Porn on the Brain

P-O-R-N: an uncomfortable, but necessary topic that has a rising need of being discussed before it does anymore damage in the world of social media and sex.

We all know what porn is, in fact many of the people who are reading this watch it. If you don’t watch porn then congratulations, if a guy, you are in a bracket of 30% men who don’t watch porn, and if you are a women you are in a 70% bracket of women in the world who do not watch porn, on a regular basis. It is a fact that the average viewer watches porn 7.5 times per month. That may seem less then what you expected, but porn is a rising phenomenon that needs to be talked about, mostly because of the detrimental effects it has on people who watch it.

Let’s assume that we are going to take the facts of porn and what it does to the brain instead of saying if it is good or bad.

Based on a study done at Cambridge University, 19 self-confessed compulsive pornography watchers were used to test the idea that porn is an addiction. All of the men in the study were ages 19-34 and had tried and failed to break their habit of pornography. Because of not being able to break their habit they had lost relationships and jobs as a result. They were desperate to find out what the problem was and why they couldn’t break their habit. All of their pornography usage was through the internet and was mostly shown through video clips. When the men were placed in an MRI machine while watching erotic video clips, a part of their brain lit up called the ventral striatum. This is the same part of the brain that springs to life when a drug addict sees a dealer or an alcoholic sees an advert for a drink.

More studies are being produced to further explain the effects that porn has on the body and the brain of someone who is “addicted.”

Now set aside having an addiction to porn and lets talk about the effects it can have on someone who is seeking an actual relationship with a man or women. Many people don’t think of the logistical effects it has on a person but let’s take a situation that can actually become a reality.

Here’s something to think about:

When you first get into a relationship, when the other person touches your hand or kisses you the first few times, you get butterflies and feel jittery. As the relationship progresses these things don’t have the same feeling and effect and they become more normal. The touch of the person’s hand is not going to stimulate you as much as it did when they touched you for the first time. This is the same effect that porn has on your brain.

As a young boy or girl, when your brain sees something sexually exciting you easily get stimulated by it, it doesn’t take much. As your brain gets used to the simple stimulus though, it takes more and more for your body to get sexually excited. This means that at the beginning of watching porn, just looking at a girl who is naked can make you sexually excited. Soon enough your brain needs more to stimulate you and it takes watching whole scenes for your body to get as excited as it used to with just that one image. Now, imagine you are starting a relationship with someone and you have not physically been in a relationship yet. Even though a physical relationship is on a different level then one with your porn relationship, it’s going to take more for someone to get excited then if they hadn’t been exposed to porn in the past.

I know many people might be thinking SO WHAT? I want instant satisfaction, everyone does it, and it really isn’t that big of a deal. Based on facts though from the testing, porn is a DRUG. It’s addictive and can control your life. I think as a society we all want to be independent, we want control of our lives, so why give it to something that you can find with a real person, with a real connection, then with something on the internet that is a screen of color.

The video below is a simple way to explain what porn does to the brain and why we need to talk about it.

Along with this video, created by the same website: fightthenewdrug.com, are articles that are written to show what the drug does to the brain, relationships, and to society. Although hidden very well, if you choose to check out this website know that it is written by a group of Christians who have a hidden bias. The articles are written to show facts but to persuade people to not consume porn.

In one article called, Porn Changes the Brain,  it has a phrase that goes like this, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Here is a section of the article that summarizes what this means and what takes place.

“A neuron is a brain cell, and when brain cells get activated at the same time by something you see or hear or smell or whatever, they release chemicals that help strengthen the connection between those neurons. [3] For example, when you eat something delicious, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. [4] Or if you hold hands with someone you care about, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, which helps you bond with people. [5] Just like other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with dopamine. [7] But since the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals that comes with consistent porn use, it fights back by taking away some of its dopamine receptors [8]—which are like tiny ears on the end of a neuron that hear dopamine’s message.With fewer receptors, even if the brain is putting off the same levels of dopamine in response to porn, the user can’t feel dopamine’s effect as much. [9] As a result, the porn they were looking at doesn’t seem as arousing or exciting, and many porn users go hunting for more porn or more hardcore porn to get the effect the old porn used to offer. [10]”

This is the same phenomenon I mentioned earlier when talking about needing stronger porn to get the same kind of feeling and sexual excitement, as the first time you ever looked at porn. If dopamine is triggered by porn, multiple times a month, then the brain will get used to that and keep seeking a high from the dopamine, even if you don’t want to watch it. This is why porn can become so addictive, because your body is always looking for that high and until you break the habit and deal with the withdrawal, the brain is going to continuously be wanting a dopamine high and won’t be able to break the habit.

The following podcast talks about how the brain is effected by dopamine and why we constantly want more and become addicted to porn.

Works Cited

Borg, Charmine., Jong J de, Peter., Georgiadis R, Janniko. “Subcortical BOLD responses during visual stimulation vary as a function of implicit porn associations in women.” Social Cognitive Effect and Affective Nueroscience 9 (2014): 158-166. Print.

Porn Sites Get More Visitors Each Month Than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter Combined” Huffington Post 4 May 2013. Web.

“Porn Changes the Brain” Fightthenewdrug.com. Fight the New Drug, 8 August, 2014. Web. 29 November, 2014

“Porn is Like a Drug” Fightthenewdrug.com. Fight the New Drug, 8 August, 2014. Web. 29 November, 2014

“Porn Addiction Escalates” Fightthenewdrug.com. Fight the New Drug, 8 August, 2014. Web. 29 November, 2014

“We Need To Talk…” YouTube. YouTube, 14 May 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

 

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