Cover photo by Seth Doyle. 6 minute read.
If you’re reading this, you have a brain. And if you have a brain, you have reasons to care about porn rewiring it, regardless of what your relationship status is. Also, if you care about ending the demand for sex trafficking, you can care about fighting porn. See how easy it is to stake a claim in this fight for love?

At Fight The New Drug, we aim to educate on the dangers of pornography through facts, scientific research, and personal accounts. Years of credible and peer-reviewed research make one thing abundantly clear: porn is anything but harmless entertainment.

But, while we focus so much on love, sex, and healthy relationships, we know that we have a lot of supporters who haven’t found that special someone yet. So how do you fight against porn and fight for love if all that romantic love stuff doesn’t really apply to you?

Here’s the good news: porn isn’t just an issue for those in romantic relationships, it’s an everyone problem, regardless of relationship status. Porn can strongly affect individuals and their non-romantic relationships, and it is heavily linked to the sex trafficking industry. So even if you’re riding solo, you have reasons to fight against an exploitive industry that’s toxic for our society.

Fight against addiction

Believe it or not, studies show that those who consume pornography more frequently have brains that are less connected, less active, and even smaller in some areas. [1] Whether you’re in a relationship or not, that’s not good news.

To be fair, the studies only show that there’s a correlation between porn consumption and smaller, less active brains, but they raise the question: can porn literally change your brain?

Scientists used to believe that once you finished childhood, your brain lost the ability to grow. [2] They thought that nothing except illness or injury could physically alter an adult brain. Now we know that the brain goes on changing throughout life, [3] constantly rewiring itself and laying down new nerve connections, and that this is particularly true while we’re growing. [4] And that’s even particularly true while the supranormal stimuli of porn is being consumed.

Related: How A Porn Viewer’s Brain Is Changed By What They Watch

Porn happens to be fantastic at forming new, long-lasting pathways in the brain. In fact, porn is such a ferocious competitor that hardly any other activity can compete with it, including sex with a real partner. [5] That’s right, porn can actually overpower the brain’s natural ability to have real sex! Why? As Dr. Norman Doidge, a researcher at Columbia University, explains, porn creates the perfect conditions and triggers the release of the right chemicals to make lasting changes in the brain. [6]

Click here to read more about how porn can change a consumer’s brain.

If you are reading this, then that means that you have a brain, and that brain has the potential to be seriously harmed by pornography. Your brain is a fairly important part of your body, and you don’t want to hinder its effectiveness. Fight against porn, fight against addiction. It’s as simple as that.

The dark reality of porn

Not only is porn harmful to those who watch it, it’s also harmful to those who create it. Many people have no clue that one of the harmful effects of pornography is its inseparable link to prostitution and sex trafficking. Too many are convinced that every person involved in porn is there because they really are the sex-craving gods and goddesses they’re marketed to be. After all, if they didn’t enjoy it, they wouldn’t do it, right?

Unfortunately, the facts show a very different reality.

Countless people, some of them underage, have been abused, drugged, threatened, and coerced into doing porn. The pornography industry works hard to keep up a glamorous image, but behind the camera is a reality of violence, drugs, and human trafficking. With some editing and off-screen coercion, pornographers can make it look like what’s happening onscreen is being enjoyed. All you have to do is read a few stomach-turning personal accounts from ex-porn performers to see what happens when the cameras aren’t rolling.

The truth is, the average porn consumer at home has no way to tell if what they are watching was made illegally or if all parties are there willingly. For that reason, by clicking on porn, consumers support the demand for more men, women, boys and girls to be sexually exploited in the name of making a profit from their pain.

Porn changes how you see people

Regardless of romantic life, we interact with different people each and every day. One of the dangers of porn is that it can distort the way consumers see people, causing them to regard people as a sum of body parts. Porn discards the humanity of people, offering them as products to be consumed instead of people to be loved and known.

Related: Research Finds Softcore Porn Leads To Greater Acceptance of Rape Culture

study by Princeton psychologists showed a group of men pictures of male and females, some barely clothed and some not. During the study, the psychologists monitored their medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is involved in recognizing human faces and distinguishing one person from another. For the most part, the mPFC was activated with each picture. However, when the men viewed the pictures of sexually dressed women, it was not activated. Basically, the automatic reaction in the men’s brains suggests that they didn’t perceive the women as fully human. Just as a body.

When we are shown sexualized images, our bodies are conditioned to ignore the person and just see the body. There is no doubt that this is having a negative effect on individuals, relationships, and society as a whole. Additionally, it could cause problems in the relationships of your own life, like with your family and friends. But, there’s good news: you don’t have to let it.

Why This Matters

The effects of pornography are everywhere; it affects all of us, whether we are in a relationship or not.

Related: Why You Don’t Need To Be In A Relationship To Fight Against Porn

Porn has the potential to alter how our brains work, it supports sexual exploitation, and it promotes objectification.The harms of porn don’t discriminate based on what’s going on in your love life. Whether your relationship status is single or not, you have a reason to fight against the toxic industry in our society. Will you join us?

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What YOU Can Do

Speak out on the harmful effects of pornography and porn culture in society. SHARE this article to add your voice to the conversation and raise awareness on the negative influence of porn.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography and stopping the demand for sexual exploitation. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

Citations

[1] Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience Of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review And Update, Behavioral Sciences, 5(3), 388-433. Doi: 10.3390/Bs5030388; Kuhn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain Structure And Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain On Porn. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 827-834. Doi:10.1001/Jamapsychiatry.2014.93; Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience Of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review And Update, Behavioral Sciences, 5(3), 388-433. Doi: 10.3390/Bs5030388; Wehrum-Osinski, S., Klucken, T, & Rudolf, S. (2015) OR-95: Neuronal And Subjective Responses In Patients With Excessive Pornography Consumption, Journal Of Behavioral Addictions, 4(S1), 42; Arnow, B. A., Et Al. (2002). Brain Activation And Sexual Arousal In Healthy, Heterosexual Males. Brain, 125, 1014-1023. Doi:10.1093/Brain/Awf108. See Also Kuss, D., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). Internet And Gaming Addiction: A Systematic Literature Review Of Neuroimaging Studies, Brain Science, 2(3) 347-374. Doi:10.3390/Brainsci2030347 (Discussing Brain Atrophy Among Persons Addicted To Internet Use.)
[2] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (Xiiv-Xiv) New York: Penguin Books; Kolb, B., Gibb, R., & Robinson, T.E. (2003). Brain Plasticity And Behavior, Current Directions In Psychological Science, 12(1) 1-5.
[3] Pace, S. (2014). Acquiring Tastes Through Online Activity: Neuroplasticity And The Flow Experiences Of Web Users. M/C Journal, 17(1). Retrieved From Http://Journal.Media-Culture.Org.Au/Index.Php/Mcjournal/Article/View/773
[4] Kercel, S.W., (2005). Editorial: The Wide-Ranging Impact Of The Work Of Paul Back-Y-Rita, Journal Of Integrative Neuroscience, 4(4) 403-406; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (Xv) New York: Penguin Books.
[5] Park, B. Y., Et Al. (2016). Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports. Behavioral Sciences, 6, 17. Doi:10.3390/Bs6030017; Volkow, N. D., Koob, G. F., & McLellan, A. T. (2016). Neurobiological Advances From The Brain Disease Model Of Addiction. New England Journal Of Medicine, 374, 363-371. Doi:10.1056/NEJMra1511480; Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M., Hatch, L., & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience Of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review And Update, Behavioral Sciences, 5(3), 388-433. Doi: 10.3390/Bs5030388; Voon, V., Et Al. (2014). Neural Correlates Of Sexual Cue Reactivity In Individuals With And Without Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, PLoS ONE, 9(7), E102419. Doi:10.1371/Journal.Pone.0102419; Hilton, D. L. (2013) Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience And Technology 3. 20767. Doi:10.3402/Snp.V3i0.20767; Wang, Y., Ghezzi, A., Yin, J. C. P., & Atkinson, N. S. (2009). CREB Regulation Of BK Channel Gene Expression Underlies Rapid Drug Tolerance. Gene Brains Behavior, 8(4) 369-376. Doi:10.1111/J.1601-183X.2009.00479.X; Angres, D. H. & Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721.
[6] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (104) New York: Penguin Books. ; [11]Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. (102) New York: Penguin Books.

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