Your Brain on Porn

Your Brain on Porn Ebook Cover

Watching just 5 hours of porn has been proven to significantly change people's sexual beliefs and attitudes. Find out 5 distinct ways that porn warps your brain, as well as 5 biblical ways to renew your mind and find freedom.

26 thoughts on “Why is Porn Addictive?

  1. One thing about porn: those images never go away whether you continue to look at it or not. What happens when people get into gross porn i.e. Kiddie porn: will people who look at that kind turn INTO CHILD MOLESTERS WHETHER THEY WERE MOLESTED or NOT?….we still have to continue the WAR on porn.

    • @Zipporah – No. Not all men who are into child porn actually molest children, but those who supply the world with child porn are already molesting children. Child pornography is too tame a phrase for it. Really we should call it “crime scene images of child rape.”

  2. This is perfect! Men need to know what they are up against in this fight. It is essentially and fundamentally a drug addiction (depending on how long they have been viewing porn).

    Like any addiction there is much more than just the physiological aspect. The psychological and spiritual pieces need to be addressed as well. But is seems like we tend to over-emphasize these two, to the determent of the ‘chemical’ fight.

    There is a great book that I have found can help understand and counter the ‘chemical’ fight, it’s called Spark and it is written by renowned psychiatrist Dr.John J. Ratey.

  3. Great article. It helped me realize why my wife and I having sex pretty frequently has been so good for our marriage. It has chemically bound us together in ways that wouldn’t have happened if I had taken my needs to porn.

  4. Luke, thank you for this post. I expected long ago that there must be some chemical activities going on when any person looks at porn. That explains why people find it so difficult to leave porn behind them.
    God bless you.
    Herman of bibledifferences.net

  5. Excellent article on what happens in the brain. But what about the heart?

    Is this not, at it’s core, the result of a free choice to engage in sin? At what point do we depart from sin and tell someone it’s a chemical imbalance? When, just maybe, we should depart from the strictly clinical explanations and address the problem where it lies – sin, and the need for repentance and the support of the church community.

    YES – counseling is appropriate and needful, but we should keep the proper perspective even when our sinful choices have resulted in physical affliction.

    Counseling was of little use and subsequent effect in my life until I was sufficiently convicted and brought to repentance.

  6. Anonimo, sorry, but there is a very good reason why “heartache” is called that. Our human souls are located in the brain and heart. Research it.
    That’s one of millions of useful things my God taught me. ;D

  7. When a man stops watching pornography and relys only on their spouse for all sexual experiences, how long does it take for oxytocin and vasopressin releases to then “bind” him to his spouse?

    • Right away. New neural circuits are created and strengthened in each sexual encounter. This does not mean the old neural circuits go away. They still remain, but new ones are formed. Dr. William Struthers likens this to a Grand-Canyon-like gorge that is carved in the mind after years of watching porn: over time the movement of water and wind carved out the Grand Canyon, just like the repeated use of porn carves a rut in our minds. But we can go back up to the “water source,” if you will, and move that stream down the other side of the mountain to carve a new gorge: a.k.a. build intimacy with your spouse. Then the habit just needs to be reinforced with time and repetition. The old ruts in the brain might not lessen to any great degree, but someone can build the habit of choosing the “good rut” over the bad.

    • Great question. Just as sure as these neurochemicals and transmitters are used to draw a man to porn, they are also used to draw a man to a real woman. Using the analogy of the Grand Canyon mentioned in the post: just like all canyons, ruts in the brain have been created by a process of erosion over time. Neural paths have been carved and those are not easily undone. BUT what can happen is NEW paths can be created. NEW habits can be formed to replace old ones.

      You might really enjoy reading our book, The Porn Circuit. The book talks at length about why porn is addictive. Men and women who immerse themselves the plan outlined in this book, with a personal hope for freedom, will begin a process of change that can create within them positive desires, fresh competence, and steadfast willpower. The old mental ruts will remain, but can be ignored for new positive habits.

  8. It is good to see that someone cares enogh to help curb such a problem that really cheapens A person attitude toward sex, I have had an adiction to looking a porn to reassure myself that my small amount of sexual interaction has been a minimal amount , I wish you luck in your fight againsed people poisoning there minds with this rubbish that makes people feel left behind if they don’t or haven’t participated , all crimes whether againsed there own body or for material gain are because people feel they have to cheat , lm not saying I have the answer, because everybody is different and very complex ,I only writing this to maybe help someone seeking advice which there seems to be very little kind regards j.

  9. My partner has an addiction, we have the most amazing friendship, relationship but this sexual desire 24/7 just drives me crazy, its now causing heartache. I try to put the ‘positives’ of our relationship infront of this ugly senario but Im finding it hard to let it pass my mind.
    He takes any opportunity that I turn my back to revert to watching it, literally I jump in the shower, hes watching, i cook tea he watching, we watch it during intercourse too otherwise its not a desired result for him.
    Ive read so many forums, all say it gets harder before it gets easier. Do i really want to succumb to unhappiness and resent with this man I love so much??
    He was an unfaithful husband in his last relationship, it makes me wonder if it was because his ex wife didnt accept his addiction (should we accept it thou is my question) which drove him to seek alternative measures.
    Just reaching out for some extra advice please…..

    • Hi K,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’m curious: have you conversed with your husband much about your feelings? How much does he know about your distain for this?

      You are right to be concerned. His behavior is not only an insult to you, but it is killing his libido. Porn is one of the foremost causes of impotence today. (From a brain-science perspective, what’s happening is your husband is desensitized to other pleasures, even sex, but is hyper-sensitive to porn.) I highly recommend you get a copy of this book (it’s free) and read it. It will help you wrap your mind around your husband’s problem.

  10. Our 15 year old son recently told us he has been looking at porn for the past ten months. He has agreed to only use the Internet when we are around (software is dowoadwd and passwords are changed) I ama biology teacher and found this brain article fascinating, what are your recomendations for a teen who cannot replace this addiction with a wife?

    • Hi Cindy,

      Great question. First, I would urge anyone reading this not to replace porn with a spouse—at least not in the sense where we expect a spouse to live up to our porn expectations. I assume you don’t mean that, of course, but wanted to make sure it was stated explicitly.

      First, from a biological perspective, it is important for anyone who is really hooked on porn to understand that just as sure as the brain can be hijacked by porn, the brain can also return to a more natural state. It is a very plastic organ. This article talks some about how that works and how to rewire your brain.

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