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How Porn Changes The Brain | Neuro-Experts Explain (FTND)

neuroscientists discuss how porn changes the brain
“In recovery, the person remaps and rewires their brain back to a more homeostatic state, back to a more normal, natural state where they can, again, love and feel and become human again.” (Dr. Donald Hilton) (Image: Fight The New Drug)

The following is a transcript I created of a YouTube video published by Fight The New Drug entitled “How Porn Changes The Brain | Neuro-Experts Explain.” For the embedded video, continue to the end of the article.

Dr. Simone Kühn: We put people in the scanner and looked at their brain activity, [people] who were interested in what effects does potentially long-term usage of pornographic material have on brain structure. So basically we found in our study that the gray matter in the reward center is generally smaller in those people who watch more porn. We also looked at how how the brain region that is smaller in structure — namely, the reward region — is connected to other parts in the brain. We found that the more porn people watch, the less well the reward region is connected to the prefrontal cortex. That their pro-frontal cortex was less able to control activity tn the reward region. So the connection between the prefrontal cortex, that is the braking mechanism, on to the reward system, was less strong.

Dr. Donald Hilton: Our brains are designed for so much more. We’re designed to love, to think, to bond, to love. Pornography is not real. It’s not real in an actual way. We’re not designed to consume pornography. We’re designed to have sexuality in a format that helps us survive, where it’s enjoyable for both parties. And pornography is a rewiring — a toxic form of human sexuality.

For instance, a young man that’s grown up having “sex,” so to speak, with a screen — it’s unlikely that a real human is going to fit the bill for him. He’s been scripted, sexually scripted, sexually wired, sexually imprinted to believe that that is sex. Not real sex, but porn-sex.

Dr. Andrew Dohm: The problem is content matters. So we know from research, for example, if people are watching porn, it can actually adversely affect the way they treat other people. Particularly, porn has gotten more violent over the years, so therefore there have been more violent tendencies toward women during rape and dating mishaps. There’s also subjification [sic] of women because of pornography. And also we know that people who watch porn are less likely to act on sexual assault and sexual violence when they see it, because they’ve been programmed to accept that that’s okay.

Let’s look at the pathways in which porn stimulates the body. Because of a negative feedback loop, we develop something called tolerance. If you look at the research literature, there are people who admit to, and also discussion forums, who admit to exhausting one genre of porn and then they switch to a higher genre, a more deviant genre, a more violent genre of porn.

Dr. Donald Hilton: And a person that has been rewired with these sexual scripts through pornography will find that recovery, while very possible, is a process, as well. Just as becoming addicted is a process, recovery similarly is a process that takes time. It takes effort. In recovery, the person remaps and rewires their brain back to a more homeostatic state, back to a more normal, natural state where they can, again, love and feel and become human again.

For more, see How Porn Addiction Destroys Men’s Brains (Andrew Huberman).

Cornelius
Cornelius
An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of our lives. I got my B.S. from Georgetown University and my M.A. from The Ohio State University.
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