Does Porn Impact the Brain?

“…masturbation is the one great habit that is a ‘primary addiction,’ and that the other addictions, for example, alcohol, morphine, tobacco, excessive gambling, etc., only enter into life as a substitute and replacement for it.” – Sigmund Freud

It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to people that using drugs can damage the brain. Studies have shown that those addicted to meth or cocaine show volume loss, or shrinkage, in different areas of the brain—in particular, the frontal control regions.

What neuroscientists are now finding, however, is that process or “natural” addictions work the same way. MRI scans of the brain show similarities between the brains of heavy porn users and drug addicts or alcoholics.

In this video I give a run-down of the hormones and neurotransmitters triggered while watching pornography.

Our brains are wired to be drawn to things that provide natural rewards: things like food or sex. Porn mimics what our brains want to see, triggering surge after surge of dopamine, overriding our natural satiation mechanisms, and causing a buildup of the protein Delta-FosB in the brain’s reward circuit.

This numbs a person’s response to other pleasures (desensitization), makes someone hyper-reactive to porn (sensitization), and leads to a erosion of willpower (hypofrontality).

Learn more in the free book, The Porn Circuit.

DOWNLOAD “THE PORN CIRUIT”