Sunday, May 15, 2022

What Does Porn Do To Your Brain

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Porn Often Intensifies Shame

Part 1: Introduction | Your Brain on Porn | Animated Series

At Covenant Eyes, we often refer to the shame cycle. People trying to quit porn often feel a deep sense of shame that can drive them into relapse and further emotional bondage. The negative feelings associated with porn, rather than giving them the motivation to quit, often contribute to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

A recent independent study had similar findings. A group of men surveyed reported feelings of shame regarding their porn use. They also reported feelings of shame related to the way porn had affected their sexual preferences.8

Pastor, counselor, and research Jay Stringer has found a strong connection between porn and shame, For those of us who have struggled with pornography, shame is an all-too-familiar companion. Shame can be both a result of looking at porn, particularly for those whose moral belief system says porn is wrong, and a trigger for further porn consumption.

What Effects Does Porn Have On My Brain

I have heard a large number of people say something like, It does matter if I look at porn, it is my choice and it doesnt affect anyone. This comment often reflects an addicts inability to see outside of themselves, and even if you find yourself saying the same thing, I want to show you why porn addiction harms youit harms your brain!

If you imagine a normal electrical circuit, it has a limited electrical capacity, and just like the movies if you exceed this capacity by overloading the circuit a meltdown occurs! Fires breakout and significant damage is done.

A similar thing happens to a brain flooded by pornography. Except because of the brains adaptive ability, when it becomes overloaded by dopamine it alters how it is wired. This ultimately rewrites how pleasure is perceived.

Porn Addiction The Problem

When it comes to teens, the issue lies less with a possibility for addiction, and more with a dependence on pornography for sexual exploration and development. In short, the internet isnt the best place to learn healthy sexual behaviors.

The porn industry is just that: an industry. Its entertainment, for profit, like movies and TV. And, needless to say, its not realistic. Pornography can distort a young persons view of sex, setting unrealistic expectations for future partners and themselves. Ive seen a definite increase in self-esteem problems because of porn, Maliniak admits.

According to the American Psychological Association, the average age of exposure to internet pornography is around 13, and many articles claim its often even earlier. At this impressionable age, consistent exposure to sexual content can warp a teens view on consent and respect, especially given the amount of violent and derogatory material available.

For the health of your child and their future relationships, its important to start having conversations about sexuality before free internet use is permitted.

If children are asking questions about sex, or have access to a cell phone or computer, its time to start talking to them about it, advises Maliniak. Its important to talk to them as soon as they can comprehend their bodies and good-touch wrong-touch.

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What Did The Research Involve

The study recruited 64 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 45 years and asked them questions about their porn viewing habits.

They also took images of the mens brains to determine the size of different areas and investigated how their brain signalling reacted to pornographic pictures using brain scans.

Two questions were used to estimate and categorise porn consumption across a full week:

  • How many hours on average do you spend watching pornographic material during a weekday?
  • How many hours on average do you spend watching pornographic material during a day of the weekend?

Additional questionnaires assessed other factors the researches thought might influence the results, including:

  • sexual use of the internet
  • sexual addiction
  • substance use
  • depression

The study only recruited men, the rationale given by the researchers was that men are exposed to pornography at a younger age, consume more pornography, and are more likely to encounter problems related to it compared with women. This seems like a reasonable assumption based on what we know about pornography consumption.

Those with abnormal brain scans were also excluded from the study, as were those with medical or neurological disorders.

The main statistical analysis looked for links between weekly measure of porn consumption and the volume and function of specific areas of the brain.

Porn’s Effect On The Brain

New Research Reveals What Porn Actually Does to Your Brain

Recent research has shown that non-drug addictions such as gambling, binge-eating, and sexual activities affect brain function in ways similar to alcohol and drug addiction. Many addiction studies focus on what is referred to as the pleasure/reward circuitry and their corresponding neurotransmitters – chemicals that are responsible for the communication between neurons. One of the neurotransmitters frequently identified as central to addiction is dopamine. A behavior or drug that produces pleasure induces a rush of dopamine that ultimately “reinforces” that behavior, making it more likely to occur. The amygdala, basal ganglia, and other reward centers play a role in the reinforcement of the activity that produces pleasure.

Changes in the brain’s neural pathways are referred to as “plasticity” and “synaptic plasticity” refers to changes among neuronal connections .

  • Research substantiates the idea that porn addiction can alter brain plasticity.
  • Non-drug addictions, like internet and pornography use, may lead to changes similar to those reported with long-term drug use.

Additionally, increased pornography use is associated with:

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Porn Can Change Sexual Beliefs

We start to desire what we see in porn. We start to need more novel types of porn to get the same high we got with our first porn encounter. The more porn is consumed, the more it changes how we see women. It can even lead us to think violence is sexy. Looking at these images and videos can pornify a persons outlook on life. and how they see the world and women as sex objects. Studies show that porn can change the way people view women. A 2020 longitudinal study found, Compelling evidence shows that frequency of pornography exposure is associated with negatively perceived body image and sexual body image.6

Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant found that people who watched porn were desensitized to violent sex and rape. People who watched porn had a lower view of traditional institutions like marriage and family.7

Psychological Effects Of Porn Use

Whereas porn can be used in ways that are beneficial to sexual health, approximately 9% of viewers indicate that they are unable to refrain from viewing pornography. Problematic internet pornography use can lead to and exacerbate existing psychological issues with which the user may be struggling. There is a fair amount of research that substantiates the idea that problematic pornography use correlates with psychological problems such as depression and anxiety:

  • More than half of men who use porn have acknowledged that their porn use has caused them problems in life, with the majority experiencing psychological and behavioral repercussions.
  • Compulsive and at-risk cybersex users experience guilt, depression, and anxiety. This may both result from pornography usage and perpetuate further behavior.
  • Personal factors such as loneliness, anxiety, depression, or interpersonal stress may contribute to the ease of conditioning to a pleasurable experience like porn as the behavior alters a negative mood.

Additionally, a growing body of research exists that supports the argument for a correlation between internet pornography use and impulsive behaviors. Initial findings suggest that impulsiveness extends to all internet pornography users and not only to problematic use.

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Pornography And Your Brain

So what happens in your brain when you, your husband, child, significant other, best friend, or anyone else uses pornography?

To start, lets just state plainly that sexual activity produces large amounts of dopamine. Our bodies are simply wired that way. Sex, masturbation and viewing pornography will ALL cause our brains to produce dopamine, and ultimately crave more of it.

We can become addicted to pornography for precisely that reason. Regular use of pornography will eventually lead to a craving for the dopamine that comes from using it.

The real issue with pornography and dopamine is that pornography is so accessible thanks to the internet. To understand this we must consider the Coolidge Effect, which states that over time, sexual desire will decrease with a single mate and increase with a new one. According to this theory, sexual desire increases from a newness factor.

Now, bring pornography into the equation. We have an affinity to want new things because they produce more dopaminemore excitementand with pornography the options for new people is endless. John Mayer actually commented on this, saying:

There have probably been days when I saw 300 before I got out of bed.Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generations expectations.Youre looking for the one photo out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still dont finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back

Porn May Increase Anxiety Or Depression

Part 2: The Coolidge Effect | Your Brain on Porn | Animated Series

At Covenant Eyes, we speak with people every day who are experiencing depression and anxiety related to porn. Research has found a correlation between watching porn and anxiety and depression, particularly those who want to stop watching porn but cant. One study of university students indicated a strong connection between compulsive porn use and anxiety.4

Some experts are dubious about the connection between porn and depression or anxiety. Nonetheless, they acknowledge that porn can affect relationships, which in turn can result in depression or anxiety.5

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The Side Effects Of Porn Are Devastating

Pornography is ravaging marriages. In our culture porn is treated as if its harmless, but its not. Porn will wreck the arousal process in your brain and end up wrecking your sex life in marriage.

I receive emails everyday from women who are desperate to fix their marriages, but they dont know what to do. They married men who never seem to want sex. Or their husbands are never satisfied. Or their husbands call them boring or unattractive. And the root of many of these problems is porn.

Heres the really devastating part: Because so much of what porn does to you happens chemically in the brain, the porn use doesnt have to be going on NOW to have these effects. A boy who grew up on porn in his teens, and then managed to stop watching it in his twenties will still suffer from many of these things.

The good news: There is healing! You can rebuild those chemical pathways to arousal. But first we have to understand 10 ways that porn affects the brain, and thus wrecks many couples sex lives.

Because I get so many questions about this, and because were all stuck inside for the foreseeable future and porn use apparently is on the rise, I thought I would dedicate the month of April to a series on pornography. So lets start with this one, that I actually ran a few years ago, but I thought Id update to launch our series:

Sleepwalking Or Daydreaming Through Your Day

The foggy brain lacks the energy to pursue constructive habits and tasks. So, it tends to engage in indulging habits, almost always, at your detriment.

This has a significant effect on how you spend your time.

A giant time vortexwhere nothing ever gets done consumes your morning, afternoon and night.

Binge-watching Netflix, playing video games excessively, PMOing non-stop, binge-eating junks are activities that fill this giant time vortex.

The lack of motivation and willingness to tackle the day head-on to achieve something tangible is apparent for someone that has a foggy brain.

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As Well As Your Focus And Concentration

You might have heard of post-nut clarity a situation where your brain suddenly feels focused after you have an orgasm.

Indeed, many people find that masturbating helps them concentrate better. As such, they might masturbate before working, studying, or taking a test.

Theres no scientific explanation for this, as it hasnt been studied specifically. However, this sense of clarity and focus might be a result of feeling relaxed and happy after an orgasm.

While oxytocin is commonly known as the love hormone and associated with social bonding, its also associated with de-stressing and relaxation.

As one 2005 study points out, oxytocin plays an important role in regulating stress and reducing anxiety.

It does this by reducing blood pressure and lowering your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress.

So, if youre hoping to relieve some tension after a tough day at work, masturbating might be a good relaxation technique!

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Although I wouldnt yet call it an addiction, it certainly is a compulsive sexual behaviour, and there is no question that for some people excessive and compulsive use has led to difficulties in relationships, lost jobs due to watching porn at work and even suicide attempts, Voon says.

In 2015, she and her team published a study suggesting that online porn in particular can allow sex addicts to chase after more novel and hardcore images, onwards and onwards down the rabbit hole of the internet, enabling and worsening their addiction.

For some people this did escalate into watching more hardcore forms. There is agreement, however, that much more work needs to be done. We dont know a lot about these disorders, but there is no question that a lot of people are suffering, says Voon.

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Ways To Cure Your Brain Fog While Youre On Nofap

Before we get into it, Ill like to give you a heads up that there are some affiliate links in this list. They are products that I use and have helped me get rid of my brain fog TOTALLY. I feel theyll be beneficial for you too if you try them out. That said, if you buy through my link, youll be helping me out in maintaining this website. Thank you.

Can I Rewire My Brain From Porns Effects

It can feel overwhelming, but change is possible. You can rewire your brain. Tens of thousands of men and women have broken free from the grip of pornography and reclaimed their sexuality. Every day, we hear from people at different stages of the journey. Heres what some of them are saying:

I need to change to get my life, my hopes, and my future back. Today is my first day with this program.

I was sexually abused as a kid growing and I got addicted to pornography and masturbation at a very young age, I have tried to stop many times but failed. Covenant Eyes is the first program that has given me real hope. Now I can go without porn for months and gradually am getting to the point of total freedom.

Today is my one-year anniversary free of porn! That is after 50 years of looking at porn! It is possible to defeat this even for us older guys whose neural pathways are deep canyons. I thank God that it is never too late to heal!

While porn has a tremendous impact on the brain, your brain has an incredible capacity to change and adapt. Even if your neural pathways are deep canyons, its never too late to start the process of rewiring.

You can learn more and start your freedom from porn by downloading our free ebook below.

¹https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960020/

³Kevin Skinner, Treating Pornography Addiction: The Essential Tools for Recovery, 34.

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7835260/

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Brain Chemicals And Porn: What Happens When We Watch Porn

Your brain is an incredible biological computer, with billions of neurons processing countless bits of information, maneuvering your body, and shaping your emotions. It houses a whole pharmacy of chemicals, which work together to give you the experiences of pleasure, pain, and many other feelings. Your brain is also designed to adjust and adapt to different environments and stimuli.

In The Porn Circuit, Sam Black describes the various hormones and neurotransmitters involved when someone views porn and how each ingredient in this neuro-cocktail contributes to the problem:

This system works the way it is supposed to work when youre having sex with your spouse. Together, you can experience a high, an alertness of sexual pleasure, and a deep calm afterward . With each sexual embrace, you are emotionally bonding to this person . Over time, a craving for sex is transformed into a desire for one another .

Something very similar happens when your brain is on porn. Porn activates the same pleasurable chemicals in your brain that make sex so enjoyable and meaningful. But porn isnt real sex, and it actually short-circuits the system with disturbing side effects. In this short video, Matt Fradd talks about our brains and the chemicals at work when we look at porn.

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Is Porn Good For You

Part 3: The Reward Circuit | Your Brain on Porn | Animated Series

But can watching porn actually be beneficial to certain people? Prause thinks so. There is as much of a case to be made for the benefits as well as the harms, she says. For example, porn can introduce viewers to new activities that can spice things up in the bedroom.

There is good evidence for mimicry, so we have good evidence that sometimes viewing porn can increase peoples tendency to perform oral sex. Erotica can have positive and negative effects, its about identifying for whom, and when.

The field is riddled with misconceptions and biases that are not supported by the data, she says.

Despite concerns that porn can decrease libido and lead to impotence due to tolerance and desensitisation, research published by Prause in the journal Sexual Medicine in 2015 shows these worries to be unfounded.

Similarly, it is accepted as gospel truth that rates of pornography viewing have increased dramatically with the rise of the internet, allowing for instant access to a huge diversity of images at home. But in fact, Prause says, statistics indicate that the number of people viewing pornography overall hasnt changed since the introduction of the VCR.

Although Prause disagrees with the conclusions of other researchers such as Malamuth, she does agree along with just about every other sex researcher that porn can be dangerous for some men because it can reinforce pre-existing misogynistic beliefs and myths.

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