Watching Porn Rewires The Brain To A More Juvenile State, Neuroscientist Claims

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Watching Porn Rewires The Brain To A More Juvenile State, Neuroscientist ClaimsPixabay

For many people, the last thing they think about while watching porn is the effect the explicit images are having on their brain.

However, new research could make you feel a little uneasy next time you shut the curtains and fire up the ol’ laptop.

According to findings from the neuroscience department of Canada’s Université Laval, there is evidence to suggest porn actually erodes the prefrontal cortex, a brain region which only fully develops in adulthood; turning your brain’s clock back to a more juvenile state.

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Neuroscience PhD student and researcher at Canada’s Université Laval, Rachel Anne Barr, studies how porn consumption affects learning and memory. And her findings may well result in a few gulps amongst enthusiastic porn connoisseurs.

According to Barr, porn could lead to users struggling to deal with with their emotions and impulses, with this potentially resulting in compulsive behaviour and poor decision making.

Writing about her research in The Conversation, Barr said:

It’s somewhat paradoxical that adult entertainment may revert our brain wiring to a more juvenile state,

The much greater irony is that while porn promises to satisfy and provide sexual gratification, it delivers the opposite.

She continued:

Science is only just beginning to reveal the neurological repercussions of porn consumption.

It is already clear that the mental health and sex lives of its widespread audience are suffering catastrophic effects,

From depression to erectile dysfunction, porn appears to be hijacking our neural wiring with dire consequences.

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As explained by Barr, some scientists have noted comparisons with substance abuse, with ‘habituated porn users’ turning to porn rather than their own partners when the horn strikes.

In a similar way to addictive substances, pornographic scenes are said to be ‘hyper-stimulating triggers’ which can result in abnormally high levels of dopamine secretion.

The dopamine reward system is damaged as a result of this rewiring, rending it unresponsive to offline sources of pleasure.

Sadly, such users can begin to experience problems when it comes to getting aroused with a IRL partner, having become reconfigured to anticipate the quick fix bursts of dopamine associated with porn.

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Interestingly, Barr’s study found habitual porn users may well feel as if they want and need more porn, even if they don’t actually enjoy it, which Barr describes as ‘a hallmark feature of reward circuitry dysregulation’.

And this desensitisation can have serious effects. Barr has warned changes in the way dopamine is transmitted can bring about depression and anxiety, with porn users reporting poorer mental health compared with those who don’t consume porn.

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