Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marnia Robinson, Gary Wilson and The Good Men Project Magazine




Recently, I've been involved in a series of debates over on The Good Men Project magazine with Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson, two self-proclaimed sexperts who (based on their writings around the blogosphere and Marnia's newly published book) seem to believe that orgasm is the root of all evil.

As far as I can tell, Marnia and Gary believe that the chemical reactions created in the brain by orgasms are dangerously addictive. Pornography makes one want to masturbate to orgasm and is thus dangerous. "Internet porography" (by which Wilson and Robinson apparently mean anything at all on the internet that gives you a chubby or that deep, mysterious stirring inside) is particularly evil in this respect because it gives us multiple images on demand and thus causes human beings to masturbate non-stop.

Of course, all of this is so much moral entrepeneurial bullshit, in my opinion. Marnia - an ex-corporate lawyer with as much formal study and training in matters sexual as I have in nuclear science - has a bone to pick about sex and is very good at cutting and pasting links to scientific studies to apparently "prove" her pet theories about human sex.

A few weeks ago, I got into a verbal tussle with "Garnia" (for they never post as a singular entity) as I call them here on The Good Men Project Magazine. I admit to going out of bounds into the realm of ad hominem attacks, because nothing gets my dander up more than people misusing science to create sexual stigmas and push for a particular brand of sexual morality. TGMP's editor Lisa Findley rightly censored me and I shut up.

This week, however, Garnia came back to The Good Men Project Magazine with another article banging the drum of sexual panic once again and telling us all how orgasm and "internet porn" will make slaves of us and our children.

Taking my censorship seriously, I replied to their article in a rational way, staying as far as I could from ad hominems, but not sparing critical commentary when it came to trashing their theory.

Result: more censorship.

I then e-mailed Lisa Hickey to ask what the problem was. Ms. Hickey, The Good Men Project's chief CEO and publisher, gave me the surprising information that Gary and Marnia were being allowed to moderate their own comments section on The Good Man Project and that they considered my attack on their theory to be a personal attack on themselves.

This is quite disturbing news, which should be shared out there among you sex and gender bloggers.

Personally, I have no problem with the fact that two people who I consider to be hucksters and charlatans of the worst sort are posting article after article on one of the only non-MRA-oriented men's issues blog-magazines out there. Hey, it takes all kinds and I'm personally in favor of the complete and free exchange of ideas.

But Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson are moral entrepeneurs with a very specific and radical view of human sexuality (to wit: orgasms are bad) who are wrapping their political beliefs in the trappings of scientific research. Gary and Marnia have block-censored any attempts to engage with their "facts" by pointing out logical and scientific holes in their data.By giving them control over their comments section, TGMP makes it effectively impossible to critique the couple's claims and thus, effectively, gives them a chunk of editorial control over TGMP itself.

Below, you'll find my response to Garnia's latest article, "Can you trust your Johnson?". This went up and was taken down several times on The Good Men Project Magazine before I found out from Ms. Hickey that she'd ceded editorial control over the comments section to Garnia. My response is not a masterpiece, by any shot, but the censorship of it by Garnia, aided and abetted by TGMP Magazine, deserves to be confronted.


I think it shows just precisely how nervous Garnia are about their theory: real science and logic can't be let anywhere near it for fear that it will fall apart like a cardboard suitcase in the rain.


*********************



Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson’s main affirmation is this: “Porn has changed – a lot.”

According to the authors, internet surfing for porn “keeps the reward circuit [of the brain] buzzing” by “spiking dopamine levels”. We look for porn with anticipation and are rewarded when we find it, so we go back and do it again. And again. And again. Literally ad nauseaum.

The authors, it should be noted, have never scientifically studied porn use first hand, although they run a website where they claim to receive many “self-reports” (what scientists properly call “anecdotal reports”) from self-acclaimed “hard-core porn users”. Presuming that Robinson and Wilson’s  informants do indeed exist in real life and are accurately reporting their experiences (a very large presumption in these days when kids flood sites such as “Your Brain on Porn” with fake and exaggerated stories simply “for the lulz”), one needs to ask exactly how representative of the porn-using population these people are?

In their article, the authors present what they apparently see as a fairly typical internet porn session:

“Using three high definition screens, with nine windows open, to search for new scenes, genres, whatever, until you find just the right shot to take you home. After a five-minute breather you can search via Google for something you’ve never seen, so you can whack away once more”

Like Gary and Marnia, I happen to know many “porn users”: not a single one of them enjoys sexual imagery in the manner described above. Of course, this is anecdotal, too, but I’d be willing to bet that if all the people out there reading my words were to be honest with themselves, they’d have to admit that the situation above, clearly described as a sort of “baseline” for the kind of “internet porn” Wilson and Robinson are talking about, is extremely rare.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that it isn’t. This just begs another question: if someone was so “addicted” to “porn” that they would buy three monitors to get themselves off, how is this sort of experience essentially different from accumulating a huge video, DVD or MP4 collection and viewing it on three different T.V. screens?

Wilson and Robsinson would have us believe that there’s some sort of deep “novelty” factor in “internet porn” and this factor “keeps the brain buzzing”. But given the evidence they cite and their extremely open-ended, dopamine-based understanding of addiction, it would make just as much sense for a true dopamine addict to have their own “library” of special images on DvD which they use to get off without having to go through the constant boredom of digging through page after page of crappy, uninteresting images to find just the “right shot to take them home”.  

If the real goal was to constantly flood the brain with dopamine, browsing a meticulously selected video collection would be the way to go. And, of course, that sort of “porn experience” has nothing necessarily to do with the internet. The person who was that much of a dopamine junky, using sexual images to get their fix, would probably be very quickly frustrated by what they would consider to be the low quality (i.e. unappealing images) of most internet porn. Put simply, browsing about the internet pornocloud wouldn’t be a reliable enough way to get themselves off in a quick, reliable fashion.

So no, porn has “not changed a lot”. The distribution of it has perhaps changed. I’d be willing to agree that a so-called “porn junky” now has easier access to images and thus a much easier time of it when it comes to building her own library. But that’s not the point the authors are making: they’re claiming that the internet itself has made a difference by offering up appealing images in a much more high-speed way and that this presentation of imagery is in and of itself so radically different that it can easily “addict” the average person. That is simply not true.

This leads us to another huge assumption that Wilson and Robinson seem to make: porn is porn is porn.

Neither of the authors bothers to ever define porn, either here or in any other writing I’ve ever read by them. However, if one were to take their dopamine-based understanding of “addiction” seriously, then the only logical definition of “porn” must be “anything at all that turns a given person on”. Furthermore, Robinson and Wilson seem to think that all sexual imagery is equally titillating to everyone, at least in potential. If it weren’t, their “gradually heavier fixes” model simply doesn’t work.

As it turns out, however, human sexual interest is hardly a “one-stop shopping” affair. People have VASTLY different tastes when it comes to sex. If the men and women I’ve listened to are any indication (and once again, yes, this is anecdotal, so use your own honest experience as a guide), most of the stuff on the internet that’s designed to sexually titillate isn’t very interesting to most people. People tend to have pretty specific tastes when it comes to sexual imagery – sometimes even fetishisticly specific. Yes, they want “new images”: but they want new images of more-or-less the same kind.

A woman who’s into watching gay gang-bang sex doesn’t suddenly become interested in dog and pony shows or Two Girls, One Cup just because they are out there on the internet. The idea that average peoples’ sexual tastes are so flexible that simply offering up images of sexual acts of a radically different nature can change their tastes on a basic level is simply not supported by scientific evidence (and let’s put a qualifier on that) ANYWHERE.

Finally, although Robinson and Wilson distance themselves from this position, their views, if proven correct, do in fact mean that one could “reprogram” a straight person into a gay person, or vice-versa, simply by exposing them to “novelty on demand, surprising and shocking visuals”.

Fortunately, that is not how human sexuality works out there in the empirically-occurring universe. People generally do not grow new sexual interests simply because they are exposed to “surprising and shocking visuals”. Be honest with yourself: you know this and I know this. We know what kind of erotica we like and, when we are interested in looking at erotica, we tend to go back to the same kinds of things again and again. We don’t suddenly become interested in the things we qualify as “yucky stuff” simply because we run across them on the sites we surf. And we certainly don’t become “addicted” to that stuff.

Now yes, I’m aware that there are all sorts of individual exceptions to this rule and that there probably is a small minority of people out there who are exactly as Wilson and Robinson describe them. The problem is, this minority is being held up to the world by the authors as if they were the new norm, being inexorably created by our evolutionary-driven brain chemistry.

But it’s Wilson and Robinson’s emphasis on “addiction as brain chemistry” that’s the really interesting part of their argument. After all, if we take their definition of “addiction” seriously, it’s sexual release itself that is the real culprit here, not porn. Porn is simply the means through which people achieve sexual release. What gets the dopamine flooding, of course, is orgasm.

Now that’s damned interesting, seeing as how the female capacity for multiple orgasms in one sitting (laying?) has been bandied about by feminism for the better part of four decades now as God’s Gift to Womenkind. An entire industry of vibrators and sex toys has been built off of the fact that when the ladies go to it, they don’t even have to take a “five minute breather” before they get back to the serious business of, as we say here in Brazil, “making like a crab” (think about it).

So if Robinson and Wilson are correct, the masturbation-positive emphasis on female multiple orgasms that Western culture has been living since the early 1970s, at least, should have already produced two generations of hopeless female dopamine addicts.

Again, I’ll leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves, based on their own experience, if this is true.

49 comments:

  1. In regards to the comment you left on my blog...

    http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/pr0n/

    ReplyDelete
  2. "It seems evident that the “real guy” isn’t the isolated introvert, but rather the guy who socializes with ease – when his brain isn’t out of whack from too much stimulation. "

    I replied to this in the first thread about Garnia.

    Something there implies that being introverted, shy, or not too much into socializing (for a man anyways) is bad, wrong, and possibly even a sign of disease or addiction. Not a normal character trait to have.

    I totally disagree that being a very social person is the best thing you can do, and everything else is second-best and should not happen period.

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  3. Garnia have a very wierd take on sexuality. If you look at Marnia Robinson's books, especially her "Cupid's Poison Arrow", you'll see she basically believes that orgasms are deadly to human sexual relations and perhaps even to the human body itself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a couple of run-ins with Gary and Marina where they told me I knew nothing about Tantra, even though I had been using it for years. Kundalini too. They had "studied" it, you see. I said you could use Tantric principles while masturbating and edging, and that really ticked them off. They seemed to be supporting "mechanical monogamy," where, they said, you must have sex with your partner daily. Yeah, try it in any kind of human existence. Before I stopped writing and commenting for GMP, I had achieved "double secret probation," where my comments had to be okayed first.

      Delete
    2. lol Hank, that sounds like you had achieved top kek troll status! I agree with your sentiment in general, that mechanical monogamy involving daily sex with your partner is not a likely scenario for sustainable happiness.

      I DO have a spiffy suggestion for O Mangue to toss back at Garnia, regarding this:
      "According to the authors, internet surfing for porn “keeps the reward circuit [of the brain] buzzing” by “spiking dopamine levels”. We look for porn with anticipation and are rewarded when we find it, so we go back and do it again. And again. And again. Literally ad nauseaum."

      The same could be said for conjugal relations within a monogamous heterosexual relationship. I was married briefly in my 30s. My good husband died in an accident 2 years later. During our brief time together, I eagerly anticipated sex with my him, found it deeply gratifying/satisfying, and "went back" to do it again and again. Garnia is so wrong in describing something that produces intense enjoyment, and thus is repeatedly sought out, as indicative of dysfunction or unhealthy obsession.

      Speaking to Ana Paula da Silva's comment: I have no doubt that if there had been the opportunity, my husband and I would have enjoyed watching internet pornography together, again and again, without ill-effect on healthy joyful sexual relations. Garnia needs to realize that the ultimate consequence of internet porn viewing, orgasms and human sexual relations can be... pregnancy! Gosh, I wonder if Garnia disapproves of that outcome too.

      Delete
  4. Maybe you write an article and submit to The Good Men Project.

    Just to see if they'd print it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Since Ryan was quoted three times in "Can you trust your Johnson?" article. I decided to look into guy.

    The quotes
    Ryan (1) I seriously thought I was turning gay. My obsessive thoughts about this issue were so strong that I was contemplating taking a dive off the nearest high-rise. I felt so depressed. I knew I loved girls and I couldn’t love another dude, but why did I have ED? Why did I now need transsexual/gay stuff to get off? It’s like I made a mistake that I cannot correct anymore. I want to go back to my old days when I was only turned on by the female body

    Ryan (2) I ALWAYS do not want to kiss a guy. For some reason, a guy’s saliva would seem so nasty, and a girl’s is just so perfect. For me, the thought of a guy’s saliva is … disgusting, almost seems germ-filled. A gal’s saliva seems almost sweet to me.

    Ryan (3)"I spent the last year of high school jacking off to Internet porn compulsively, and escalated to gay porn several months ago. I found it disturbing to watch; it fueled my OCD and subsequent depression.

    Now I’m feeling almost like a new person. I’ve been through nearly 4 weeks of hell, and had to get my antidepressants adjusted. I’ve been biking daily and interacting with others at college. But I do not get aroused at gay porn anymore. It’s like I have gotten rid of those circuits. The thought of lesbian porn is once again arousing. I am also slowly starting to get my libido back. It’s not over yet, but I have conquered part of it.

    I have literally been on forums with thousands of pages of posts by people who were dealing with desensitization and escalation to weird stuff. I’m really unhappy when people tell others that what they masturbate to is “what they are.” Maybe that was true 20-30 years ago, but it is not anymore."

    Ryan quote (1) & (2) both appear in "Your brain on porn website that was linked in the article

    http://tinyurl.com/4yflhh4

    Note its dated for 29/11/2010

    Ryans quote(2)also appears TheGeneralz blog on a site called reuniting(also seems to be run by Marnia.) TheGenerals "saliva" post is dated for 09/09/2011

    http://tinyurl.com/4y7h7hq

    Ryan quote (3) also appears at TheGenerals blogs

    http://tinyurl.com/4yoc6u2

    Do an control-F on "I spent the last year of high school jacking off to Internet" and then "escalated to gay porn several months ago" Marnia seems to be taking bits & pieces of TheGenerals posts to make up Ryan(3).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Beste,

      Just wanted to point out (this is a few years later) that none of your quotes and allegations turned out when I searched on the websites. I was hoping for some juicy tidbits of "gotcha" against Garnia and Friends, but I couldn't verify them. Do you think it was changed since then? This is 2014 and those were from 2011. Cheers.

      Delete
  6. Dear Beste,

    I`ve noticed that whenever Marnia`s blogging - and even in the "comments" sections to reviews of her books on amazon.com - suspicious posters keep on popping up to praise her and attack her critics or to confirm what she says.

    You'll notice, frex, a lot of people with one bland name or a very bland nick (Ryan and TheGeneral are good examples of this) who pop up to give one-line bon mots or to give the sort of examples you posted here.

    I'm personally convinced that Marnia has a stable of hand puppets that she berings on stage whenever she feels lonely and abused.

    Thanks for going to the trouble to track down the proof on Ryan aka TheGeneral. This is definitely useful info to me and something I'm going to bring up the next time Garnia and I tussle on a forum that's not moderated by Garnia itself.

    As for the article.... sigh. As I told Lisa Findley from TGMPM, I'm an academic, not a blogger. I feel safe ripping out 1000 word screeds in comments sections because, hey, it's just "comments", right? But I'm obsessive to the point of paranois when I write an article because THAT is something that's going down on my CV.

    The upshot of all of this is that while I can spew a 1000 word commentary in 15 minutes, tweaking, editting and referencing it so that it becomes an "article" takes me all afternoon - and I don't have any free afternoons lately.

    Ridiculous, I know, but we all have our writing cultures, something Lisa Findley seems to have forgotten, as she told me that writing 1000 word comments logically means I could write a 1000 word article just as easily.

    Rest assured, however, an article on Robinson's claims is definitely in the works.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The GoodMenProject is a feminist website and not a magazine for men as they claim.

    Censorship is a part of feminism. Free speech is not appreciated.

    To write a comment for the GMP which does not agree with the author is maybe time-waste as you never know if it will be published or immediately deleted.

    MRA-related forums take care of men's issues without censorship. Any opinion is welcome.

    This is one of the reasons why feminists hate us MRAs so much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thaddeus,

    It seems pro-censorship advocates everywhere like to cite Dr Norman Doidge. I was looking for your opinion on him but it seems Garnia has now deleted most your posts from their articles.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Beste,

    I need to reread Doidge's stuff in order to make a thorough-going critique, but basically, if memory serves me right, he cites the same half-dozen poorly-constructed investigations that Garnia cite.

    Yohan, according to TGMPM's editors, I'm being censored because "certain people" don't find my comments "safe".

    TGMPM's censorship seems to run on the following logic: if a lot of people complain, the commentator should be censored. Thuys, if you don't mind taking the time, dropping a complaint to TGMPM's editors saying that you like my comments and asking that I not be censored might help somewhat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thaddeus,

    Are you banned from commenting at all in TGMPM? I thought it was just for Marnia Robinsons articles.

    My comments also seem to be in moderation

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looks like mentioning "Thaddeus Blanchette" at TGMP will get your posts stuck in moderation

    ReplyDelete
  12. Apparently, I am now banned from commenting on any and all articles. According to one of the GMPM's editors, this is because many people have complained that my comments make them feel "unsafe".

    In my presonal opinion, it has to do with the fact that Tom M., a self-described "recovering addict", is hooked on the idea that addiction is huge problem in the U.S. - an idea that I contest and, apparently, have contested too effectively for Tom's peace of mind.

    Any variant of my name is now blocked: Thad, TGB, Thaddeus, T had, etc.

    I feel honored that TGMPM seems to feel that my views are that big a threat.

    So much for TGMPM being a forum open to all viewws on masculinity. You can have long and detailed discussions regarding anal sex on the board, but mention the junkl science that cirrently sustains the "porn addicts" thesis and you will quickly become a persona non grata.

    Please feel free to spread this info around and, when you do so, mention that I am in no ways an MRA: I'm simply a guy who can read scientific papers and who thus contests the "science" that people like Tom Matlack believes "proves" that porn is addictive.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thaddeus,

    Have you read Wilson and Robinsons latest article "Porn Addiction Is Not Sex Addiction, and Why That’s Important"?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes I have, Beste. I am, unfortunately, no longer allowed to comment on the GMPM because I am considered "dangerous" by some of the people who write free content for the magazine.

    I'd be happy to tell the entire tale of my banishment if you can think of a reasonable forum for such a thing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for this post. I have been trying to figure out who Garnia really are and what is their status in sexological discussion. It seems to me now that they are anti-porn advocates, who have a typical conservative agenda: using porn addiction as a tool to attack porn.

    This is also happening in Finland, where I am involved in sexual politics. Porn/sex addiction is constantly exaggerated in order to create pseudo-arguments against porn. In fact only under 1% of the porn users have any problems with their porn use and a fraction of them are really addicts.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dear Tommi,

    What's odd is that Garnia's scientific arguments undermine their political argument. The very definition of "addiction" they bandy about militates against a discrete "porn addiction". According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, one can become addicted to literally ANYTHING because addiction is a brain chemistry imbalance. "Porn addiction" is thus the same thing as, say, addiction to looking at fluffy white clouds: your chemically imbalanced brain hooks you on something that generates dopamine. And the ASAM makes it VERY clear that there's no scientific proof, as yet, that looking at porn causes said brain chemistry imbalance.

    Garnia are actually one step BEYOND anti-porn advocacy. They are, in fact, anti-orgasm advocates. If you read Marnia Robinson's book (steal or borrow a copy, don't buy it), her position becomes very clear: she thinks orgasms are a evolutionary hang over like appendixes. She believes that they are actually deadly to us because of their "addictive potential". If Marnia could, she'd make having an orgasm a healthcare issue along the lines of smoking a cigarette. Pornography is just incidentally one of her current hobby horses because it's probably the way most people have orgasms and is thus, in Garnia's eyes, the main factor leading to addictions.

    As for Garnia's status among serious sexologists, it's somewhere near to zero. Marnia has no training at all in medical, healthcare, or psychiatry issues. Gary, her husband, is a nursing STUDENT who, as far as I can discern, never went beyond an undergrad degree in nursing and possibly didn't even graduate with that.

    Unfortunately, Garnia is a prolific writer and her training as a lawyer has given her the ability to sneak loads of cow manure past most peoples' bullshit detectors.

    There's a reason why Garnia considers concentrating on the science to be an ad hominem attack...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thaddeus, I see a bunch of comments in the inbox for the ht tp://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-does-porn-seem-hotter-than-my-partner/ article yet the comments don't appear there and the comments are locked. Any idea what is going on? Your comment on the debunking really made me think and if it's true then I'm pretty annoyed that they can play with the science to try push a view...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Archy,

    Yeah, the plot thickens. I was contacted by some folks from TGMPM who said that the commenting policy was changed and that as long as I didn't engage in ad hominems or be excessively rude, I could comment once again.

    Seeing as how I'd never engaged in ad hominems originally, I went ahead and commented on Garna's new article, basically repeating everything stated above.

    My comments immediately landed in moderation and I was contacted by a few folks from TGMPM, apparently independently, who let me know that, no the censorship policy hasn't changed.

    The "new" line is this: I am allowed to generate free content for The Good Man Project Magazine in the form of articles, but I cannot comment on Garnia's pieces nor can I even mention them in my articles!

    A couple of TGMPM folks are still encouraging me to write anti-sex addiction pieces, as long as I don't mention Garnia (the most active couple out there pedalling sex addiction hokum) or the science that makes up their arguments.

    According to a couple of folks at TGMPM, this policy is in place because I irritate Garnia and Garnia's articles gain a lot of page hits which result in advertising money for TGMPM.

    The idea that Garnia themselves or their followers might be generating these page hits doesn't seem to bother the upper echelons at TGMPM.

    I have been fairly shocked at the fact that the folks from TGMPM who have talked to me about my ban, like Lisa, have been more than open with the fact that it is basically a money decision: I can't critique the two authors that generate their largest number of page hits because that would be bad for business.

    If anyone has any idea of a good forum for publishing the story of how the self-proclaimed "most open page for men on the 'net" censors authors and commentators who dare to question their main cash cows' "proof" of porn addiction, I'm all ears.

    Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If anyone has any idea of a good forum for publishing the story of how the self-proclaimed "most open page for men on the 'net" censors authors and commentators who dare to question their main cash cows' "proof" of porn addiction, I'm all ears.

      I'm rather disappointed that none of your commenters - several of whom are or have been regular guests on my blog - saw fit to suggest it.

      I don't know whether you are still interested given the time since you wrote this, but I'm sure we'd give serious consideration to any proposal you might make.

      Delete
  19. I'd say Avoiceformen however that will automatically assume you to be misogynistic and hardcore MRA from what I can tell of other's perceptions to that site.

    It saddens me that you can't post a critique, especially if they are peddling some moral-based abuse of science to push an agenda. It's a pity because GMP could be a great site...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yeah, plus a A Voice for Men hates me more than Tom Matlack does.

    ReplyDelete
  21. But i am addicted to porn. i lost my job, i lost everything seeing tons and tons of porn. It is an addiction. Haven't you guys heard about Porn induced ED(Erectile Dysfunction). It is 100% true. May be these people may have few points wrong such as something about orgasm. But porn can be addictive as alcohol, drug, gambling. It is true, true, true. I am no advocate of anybody, nor against anything. It ruined my life. I am telling with my own experience.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I believe that you may be addicted, yes. Your brain chemistry can get out of whack and you can become dopamine-dependent with regards to ANYTHING at all.

    What I do NOT believe is that porn has some special addictive power in this respect. In spite of many scientists trying to show precisely that, the scientific evidence so far available is very unconvincing.

    Frankly, I personally think you have deeper issues than "porn" and I do not believe that there's any decent science to support "porn-induced ED". If you've seen it, link us to it, please. And I mean primary research, not pop pieces written by folks like Garnia Robinson.

    Finally, it's quite easy to claim anything at all as an anonymous internet commentator. I am quite skeptical of radical claims to personal experiences with marginal phenomena when they come from the mouth of "Anonymous" on a forum like this.

    ReplyDelete
  23. you might like this article....

    http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2011/02/hes_just_not_that_into_anyone.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. It would be great to see a strong critique of Garnia. It seems like there's nothing but positive statements everywhere and yours is the first attempt at critique that I've found. But the core stance with Robinson focuses less on porn and more on the hangover period after orgasm. She even provides a graphs showing the 2-3 week period of "hangover" related to the hormone cocktail in our system. Would really like someone to shine the light on her work.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hey ana and thaddeus,

    thanks for taking the time for all of this. I'm on a sex research listserv that for some godforsaken reason marnia has access to. as a scientist, it's a fucking embarrassment that she's on there, and her posts are mortifying. as you know, she truly does not understand research, even the basics, such as what a correlation is and isn't. a problem is that a lot of scientists just can't be bothered to critique her work. the problem is, even if she's onto something, the odds of it ever reaching the lab is hurt by her idiotic ramblings.

    anyway, good luck to you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, Anons, my problem in this case isn't that I wasn't willing or ready to critique Garnia, but that the editors of The Good Men Project decided to censor me.

    The reason for this, as confirmed by TGMP ex-employees, is that Garnia's pieces are their big draw in terms of hits and hits, of course, are what bring in revenue in the web-publishing game.

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  27. Marnia Robinson is a compulsive, tireless reply-addict, addressing dissenting opinions with neither reason nor grace. Something must be firing off in her dopamine-center with every instance that she refutes the mildest counter-assertion, quoting from and linking to her own anecdotal-laden articles and 'evidence'. Her paranoia is palpable, and she seeks out opposing arguments even if they are in response to pieces or comments she hasn't written. You have to admire her energy (if not much else) - not only does she pen voluminous articles on this one subject matter, she also appears to be hunched over her computer keyboard at all hours, waiting for a warning light to alert her to someone not agreeing with her or embracing a slightly more nuanced opinion.

    Most competent, critical writers recognize the value of conceding the possibility of validity in opposing opinions before taking the time to carefully assert their own. Robinson possesses what appears to be a pathological fear of being wrong, so ingrained that she's developed an almost Pavlovian response to and hair-trigger sensitivity for any challenge to her 'body of work.' Add to this a distinct air of pompous condescension and you've got a recipe for one scary woman. Makes one consider whether the demise of her early relationships and first marriage, which she writes about resulting from love-oriented, unsustainable, addictive brain chemistry, can really just be chalked up to the fact that she's a pain in the ass.

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  28. She also apparently has an army of sock-puppets on call who "like" everything she does, upping her page hits to stratospheric levels.

    I was banned from debate with Garnia on The Good Man Project Magazine because her page hits were supposedly among the highest in the mag. God forbid someone criticize TGMPM's apparently most popular writer. This was confirmed to me by two TGMPM employees, by the way.

    I didn't know about her first relationships. Any sources on that?

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  29. No, that was just my editorializing based on a promotional blurb for one of her books, where she cites chasing the 'high of falling in love' and subsequent disappointment at its retreat as contributing to the demise of her first marriage. She's one scary woman though .. there's more evidence for this in her voluminous reply comments than for any of the anecdotal data that she and her substitute junior high biology teacher partner put out there.

    What I don't get is why she and her nebbish husband seemingly have so much at stake. They reply tirelessly to any dissenting opinion even if it's commenting on an article neither has penned. The vast majority of their 'evidence' is links to their own 'work' .. supported largely by self-reported, anecdotal input from anonymous web readers. Neither has scientific or academic credential. If they can make a few bucks by writing books then more power to them, but the indignity with which this woman responds to conflicting opinion suggests she and her husband are Kinsey reborn in the form of a couple of obsessive Internet bloggers.

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  30. I've wondered what would be turned up if anyone ever dug into Marnia's career as a "corporate lawyer". One possible explanation is that her first career bottomed out so badly - and perhaps in conjunction with her marital/sexual problems - that she's had to create a whole theory which could redeem herself. That would explain the ferociousness with which she attacks pretty much everyone who criticizes her.

    Then again, I've been known to take a pitbull position myself on sex worker rights issues. Some people just like to argue (guilty). I would hope, however, that I back my arguments up with many more facts and science than Marnia.

    What's scary is how puerile her arguments are. How poor the science is when you actually open up the articles she cites and read what's been proven. Case studies. Studies involving a handful of jailed pedophiles in Germany with no reasonable controls. Studies which flatly contradict her claims...

    It's scary that people buy this shit. That people are actually that alienated from themselves and the world that they believe that sexual pleasure itself is what's making them sick.

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  31. My guess (and I have no trouble admitting it's just that) is that sexuality is such a powerfully and biologically hard-wired life component, it can never be extracted completely from the broader spectrum of the human condition. And it isn't difficult to identify an alienated and emotionally distraught subset of that population and convince them that their troubles are the result of pornography, orgasm, 'chasing' love, or some other facet of being human and sexual. In some cases, obsessive or addictive activity will, in fact, be central to maladaptive behavior.

    None of which changes any of the other points made about this woman and her husband. They obviously have something more at stake, be it emotional, practical, or simply based in the need to feel more important or credentialed than they really are. It isn't a particularly good approach in convincing anyone outside of those previously mentioned alienated folks looking for simple answers. This woman neither accepts nor addresses the premise that her sampling is too limited or easily influenced and that her 'evidence' is anecdotal. As soon as she's challenged she covers her ears and starts humming (evidently the same approach she takes when she senses an approaching orgasm ..)

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  32. Hey, it's worked for Catholicism for centuries, so it's proven to be effective.

    Now I can't get the image of a piously humming Marnia out of my head. Thanks for that one. :)

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  33. I'd say it's not so much sock-puppets as (ex)porn addicts.

    Loners, the socially awkward and such people often develop a porn habit in their teens.
    If you would take a look at a site like yourbrainrebalanced.com, you'd notice that

    a) there is a lot of users there. It can't be all sock-puppets unless Garnia has their own sock-puppet generating AI

    b) a good percentage (60%) of the men there claim that for a time, months, years, they completely lost their morning erections.
    Which is not supposed to happen unless one has severe depression or circulatory issues. But they claim they can get hard for porn - NPT is just not present.
    I have not yet seen a scientific explanation of this anomaly - which I've experienced myself. Most papers assume everyone has them regularly.
    For me morning erections completely stopped years ago, even though I'm an endurance athlete and can have pretty decent erections while reading or looking at porn.
    Coincidentally, I've been using porn for more than a decade, having more than three-four orgasms on my days off and usually two while busy.

    c) Marnia is pro-Karezza, but if you'd take time to read Gary's site (yourbrainonporn.com) you'd see that he's not
    against orgasms per se, but against the over-use of pornography.

    d) their story is that they started a Karezza forum but were perplexed by many porn addicts who turned up seeking advice. They still run that Karezza forum, but if you took time reading ex and porn-addicts accounts, you'd see that most of them don't subscribe to the notion that orgasm is bad. They want to not be addicted and to be able to have penetrative sex like almost every other male.

    There is little doubt that access to porn makes men have more orgasms than they'd have by themselves. Simply because most of us don't have a imagination fertile enough.
    There is also little doubt that most brain functions are of the 'use it or lose it'. If someone grows up on autoerotica, and keeps doing it for years before attempting to have regular sex, it's quite easy to imagine they may not have the capacity to have penetrative sex - because the relevant brain regions have gotten used to masturbating to porn.

    e) it's obvious a good deal of porn-addicts blame many of their problems on porn, however, that does not invalidate the hypothesis that long-term overuse of pornography can cause erectile dysfunction.
    Carlo Foresta, head of Italian urologists has claimed something like that:
    http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2011/02/24/visualizza_new.html_1583160579.html

    f) the only real way to quit using it is to develop hobbies or lifestyles that don't leave you bored and alone at home.
    Is that such a bad thing for men to try to have?

    g) Because of ideological reasons, it's impossible for liberals to acknowledge the idea that porn is addictive and might be harmful to teenagers, that is, people who rarely have a socially acceptable outlet for their sexuality because of the way modern society is structured. Doing so would be admitting defeat and having to endure hearing a great deal of 'we told you so' from social conservatives, who are equally moronic. (note - I'm a modernist, so I dislike both these groups)



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  34. Thaddeus responding....

    A) I wouldn't doubt that they have a computer program generating hits and comments. It's not a terribly hard thing to do and it's certainly not past them.

    B) 2-4 orgasms per day doesn't sound at all excessive and you'd be hard pressed to find a medical doctor or urologist who would think that it is. As for you not getting morning erections, sorry, but I don't think there's any such thing. What there is, as I understand it, is a normal sequence of erections during sleep which is nature's way of simply keeping your genitals in working order. If you don't get these, you have SERIOUS circulatory issues. A "morning erection" is simply you waking up in the middle of one of these. Most probably, your'e still getting your erections, just not when you wake up. Also, as you grow older, it's normal for your number of involutary erections to decrease. It sounds to me like you're creating a dysfunction here, half based on sexual folklore, half based on porn addiction whooh and wholly underwritten by your unease at your natural bodily changes. Yes, even if you are an athlete, this can still occur.

    C) I've read Gary's site and he has no objective definition of what porn is, nor what constitutes its "over-use". Given that, he can pretty much make up whatever theory he likes and it can never be proven correct or incorrect, which is just great for his whooh and sexual paranoia generation business. And Gary shares Marnia's view with regards to the "addictive" mechanism, which would be dopamine released by orgasms. It's thus not porn which causes addiction, even in his admittedly lighter view of things, but good ol' dopamine dependency brought about by orgasms. So the big difference between the our two blogging pals is that Gary is in favor of some social cumming while Marnia is a t-totaler.

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  35. D) Could it perhaps be that their so-called "addiction" is them using a natural means to deal with stress in other areas of their life? In other words, it's not the porn that's causing their problems but bad or no jobs, shitty relationships, stressed out existence, etc. Seems to me that Garnia is dealing with symptoms and not roots. Seems to me that Garnia is making bank on peoples' generalized anxieties by telling them it's all because of porn. This is what we in the sociological bidniz call "selling gullible people snake oil".

    E) I'd be interested in seeing a methodology and the study itself, not just a three paragraph pop-journalist take on it. Every single article someone has linked me to re: "porn addiction" so far has either had obvious, gross methodological issues or simply has not sustained the claims "porn addiction" militants make for it. Frankly, you guys are sloppy scientific readers, even when you're being sincere. So if you have a link to the original work, I'd be happy to read and report on it. Otherwise, I'm sorry to say that 12 strikes when it comes to reporting bullshit as truth by Team Garnia means that I no longer take porn addiction activists' scientific claims at face value without reading the original studies first.

    F) No. But I don't think it's such a bad thing for men and women to masturbate to porn, either. You seem to think it must be one or the other when there's no solid evidence whatsoever that porn causes people harm. And just an observation on my part? Most men have altogether too many hobbies.

    G) You use "liberal" as if you know what that word means, so let me give you what its textbook definition is, just to make sure we're on the right page when we use it: a liberal is someone who believes in free markets and individual freedoms, as opposed to, say, a fascist, a royalist, a communist, or an anarchist.You seem to imply that you dislike liberalism. Would that be the "individual freedoms" part you hate or the "free markets" part? And why would a liking for those two things prevent someone from seeing porn as addictive?



    My problem with the "porn is addictive" theory is so far there's no decent evidence to back it up. What evidence there is seems to indicate that porn is addictive like ANY pleasureable, stress-relieving activity can potentially be addictive. Hobbies are as addictive as porn. The also alienate people, cause them to isolate themselves from family, cause them to make ridiculous expenditures, etc. Lord knows I soend far too much time, effort and money on mine!

    By the way, you don't sound like a "modernist". You sound rather like someone who hasn't a clue as to what ideology means in the first place and tosses terms like "liberal" and "conservative" around because that's what they hear on T.V. I might be wrong in your particular case, but most people who say shit like "I'm a modernist not a liberal" don't have the slightest clue as to what those two words mean. They're just making shit up, pulling phrases off the airwaves and attaching them to some sort of personal jury-rigged philosophy, which is usually based on science fiction novels and pop-culture pablum.

    There's a term for that sort of person, Anonymous: "alienated". And alienation is caused by modern capitalism. It's it main by-product.

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  36. Here's my take on Gary and Marnia:

    Unable to find professional success in their chosen professions, they becamse terminally bored and turned to whooh generation. This has become a profitable side-line, particularly in terms of generating status, a false sense of accomplishment and self-aggrandization.

    They have now become addicted to this hobby and are hurting other people with it, even though they have the best of intentions. If Gary and Marnia can't stand to fuck each other, I suggest they buy a nice vibrator (hers) and fleshlight (his) and chill the fuck out, instead of spreading unscientific, paranoid bullshit about orgasms and porn.

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  37. Marnia is an unrelenting ass. You put it well regarding her and her husband .. "they have now become addicted to this hobby." It's ironically and hypocritically fitting given their chosen field of "study." Her entire defense is based upon 'evidence' that isn't merely anecdotal, it's hand-shaped, hand-picked, and self-published specifically for the purpose of promoting their website and theories. "Read the responses" is her answer .. just don't look for them in independent, empirical, or scientifically backed studies."All research in this field is anecdotal" .. well, no .. that isn't true either. All of it is probably good practice, however, for her ultimate plan to work for the evangelicals in discrediting Darwinism.

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  38. Here is an EXCELENT Salon.com article which calls in two well-respected scientists with impeccable research credentials to look at what's out there on "porn addiction": http://www.salon.com/2014/02/16/porn_addictive_theres_no_proof/

    Here's the best part of the article:

    "It is a very common statement in all of the porn addiction research that high rates of porn use correlate with high rates of depression, problems at work, et cetera. Overwhelmingly, the research, when there even is research, is cross-sectional in its structure, meaning that they’re looking at people in a snapshot of time, and we can’t generate causality from that. The common assumption in porn addiction research has been that porn is contributing to and causing those negative emotional states and life events. In fact, there have been two or three longitudinal studies that looked at this question, and what they found consistently is that porn is a symptom, not a cause. There do appear to be folks who increase their use of porn as something akin to a coping method when they are experiencing increased levels of depression or loneliness. The reason I think that is important is that it leads us to focus not on the pornography, but on the person. Instead of talking about porn causing these bad feelings, now we can say this person is using porn to manage the bad feelings. Is that a bad thing? Sexuality and sexual arousal is a very effective, perhaps the most effective, method of distracting oneself from negative emotions. There is an assumption in the porn addiction field that using porn and masturbation is negative and unhealthy in some way — but that is a critically unevaluated assumption that is very heavily driven by cultural bias and norms."

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  39. Dear Anon, is there any proof out there that Marnia is a Creationist or are you just being facetious?

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  40. I was being facetious. My guess is she prefers to see herself as a pragmatist with scientific leanings, thus the implicit irony in her compulsive adherence to ignoring the glaring flaws in her methods of gathering 'data.' Her "read the testimonials from my own website" defense of her theories seems a bit like using "because the Bible tells us so" to promote the idea that man and dinosaur walked side by side at the dawn of time. Whatever her motivation she goes to great length to hide any moral component if it's there. I'd respect her more as a subversive Creationist because she's done a decent job of disguising it .. but I don't think it's the case.

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  41. I had a couple of run-ins with Gary and Marina where they told me I knew nothing about Tantra, even though I had been using it for years. Kundalini too. They had "studied" it, you see. I said you could use Tantric principles while masturbating and edging, and that really ticked them off. They seemed to be supporting "mechanical monogamy," where, they said, you must have sex with your partner daily. Yeah, try it in any kind of human existence.

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