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Porn Users Have Smaller Brains

Last Updated: June 23, 2014

According to a new German study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, there is a significant correlation between higher consumption of porn and a lower amount of grey matter in your brain.

It isn’t clear from the study if one phenomenon causes the other. Are those born with smaller brains more drawn to porn? Does porn cause the shrinkage? Are both caused by some yet unknown issue? While neuroscientists are unsure, others are connecting the dots from what they know to be true about the brain: any repetitive activity, especially ones that are highly stimulating, cause brain changes.

Porn Users Have Smaller Brains

A Matter of Size

Researchers found that the forebrain structure called the striatum was smaller among participants who consumed more . This region of the brain is associated with motivating behavior through rewards.

Study co-author Simone Kühn says, “Since the striatum is part of the brain network that is known to respond to sexual cues, one can assume that this reflects a blunting of the reaction to erotic stimuli.” In other words, heavy porn users are more likely to be desensitized to real-life sex.

Also, the study showed that the connection between the striatum and prefrontal cortex worsened as more porn was consumed.

The prefrontal cortex is the region of the brain associated with decision making and willpower. This means that heavy porn users are also more likely to have a compulsive relationship with porn.

The Science of Quitting Porn

This study joins a host of other studies that show correlations between viewing porn and sub-par brain functionality. As we grow in our understanding of the hormones and neurotransmitters involved in sexual stimulation, the more we understand why so many are saying that porn has become their “addiction.”

The good news is that the brain is a plastic organ—that is, it changes over time. How can a man or woman strengthen these shrunken and malformed regions of the brain? Through the development of good, healthy habits.

In The Porn Circuit, Sam Black writes that our new habits that replace porn should be naturally rewarding: an entertaining and engaging hobby, physical exercise, meditation. Yes, one still needs to rid his or her life of the potentially tempting sources of porn, but ultimately this old habit must be replaced with new ones.

Learn more about what science says about porn addiction.

  1. Kyle Willoughby

    what special promotions do you have on subscriptions to filters?

    • Lisa Eldred

      Assuming you want to protect more than one person, our best deal is to sign up for a Family Account for $13.99/mo., which gives you usernames for everyone in your home. That means everyone gets Internet Accountability (the reporting side of our service), and you can add Filtering (the blocking side) to any user for free. I won’t go too deeply into our price breakdown, but if you used our pay-per-service model, if you wanted to protect four people (two with Accountability and two with Accountability and Filtering), your cost would be $18.99/mo., but with a family account you get the exact same services for $13.99/mo.

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