Your Brain On Porn: Why Evolution has not Prepared your Brain for Today’s Internet Porn

this article is reprinted with permission from Your Brain on Porn

What happens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat? First, you see a frenzy of copulation. Then, progressively, the male tires of that particular female. Even if she wants more, he has had enough. However, replace the original female with a fresh one, and the male immediately revives and gallantly struggles to fertilize her.You can repeat this process with fresh females until he is completely wiped out.

tired-rat
This is called the Coolidge effect—the automatic response to novel mates. It’s what started you down the road to getting hooked on Internet porn.

Like that lab rat, you have a primitive mechanism in your brain urging you to fertilize the two-dimensional females on your screen.

For you, rats, and all mammals, the desire and motivation to have sex arises from a neurochemical called dopamine. Dopamine amps up the centerpiece of the primitive part of the brain—the reward circuitry. It’s where we experience cravings and pleasure, and where we get addicted.

Dopamine surges for novelty. A new car, a just-released movie, the latest gadget- we are all hooked on dopamine. As with everything new the thrill fades away as dopamine plummets.

The “same old same old” just gets boring. Habituation indicates declining dopamine levels.

What’s a brain to do?

What’s a brain to do when it has unlimited access to a superstimulating reward it never evolved to handle? Some brains eventually adapt, which can lead to addiction.

I can’t emphasize this enough – Internet porn addiction is not a “sex addiction” – it’s an Internet addiction. Although masturbation is often involved, this is an addiction to novel pixels on a screen.

These supernormal versions of natural rewards can override our brain’s satiation mechanisms—the “I’m done” feeling—because concentrated calories and fertilization opportunities are your genes’ top priorities.

Chinese-Study-Brain-change

All addictions lead to the same major brain changes

Research reveals that behavioral addictions (food addiction, pathological gambling, video gaming, and Internet addiction) and substance addictions involve the same fundamental mechanisms leading to a collection of shared alterations in brain anatomy and chemistry. These brain changes include:

1. Desensitization (“A numbed pleasure response”): Among other changes, dopamine and dopamine (D2) receptors decline in the brain’s reward circuitry, leaving the addict less sensitive to pleasure, and “hungry” for dopamine-raising activities/substances of all kinds. The addict then tends to neglect interests, stimuli, and behaviors that were once of high personal relevance.

broken-marriage

2. Sensitization (“A super memory of pleasure”): Rewired nerve connections cause the reward circuitry to buzz in response to addiction-related cues or thoughts. This Pavlovian memory makes the addiction more compelling than other activities in the addict’s life.

3. Hypofrontality (“Willpower erodes”): Alterations in frontal-lobe gray matter and white matter correlate to reduced impulse control and the weakened ability to foresee consequences.

4. Dysfunctional stress circuits – Stress can easily trigger a relapse.

Your hijacked binge mechanism

The Internet offers endless mating opportunities, which your primitive brain perceives as real because you find them so exciting. As any good mammal would, you automatically attempt to spread your genes far and wide, but there’s no end to your mating season.

group of rats

Click, click, click, masturbate, click, click, click, masturbate, click, click, click. Day in and day out, never taking a break. This can kick your binge mechanism into overdrive.

In short, experimental evidence shows that  “more is not better.” In fact, “more” leads to elimination of benefits. What a concept: There can be too much of a good thing. Why don’t you see this information in sex-advice columns?

Evolution never prepared your primitive brain for this kind of nonstop stimulation.

from http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/doing-what-you-evolved-to-do 

 

 

 

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About Scott St. Onge

I help men become better husbands and dads through sexual purity.
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