Your Brain on Pornography

Pornography has become ubiquitous in today’s society, as the internet enables instant access to literally billions of explicit images and videos with just a few clicks. This constant availability has led to a dramatic increase in regular consumption of these graphic videos by a majority of the population. While you may think this behavior a harmless part of life, pornography has a substantial impact on your brain chemistry in the short term and can even diminish your brain’s functionality in the long term. Let’s look at the effects indulging in pornographic content has on the human brain in both the short term and long term.

Our brains are hardwired to respond to sexual stimulation by releasing dopamine, which causes us to feel euphoric and reinforces the performance of whatever behavior caused the dopamine release. This feedback mechanism is useful in terms of promoting procreation in our species, but pornography supersedes the more traditional sources of sexual satisfaction and triggers a flood of dopamine which far outpaces that released during sex with a partner. In the short term, this leads to problems in our marital and dating relationships, as our instinctive sexual behavior trends more towards pornography than intercourse with our partners.

In the long term, regular pornography consumption desensitizes our brains to the dopamine released as a result of the simulation. This leads to our developing not only a need for this flood of dopamine but a tolerance to it, much in the same way substance abusers develop a tolerance for and physical dependence upon their drug of choice. Substance abusers respond to their tolerance by increasing the frequency and dosage of their drug use, and the same adaptations occur in those regularly consuming pornography. Not only does their viewing frequency increase, but they find themselves drawn to more and more hardcore content, leading to a perversion of their sexual appetites.

Pornography has long been viewed as a harmless pastime for both adults and teenagers, a natural part of sexual exploration and maturity. While this may have been the case before the tech boom of the 90s, the advent of internet pornography has created a very different landscape both in terms of availability and the graphic nature of the content itself. This evolution of the pornography industry presents a problem, as our brains are susceptible to substantial and often permanent alterations in terms of chemistry and functionality due to a regular porn habit. These changes occur on a physical level and could diminish our ability to function properly in a marital or dating relationship. In light of this fact, you would be well-advised to avoid pornography in your daily life, especially as an addict in recovery. Focus on self-improvement and your relationship with your higher power so that you will be ready to enjoy a fulfilling marital relationship instead!