top of page
Search

How Porn Affects the Brain


Our brains are incredible machines that help us make choices, move around, and think critically. While there is a lot we don’t know or understand about our brains and how they work, we do know a few important things. This knowledge can help us understand how our brains react to pornography.

Firstly, our brains have what is called neuroplasticity. This is a big fancy word that means our brains can change. In the documentary “Brain, Heart, World”, Dr. Donald L. Hilton, Jr explains it well: “Just as plastic is changeable and malleable, we can change the shape of the brain.” Essentially, our brains are like Play-Doh. The more of something we do, the better we will get at it because our brains are changing to get better. That’s why after practicing a song for hours, the pianist can give almost a flawless performance.

Secondly, we know a bit about the different parts of the brain and what they’re in charge of. The two parts of the brain that deal with decision making are the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. The cerebral cortex is “where conscious thought occurs” (Hilton, 2016, p. 56) and it’s the part that helps us reason. The limbic system is in charge of “emotion, appetite, reproductive drive, and other reflexive functions important in survival” (Hilton, 2016, p. 56). For example, when you really want pizza, that’s your limbic system talking. Your cerebral cortex is the part of your brain that makes sure you only eat one or two slices instead of a whole pizza.

Alright, now that we have a simple knowledge of the brain, let’s talk about what it all has to do with a pornography addiction. When you see pornography, this makes your limbic system get excited. It likes pornography because it deals with our reproductive drive. However, your cerebral cortex will probably stop you from looking for very long. This is how the brain is supposed to work. But when you look at pornography more and more, you’re using your neuroplasticity to rewire your brain. Your limbic system becomes stronger and stronger, and your cerebral cortex becomes weaker and weaker. According to Dr. Simone Kuhn, this means that “people need to watch more [pornography], or get more interesting and novel stuff to get the same level of activity in the [limbic system]”.

Don’t despair though! Remember that neuroplasticity? It’s still there, and you can use it as you heal and recover from a pornography addiction. You can rewire your brain to get back to where it used to be. With time, you can overcome your addiction to pornography.


For help with pornography addiction recovery:


Resources:

Fight the New Drug. (2018). The brain: How pornography can affect individuals [Film].

Hilton, D. L. (2016). He restoreth my soul: Understanding and breaking the chemical and spiritual chains of pornography addiction through the atonement of Jesus Christ (revised edition). Forward Press Publishing, LLC.

Truth About Porn. (2016). Dr. Simone Kuhn interview [Video]. Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/190633253

Photo Credit: Pixabay


0 comments

Comments


bottom of page