Sexual tastes of vary from person to
person. But with the current pornography epidemic as some call it. One has to
wonder how exactly this may effect our desires and perception of sexuality.
Moreover, how does it affect our sex lives. Pornography constitutes about twenty
five percent of all search engine requests, and is the fourth most common
reason people give for going on the internet. And well may seem to simply
facilitate an instinctual sexual response linked to millions of years of
evolution. The truth is pornography has dynamically changed over time ultimately
molding our tastes and desires. The not so shocking truth is that pornography has
profound consequences for the brain and acts in many ways like a drug. With prolonged exposure your tolerance is
increased and many often find themselves addicted. Though it is not a physical substance,
it leads to the same general loss of control, the compulsiveness to seek out
the activity despite negative consequences and withdrawl when it goes away. Much like
that of gambling or running for example. The issue is that continued exposure can
cause long-term or even lifelong neuro-plastic change in the brain. Dopamine is
released as a reward whenever we accomplish something whether it be
eating to sustain life or sexual activity to produce future life. And this dopamine consolidates neural
connections in order to drive us to perform the same activity in the future.
In other words, it alters and forms the brain cells to motivate certain actions.
It rewires your brain. The national institutes of health
measure drug addictiveness by testing rats. The rat is trained to press a button
in order to get a drug, and the harder it works indicates how addictive the
substance is. It turns out that the more addictive a drug is the more to
dopamine we see released. And while there is unfortunately no rat porn
that we can give to them, we do know that dopamine is also released during sexual
excitement which pornography plays right into. The more time you spend doing it,
the more dopamine gets released which reinforces the behavior and makes you
not only desire it in the future but require it. And as you begin to imagine
these images away from the computer or while having sex, they become reinforced.
Furthermore each orgasm releases even more dopamine which consolidates the
connections made during the session. It’s a feedback loop that becomes harder to
escape and just like a drug your tolerance for visual stimulation has now
compounded, making it more difficult to be turned on by reality. Pornography
addiction can often lead to finding your mate less attractive, the good news is
it doesn’t have to be permanent. Usually when people understand the mechanism and
realize it’s affecting their relationships, they can stop. The brain is often described as a use
it or lose it system because the neural connections you stimulate grow
stronger and desire to be activated while the ones you ignore become weakened. Much like your muscles which if sitting
still all day itch for activity but after prolonged non-use they become
complacent. Luckily, because of this “use it or lose it” brain, the same neuro-plastic
system that proliferate these habits can also be used to acquire healthier ones. Got a burning question you wanr answered?
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