Does pornography affect the brain?
What does pornography do to the brain?
In Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote, “The penalty of those who live too close to the flesh is never to understand the spiritual.” Hardcore pornography on the internet offers an ocean of perversion. It takes the mind where it should never go, loosening its moral moorings and leaving it adrift in a treacherous sea of sin. That is the fate of those who give themselves over to pornography: They find themselves alone with their images and an insatiable appetite for more…Dr Mary Anne Layden, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, likens pornography to crack cocaine. In a testimony to the U.S. Senate in November 2004, she noted, “This material is potent, addictive and permanently implanted in the brain”…Pornography’s addictive strength is a result of long term, sometimes lifelong, neuroplastic changes in the brain. Psychiatrist Norman Doidge, author of the best selling book The Brain that Changes Itself (Penguin, 2007), writes, “Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyper activates the appetitive system. Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see. Because it is a use it or lose it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we’ve been sitting all day, so too do our senses hunger to be stimulated” …With pornography, in other words, our brains pleasure system that excites our desires is activated, but there is no real satisfaction. This explains why users can spend endless hours searching for pornography on the internet…Doidge further notes that porn viewers develop tolerances so that they need higher and higher levels of stimulation. Thus, they often move to higher and higher levels of stimulation. Thus, they often move to harder, more deviant pornography…Dr Sharon Cooper, a pediatrician at the University of North Carolina. “Research has shown that the prefrontal cortex – the home of 1) good judgment, 2) common sense, 3) impulse control and 4) emotions – is not completely mature until children are 20-22 years of age,” she explained. The introduction of pornography to the brains prefrontal cortex is therefore devastating to key areas of a child’s development and may be life altering. “What a child sees adult pornography…their brains will convince them that they are actually experiencing what they are seeing” Cooper said. In other words, what a child sees in porn is what they believe is reality. Some children will actually emulate what they see in pornography and experiment on siblings, relatives and friends. Many studies show that children exposed to pornography initiate sexual activity at an earlier age, have more sex partners, and have multiple partners in a short period of time. A 2001 study in the journal Pediatrics also found that teenage girls exposed to pornographic movies have sex more frequently and have a strong desire to become pregnant (Columbia Magazine; November 2011; by Patrick Trueman, p.25).