Science agrees! Porn Addiction is real.

Earlier this month I tweeted a quote I found inspiring and interesting. Here is the tweet:

On porn addiction: "The battle is not between the legs, but between the ears". #ItsABrainProblem #StopTheDemnad #FightTheNewDrug #Conqueror
On porn addiction: “The battle is not between the legs, but between the ears”. #ItsABrainProblem #StopTheDemnad #FightTheNewDrug #Conqueror

I thought that was a fairly harmless and non-confrontational tweet. But much to my surprise it attracted the attention of a couple of twitter users who have apparently made it their lives’ goal to defend the porn industry.

Now, why you would want to go around defending men and women having sex on film for money, so that others can watch and pleasure themselves to it is beyond me, but that is beside the point. Here is what one Twitter user had to say in response to my tweet:

Even though @PastorCLShields science has shown "#Pornaddiction" isn't real. #Stopthedemand of #badscience #fightthenewdrug ignorance
Even though @PastorCLShields science has shown “#Pornaddiction” isn’t real. #Stopthedemand of #badscience #fightthenewdrug ignorance

Oh the ignorance of the common troll. My first response is “This guy must be joking” but then I read his twitter user name and display name (redacted for respect of privacy) and found that he really does want to defend the porn industry. So, Mr. Twitter user, let me address your post. Because, as a matter of fact, science has shown that porn addiction is very real, and very serious.

Science has proven that porn effects the brain like a drug

Did you know that porn effects the brain in the same way that cocaine effects the brain? That’s a huge claim to make, and hearing a pastor make that claim may make your eyes roll much like our friend from twitter. So don’t take my word for it, take the word of the Journal of Neuroscience, a peer reviewed scientific journal. The article in question is Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator” (2013, Journal Of Neuroscience 33, 8: 3434-3442). But hey, what do Neuroscientists know?

You know, come to think of it, they may know a lot! In 2002 an MIT neuroscience study concluded that porn users, once addicted, will actually suffer from withdrawal symptoms, just like with drugs! ((2002). The Mind Of An Addicted Brain: Neural Sensitization Of Wanting Versus Liking. In J. T. Cacioppo, G. G. Bernston, R. Adolphs, Et Al. (Eds.) Foundations In Social Neuroscience (Pp. 565–72). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.)

MIT not enough for you? How about a direct quote from Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of Princeton University… while he was addressing the US Senate Committee on the effects of porn use: “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin … usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.” (Satinover, J. (2004). Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation, Subcommittee On Science, Technology, And Space, Hearing On The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction And Effects Of Addiction On Families And Communities, November 18.)

Check out http://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-affects-the-brain-like-a-drug/ for an incredibly well sourced article about how porn effects the brain.

Science has proven that porn changes the brain

Yup, porn actually changes the brain; it physically changes the brain! Porn floods the brain with a chemical called dopamine. Ever wondered where “dope” got its name from? You guessed it, it’s dopamine! Now dopamine can be good in small levels, encouraging us to engage in healthy and happy activities. But when we start overloading our brain with dopamine, as porn does, we start to physically callus the brain to the effects of dopamine, so things that once brought us joy no longer do. But don’t take my word for it, take Science’s word for it!

Many studies have been done that prove porn floods the brain with dopamine, far past healthy levels, in the same way that hardcore drugs do. There are two peer reviewed studies you can look into that were done in 2013 and 2006, both prove the fact that porn release dopamine at crazy high, crazy addictive levels. (Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Georgiadis, J. R. (2006). Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Changes Associated With Clitorally Induced Orgasm In Healthy Women. European Journal Of Neuroscience 24, 11: 3305–3316.)

MIT has something to say about this too. Take a look at pages 565-572 of “The Mind of An Addicted Brain” and read all about how they concluded that a porn users brain physically changes to acclimate to new levels of dopamine, and because of that, normal activities that cause happiness no longer bring joy to the porn user, causing them to seek out more and more and more porn. (The Mind Of An Addicted Brain: Neural Sensitization Of Wanting Versus Liking. In J. T. Cacioppo, G. G. Bernston, R. Adolphs, Et Al. (Eds.) Foundations In Social Neuroscience (Pp. 565–72). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.)

Here’s the crazy part, neuroscientists can see a physical difference in a porn user’s brain just by looking at pictures of the brain itself. It changes the brain that much, again, the same way drugs do. At least that is what Dr. Balerie Voon of the University of Cambridge concluded, but what would she know? She is only a brain scientist who specializes in addiction, impulse control disorders, and obseve compulisive disorder – at one of the world’s most renowned universities non-the-less. (Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014)) Bonus, you don’t have to buy a book to read this one, just click the link!

In fact, there are tons of studies on how porn physically effects the brain, check more out here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/cambridge-university-brain-scans-find-porn-addiction

Science has proven that porn is addictive

Ok, so porn effects the brain and acts just like a drug… but has science actually proven that porn is addictive. Yes, of course it has.

Doctor Norman Doidge is quoted as saying this on the subject: “Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is an addiction, tolerance, and an eventual decrease in pleasure.” (Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 107.)

And Dr. Doidge’s colleagues overwhelmingly agree, porn is addictive and destructive. Neuroscientist Doctor Nestler (MD and PHD), has shown that a build up of iFosB (another chemical in the brain released by viewing pornography) can undoubtedly cause unwanted addiction to viewing more porn. (Nestler, E. J. (2008). Transcriptional Mechanisms Of Addiction: Role Of DeltaFosB. Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363: 3245–56. (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC2607320/))

Dr. Nestler is joined by Dr. Barrot and Dr. Self in proving that iFosB can make irrevocable changes in the brain, in turn, flipping a switch that leaves the porn viewer susceptible to even more addiction. (Nestler, E. J., Barrot, M., And Self, D. W. (2001). DeltaFosB: A Sustained Molecular Switch For Addiction. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences 98, 20: 11042-6.)

Worse yet, teens (almost all teens in America are exposed to porn before 18) are even more susceptible to porn addiction because of the way that teenage brains behave. That’s according to neruoscientists Dr Sturman and Dr. Moghaddam and published in the peer reviewed Journal of Neuroscience. (Sturman, D. And Moghaddam, B. (2011). Reduced Neuronal Inhibition And Coordination Of Adolescent Prefrontal Cortex During Motivated Behavior. The Journal Of Neuroscience 31, 4: 1471-1478.)

This PDF from Fight the New Drug is crazy informative and has HUNDREDS of peer reviewed scientific sources backing up it’s information, check it out!

In Conclusion – Thank You Mr. Twitter User

Mr. Twitter user, I know you were just trolling, I know your account is a troll account. I know you like getting under people’s skin, and I know you like defending your addiction. But I just want to say thank you, you have singlehandedly convinced me to start blogging about porn addiction, the consequences on the brain and on society, and its role in human sex trafficking. Even though you will most likely continue trolling, and ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence that porn is addictive and destructive, you have done good by encouraging me. So, thank you!

If you’re addicted to porn and want help

Finally, if you are addicted to porn and want help, I am here for you. Stop The Demand in Cedar Rapids is here for you. We love you, we understand the addiction is real and we want to help. If you want help please email me at StopTheDemandNow@gmail.com and we can start a conversation about the healing process. Don’t feel bad, you are not alone in this fight! Again, there is help, this can be beat, and we want to help you!

Pastor Christian
Pastor Christian