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“I’m Trying to be Better”: Why Pro Athlete Lamar Odom Says He’s Done Watching Porn

By August 22, 2019 August 28th, 2019 No Comments

Lamar Odom has said he’s given up porn as part of building a healthier lifestyle for himself and his future basketball ambitions.

TMZ Sports caught up with the 39-year-old former NBA star and Sabrina Parr, his personal trainer girlfriend, when they were at LAX earlier this week. Here’s the video of their conversation:

“Lamar, what have you cut back that you really used to love to indulge in?” the reporter asked after Parr explained that Lamar is planning on going back to playing pro basketball and she’s helping him get in shape.

“Candy and porn,” he said. “I’m trying to be better.”

“He was a sex addict,” Parr chimed in. “You can’t watch porn if you’re a sex addict and have a healthy life, you know? Or be with me.”

The couple then explained that he’s gone a month without watching so far, and it’s helped to improve their intimacy as a couple.

After the interview video blew up online, Lamar didn’t shy away from opening up more about it on his Instagram by sharing his friend Eli Nash’s post, even tagging Fight the New Drug in his caption:

View this post on Instagram

 

Posted @withrepost • @eliyahu_nash First time I met @lamarodom, we went for dinner in New York. About an hour into dinner, I stepped away from the table for a brief minute. Lamar got up after and once he had me in private, said “Rosh showed me your talk about porn. So you don’t watch anymore? At all? Is that possible?” I responded affirmatively. After that, Lamar and I had many conversations about porn. Grateful to see this article picked up by @tmz_tv and others. Many people, myself included, find porn to be incredibly destructive. For Lamar to use his platform to share some hope around this is inspiring to say the least. #fightthenewdrug #storiesmatter #hoperemains #micdropmoment

A post shared by Lamar Odom (@lamarodom) on

After his posts gained traction online, we were able to meet up with Lamar in New York and partner with him in some awesome projects. Here he is in Times Square with FTND Podcast Host and Presenter Garrett Jonsson:

Insanely cool, right? We can’t wait to share with the world what we’re creating in partnership with Lamar—stay tuned.

Any time a celebrity speaks up about porn’s harmful effects, countless more people have the opportunity to see what the research is saying. It happened when other public figures—like actor and activist Terry Crews, actor and writer Josh Radnor, Youtuber Chaz Smith, comedian Chris Rock, actor Russell Brand, musician Elaine Bradley, and others—spoke out about the detriments of porn and the benefits of giving it up, and it’s happening right now with Lamar’s announcement.

But what does giving up porn have anything to do with living a healthy lifestyle? Is Lamar onto something? Let’s take a look at the facts.

It’s easy to be fooled

Right off the bat, we want to say that as an anti-porn, pro-love, pro-healthy sex organization, we get it. The porn industry is a marketing machine, careful to package and sell their product as having no adverse side-effects or negative impacts whatsoever on their loyal consumers’ lives. So unless you’re already in the know, why would Lamar or anyone else have a reason to stop and think about the toxic stuff they’re watching when everyone and everything around them says it’s all part of being a sexual human and getting in touch with yourself?

Related: 5 Male Ex-Porn Performers Share Their Brutal Experiences Doing Porn

But just like there’s never been more normalization around porn, there’s also never been more information available on why it’s one of the more toxic habits out there. Here’s what we mean, especially for athletes like Lamar.

Brain Heart World

Healthier in mind

For one thing, the research done on the mental component of athletic success is pretty consistent. Here’s what we mean.

One study analyzed college female volleyball players during practice—experts, non-experts, and novices. Researchers studied these athletes’ ability to self-regulate with 12 measures, including “[goal-setting], planning, strategy use, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, attributions, and adaptation.” The result? Expert players showed higher self-regulatory processing. They even displayed higher levels of interest in playing, self-satisfaction, and belief in their capabilities.

Another study had similar findings with basketball players. Expert players showed increased planning, strategy, reflection, and self-satisfaction than non-experts and novices.

All of these qualities that distinguished expert players from the rest fall under the umbrella of self-regulation. This matters because you aren’t just born with talent or no talent, good self-regulation or bad self-regulation. Your brain’s ability to self-regulate is affected by the choices you make.

Let’s get into a bit of science here. Hang with us—this is important.

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The brain’s role in sports

Self-regulatory functioning is housed in the frontal regions of the brain—namely the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). The PFC acts as a manager of higher-level mental skills such as impulse control, decision making, attentiveness, and reasoning. In essence, this crucial section of the brain right behind the forehead is fundamental to your ability to control, direct, and manage yourself in your daily life. On top of that, the PFC also contributes to your sense of self and purpose, your understanding of how you relate to the world around you.

So really, we could call the PFC your most valuable physical asset. Its health impacts everything—including sports.

Related: Did You Know Male Porn Performers Use Performance-Enhancing Drugs?

As the studies above—and this one, and yet another one, show—the sharpness of an athlete’s self-regulation is highly correlated with his or her performance. The better the self-regulation—so, the healthier the PFC—the more likely someone is to perform on an elite level compared to others. Got it?

To take it one step further, there is recent research suggesting that dopamine, the brain’s reward and pleasure chemical, is linked to athletic performance. Studies show that more elite athletes had significantly stronger dopamine neurotransmitters, helping them to control their emotions and manage their psychological reactions. Another piece to this mental puzzle of athletic success. The brain seems just as critical as the body, doesn’t it?

This is where porn can start to mess things up.

What porn can do to the athlete’s brain

So if athletic performance depends on the proper working of the brain, then athletes should take care of their brains, right? Turns out that watching porn does the opposite. Yet again, take the scientists’ word for it.

In this ground-breaking study in Berlin, neuroscientists Simone Kühn and Jurgen Gallinat found that sections of the brain involved in motivation and reward (remember self-regulation and dopamine?) are smaller in people who watch more porn. Critical parts of the reward circuitry, that mental system that distinguishes elite athletes from the masses, literally contain less gray matter in porn consumers. Here’s a video interview from Truth About Porn where Kühn discusses their findings:


Dr. Kühn was shocked by these results. She explains in the video that “the more porn people watch, the less well the reward region is connected to the prefrontal cortex. Their PFC was less well able to control activity in the reward region.”

The porn consumer group compared to the control group had fewer brain cells in the part of the brain that manages the reward system and dopamine flow, and that section was less well connected to the PFC. Basically, the brain section that makes someone feel good when they score points, make a play, or train well, and therefore pushes them to continue those behaviors, is smaller. Plus, that section isn’t properly communicating with the self-regulation center that helps an athlete determine how and when to direct skill, energy, movement, and decision.

So while there is always a conversation of causation vs. correlation, we have enough science to make us confident of some things.

Related: How A Porn Habit Can Hold Athletes Back From Their Best Performance

And if you’re skeptical of this data, check out the other studies that have replicated these findings.

Consuming porn can trigger so much dopamine release in the reward circuitry that the brain becomes desensitized to it. So that fine-tuned awareness of an amazing athlete—training your body with just the right exercises to help you make the tackles or balance weightlessly in a pirouette—can become fried at worst, and harmed at best.

Get The Facts

The addictive nature of porn hijacks the brain’s reward networks, so that it more readily eases into a state of “flow” while watching porn and begins to crave that erotica-induced flow above other types—like, let’s say, getting “in the zone” to train for your sport. If your brain has to choose between rewarding the effortless “flow” of immediate porn or the “flow” that comes from long hours of hard training and sacrifice in the gym and on the field, where do you think it’s going to send its dopamine?

Porn, like a hard drug, takes control of the brain’s reward system so that it does not properly reward the consumer for eating healthy food or training well. Cue lack of motivation.

Basically, if you train, practice, and push yourself athletically, you’re backtracking on that hard work and progress by watching porn. It’s like running 5 miles and then eating a whole tub of ice cream. Kind of defeats the point, doesn’t it?

Now, it’s your turn

Given all this research, it’s clear Lamar is making the healthiest possible decision by adding porn to the list of toxic influences in his life he wants to steer clear from.

If you’re an athlete—and even if you’re not—consider joining him. Time after time, facts show how porn holds people back—a temporary thrill for long-term risk. Is porn worth it? Because of what the science and research say, it clearly isn’t.

You are capable of worthwhile and real pursuits, real effort, real success. Leave the mental junk food behind and go after your dreams, just like Lamar.

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