Doing Life Together

business-man-2452808_1920Long gone are the days when someone using porn has to wait for a brown paper wrapped magazine to be delivered to his house. Now, thanks to the Internet, the digital world of pornography can be accessed at the click of a mouse. The stimuli of  digital porn is enough to get a rush of hormones going unrelated to any relationship. The brain associates the pleasure of sex with the clicking of digital images. And this can be done alone at anytime.

And when someone clicks away at image after image, sexual behavior becomes boring and more is needed to stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. This is why digital porn users become more and more deviant in their choice of images. They have built a tolerance to “average” sexual images and need more to kick start the hormone surges of pleasure. The fall out can be erectile dysfunction and intimacy issues when real time sexual opportunities present.

When porn users have their brains scanned, the same pathways involved in drug and alcohol use are being used. The activation of these pleasure centers happens quickly and response times are strong, making addiction possible. The brain wants more and needs more graphic and deviant pictures to be stimulated. The effects are toxic. And those who use digital porn behave like addicts. Watching porn is like an alcoholic watching ads for a drink. But there is still a question as to whether or not porn watchers become addicted or are dealing with compulsive behavior.

Interestingly a 2013 United Kingdom study looked at the personality traits of men who had difficulty resisting the temptation to look at porn websites. The study identified these traits as making those men more vulnerable–neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and obsessional checking behaviors. The conclusion was that their personality traits made the men more vulnerable to compulsive behavior.

Regardless of the classification, porn use can interfere with real-life sex. Porn activates the reward centers of the brain and provides a temporary buzz. It activates a protein that is responsible for turning on long-term cravings, driving the user back for more. And when it is released in the brain, it sticks around for awhile, creating a craving for more. The more you crave, the more porn you view. The brain has learned to seek the reward. And that pull can create compulsive use.



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