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JUNK FOOD OF PORN

Written by:Irene
Published on November 3rd, 2014 @ 04:25:00 am , using 1975 words
JUNK FOOD OF PORN

Gambling, drug-addiction, compulsive investing - and watching porn. What all those things may have in common? Not so long ago neuroscientists figured out a common thread does exist. Such activities all rely on brain circuits evolved to assist primates (you and me, so to speak!) to gain assets vital to their very existence and survival: food and sex. Brain systems detecting and evaluating such rewards as sudden investment incomes and sexual pleasures operate completely outside of conscious awareness. Means - humans are much closer to zombies they pretend not to have anything in common with. Chemistry. Pure and clean - biochemistry rules that field of sub-conscious.

More than 90% of what people are doing on a day-by-day basis has been carried out by an automatic, sub-conscious structure, built to assist us to survive. Simple animals use these so-called circuits to choose what to ignore and what to attend, what is worth to learn about - and what not. We, the humans, use the same circuits for more complicated reasons. For instance, we decide eat - or not to eat chocolate. To gamble - or not to gamble. Smoke - or not to smoke grass. And, of course - watch or not to watch porn.

So far - so good. But - is the last activity as addictive as all others? Our brains are built of tiny chemicals called neurotransmitters. They drive our emotions, feelings - therefore, our behavior as well. Scientists think the mind - as an electrical activity - resides inside the physical brain (based on chemical reactions and physical body). Of course, there must be a constant interplay - so to speak - between both parts, and each has an influence on another. Addiction occurs if and when the physical brain would decide to take a control over an entire couple - and over the mind therefore.

Chemicals-of-pleasure, dopamine and oxytocin - the last one playing also the function of bonding, creating a powerful emotional bond inside a couple involved in a normal, real-life sexual activity. Unfortunately, will be released and without a partner, during masturbation - and will be left feeling alone, depressed and confused - despite the dopamine-rush.

Above all this - when a porn is viewed - an entire cocktail of pleasure chemicals has been released into the system, and, of course, it completely changes the way our brain functions. Dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin inevitably bind the brain to seek certain behaviors able to reproduce the same state of feelings - again, and again, and again. Porn-user will begin to lose control more and more - at the biochemical level.

There is a scientific evidence strongly supporting a chemical basis for all addictions - they all are caused by a deficit of dopamine inside the reward system. Such deficit may be compensated and facilitated by viewing porn too. Porn-user disrupts his regular and though, natural, dopamine-production, and re-tunes his internal mechanisms. Such deficit can easily produce a very powerful craving, underlying all addictions. Driving force behind this obsession may practically disconnect the pre-frontal rational brain, and drive the porn-user to the lives-destroying behavior. The part of the brain able to brake this activity begins to malfunction, shrinks, and looses the strength to restrain an unwanted behavior.

So, let me make it all-clear. You think, obsession with porn is due to a character defect? Think again: a porn is more challenging for men then for women - and the higher sexual arousal generally experienced by men when viewing erotica may be related to the functional gender difference found with respect to the hypothalamus, a part of the reward-circuits of the brain, responsible for the overall integration of the mind and body. Male monkeys will "to pay" for viewing females' genitals. Men are pretty much the same, I guess - today's over-flood of porn images all over the internet, cable TV, magazines and so on specifically targets young socially active men. Their brains have never had to contend with such a massive attack - strategically calculated this exact vulnerable part of a male brain. As of now, you all - as a porn-consumers - are a bunch of laboratory guinea pigs, used in a giant experiment. Potentially, porn-addiction goes well-beyond of the issue of character these days. It affects males more than females. Once addicted, character alone, with all those terabytes of porn stored in his hard-drive, will not be able to turn the situation around.

OK, but maybe, there is no scientific evidence that porn is addictive? Well, there is much circumstantial evidence that points to porn’s addictiveness, and much science that indirectly explains why it would be. The fact that not everyone who uses porn uses it to a point where it interferes with his life doesn’t prove it cannot cause addiction. Not everyone who uses alcohol becomes an alcoholic, yet alcohol is unquestionably potentially addictive. The point is that wherever one steps onto the “porn slope,” it is a slope, and it has the potential to lure one into a mighty addiction. Gambling can clearly become an addiction, and it doesn't involve ingesting a substance. So can porn, and for the same neurochemical reason. Any addiction is a learned behavior that activates the reward circuitry of the brain (much of which is located in the limbic system). There certain behaviors and substances stimulate the production of dopamine, the craving neurochemical.

I think there is a correlation between porn viewing and erectile dysfunction. I am sure that if a study were actually done with honest men, we would see significant results. This is the type of issue people don't talk about. However, I think the porn industry is causing a huge problem in relationships and society in general. The porn industry takes advantage of the uninformed public by charging for the porn. Then the pharmaceutical companies sell us drugs to treat the side effects.

Interestingly, the Chinese Taoists noticed long ago that orgasm is potentially addictive. They believed it depleted one's physical reserves while having the opposite effect on sexual desire. It is likely that from a brain-design perspective, porn is potentially an even more addictive activity than gambling. Dutch scientist Holstege used brain imaging to view the effects of ejaculation on the brain and discovered that the brain images were reminiscent of brain scans of those shooting heroin. His conclusion? We’re all sex addicts. It is only when we can successfully harness the more analytical part of the brain that we can control our sexual desire. Alas, porn producers see it as their job to insure that a porn user does not engage the analytical part of his brain. One way they do this is to use imagery that raises testosterone levels in the viewer. Testosterone tends to make one more lustful (testosterone raises dopamine, the craving neurochemical), more irascible, and less fully in control.

Porn images naturally raise testosterone, but domination themes increase it even more – perhaps because males are “rewarded” for striving for the alpha male position in a tribe, troop, or other group. Whatever the reason, the result is that domination themes in porn are as calculated as lacing cigarettes with extra nicotine; they make porn more addictive. (So are "risky" or "shocking" themes like anal sex and underage encounters. Both register as "super-stimulation" because of their shock value.)

In a 2006 study men released markedly more dopamine than women in response to amphetamine. This helps explain why stimulating activities such as watching sports, off-track betting and violent porn hook men so easily. It seems that evolution favored selection of the genes that encourage men to pursue things. Once upon a time those things were primarily game, status, territory and mates. Today's pursuits include ever-present “opportunities” such as video games, betting, porn-induced orgasms. Men are programmed to pursue something. If they aren’t out on the savanna, they will seek stimulation elsewhere. The traits that served our ancestors are now creating distorted outcomes, such as corporate greed (think of Rupert Murdoch) and invading Iraq.

Well. But may be those, who suggest porn is harmful - are all anti-sex, and perhaps, some religious extremists? You know, Born-Again, and so on?

Have to admit - I am not a Born-Again Christian, nor a Muslim-Fundamentalist I am. Also - I am most certainly, NOT ANTI-SEX!. However, let me make an example: when a kid wants to eat chocolate ONLY, and his mom says "That's really bad idea, dear!" - would you consider that lady an anti-food, or at least - an anti-chocolate? Porn is like a junk food. It can easily promote unhealthy isolation or shallow, risky relationships. It therefore interferes with relationships that have the greatest potential to nourish us. In this respect porn itself is anti-sex, even if it is pro-orgasm. Moreover, like junk food, porn can give rise to an unruly addiction. No one should be made to feel guilty for being attracted to Twinkies or porn. Both foods with high fat and sugar and sexual stimulation are predictable cravings, given the way our brains evolved over millions of years. Yet both have the potential to become unhealthy addictions because of the vulnerability of the reward circuitry of the brain. In short, both urges call for careful management, with regular, balanced nourishment, and an avoidance of substances and activities that over-stimulate the reward circuitry of the brain. Neither urge should frivolously be labeled "harmless."

People who claim that those who are anti-porn are anti-sex appear to be locked into a “feast or famine” mentality where sex is concerned. In effect they are saying that others don’t like sex unless they also approve of the extreme behaviors strategically marketed to porn users. This point of view may simply be evidence of “addict-think.” An addict believes he must choose between “pain of withdrawal,” which a porn addict understandably projects outward and sees as unwarranted sexual repression, or “the relief of indulgence,” which he equates with unrestrained expression of his addiction. Those locked in the cycle have forgotten what equilibrium feels like, and with the help of the media's widespread tacit approval of porn use, their numbers grow daily. The porn industry is similar to the tobacco industry - driven by the addictions of its users. This demand, which both industries do everything in their power to increase, makes it hard to curb porn production.

Delving into porn is not unlike hopping into a car without brakes. Yet, the porn user will not perceive his danger, because the primitive part of his brain will sound out a loud, unconditional “Go for it!” every time. Because such gut feelings arise at a subconscious level and humans are used to relying on them to make countless daily decisions, the porn user will be sure his urges reflect his will. Sadly, he may one day find that his will is no longer under his command, and that he is using porn to self-medicate - that is, to ease the misery of the withdrawal phase of the addiction cycle. At that point, he is hooked.

Sex can be managed by making love frequently, but with the emphasis on giving and relaxation, while avoiding pursuit of orgasm. Gradually, this practice allows lovers to slip out of the addictive cycle of high and low dopamine that is inherent sexual gratification. Porn users may seem an unlikely group to apply these principles.

What's my point then? SIMPLE! MAKE LOVE! GET LIFE! BE REAL! And DO NOT USE MUCH PORN, OK? Do you hear me, my dear? Here I come... Kill your laptop then! I KNOW WHAT ARE YOU UP TO THERE!!!! S-T-O-P IT!!! Go - and get ME!

P.S. I must thank Dr. A-n. D.-A. - for explaining to me facts on which I based this article. Also, I have to admit, I did use some scientific articles; and though, I have to apologize for boring all of you to almost certain death. Do not worry - next blog will be about ... How it all started - an interview with the guys who stood at the very beginning of MET-ART! Follow my blog, please!!! Thank you for reading!

Location: New York, United States

3 comments

Comment from: charlestenglish  

Wow, this was extremely well researched, and an interesting read. Porn is all around us, daily, and it would be easy to get hooked on it, if you’re not careful. Another blog that’s worth the read, Irene. Thanks for letting me be in your group of readers. You amaze me, once again !

11/03/14 @ 13:22
Comment from: ttyler5  
ttyler5

"I think there is a correlation between porn viewing and erectile dysfunction. "

This is well-known in the industry itself, years ago just after the US Supreme Court basically legalized porn, there were many articles in the "mainstream" press about "the porn industry" which focused in on "the new type of stars".

One of the recurrent themes was the inability of men who had performed in the industry to "get it up" after a while.

Certainly, this would also affect porn addicts.

11/22/14 @ 09:50
Comment from: ttyler5  
ttyler5

PS: This is ANYTHING but boring! Great story, well-written, packed with facts and information as well as intelligence from the writer!

11/22/14 @ 09:56

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