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Does Porn Impact the Brain?

Last Updated: August 4, 2020

Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

“…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 by downloading our free ebook, The Porn Circuit, below.

  • Comments on: Does Porn Impact the Brain?
    1. Felipe on

      Thank you

      Reply

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