Does Porn Rewire Our Brains

Men's Dating

Does Porn Rewire Our Brains?

Dr. Wendy Walsh
Dr. Wendy Walsh Updated:
Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

Today’s easy access to pornography is a far cry from seamy video stores on the outskirts of town of yesteryear. Men today need only a smartphone and a little privacy to satisfy their cravings for sexual stimuli.

In fact, when researchers studying porn at the University of Montreal attempted to find a control group of men in their 20s who had never consumed pornography, they were unable to find even one subject.

Nearly all boys have accessed porn by the age of 10. Seventy percent of men today regularly watch Internet porn, while that number for women is about 30 percent.

And all of this easily accessible and affordable porn is affecting relationships, usually in a negative way. The consequences also include emotional, relational and financial problems, but also sexual dysfunction.

Men can become desensitized to real-life women.

Research supports that kids who play too many violent video games become desensitized to violence, and in the same way, men who watch too much porn become desensitized to real life women.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that men are more stimulated by visual cues than women. The amygdala, the area of the human brain that controls emotion and motivation, is more highly activated in men when viewing sexual images than women viewing the same content.

Researchers speculate that human evolution offered men who could more readily identify sexually receptive females through visual cues a better chance of having sex and passing on their genetic code.

Fortunately, cavemen didn’t have access to porn that could eventually alter their brains. Today, addiction to porn essentially rewires the brain, making it more difficult to naturally feel pleasure, the natural pleasure that women willingly provide for men.

 

“It’s not easy for most men

to break a porn addiction.”

Reduced interest in sexual, physical, emotional connections.

One of the most common symptoms of porn addiction is reduced or even nonexistent interest in sexual, physical and emotional connections with spouses and/or longer-term sexual partners.

The man who spends most of his sexual life masturbating and fantasizing to porn (endless images of young, exciting, different partners and sexual experiences) is going to find his longer-term partner less interesting visually and less stimulating than the endless supply of new and exciting material he gets from porn.

Eventually this guy can only become erect or orgasm to porn, not with his own partner.

Neuroscientists find that the pleasure pathways in our brain that are altered by addictions take at least one year to become “normal” again.

And like with any addiction, it’s not easy for most men to break a porn addiction. After all, a dude doesn’t even need to get out of his bed to access porn these days.

Current research tells us that for approximately 5 to 8 percent of the adult population, porn use can evolve into an addictive behavior, quickly escalating from a pleasurable distraction to a behavioral compulsion that leads to depression, isolation, loneliness, shame and negative life consequences.

Advertiser Disclosure

DatingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DatingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.