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How Porn Changes a Consumer’s Arousal Template and Sexual Tastes

By December 22, 2017 December 13th, 2018 No Comments

Video games. Triple chocolate cake. Gambling.

You know how they say, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Well, too much of an unhealthy thing is also an unhealthy thing.

We know that pornography can have a negative effect on the consumers’ relationships (you know—like breaking up marriages or causing a partner to feel inadequate), but what about themselves? Is watching pornography harming the way they consume and experience arousal? According to recent studies, the answer is “absolutely.”

Changing Your Templates

An arousal template consists of the “total constellation of thoughts, images, behaviors, sounds, smells, sights, fantasies, and objects that arouse us sexually” according to Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. These templates are developed over time—throughout our childhood, relationships with families, communities we’re involved in, and (of course) the media. It’s in these arousal templates that a person develops a “type,” and while you may believe that your type is set in stone it can, in fact, be changed.

Let’s give you an example.

A typical, healthy person wouldn’t naturally have an interest in violent pornography or bestiality. In fact, what would have once been a “natural” arousal template would have been changed over time as it was desensitized by more and more graphic material (i.e. pornography).

You see, your brain is a hungry organ that takes in what it sees and develops new neuronal pathways in the brain. This is exactly what happens when a person consumes pornographic material. In the beginning, they might just be clicking from page to page in search of the perfect image. But a consumer’s brain gets used to this with repeated exposure, and their brain begins to thirst for more intense graphics to achieve the same “high” effect.

Related: Letter From A Sex Offender: How I Went From Vanilla Porn To Child Porn

Enter hardcore pornography. What would have started as a standard interest in “soft-core” porn can now develop into an interest in hardcore, violent pornography that can even involve animals, or even children. Do you see the issue here? Porn consumption is a behavior that escalates over time.

The problem with saying that pornography is acceptable every “once in a while” is that consuming pornography has a strong tendency to become addictive. Once is never enough, and what might start as a casual form of entertainment can rapidly ramp up into an addiction.

“So, what if I become addicted to pornography? It wouldn’t really take a toll on my life, would it?” Well, we beg to differ because of what research shows.

Restricting Your Relationships

Psychologists use the term “relational anorexia” to describe the behavior they see in individuals struggling with an addiction to pornography.

Relational anorexia, or sexual anorexia, describes a person who compulsively avoids sexual nourishment and intimacy with another person. Much like someone experiencing anorexia with food, a sexual anorexic may refuse all emotional and sensual sustenance in order to keep their feelings at bay. Where sex addicts might “act out” through promiscuity, a sexual anorexic might behave by avoiding the pleasures of relationships, dating, and a genuine connection with others.

How would the consumption of pornography cause someone to develop these behaviors?

Related: Porn Before Puberty: The Warped Sexuality Of This Generation

To the consumer, the familiarity of the computer screen might, in the moment, ease them from their troubles or comfort them in their loneliness. The possibility of being rejected might become too much for them as they retreat into solidarity, restricting their relationships and intimate interactions. After all, pornography won’t turn you down for a date, right? But the thing is, that’s the problem. There’s no personal growth potential in front of the computer screen—only isolation, and fake intimacy.

The problem with this is while the consumer avoids the inevitably hard trials and errors of real relationships, they are also depriving themselves of a genuine connection with another person that is more meaningful than even the “best” porn out there. Regardless of sexual preference or romantic situations, real love is always better and healthier than an infatuation with airbrushed images and synthetic sexuality on a computer screen.

Why This Matters

Pornography promises a false reality of what healthy human interaction and connection is. Relationships between people take time, effort, interest, curiosity, and genuine connection. Porn shows what it thinks you want to see, while escalating it more and more with every click to keep the consumer interested once they’ve grown used to the “norm.”

Related: How The Porn Industry Capitalizes On Loneliness And Depression

This evolves into an unnatural arousal template and desires to see more violent material. And can you see how that’s unhealthy? We sure do, which is why we’re fighting back. Join us, and take up the challenge of fighting for real love in a porn-obsessed world.

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