The Impact of Internet Pornography on Mental and Physical Health

Date09 May 2018
Duration1 day
Start Time09:00
End Time16:30
AudienceGP, GP Trainee, GP Trainer or educator, Foundation Doctor
RCGP Accredited
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Overuse of internet pornography is fast emerging as a compulsive sexual behaviour disorder. This corresponds to the greater use of smartphones and easy access to streaming video in the past 10 years. A wide range of mental and physical health issues has ensued. For instance, a staggering increase in erectile dysfunction in younger men, widespread evidence of lower sexual satisfaction in men and women, and more social anxiety and body dysmorphia in adolescents all appear to be related to this cultural phenomenon.


Healthcare practitioners need to be aware of the evidence that supports the addiction model along with effective treatment options and remedies that enhance recovery including effective social prescribing.


This interactive one-day workshop will provide an introduction to addiction neuroscience in general and internet pornography use in particular, based on the latest research. It will look at different types of physical health and mental health conditions related to porn use emerging from the research. We will encourage reflective discussion among practitioners about best practice, possible improvements, and signpost recovery options.



09.00 - Introduction to internet pornography, The Great Porn Experiment, the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health, addiction models and brain models, patterns of user behaviour, the Hook model and escalation to stronger material

10.30 - Break

10.45 - Pornography use and risks – the mental and physical health implications, including sexual dysfunctions for adolescents, men and women. Small group discussions, asking clients about their pornography use, then whole group discussion. Adolescent use patterns, sexual conditioning, changing patterns of sexual behaviour across society, mental health issues, child-on-child sexual abuse, porn-induced sexual dysfunctions and the role of pornography in domestic violence.  Q & A session.

13.00 - Lunch

14.00 - Pornography use and sexual diversity issues, testing for user problems and providing resources to support resilience. Pornography as a lifestyle issue in the LGBTQI+ and MSM communities, comorbidities, chemsex, treatment options, the Problematic Pornography Use Scale, online recovery communities and social prescribing. Group discussions.

15.15 - Break

15.30 - Recovery and prevention – How much porn is too much? Treatment and educational options, addiction, withdrawal, ‘flatlining’, mindfulness, CBT, drug treatments and building an understanding of internet pornography into your clinical practice

16.20 - Evaluation and close.



Mary Sharpe is founder and CEO of educational charity The Reward Foundation- Love, Sex and the Internet. She has been presenting on the impacts of internet pornography to professionals in healthcare, criminal justice and education and to schools for the past 5 years. Mary is also Board member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health in the USA.

Mary was based at the University of Cambridge for ten years where she did research for the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme. She was a science reporter for the Cambridge-MIT Institute, a job she had done previously at the European Commission in Brussels.  She also tutored students and staff on sustaining peak performance through workshops on life skills and stress management.

Mary practiced law as a solicitor and Advocate for over 15 years. She has published on many aspects of health, sexuality and law and spoken at conferences worldwide. She enjoys face-to-face teaching and discussion.

Darryl Mead PhD is an internet expert and researcher on the pornography industry with an interest in the impact of pornography use on behaviour in adolescents and adults. He is developing innovative policy responses to the health challenges created by the widespread adoption of pornography viewing as a phenomenon of mass entertainment.


As a senior executive at the National Library of Scotland, Darryl helped to establish the system the UK uses to archive the internet. A trained teacher, he held previous roles as a science communicator and is a chartered information professional (FCLIP).

Whilst we endeavour to present the programme as advertised, we reserve the right to amend timings and content


Cost: £175.00

Follow the link to book

VenueRCGP, 25 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JX
ContactDarryl Mead

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