Your Brain on Porn

I recently found several resources that are helpful in portraying the effects of porn on the brain:

The Great Porn Experiment

Adolescent Brain Meets High Speed Porn

One of the videos is a TED talk by Gary Wilson, affiliated with the site who is listed as a past physiology teacher.  He noted in one of his disclaimers that he is not religious and doesn’t want to do away with porn, but is also dedicating a lot of effort in highlighting research studies that reveal the harmful effects of porn.  His Ted talk and the other video on the effects of high speed internet porn on the adolescent brain are best understood with some background on the  assumptions that he makes and some basic information about scientific research.

The videos highlight several animal studies and draw potential implications for humans watching porn.  This is due to some limitations of direct experimentation on people and also a long established history of using animal brain models to extrapolate potential similarities in the human brain.

The premise of the “Great Porn Experiment” is that it has been difficult for researchers to find control subjects, often college-aged men, who can attest that they have not had exposure to porn.  This lack of a control makes it difficult to conduct the classical scientific experiment that would seek to observe the effect of altering a single variable compared with the control group.

However, a within-group control has in effect developed due to a growing trend of men who have unhooked themselves from porn due to their experiencing porn induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).   Thus we can have some qualitative accounts of before and after effects of stopping porn.

Many men have finally found the motivation to stop porn when they have gotten to the point of erectile dysfunction and the reaching the conclusion that the hyperstimulated desensitization of porn on chemical pathways in the brain is causing problems in the bedroom and a dysfunction from an evolutionary perspective.  While Gary’s lack of a “religious” perspective limits his acknowledgement of a Creator who designed sexual functioning, at least he can document that dysfunction is happening.  Chasing increasingly stimulating porn, darker porn, or porn that may not be aligned with your sexual orientation, is not a harmless exercise but in fact may lead to potentially serious physical, emotional, and psychological consequences.

These videos can be a helpful wake up call to the growing epidemic of porn use and highlight the newer trend of unhooking from porn.  The website also has a list of referenced research articles, other testimonies, and resources that may be helpful.

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