Here’s how porn is changing your brain

Here’s how porn is changing your brain, by David Sargeant.

The problem with porn is that it short-circuits the system by triggering the secretion of your sexual chemical cocktail without any of the courtship, human bonding or physical effort found in real sex.

This means that instead of bonding with another person your brain begins to bond with porn. Indeed, the consumption of porn is a vicious cycle. The more porn you consume the more your brain identifies it as an easier and quicker route to chemical release than sex. Thus, we are continually directed back to it, overriding the desire for actual sexual experience. …

As a result, there are thousands of men, many still in their twenties and thirties, who are desperately concerned and confused by the fact that they cannot maintain an erection, reach orgasm or become sexually excited at all. …

Pornographers are aware of the science. They realise that the only way to stand out in such a crowded market is to push the boundaries.

Data is now at the core of the pornography business model. The industry has invested considerably in the creation of algorithms that will allow them to identify users as specific individuals. Every time you visit a porn site data is compiled on the type of videos you’re watching.

Here’s the clever part. Each time you return to the site, a tailored menu of videos likely to appeal to your sexual interests is waiting for you. There’s just one small difference, so subtle you wouldn’t notice. With every visit, the videos presented to you have become slightly more graphic.

The end goal is to get you to seek out further content that you are specifically interested in, available only to paying users. …

In her book, Izabella St James, one of Hugh Heffner’s ‘official girlfriends’ recounts what sex was like with Hefner. Although he had a multitude of ‘perfect’ women, each willing to do whatever he pleased – every orgy he started would end the same way. Hefner would masturbate on his own while watching porn. …

It’s important to realise that in a hyper-sexualized world, this is a societal fight. While individuals can act in our own lives we owe it to those who can’t to enact comprehensive legislation that prohibits porn. It’s crucial to remember that the brains plasticity is at its greatest in children. The average age that a girl will be trafficked into the sex trade in the US is between 12-14. Likewise, at just 11 years of age, the average child will first consume porn.

The great news is that our brains can recover from the damage caused by porn consumption.

There is constant competition in our brain between pathways. The key is to feed the right ones. The more we engage in meaningful and positive activity, be that sexual or otherwise, the more those pathways strengthen. Simultaneously, the less porn you watch, the less you will reinforce the pathways in our brain that tell us we need it. They will shrink.

hat-tip Stephen Neil