Pornography is Addictive


Like tobacco, people are finding it’s a hard habit to break and continued use can have side effects. Read on…

The full article from Deseret News.com

Ubiquitous assailant: The dangerous unasked questions surrounding pornography | Deseret News.

(Excerpts)

Twenty-five percent of all search engine requests in the U.S. are for pornography.
The largest business by on the internet, is porn.

Twenty-one percent of all college students admit they watch porn “every day or almost every day.”
Ten percent of men said they view pornography online from five to 20 hours a week, and 62 percent said they watched Internet pornography at least once a week.

Most children will have seen porn by the time they’re 11, if not younger, and 79 percent of that exposure will happen in the home, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

At a meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, two-thirds of the attorneys present said that compulsive Internet use played a significant role in divorces.

Researchers have also found a correlation between early pornography use and early sexual behavior as well as links between the type of pornography consumed and the increased sexual aggression of the viewers.

“This is a public health crisis — the fact that porn is now the major form of sex education in the western world,” says Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston.

25-year-old Gabe Deem’s curiosity with pornography began at age 8 when he found a magazine in the woods near his house. His interest grew when his family bought cable two years later. By the time he was 12 and they got the Internet, he was hooked.

“There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re trying to give something up than having the whole society encourage it and say it’s not a big deal,” Deem says.

Science teacher Gary Wilson explains that viewing and masturbating to pornography can become addictive because that act produces dopamine, the brain’s natural reward for behaviors like mating, eating or conquering.

In animals, a male rat will mate two or three times with a female rat before his dopamine receptors are full and his sex drive is exhausted. However, scientists note that if the male rat meets a new female partner every few minutes, he’ll try to mate until he nearly dies of exhaustion.

Pornography has a similar effect on the brain, releasing continual bursts of dopamine and causing a buildup of a learning-related protein in the brain called DeltaFosB. DeltaFosB increases in cells in the brain’s pathways, altering the brain’s ‘reward system,’ increasing incentive for the reward and serving as an indicator that addictive behavior is taking place.

“Sexuality is the most powerful natural reward our brain has, in terms of producing a dopamine spike,” says Donald Hilton, a neurosurgeon in Texas who has studied the effects of pornography use on the brain.

Wilson started YourBrainOnPorn after he and his wife, who are not religious, began noticing a growing number of men identifying themselves as porn addicts with erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and loss of libido. Wilson says these symptoms are cropping up in younger men because the Internet offers an unlimited number of novel “partners.” And with continual dopamine rushes, the brain’s receptors become so overworked they shut down, sending the user searching for harder images to feel any pleasure.

“Addictions are chasing after dopamine,” Wilson says. “Addictions are wanting more, but liking it less.”

Deem says he initially dropped out of college because he couldn’t concentrate on anything besides porn and video games. Relationships weren’t working and his sex drive was gone. Deem eventually decided to quit looking at pornography to see if he could “get back to normal.”

Wilson calls this a “reboot,” a period of complete abstention from pornography, masturbation and sex to allow the body and brain to rest and recover. Younger men are taking longer to “reboot” than older men, Wilson says, because older men didn’t have their initial brain imprinting and education from Internet pornography.

After 780 days of no porn and no masturbation, Deem says his mental clarity and powers of concentration are sharper than they’ve ever been and that his energy levels are high. He also says he’s happier than he thought possible.

“I know the pain of recovery and finding out that I basically screwed myself up by watching porn my whole life,” Deem says. “If (someone) had told me (about the biological consequences of porn), yes, that would have definitely been a help to me, so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Ubiquitous assailant: The dangerous unasked questions surrounding pornography | Deseret News.

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