The dangers of pornography are vast and deep. However, to be brief, I will stick to those that are most important, for most people. Pornography has a ripple effect on the men who watch it and their families. The wave of devastation comes on slowly, over time. It can be almost imperceptible until their lives are on the brink of destruction. The biggest danger of pornography is its sleuth nature. Science and anecdote prove it to be true. Let me tell you how.
A pornography habit is usually born in adolescence for a young man. At that point, it is not a problem. But, after frequent and consistent porn consumption, especially when coupled with masturbation, that young man begins to mis-wire his brain for sex at an early age.
Early Exposure to Porn a Problem
When young men find porn at an early age, it begins to mis-wire the pleasure centers in the brain in an incorrect way. Thus, as porn consumption begins and continues throughout adolescence and early adulthood, the brain of a porn watcher begins to wire itself incorrectly for sex and pleasure. In essence, large amounts of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter, are being dumped into the brain.
This is in response to the coupling of porn watching with masturbation. The two acts together make a double dose of misfiring and wiring in the brain due to coupling. At the same time, DeltaFosB, a protein in the brain that regulates sexual reward responses, has been shown to be overly produced in adolescent men who consume regular porn. This can lead to hypersexuality and continual craving for porn over the young man’s lifetime. Thus, the regular joy of daily life begins to be not enough. How could it compare to the high- level stimulation of porn that is experienced on an ongoing basis?
Pornography + Masturbation = Brain Hard-Wired for Objectified Sex
This concept of neuroplasticity, being groomed in the wrong direction, is why porn mostly becomes so dangerous for men and their families.
Sex is supposed to be relational. When two people are together sexually, they are experiencing each other. Enjoying the act of sex with each other. Pornography wires men’s brains to be the observer and receiver of sex. Most porn videos unfold in the same manner. The dominating man watches a woman, or women, perform sexual acts on and for them. Then in a strange twist, the man does whatever he wants to the woman, usually domineering and for only the man’s pleasure. This is objectified sex where the woman is treated like an object. In relational sex, the partners are being WITH each other. Sensual pleasure is given and received in tandem. Relational sex is very different than objectified sex. Pornography teaches men that objectified sex is the norm and is desirable. Relational sex becomes boring and under-stimulating.
Family Dysfunction and Trauma – Porn a Relief
When young men suffer from early childhood trauma, and they subsequently find porn as a relief, their brains link porn with relief from pain. Studies show that over time, the brain actually produces more neurotransmitters in the brain that acts like an opioid pain reliever, enkephalins, for men who chronically watch pornography.
The Triples AAA’s of Pornography: Accessible, Affordable, Anonymous
Porn has quickly become the easiest escape for people to bunce out of reality. It is accessible, affordable (usually free), and anonymous. This makes it incredibly dangerous.
Tolerance, Escalation, & Withdrawal, Oh My!
With increased exposure to porn, men build tolerance and do not get the same brain effect and feelings that they did from the porn they were watching. This leads to escalation. Now the man needs more time with porn and more graphic porn to achieve the same feeling he used to get from less intense porn. Many times, men don’t even fully realize this is happening to them because of the altered state their brain is in from the porn consumption. This is how men lose so much time in front of porn without realizing it.
When a man feels the need to go back to the porn in the morning, noon, and night it is a sign that the habit is escalating into an addiction. If the man were to not get his porn fix, he would go into withdrawal. This would be experienced for most men as increased anxiety, depression, and anger.
Pornography Makes Its Way into the Bedroom
With increased porn consumption, many times the sex acts seen in the videos, objectified, non-relational sex acts, make their way into the bedroom. The man gets a little too rough with his partner or asks her to perform acts she may not be comfortable with. Unfortunately, many times the partners will engage in sex acts because they believe it will make their man stop watching porn. This strategy does not work. Often times it makes the partner not want to have sex with the man because it has gotten too distorted and the man perceives this as rejection. Further deterioration of the relationship dynamic occurs until neither partner understands what is happening. Neither partner relates it back to porn, but it is the source.
Other times, sex makes its way out of the bedroom altogether as the man prefers masturbation to porn over being with his partner. The sexual relationship between partners becomes nonexistent.
Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED)
Frequent masturbation to porn can make it so that some men, more and more each day, are experiencing porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Of course, many times the man does not associate it with his porn habit. He can’t discern why it is happening. The man is not able to get aroused while engaging in relational sex because it does not offer the artificially heightened stimulation that the images he has been consuming offer.
Men Find Their Partners Less Desirable, Infidelity Goes Up
Science shows that men who watch pornography begin to find their partners less attractive and less desirable. Infidelity increases with porn consumption and relationships deteriorate. If the partner knows about the porn habit, her self-esteem is damaged and the dynamic, especially sexually, can be harmed permanently. Sometimes, the altered brain state that the man achieves allows him to do things he wouldn’t normally do. This can include having affairs, having sex with prostitutes, downloading child porn, and more. Often men find themselves in trouble with the law or in dangerous situations and they don’t even fully understand how they got themselves there. This is scary for everyone involved.
Anger & Irritability Increase with Chronic Porn Use
As a porn habit escalates into an addiction, consequences unravel even further for couples and families. Anger increases and the addict will cycle through stages of porn consumption addiction. Within these stages are times of increased anger and aloofness. This can become confusing for partners of porn addicts and especially for their children.
Reversing the Effects of Pornography Consumption Takes Time
The last danger of pornography is that reversing its effects can be incredibly difficult for men. The longer a man has been consuming porn, the amount and intensity of porn all play a role. The more porn for a longer time and the brain has been hard-wired in to need porn. The road out is simple, but not easy. It is difficult to re-wire the brain for relational sex once it has been hard-wired for objectified sex. Difficult, but not impossible with the right help. That is why I am here.
If you can hear it in my written voice, I have deep sorrow for the men and their families impacted by porn. The problem starts in the brain and ends in the brain. That is why I am here and on a mission. If you or your man struggle with a pornography habit and you want help, I am here for you. Visit my Personal Neuro Coaching page for specific information on my program to help your family recovery for the dangers of pornography.
If you would like to talk with Dr. Trish Leigh to see if working with her is a good fit, schedule a 45-minute consultation HERE.