight the New Drug


Thank you to Jeff Meyers for the intro and Peter & Mary Danzig of Otter Creek Duo for the concluding bumper music. 


Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.  She also hosts the popular podcast, Mormon Mental Health.  


$1.25 per episode