Portions of this post were originally published here.


What happens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat? First, you see a frenzy of mating. Then, progressively, the male tires of that particular female. Even if she wants more, he has had enough. But replace the original female with a fresh one, and the male immediately revives and gallantly struggles to mate with her. You can repeat this process with fresh females until he is completely wiped out.

In science, this is called the Coolidge Effect—the automatic response to “new mates.” It’s what probably started, and continued, countless viewers on the road to compulsive internet porn use.

In the last couple of years, studies have been showing an increase in sexual problems among young males. While the numbers vary, a 2007 study of the American Journal of Medicine showed that this affects more than 18 million men in the United States over the age of 20. One of the factors has been attributed to the widespread exposure to internet porn.

So what happens?

The internet is like an infinite stream of body parts, a place where we can see more ‘super hot’ men and women in a time span of 10 minutes than our ancestors could in multiple lifetimes. Turns out, the Coolidge Effect is no longer the exception, but the rule starting at the ripe age of 10 years old for some viewers.

At the start of watching porn, it can easily suffice to watch one non-moving image and be able to get aroused. But due to the novelty effect, after years of consistent consumption, this won’t cut it anymore. The same pornographic material won’t excite to the same degree, and viewers often feel compelled to explore novel endeavors that take a twisted, shocking turn that they never could have expected.

This has far more negative effects on the psychological and relational health of the viewer than society and the porn industry would have you believe.

Here are a few neurological effects of saturating your brain with hardcore pornographic images:

  1. Desensitization: The more porn a viewer watches, the more they’ll need to reach the same amounts of dopamine release.
  2. Sensitization: The more porn watched, the more associations with porn that will be made when facing stimuli which can induce these thoughts. In other words, you will start making associations with watching porn due to the rewired nerve connections in the brain.
  3. HypofrontalityReduced impulse control and weakened ability to foresee consequences. The more porn you watch, the more difficult it will be to refrain from watching it and the less you will care about the consequences.

And these are just a few of the many brain changes the brain undergoes under the influence of an a compulsive porn use problem. The research is still new, but the effects are becoming more and more undeniable. All this in addition to arousal and erectile issues in real life sexual encounters—yikes.

So what? Why should I stop watching porn?

Not only can porn cause turmoil in a viewer’s brain as well as in the bedroom, studies have shown that even casual viewing of porn can cause the viewer to feel less attracted to their partner. [1] And when a person frequently watches pornography, they’re far more likely to feel less satisfied with their partner’s looks, sexual performance, and willingness to try new sexual acts. [2] The research has spoken.

Why all the sudden disappointment with one’s partner? It’s likely due to the fact that porn promotes a completely fictional version of how people look and behave, and makes it look like an exciting reality—one that their partners often feel they can never live up to. [3] Given that the women depicted in porn are surgically enhanced, air-brushed, photoshopped, and exaggerating their behavior[4] it’s not hard to see why, according to a national poll, that only one in every seven women doesn’t think that porn has raised men’s expectations of how women should look. [5] And it’s no mystery that love can’t really develop in a relationship where one partner feels like the other isn’t really attracted to them.

As you can see, porn kills love isn’t just a slogan, it’s a fact that’s backed by an ever-growing field of research on the real harms of porn. Porn can hurt the mental and sexual health of viewers, and it reinforces the Coolidge Effect by training the viewer to constantly seek novelty instead of committing to a partner. Fight the New Drug is all about fighting for real love and rejecting its hollow counterfeit: porn. We know from the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who contact us to share their story that a porn-free life is the best life.

Porn may seem like an awkward topic, but it’s one we have to be bold and shine a light on. Pornography is robbing people of sexual health, meaningful relationships and genuine happiness. By taking a stand and fighting for real relationships, we are not only bettering our own lives, we are bettering our world as a whole.

FTND_Id-Rather-Love-One_v2

What YOU Can Do

Spread the word that porn kills love and add your voice to this important movement. SHARE this article and raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography.

Citations

 [1] Bridges, A. J. (2010). Pornography’s Effect On Interpersonal Relationships. In J. Stoner And D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 89-110). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Bergner, R. And Bridges, A. J. (2002). The Significance Of Heavy Pornography Involvement For Romantic Partners: Research And Clinical Implications. Sex And Marital Therapy 28, 3: 193–206.
[2] Zillmann, D. And Bryant, J. (1988). Pornography’s Impact On Sexual Satisfaction. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology 18, 5: 438–53.
[3] Bergner, R. And Bridges, A. J. (2002). The Significance Of Heavy Pornography Involvement For Romantic Partners: Research And Clinical Implications. Sex And Marital Therapy 28, 3: 193–206; Senn, C. Y. (1993). Women’s Multiple Perspectives And Experiences With Pornography. Psychology Of Women Quarterly 17, 3: 319041.
[4] Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 3, 20767; Paul, Pamela. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Holt And Co., 145.
[5] Paul, P. (2010). From Pornography To Porno To Porn: How Porn Became The Norm. In J. Stoner And D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 3–20). Princeton, N.J.: Witherspoon Institute.

Send this to a friend