VIA| One of the major impacts of the Internet is the widespread availability of porn. It’s incredibly easy to stream it for free, yet according to a Harvard scientist it may be doing damage to your health.
Kevin Majeres is a psychiatrist specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy and is a faculty member of Harvard Medical School.
Writing in a blog post, Majeres breaks down how the brain works and what happens during repeated exposure to pornography.
He explains it in such logical terms that if you are sane, you’ll probably think again before succumbing to the temptation of watching porn.
Majeres begins with the mating PATTERNS discovered in rats:
“Scientists have discovered that if you place a male rat in a cage with a receptive female, they will mate; but once done, the male rat will not mate more times, even if the female is still receptive. He loses all sexual interest. But if, right after he finishes with the first female, you put in a second receptive female, he will immediately mate again; and again a third, and so on, until he nearly dies. This effect has been found in every animal studied. This is called the Coolidge effect.”
Pornography’s power comes from the way it tricks the man’s lower brain.
One of the drawbacks of this region is that it can’t tell the difference between an image and reality. The same processes are kicked off. So they are literally stuck in a false reality and choose that reality over life.
Porn creates an inexplicable bond with an artificial world.
The problem with pornography is that it offers men an unlimited number of supposedly willing females. Every time the man sees a new potential partner, even if on a computer screen, it gets his sex driving going again.
Here’s what Majeres has to say about the role of dopamine in this process:
“Dopamine is the drug of desire – when you see something desirable, your brain pours out dopamine, saying “Go for it! Do whatever it takes!” Dopamine fixes your attention on that desirable object, giving you your power of concentration…
“So when someone clicks and sees a new pornographic image, his lower brain thinks this is the real thing, this is the lady he must win over with all his might, and so he gets an enormous dopamine flood in his upper brain, causing a wild amount of electrical energy.
“This first exposure to a new female who is a potential mate wasn’t something that happened a lot to our ancestors; maybe only once in their lives; so the brain thinks this is a big deal. It doesn’t know that NOW the game has completely changed: it doesn’t understand that these are virtual females only; so with each new one it causes another flood of dopamine, time after time, click after click, as long as he continues. It’s a dopamine binge.”
“This is why pornography causes a vicious circle. When someone views pornography, he gets overstimulated by dopamine; so his brain destroys some dopamine receptors. This makes him feel depleted, so he goes back to pornography, but, having fewer dopamine receptors, this time it requires more to get the same dopamine thrill; but this causes his brain to destroy more receptors; so he feels an even greater need for pornography to stimulate him.
“So as guys keep gaming the dopamine system, they start to find that they have to use pornography for longer and longer periods to have the same effect, and they have to visit more and more sites.”
But even more porn sites eventually don’t cut it. What then?
“You have to stimulate another emotion: fear or disgust or shock or surprise. For porn use, you need to start moving to kinkier things, things that make you afraid or make you feel a bit sick; and so you start experimenting with various perversions.”
It’s worth reading Majeres’ article in full. The science may yet be unclear on the physical side effects of porn, but he makes a strong case, at the very least, that pornography is:
1) highly addictive
2) harmful to relationships.
Regardless of what you think of porn from the moral perspective, the fact that it’s so addictive should provide cause for rethinking the role of porn in your life.
Influences the brain to develop addiction
Studies have shown that the actual functioning of brain changes in those who have addiction, irrespective of the kind (drugs, alcohol or pornography). Addiction to watching pornography can make the process of recovery just as difficult as the one a drug addict has to go through. More importantly, addiction triggers an appetite for itself. This can jeopardize relationships, other interests, healthy pastimes and work.
Births psychological and social issues in men
The basis of selection of male actors in pornography isn’t their acting skills—it’s just that one thing. When male viewers continually watch bigger equipments than theirs’ in the movies, they gradually develop inferiority complex. Moreover, researchers have found that men who are addicted to watching porn tend to neglect their work, spend a lot of money that they do not have and become isolated from others. This can cause depression and have other psychological effects.
Creates an inexplicable bond with an artificial world
Porn is unreal. Like movies, porn actors play the role of their characters and have little to no care about what it is like to live those roles in reality. With regular use of pornographic films, a person subconsciously starts living in emotional bondage. Such bondage can be best deciphered from these examples:
- Fear of poor performance
Porn actors look like they never experience any trouble during the act and they last longer too. In fact, they last as long as they want to. But, the thing to remember is that porn is fantasy. Real life and real people will definitely differ. Porn is superficial just like the movies. But sadly, it gives birth to a fear of poor performance to people in reality. And, this can dramatically affect the relationship and the prospect of having satisfying relationships in the future.
- Women in real and those in the movies
Female characters in pornography are airbrushed and trained to arouse the viewers. They look sexier and better than the women you would meet in real life. But, do you notice the damage here? Porn makes real men desire women like those in the movies, and that is when it wrecks havoc. They have a superficial picture of women in their mind that does not meet reality.
- Pornography teaches to `fear nothing’
They do not care about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted disease or the complexities of relationships. This fearlessness has a tendency to grow on viewers, making them to also start expecting the same from their sex life. Alas! All that cannot have a place in your real life.
Slacking sexual life
Porn depicts unreal methods of having sex, and as you get used to these methods you have an urge to watch more of them. Because there is a superficial variety of sex in pornography, it can never find place in your real life. But, its influence will leave your regular intercourse appear boring.
A non-intimate sex life
We bet that the best sex you have ever had involved a lot of foreplay and intimacy before the actual act. But, porn believes in hardcore action and that is what it preaches. In pornography, people are always turned on. This eventually makes the viewer expect their partner to feel aroused automatically, thus making either of the partners sexually lazy. Besides, it makes sexual activity solely self-serving and not self-giving, which is what it actually should be.
Porn induces violence
This does not imply that porn watchers force sex on their partners, but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that their intercourse is often impersonal and rushed. Violence induced by pornography can make you lack patience for arousal and would want to grab the opportunity as and when it comes.
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