How Porn Impacts Your Physical and Mental Health


by Dann Aungst – Road to Purity

While some form of pornography has been around since the beginning of time, any significant change didn’t happen until the introduction of Playboy magazine in 1953 and shortly followed by the sexual revolution in the 1960’s.  A short few decades later with the internet and connection speeds that allowed streaming video, porn sites began to quickly pop up. One of the biggest ones even hit over 1 million viewers per day within seven months of its launch. This same site now sees an average of 120-150 million visitors each and every day. No product in history has ever reached this kind of popularity in any amount of time.

How did this happen and why?

While there is mountains of research and medical journals that support this fact, the simple straight forward answer is that porn is one of, if not the most addictive behavior or substance around today. And like most addictive phenomenon, pornography is devastating to our health, our general well-being, our relationships and our spirituality.

But sex is natural, so why is porn so bad?

Sex is designed by God (yes, I brought religion into it, but that’s the foundation of our existence whether you agree or not) to be between two people of the opposite sex for the purpose of bonding and babies. To encourage both of these realities, sex is designed to be intensely pleasurable.  However, sex between two people is intended to be private and intimate. Making this special act available to be witnessed by a third party is an offence against chastity and perverts the conjugal act or the intimate giving of spouses to each other.  

The real issue is the act of taking something as natural but powerful as sex, and then perverting and consuming it in a manner in which It is not intended. What happens when we take a behavior or use an item created for a specific purpose and then misuse it? Think about this. Do the dishes, then take the silverware and put in the microwave to dry off. What happens? It blows up! An Extreme example of using something as its not intended. Porn is this extreme example.

So, what happens when you consume porn?

You already know the religious argument, so I won’t bore you with that.

What else?

Here are the top 10 side effects or porn use:

1. Addictive. When a sexual act is engaged in, the brain releases dopamine (among many others) which stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. This makes sex enjoyable with your spouse and creates a desire to continue, often creating babies and expanding mankind. Porn however, overstimulates the brain thus causing it to release too much dopamine.  This, while intensely enjoyable, causes receptors in the brain to shut down due to being overloaded. The result, you need more of the stimulus, more frequently and more intense experience to achieve the same initial experience. The brain begins to crave this experience – like a hard drug. Hence addiction.

2. Decreased enjoyment of everyday life. A normal dopamine experience in the brain is what creates our average enjoyable or pleasant experiences in everyday life. However, the over stimulation of the dopamine receptors from porn, results in the brain shutting many of these receptors down This impacts many regular life activities by making them perceived as not as enjoyable as they once were. Most things in life become dulled or subdued. Happiness can seem unattainable.

3. Depression. Unfortunately, this reduced enjoyment of life, commonly leaves a person to feel subdued or feeling flat without emotion. The real problem becomes when the user realizes that the only thing that makes them happy (by overstimulating the dopamine receptors) is porn, resulting in an even deeper addiction. This results in a reduced self-worth system which can sometimes have devastating results.

4. Anxiety. When the only thing that creates enjoyment is an activity (porn) that overstimulates the dopamine receptors, anxiety sets in when the dopamine is low. Kind like a junkie having withdrawal symptoms. 

5. ADHD symptoms. The average time spent looking at a porn scene is 18 seconds. Then the user is bored and moves on to the next scene. This behavior trains the brain to constantly need everchanging stimulus. This inability to stay with one scene results in the need to constantly change activities. This need to change behavior patterns result from experiencing quick boredom, and creates an inability to focus on simple tasks for an extended period of time. Real life examples are revealed in adolescents who start having difficulty in school because they can’t pay attention, or with adults who have difficult at work for the same reason.

6. Reduced I.Q. The same consequences that created the ADHD symptoms and the difficulty in focus and concentration also reveal themselves in a reduced I.Q. Scattered or unfocused brains will test lower in I.Q. exams.

7. Aggressive or violent behavior tendencies. Because of the overloaded dopamine receptors, the need or craving for more frequent and more intense experiences, especially in the sexual arena can lead to the desire for violent stimulus. Most commonly these tendencies reveal them in sexual tastes but also can show up in general everyday behavior. Extreme cases are revealed in the growth of sexual violence behaviors. New aggressive sexual tendencies will commonly show up in the bedroom.

8. Relationship troubles. Recall earlier the statement of sex is for bonding and babies. When we look at porn, our brains are unable to bond to the screen or inanimate object we are looking at for sexual arousal. This is another one of those “what happens when you use something as it is not intended” scenarios. Fact is, when we consistently have sexual arousal and orgasms without a real person, we begin to train our brain to see people as inanimate objects. Especially our spouses. Trust me, women can tell if you are connecting with them or are using them as an object in the bedroom. In general, we begin to have difficulty connecting to other people because our brains see them as objects, not people.

9. Objectification of Women. Part of the objectification comes from the brain being trained to see them in this fashion (as stated in #8). The other part comes from the behavior of using another person for their own enjoyment. Regular porn consumption develops a personality trait of seeing others (not just sexual partners) as objects and leaves us with a tendency to use others for ourselves. This inability to properly connect with others also leads to isolation.

10 E.D. (Erectile Dysfunction). The act of consistently overstimulating the dopamine receptors of the brain, and the ADHD training of the brain especially in sexual situations along with the act of training the brain that the stimulation from masturbation is the way to achieve an erection and release, ultimately trains the brain to “prefer” porn over a real woman. When a man gets in the bedroom, first challenge is that the brain quickly gets bored with the woman and says, “what’s next?”. Then during intercourse, the brain says, “this doesn’t feel like what I’m used to for sex”. When both of these events happen, the erection is diminished or lost completely, resulting in erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, consistent porn use frequently results in a person with deep selfish and narcissistic behavior tendencies.

Can all of this be fixed?

Yes. For complete and lasting recovery, a person must address four areas of the addiction. Behavioral, Spiritual, Emotional and Chemical. Addressing these areas is beyond the scope of this article but excellent resources for addressing and healing an addiction can be found at www.RoadToPurity.com.

One free program that is offered by Road to Purity is 40 Days to Freedom – Online. If you use access code ‘RTP403‘ at https://40days.roadtopurity.com and click ‘sign up’, the usual $50 fee will be waived.

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