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This is Your Brain on Porn

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Porn is the new tobacco. But instead of deteriorating our lungs, it’s deteriorating our brain.

Ok, I know this may sound harsh, but hear me out. There’s evidence that watching porn leads to sexual addiction. I know – I know! But when a person who’s prone to addictive tendencies looks at a pornographic material, testosterone, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin are all released in the brain to create the so-called “erototoxin”. The release of these chemicals causes a temporary feeling of euphoria that later becomes a necessity for the person to function, or feel ‘alive’.

This is Your Brain on Porn

“He says he watches porn casually. Could he be a porn addict?” Maybe — read on to find out. The difference between a porn addict and a normal person who casually watches porn is evident in the chemical makeup of that person’s brain, and the symptoms he exhibits. BUT even if he’s not “addicted”, it could still be subconsciously changing the way he looks at women, and the way he acts in bed.

Watch Russell Brand break it down:

…and here’s an incredible TED Talk on the subject:

Neuroscientists have explained how porn hijacks the male brain by making new neural pathways as they habitually fixate on pornographic images. “Neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed. Every woman they come into contact with is objectified, undressed and evaluated as a willing (or unwilling) mental sexual partner,” explains neuroscientist and researcher Dr. William M. Struthers.

This is Your Brain on Porn

Want to hear something scary? Porn sites get more monthly visitors than Twitter, Amazon and Netflix combined. And of the most-watched porn, 90% contained misogynistic verbal and physical violence. There’s no denying it – porn is having an enormous influence on both men and women. The effects of pornography addiction vary, but these are the most common:

It can ruin his real-life sex life.

Compulsively gawking at pornographic images (especially of hardcore or kinky sex, rape and sexual abuse) will lead to the man no longer being turned on by “regular” or affectionate sex, therefore sabotaging his real-life sex life.

It can ruin his marriage / relationships.

As a guy regularly watches porn over the Internet, he starts fantasizing about other women and becomes more detached and emotionally distant from his girlfriend or wife. Porn reduces his capacity for intimacy.

It can make him crave unattainable variety.

Since when a man watches porn, he is constantly seeing a new woman, or multiple women, every few minutes, it conditions him to crave variety and sabotages his chances of heightened arousal with only one woman (without being detached and fantasizing about others).

It can change the way he interacts with and views all women.

Because porn is designed for men, and primarily centers around men dominating women, he may also become more violent and misogynistic, perhaps without consciously realizing it, and this can affect many areas of his life. It can make it difficult for him to see women as equals in the workplace, and he may instead mentally objectify his colleagues.

It may lead to emotional, physical and/or sexual dysfunction.

In more extreme cases, porn addicts have been known to lose the ability to control their sexual urges. Men who watch porn often become dependent on pornography to de-stress. He may fear real sex and find it hard to create social and personal interactions outside of the virtual world. He may also get desensitized to the point where he has erectile dysfunction issues (so if he can’t get hard, it could be because he’s been watching porn.)

Porn addicts’ sexual behavior could be affected in multiple ways: either they shy away from real people, or they crave variety in partners, or they lose control of their urges.

Here’s a TED Talk about the addictive effects of porn and, interestingly, the growing community of men that have vowed to stop watching porn:

We interviewed some men for this article. Here are two who stood out. A man named Keith has this story:

“The tragedy was that my pornography habit kept me totally alienated from any real relationship with girls. I found it difficult to relate to real girls, who didn’t behave like the girls in pornography, I didn’t have girlfriends, because the girls I met or dated reacted with fear and disgust to my pornography-inspired advances toward them. Pornography had taught me that the way to be accepted and loved was through sex, but in reality my obsession with sex brought me only alienation, loneliness, and shame.”

Gene’s story, on the other hand, goes:

“As my mental scenarios demanded more graphic expression, I gravitated to more and more twisted and violent pornographic images. This material that once would have nauseated me, now have become my fantasy. From there I progressed to massage parlors, and finally to using prostitutes. Just as at each step before, what was at first shocking and repulsive became easier and easier to accept. In fact, it was the shock and repulsion that gave me that ‘rush’ I craved.”

Both reformed porn addicts, Keith and Gene are now active members of “Victims of Pornography”, a project designed by Citizens for Community Values to create awareness that there are real victims in pornography.

This is Your Brain on PornBelieve it or not, pornography addiction is not just a problem among men. There’s a growing number of women who are lured to pornography addiction as well. When a woman watches porn, her self-worth plummets, and she starts to self-objectify, seeing herself as an object to be used by men. She becomes more risk-taking, sexually (like allowing men to degrade her), and not because she’s being true to herself, but because this is what her subconscious is picking up as “normal” and as what will give her value.

Here’s another TED Talk. This one explains how porn so easily changes the brain and creates an addiction, and many damaging effects:

But it’s not all doom and gloom! Pornography visualizes fantasies that many people may be unable to act out in real life. So for those normal people, take it as a means of entertainment — but do it very sparingly. Occasionally watch and enjoy the non-misogynistic varieties. Fantasize, and take inspiration from it. Just don’t make it a regular habit.

Figure out what aspects really turn YOU on, then unleash your inner seductress and try a few out in real life. Try “mirroring” what you see in the video with your lover. Wear lingerie. Meet at a bar and pretend you’re meeting for the first time. Role play and use toys. Make him swoon just like the first time you made love. Cherish, laugh, and be silly together. Just get off the computer, go out and get a life! 😉

Want to read more? Check out www.stoppornculture.org

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

15 Comments

  1. xxx

    I сonstantⅼy spent my half an hour to read this webpagе’s articles or
    reviews all the timᥱ along with a mug of coffee.

  2. Jim

    Feminists are like the Christian conservatives of the left wing lol.

  3. As a guy, I never liked the hardcore / degrading side of porn. I don’t like it at all. I prefer sensual things that are more similar to a passion between a guy and a girl.

  4. Wendy Hearn

    Such a great article!!!! I also heard that men who watch pornography may be shrinking their brains…. according to German researchers.

  5. Melani Kalev

    Interesting article! And I find it’s a great initiative taken by Citizen for Community Values to create the project “Victims of Pornography.”

  6. Great article. Good job on opening the minds of everyone about how bad watching pornography could be. We know that someone has to do something about this, but we also know that it could be hard to take porn sites down. Well, I guess the best thing that we could do is to educate our friends and relatives about the bad side effects of it. I’m definitely sharing this article.

  7. Those videos are very convincing/compelling!

  8. This is SO interesting! Wow, I never really thought about how damaging porn could be for the brain and the way we see ourselves and the opposite sex. Kinda scary to think how much influence this stuff has on our ability to think and act. I have a few friends I can think of that I’m going to forward this to, as I know they have a “problem” with porn. Thanks again!!

  9. Randie Cadiogan

    I feel really sad for women who are objectified 🙁

    • Mary

      You say that as if you are not one of them. Men who choose to objectify women treat all women that way, not just those in their family or circle. If they are decision makers, or have influence in business, academia, the church, in government.. their views of women as something less than men affect every action they take and so affects all women. For instance, why do you think the pay gap persists?

  10. I’ve never been a fan of porn. I know it’s hypocritical since I’m a model, but I hate how most of it seriously objectifies and demeans the woman.

  11. Wow – this is pretty shocking! I’m so glad my husband doesn’t watch porn!! #Yikes

  12. The porn industry is just so large, it's everywhere and hard to stray away from. I'll be on Facebook or instagram and stroll down my timeline and may at least seen 2 pornographic pictures or videos. It's just important that people don't confuse porn with reality. Porn starsare fairly actress as welll, they may not like everything they do but they get paid to do it.

  13. Jen Spillane

    Porn absolutely changes the way that men perceive women and their ability to interact with them in real-life situations. Not everyone who watches porn is an addict, and not every person is so negatively affected by it, but it's good to be aware. Not to mention that porn almost always has a victim, even if it's not the viewer. There's a strong link between sex trafficking and pornography. Not only are individuals trafficked into performing for pornographic material, but the material itself drives the sex trafficking industry by creating a need for individuals (often underage teenagers and children), to fulfill fantasy situations fueled by porn.

  14. Courtney Watson

    Pornography desensitizes a person. It changes the way a person think and the way sex or women is viewed. Sex should be a pleasurable experience for a couple but internet porn cripples a person’s ability to get in touch with his sensuality and emotion. 🙁

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