Charity founded by advocate publishes paper on ill effects of pornography



Mary Sharpe

A charity founded by an advocate has published a paper on the effects of compulsive internet pornography use.

Mary Sharpe, a non-practising member of the Faculty of Advocates, left practice to establish the Reward Foundation, a charity that aims to further public understanding of the reward circuitry of the brain and how it interacts with the environment as well as to improve health by furthering public understanding of building resilience to stress.

In a new paper by US Navy doctors and the Reward Foundation, entitled “Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports”, it is proposed the brain mechanisms by which internet porn use could create sexual difficulties even in healthy viewers. Those who start using during the key developmental periods of puberty and adolescence are especially vulnerable.

Several sheriffs and leading criminal lawyers have privately expressed their fears over the influence of pornography on the behaviour of young people to Scottish Legal News.

Ms Sharpe said she thinks the rise in sex crime may “in part be driven by the increase in compulsive use of internet pornography”.

She added: “There’s no doubt that historical child abuse and more people coming forward to report sexual assault play a part as does better detection by police, but beneath it, all porn addiction and the consequential desensitisation of the brain to violence and other addiction-related brain changes must be playing a part too.

“This has to be taken on board by the criminal justice authorities in conjunction with the educational and health authorities if we are to see any reduction in this area of crime.”