This Is Your Brain On Porn: 3 Things You Should Know

Late night internet addiction or working late

Porn has been blamed for a number of bad things happening in society today.  But is it getting a bad rap?  What does pornography do or not do to the human brain and is there something we can do about it?  Below we tackle those questions by showing you three things that really happen to the human brain after watching porn.

1. Sexually explicit material triggers mirror neurons in the male brain. These neurons, which are involved with the process for how to mimic a behavior, contain a motor system that correlates to the planning out of a behavior. In the case of pornography, this mirror neuron system triggers the arousal, which leads to sexual tension and a need for an outlet. Experts say, “The unfortunate reality is that when a man acts out (often by masturbating), this leads to hormonal and neurological consequences, which are designed to bind him to the object he is focusing on.” Meaning that is the thing that now turns him on instead of your mate.

2. You may like porn better than the real thing (yikes!). In men, there are five primary chemicals involved in sexual arousal and response. The one that likely plays the most significant role in pornography addiction is dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual, or when a stimuli is more arousing than anticipated. Because erotic imagery triggers more dopamine than sex with a familiar partner, exposure to pornography leads to “arousal addiction” and teaches the brain to prefer the image and become less satisfied with real-life sexual partners.