How Pornography Can Hurt Your Sex Life

Viewership of internet pornography has exploded in the last decade, and debates about it can get pretty touchy. When sex addiction therapists talk about porns proliferation, we often get attacked for supposedly pathologizing normal sexual behavior, or for excusing “bad” behavior.

The reality is, whether it is labeled sex addiction or something else, porn use can get out of control to the point of causing serious problems. It can be the sexual version of a gateway drug, pulling people into compulsive cyber-sex use. People lose jobs and families. It can take over someone to the extent that he or she no longer ventures past it, is no longer able to have sex with another, whether online or in person.
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How Sex Addiction Can Change Mental Illness

I was married to a sex addict narcissist for close to 20 years. My father was a sex addict. I was a stripper many years ago and worked for many years around sex addicts. It started when I visited my father’s house on his weekend to have me after my parents' divorce. He was at work and I was a nosy child. I found a Playboy magazine. I remember it well. Suzanne Somers was on the cover. I slowly turned each page, looking at and soaking in the beauty and perfection of these women.

My immediate thought was that these women looked nothing like my mom. They were doing things my mom would never have done. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. In that moment, I knew in my mind, like it was complete truth, that if I grew up and became a woman like that, I would be able to keep a man.

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Don’t Let Depression Steal Your Sexuality

Just work with me here...

I’ve been having a hard time writing these last couple of weeks. New insurance led to a switch in which particular generic form of my antidepressant I received, and lo and behold, the different one isn’t quite getting the job done.

I’ve been a bit weepy (ok, more than a bit -- pretty much anything involving dads gets me choked up...just happened while I was typing that) and a bit brain-foggy. I'm having a hard time focusing or getting stuff done (sorry if I owe you an email!). And I need to take occasional sobbing breaks while I am also getting hit with intermittent waves of free-floating guilt and paranoia.

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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: July 30, 2016

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

It's the last weekend of July so I hope you're all going to go out and make the most of it!

Right after you check out our latest mental health news updates, of course, wink wink. Keep reading for new information on the psychology of superstition and luck, research regarding transgender and mental illness, ways to find happiness in today's tumultuous times, and more.

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The Joy of No Sex

Full disclosure: I work in advertising. It's an industry where husky-voiced, hair-flicking women smolder in ads selling cat food and sneakers, and where shirtless hunks flex fuzz-free pecs to sell salad dressing and synthetic butter.

The following viewpoint will therefore get me into trouble, which I’m familiar with.

Here are two commonsense truisms:

While great sex is joyful, lousy sex is not
Happiness is possible without a daily grind (I’m not talking coffee)

Yet for reasons such as the availability heuristic -- a cognitive shortcut that encourages us to think of commonplace examples in our everyday environment when making decisions -- we often overestimate the importance to our well-being of having regular sex. When we pause to think of the world around us, we more often remember non-nude pretzel-like scenarios in which we were happy.
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The Difference Between Sex & Love for Men

As a psychotherapist who specializes in emotions, and as a woman with my own personal history of serial monogamy, I have come to realize that some men channel their need for love, intimacy, soothing, care, and comfort into sexual desire.

Here are some examples:

Dylan wants sex when he feels sad because he likes the comfort the physical holding provides. Dylan, like most people, wants to be held when he is sad. In fact, the need to be held when we feel sad is biologically programmed into our brains.

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The Trope of the Closeted Homophobe: Is It True?

In one of the latest episodes of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a character named Mac finally reveals that he is gay after 11 seasons of being in the closet. A running joke throughout the show was that Mac has always been secretly gay, despite being outwardly homophobic. Because of his strict Catholic upbringing, Mac has shown plenty of hostility toward gays and lesbians in many different ways, such as fighting gay marriage or giving a five-hour sermon on the evils of homosexuality. When he finally reveals that he’s gay, the rest of the gang simply exclaims that they already knew.

The trope of the homophobic character who is secretly gay isn’t exactly new. It’s been used several times before in television shows such as "Glee" and films such as "American Beauty." In all these situations, a character is outwardly homophobic and may even bully gay characters. Later it is revealed that this character is secretly gay and his or her homophobia was likely a means of dealing with repressed feelings.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: February 6, 2016

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

I hope your February is off to a great start -- I know mine is! Honestly, I don't know what to make of this winter so far -- one weekend I'm snowed in, and the next it's, well, almost spring out there!

Anyway, I've rounded up some interesting little psychology-related nuggets for you to feast on this weekend, whatever your plans, so sit back and get ready to learn about how a parent's depression...
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5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Spouse after Baby

If you’re a new or expectant parent, you’re probably relishing all of the joy, excitement and memories your new baby will bring. You’re also probably fretting over the changes and challenges that will occur, too.

No one prepares us for the relationship struggles that happen after a baby arrives. We don’t realize how taxing sleep deprivation, uncertain parenting roles, money worries and everyday stressors can be on our marriage. You soon realize that your precious arrival has set off a bigger cascade of problems between you and your spouse than you ever knew possible.

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