Download Your Brain on Porn PDF

TitleYour Brain on Porn
TagsMental Health Brain Dopamine Reward System
File Size585.5 KB
Total Pages16
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Published on Your Brain On Porn (http://yourbrainonporn.com)

Home > Miscellaneous Resources > Presentations and Intro Article > Start here for an overview of concepts & science

Start here for an overview of concepts &
science

This article is a short synopsis of some key concepts. For the science behind it, please follow all the links. Some links go to our articles, which
in turn link to studies. For a more in-depth understanding, watch Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn [1] and Your Brain on
Porn [2] and read the articles listed at the bottom of this article. For porn-induced ED watch Erectile Dysfunction & Porn [3]. For specific
content explore Porn FAQs [4].

What happens when you drop a male rat into
a cage with a receptive female rat? First, you
see a frenzy of copulation. Then,
progressively, the male tires of that particular
female. Even if she wants more, he has had
enough. However, replace the original
female with a fresh one, and the male
immediately revives and gallantly struggles
to fertilize her.

You can repeat this process with fresh
females until he is completely wiped out.

This is called the Coolidge effect [5]—the
automatic response to novel mates. It’s what started you down the road to getting hooked [6] on
Internet porn.

Like that lab rat, you have a primitive mechanism [7] in your brain urging you to fertilize [8] the
two-dimensional females, males (or whatever) on your screen. [9] (Note: The Coolidge effect
also occurs in females [10]. Studies show that, when given the opportunity, human females are
just as promiscuous [11]as males.)

Primitive circuits [12] in your brain govern emotions, drives, impulses, and subconscious
decision-making. They do their jobs so efficiently that evolution hasn't seen the need to change
them much [13]since before humans were humans.

For you, rats, and all mammals, the desire and motivation [14] to pursue sex arises from a
neurochemical called dopamine [15]. Dopamine amps up the centerpiece of the primitive part of
the brain—the reward circuitry. It’s where we experience cravings and pleasure, and where we

Page 2

get addicted.

The ancient reward circuitry [16] compels you to do things that further your survival and pass on
your genes. At the top of our human reward list are food [17], sex [18], love [19], friendship, and
novelty [20]. These are called ‘natural reinforcers,’ as contrasted with addictive chemicals.

The evolutionary purpose [21] of dopamine is to motivate you [22] to do what serves your genes.
The bigger the squirt the more you want something. No dopamine and you just ignore it.
Chocolate cake and ice cream—a big blast. Celery—not so much. Sexual stimulation and
orgasm are the biggest natural blast of dopamine available to your reward circuitry. One of
dopamine's nicknames is the "molecule of addiction [23]."

Although dopamine may be referred to as the "pleasure molecule," this may not be technically
accurate. Dopamine is all about seeking and searching [24] for rewards, the anticipation [25]- it's
our motivation and drive to pursue [26]potential rewards or long term goals [27]. Although
controversial [28], it appears that the final reward or good feelings arises from opioids.
Dopamine is wanting, opioids are liking. [29]

As psychologist Susan Weinschenk explained [30] in a 2009 article, the neurotransmitter
dopamine does not cause people to experience pleasure, but rather causes a seeking
behavior. “Dopamine causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search,” she wrote. It is the
opioid system that causes one to feel pleasure. Yet, “the dopamine system is stronger than the
opioid system,” she explained. “We seek more than we are satisfied.” Addiction may be thought
of as wanting run amok. [31]

Novelty, novelty, more novelty

Dopamine surges for novelty [32]. A new car, just-released movie, the latest gadget…we are all
hooked on dopamine. As with everything new the thrill fades away as dopamine plummets.

Here’s how the Coolidge effect works: [33] The rat’s reward circuitry is squirting less and less
dopamine with respect to the current female, but produces a big dopamine surge for a new
female. Does that sound familiar?

Not surprisingly, rats and humans aren't that
different when it comes to response to novel
sexual stimuli. For example, when Australian
researchers [34] (graph) displayed the same
erotic film repeatedly, test subjects' penises
and subjective reports both revealed a
progressive decrease in sexual arousal. The
"same old same old" just gets boring.
Habituation indicates declining dopamine.

After 18 viewings—just as the test subjects
were nodding off—researchers introduced

novel erotica for the 19 and 20 viewings.
Bingo! The subjects and their penises
sprang to attention. (Yes, women showed similar effects [35].)

Page 8

"Internet addicts" [124] have been published since this article was initially written, and all have
found the same fundamental brain changes as seen in drug addicts. The studies did not
assess what percentage of research subjects were addicted to Internet porn. However, it would
be illogical to conclude that high levels of Internet porn use cannot change the brain, when junk
food, video games, gambling, and "the Internet [125]" have already been proven to do so (see
Recent Internet Addiction Studies Include Porn [40]).

The American Society of Addiction Medicine [126] (ASAM) hammered the final nail in the porn
debate coffin in August, 2011, ten months after this intro article appeared. America’s top
addiction experts at ASAM released their sweeping new definition of addiction [41]. The new
definition echoes the major points [127] made on this website. Foremost, behavioral addictions
affect the brain in the same fundamental ways as drugs do. In other words, addiction is one
disease (condition), not many. For all practical purposes, this new definition ends the debate
[128] over whether sex and porn addictions are "real addictions [129]." ASAM explicitly states that
sexual behavior addictions exist [86] and must be caused by the same major brain changes
found in substance addictions. In fact, a newly created behavioral addiction category [130] will
appear in the revised DSM-5 [131], and, in time, Internet addictions will have to be added to bring
the DSM into alignment with addiction research (see - National Institue of Mental Health: DSM
is flawed and outdated [132].)

Here's a excellent peer-reviewed journal article of where addiction neuroscience is with respect
to porn addiction: Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of
neuroplasticity (2013) [133].

Those who shout "pseudoscience [134]" at the mention of Internet porn addiction either have a
political agenda or are unaware of recent advances in addiction neuroscience.

Extensive research on behavioral addictions reveals the same fundamental brain
changes that occur with chemical addictions.
Those with addiction-related behaviors and symptoms [120] have a specific set of
measurable brain alterations.
The brain changes found in all addictions include sensitization, desensitization,
hypofrontality, altered stress responses, and abnormal white matter.
Addiction-related brain changes (both behavioral and chemical) are triggered by
accumulation of DeltaFosB [135]. There's one molecular switch, whether drug, gambling,
food, or Internet porn addiction is at work.
The brain research [136] done thus far on Internet addiction [56] (which includes porn use)
reveals all the aforementioned brain changes.
Evidence from two recent [136] Internet addiction studies shows that in control groups of
former Internet addicts, the harmful brain changes had already begun to reverse
themselves.
Evidence that Internet addiction appears to cause depression [137] and multiple other
symptoms [138] has come out in recent studies.
The DSM-5 field studi [139]es conclude [139] that hypersexual disorder exists. [140] (However,
"hypersexual" is a misleading term, which denies the behavioral addiction research
findings.)

Page 9

"Pseudoscience" is:

Ignoring all anecdotal [141], clinical [142], and research [143] evidence that points to Internet
porn addiction as a true addiction [144].
Ignoring the only brain scan studies on porn users (link1 [122], link2 [103]).
Ignoring multiple brain studies on Internet addiction disorder [124].
Believing (without scientific basis) that the signs, symptoms and behaviors of Internet
porn addiction must arise from unidentified mechanisms other than addiction.
Replacing the word addiction with compulsion, yet providing no research or hypothesis as
to what makes a "compulsion to use X" different from "an addiction to X."
Ignoring the medical doctors and addiction neuroscientists of ASAM who clearly state that
sexual behavior addictions [145] exist.
Suggesting that porn has been around forever, and that staring at cave drawings is no
different than watching 20 tabs of hard-core while clicking from scene to scene.
Ignoring neuroscience on the adolescent brain [146], which shows it is far more vulnerable
to sexual conditioning [1]and addiction than the adult brain. (See - Children becoming
addicted to porn. [147])
Suggesting that Internet porn addiction must be the one and only exception to the
behavioral-addiction rule - an addiction that is somehow not an addiction.

What makes Internet porn unique?

It's evident that today's porn is easy to access, available 24/7, free and private. The way it's
used keeps dopamine elevated [149]for abnormally long periods, making Internet porn uniquely
compelling, and potentially addictive. (Note: We don't speak to the psychological impact of
young people [150] watching hard-core porn of every type imaginable and unimaginable.)

Recovery sites often stress that the addictiveness of Internet porn is due to masturbation and
orgasm becoming linked to exciting or shocking visuals. Certainly both play a role, but what
sets Internet porn apart is:

It affords extreme novelty [151]—hundreds of new sexual "partners" per session. Novelty is
highly stimulating. Today's porn is not Dad’s static, finite Playboy. Users often report that
"real sex" grows boring by comparison to today's parade of erotica-at-a-click.

1.

Unlike food and drugs, for which there is a limit to consumption, there are no physical
limitations to Internet porn consumption. The brain’s natural satiation mechanisms are
not activated, unless one climaxes. Even then, the user can click to something more
exciting to become aroused again.

2.

With food and drugs one can only escalate (a marker of an addiction process) by
consuming more. With Internet porn one can escalate both with more novel "partners"
and by viewing new and unusual genres. It’s quite common for a user to move to ever
more extreme porn.

3.

Unlike drugs and food, Internet porn doesn't eventually activate the brain’s natural
aversion system. Aversion is when you don’t like how a drug or too many mashed
potatoes make you feel.

4.

The age users start [152] watching porn. A teen's brain [146] is at its peak of dopamine
production and neuroplasticity [153], making it highly vulnerable to addiction [154] and
rewiring [113]. Adolescent animals produce higher levels of DeltaFosB in response to

5.

Similer Documents