How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life

Always young. Always beautiful. Always new. Porn keeps dopamine surging in the brain. But at what point does chronic stimulation become chronic dissatisfaction?

If you’re married and using Internet porn regularly, your sex life—the one with your wife—is probably a lot less satisfying than it could be.

You probably know that from an evolutionary standpoint, a man is rewarded for spreading his seed. But your wedding vows have an evolutionary purpose, too: they increase the chances that your joint offspring will have two caregivers, thus improving the odds that your genes will survive.

Internet porn, it turns out, messes with both these instincts. The endless variety and overstimulation may initially help you get more excited during sex, but over time it has the opposite effect: porn can dull your ability to please, and be pleased by, your partner.

When free, streaming porn became available, psychiatrist Norman Doidge, in The Brain That Changes Itself, noticed something unsettling among his porn-using patients:

They reported increasing difficulty in being turned on by their actual sexual partners, spouses, or girlfriends, though they still considered them objectively attractive. When I asked if this phenomenon had any relationship to viewing pornography, they answered that it initially helped them get more excited during sex but over time had the opposite effect.

Today’s porn can dampen your sexual responsiveness to your partner by over-activating three brain mechanisms. First, an ancient biological program in the brain overrides natural satiety when there are lots of mates begging to be sexed. Your brain perceives each new individual on your screen as a valuable genetic opportunity. Second, too much stimulation can numb the pleasure response of the brain for a time, pumping up cravings for more novel stimuli. Therefore, a familiar mate—your spouse—appears less and less enticing. And finally, too much stimulation of the brain’s sex and mating circuitry obstructs the mammalian instinct toward monogamy.

The result? Indifference.

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Meet the Coolidge Effect (or, What You Have in Common With an Oversexed Rat)

Consider what happens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat. First, there’s a sexual frenzy. Half a dozen copulations later, the fireworks fizzle. Even if she wants more, he’s not interested. His brain chemistry whispers, “Roll over and snore.” However, if a new female shows up, his exhaustion will miraculously fade long enough for him to gallantly attempt his fertilization duties. You can repeat this process with fresh females until the male nearly dies of exhaustion.

His renewable virility is not indicative of an insatiable libido. Nor does it increase his wellbeing—although it may look (and temporarily feel to him) that way. He goes after each new female because of surges of dopamine in his brain. They command him to leave no willing female unfertilized.

 

Scientists know this biological program as the Coolidge Effect.

Dopamine, the “gotta get it!” neurochemical behind all motivation, is central. Without it we wouldn’t bother to court, pursue climax, or even eat. When dopamine drops, so does motivation.

The more the rat copulates with the same female, the less dopamine he gets for his efforts—until he heads for the recliner, toting the remote.

Consider this graph. The fifth time a rat copulates with the same female, it takes him 17 minutes to get off. But if he keeps switching to novel females, he can do his duty in less than two minutes, five times in a row.

 

Unlike rats, humans are pair bonders. We’re wired, on average, to raise offspring together. But that doesn’t mean the Coolidge Effect isn’t strong in us, too. One man said,

I watched a documentary on guys with extremely expensive “love dolls.” One guy had so many that he was running out of room in his home. Even though these were dolls, he had already started to see them as girls he had spent enough time with. Probably why guys collect so much porn. I thought I was amassing some wonderful database of pleasure. But I can’t remember ever actually going back. The compelling part is the new image, the novel image … the novel love doll.

The uniqueness of Internet porn can goad a user relentlessly, as it possesses all the elements that keep dopamine surging. The excitement of the hunt for the perfect image releases dopamine. Moreover, there’s always something new, always something kinkier. Dopamine is released when something is more arousing than anticipated, causing nerve cells to fire like crazy.

In contrast, sex with your spouse is not always better than expected. Nor does it offer endless variety. This can cause problems because a primitive part of your brain assumes quantity of dopamine equals value of activity, even when it doesn’t.

Indeed, porn’s dopamine fireworks can produce a drug-like high that is more compelling than sex with a familiar mate. In a Playboy interview last year, musician John Mayer admitted he’d rather jerk off to images than have sex. He explained,

Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation’s expectations. How could you be constantly synthesizing an orgasm [with a person] based on dozens of shots? You’re looking for the one … out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don’t finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and continue your shot hunt and continue to make yourself late for work. How does that not affect the psychology of having a relationship with somebody? It’s got to.

 

Mayer is slave to the Coolidge Effect. His brain lashes him with dopamine each time he clicks to a novel “mate.” Keep in mind that dopamine is the hook in all addictions.

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Why Isn’t My Spouse Doing It for Me?

Why does your beloved start to look to you like cold oatmeal, even if others see her as homemade pumpkin pie? One factor may be the degree of abnormal stimulation of Internet porn.

Too much stimulation can actually numb the pleasure response of your brain, producing a variety of symptoms. We know this from recent research on gamblers, overeaters, and, of course, drug users. The brain starts to respond more weakly to whatever dopamine is around—such as that produced by your spouse’s “Honey, it’s date night.”

Dopamine is the gas for your desire engine. Blunted sensitivity means that even if you have plenty of gas, your V-8 is only running on four cylinders. Your numbed brain simply doesn’t respond to her as it did before.

Lack of desire was a factor in the failure of my marriage, and the failure of a relationship subsequent to that. I am in my late 30s, have used porn heavily since my teens, and have blamed my problems on partners (“I’m just not attracted to you,” “I wish you were more responsive”), the newness of partners (“I need to give my body time to catch up to my brain,” “I need to get over my ex”), fitness levels, diet, age, stress, performance anxiety …

Like a lot of men, I went to a doctor, got a physical that ruled out any serious medical conditions, and got Viagra. Once my marriage failed and I was single again, porn use went into overdrive—at least once a day and often two or three times. But when I realized I could no longer even masturbate to orgasm without porn, something clicked. Cause and effect seem blindingly obvious now, of course.

I’m with a new partner to whom I am very attracted and with whom I am very comfortable sexually—but I still cannot perform. Thankfully she is open to frank discussions about this stuff.

Ironically, even if sex with your spouse isn’t calling to you, you may feel intense cravings for something hyperstimulating (novel, risky). You keep slamming down that dopamine accelerator because your brain desperately wants to feel good again. As comedian Bill Maher once observed, that’s what led Hugh Grant, who had Elizabeth Hurley at home, to end up with “Marvin Hagler in a wig.”

Why would we have evolved to be more dissatisfied after particularly intense stimulation? It may be that this mechanism drove our ancestors to override their natural satiety during mating season, or when high-calorie food was around. Think the Coolidge Effect on twin turbos.

For example, when a guinea pig broke into a cage of females, he managed to father 42 pups. (When apprehended, he slept for two days straight. Brains need time to recover from such intense stimulation.) When we flood our brain with too many visuals of mates begging for our sexual favors, our brain perceives a similar genetic bonanza and obligingly drives us to binge by subtly numbing our pleasure response.

Unless you understand this hidden brain mechanism, which urges you to step on the gas even when you’ve had more than enough, it’s hard to connect an insatiable libido with a less responsive brain. After all, it feels like your libido is getting stronger. The reality is that neurochemically induced dissatisfaction deep in the brain is urging you to seek more stimulation.

Clues that your libido thermostat has been readjusted would be: you feel restless and dissatisfied more of the time; want kinkier sex with your mate; find your mate less attractive or compelling than the Internet; need more extreme material; and so forth. Experts call this effect “tolerance.” It can indicate an addiction process at work in the brain.

I’ve started speaking to my ex again. I explained that I wasn’t distant because I found her sexually uninteresting, but because I had been watching so much Internet porn that she’d have needed to be juggling with her feet, sucking off a horse, and rimming a [transsexual] for me to be fully engaged during lovemaking.

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How Does Porn Interfere With My Instincts for Monogamy?

If pair bonding benefits us and our offspring, then why are we so vulnerable to becoming hooked on the dopamine rush of novel cyber “mates?” Paradoxically, it’s partly because we possess the brain mechanisms to fall in love. This ability to pair-bond is completely dependent on blasts of dopamine goosing our love circuits. In the 97 percent of mammals that are promiscuous, these brain circuits for lasting bonds are missing.

When scientists compared the socially monogamous prairie vole with its promiscuous cousin, the montane vole, they discovered two curious things:

  • Animals that form pair bonds, or fall in “love,” are more prone to addiction. They get a bigger dopamine blast from addictive substances. This may be why many of us are easily lured by dopamine-producing substances and activities such as Internet porn and gambling.
  • Even more telling is what didn’t happen when scientists artificially flooded the pair bonders’ brains with chemical stimulation. These naturally monogamous animals no longer formed a preference for one partner. The artificial stimulation had hijacked their dopamine-dependent bonding machinery, leaving them just like regular (promiscuous) mammals.

Having a brain that’s sensitive to the high of falling in love supports your pair bond. You get somewhat “hooked” on your mate (provided there’s no scientist drugging you). Ideally, you stick around snuggling just as you evolved to do—because there isn’t a lot of other temptation. (Of course, if temptation falls in your lap, your genes may crack their dopamine whip.)

It’s evident, however, that the same sensitivity that urges you to fall in love becomes a vulnerability when you’re saturated with hyperstimulating sexual goodies. Suddenly, the circuitry your pair bond depends on is inundated with dopamine associated with stimuli other than your mate. It can make a mate uninteresting, and override your normal satiation mechanisms.

 

Far from just “rubbing off,” we chronic masturbators generally engage in a practice we call “edging”: bringing ourselves to the brink of orgasm repeatedly, without ejaculation. [Thanks to porn,] we can sustain extremely high levels of sexual arousal literally for hours. I am an active participant in several masturbation-focused Internet groups, and moderator of one.

Many of us go so far as to abandon partner-sex, even while the partner remains available and willing. We’ve also coined the term “copulatory impotence” for the common phenomenon of being able to get it up to Internet porn, but not for a partner.

Does this mean everyone who views porn will give up on his marriage? Of course not. However, support for the hypothesis that supernormal stimulation—even in less-stimulating versions than Internet porn supplies—interferes with human pair bonds has already shown up in research.

According to a 2007 study, mere exposure to images of sexy females causes a man to devalue his real-life partner. He rates her lower not only on attractiveness, but also on warmth and intelligence. Also, after pornography consumption, subjects in a 2006 study reported less satisfaction with their intimate partner—including the partner’s affection, appearance, sexual curiosity, and performance. Moreover, they assigned increased importance to sex without emotional involvement.

Obviously, if you want to stay married in reasonable contentment, you make your task easier by choosing not to trigger perception shifts that cause your partner to look like Hamburger Helper.

So, what’s in it for the contented pair bonder? Aside from only having the expense of maintaining one household, he gains health benefits. For example, research shows that intercourse has more beneficial effects on the body than masturbation. It releases neurochemicals that reduce stress better, and the benefits linger for days. Also, daily warm touch between couples benefits men by lowering blood pressure.

The Internet can’t do that. As one man observed,

In the long run, fantasy based on pornography creates stress. Craving the unattainable is just hollow and unsatisfying.

In contrast, relaxed intimacy with an emphasis on affectionate touch not only soothes, but also automatically strengthens bonds.

During the middle years of our marriage, I quit worshiping my wife. Instead there was plenty of yoni to worship, courtesy of the porn industry. Always young. Always beautiful. Always horny. Always new. Always able to get an orgasm. And never fulfilling. I recently unplugged totally from porn, and I have returned my wife to her pedestal. Our marriage has come out of a long stale period and is rejuvenated. We are closer than we have been for years, in bed and throughout the day. I am really enjoying the long, slow, non-goal-oriented lovemaking that never really ends—we just take a break and start again the next day. I feel better, and my libido seems to be present more continuously.

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How Do I Get the Magic Back?

You can re-link your sexual arousal to your spouse. Stop climaxing to stimuli that produce more dopamine than she does. Remember, a primitive mechanism in your brain always urges you to focus on the option that releases the most dopamine. It doesn’t care what best eases your stress, protects your health, or sustains your relationship. When an e-babe beckons, your brain assumes you’re in the gene-spreading business—a top priority.

Extreme stimulation can innocently tarnish your appreciation of your spouse by messing with your brain’s pleasure center. It’s up to you now: simply understanding our atavistic programming is the easy part.

Since I stopped masturbating to porn a couple of weeks ago, things are changing. When I see a woman with long hair walk by in a nice skirt or dress, I get that physical rush of energy. Used to be I needed a stronger pornographic fantasy from the Internet to get any type of arousal.

In another few weeks even his wife will give him a rush.

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More From Our Special Marriage Section:

Even stellar relationships lose their spark over time; here are the ingredients of a lasting, fruitful partnership, and techniques for weathering the the stormy times: What Your Marriage Needs to Survive

When Tom Forrister transitioned from female to male, his same-sex marriage became a federally-recognized, “traditional” marriage. The one constant was the bond he shared with his wife: My Exemplary, Everyday Marriage

Guys may think leaving is the right thing to do for the sake of the family, but according to family lawyer David Pisarra, there are a few things they should know before—and after—they walk out that door: A Guy’s Divorce Survival Guide

Encouraging princess culture—however innocently—contributes to the sexualization of girls. Men can be part of the solution to the “princess problem”: Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls

The night­mare of fam­ily court is enough to deter a guy from even think­ing about tying the knot. Marriage: Just Don’t

For all the stories written by and for women on this issue—and there are few—men are more likely to be absent from the public dialogue about intentional childlessness. Why aren’t men’s stories also being heard? Two Is Enough

Men are more promiscuous than women, but that doesn’t mean we should buy the cultural fallacy that men are programmed to cheat; the vast majority of men are happily, naturally monogamous: Are Men Natural-Born Cheaters?

Tom Matlack talks to married men to find out when they knew their wife was “the one”: She’s the One

As Gabi Coatsworth’s son’s bipolar disorder gave way to full-blown manic episodes, she watched her husband slip deeper into drink and detachment: Reading Between the Silences

Monogamy sounds like “monotony,” but it doesn’t have to be monotonous. Hugo Schwyzer explores how we can have the security—and the novelty—we desire in our relationships: Red-Hot Monogamy

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—Photo jguild12/Flickr

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About Gary Wilson & Marnia Robinson

Gary Wilson has taught anatomy, physiology, and pathology for many years. His wife Marnia is the author of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships. Among other projects, they host the website Your Brain on Porn.

Comments

  1. how much does a live in nanny cost says:

    Hmm i hope you dont get offended with this question, but how much does a site like yours earn?

  2. Can I quote you without worries of copy writing? I am a church leader and would like to share this information even copying off your information. Great info!

  3. Thank you for this. I belive internet porn is what killed my marrige. Thankfully we are both willing to start fresh with eachother, I know most men don’t get that chance. I feel like porn has made normal life difficult for most of us, and it’s past time we set it down and walk away. It’s time to see in color again, while we still can.

  4. Interested Reader says:

    Wow. Very interesting article! It is spot on.

    I’ve viewed porn on a regular basis for over 12+ years (after college). Initially it was due to curiosity having grown up in a strict, religious household. My parents never really had the sex talk with me.

    Over time I needed more and new things to bring me the same satisfaction. Nothing nasty that involved feces or blood but newly adventurous things. I thought that my high libido was just my youth and great physical shape. I’m sure that contributed but I definitely had regular (daily) marathon masturbation sessions. I could go for several hours.

    Over time I looked for new stimuli even though I had a gf. Online flirting and chatting and then phone calls. At first I felt guilty but then I reasoned to myself that I was never actually cheating. I had more and more sexual fantasies that I would play out in my mind.

    Several years on of continued behavior and I finally ended up cheating… several times. I’m ashamed of it and I feel incredibly guilty. I’m also married now with kids. I never thought I would be THAT guy.. scum. That’s how I ended up here. I wanted to learn about what happened to me.

    I won’t say that porn caused me to cheat. It’s not that simple and I think porn can have positive uses. I also think that exploration of one’s sexuality while young is fine.

    However, having been a cigarette smoker for a few years during college, I can say that there are certain addictive similarities that, looking back, I now notice. Not everyone has addictive behaviors but I believe I, and many others, do.

    In particular, there is the habit of an act (smoking, masturbation) that releases chemicals in the brain associated with pleasure. In time, our brains become desensitized to that experience and seek out more (more masturbation, more cigarettes/alcohol/etc). We seek new experiences (new sexual adventures, new drugs, binge drinking). And suddenly the line between doing something for fun and doing something because we can’t help ourselves has been incredibly blurred. I felt like that hamster mentioned above!

    While I was smoking, I asked myself whether I could quit today (for good) if I wanted to. I thought I could but I would fall off the wagon again. In time, I quit for good.

    I’m not advocating quitting masturbation. I think that might actually be detrimental.

    I’m advocating quitting porn… or at least scaling it to a point where it’s not interfering in relationships and the emotion bonds we have with each other. For me it went from a stress-relieving activity to reduced sex with my own gf/wife. Part of that is circumstance (having a child can kill your sex life) but people can get through this by putting extra effort into maintaining that spark.

    Personally, I’m going to reduce how much I masturbate. I used to do it daily.. several times sometimes. I actually look forward to scaling back and see how it affects my desire for my wife. I want to rekindle that excitement I had/have for her and I think I will find sex with her more pleasurable. I want to be faithful from now on. I’ve finally realized the cost of overconsumption of porn/sex imagery/fantasy/extramarital sexual behavior has cost me. I know that over time the physiological dependencies I had for porn will go away.

  5. I am not an expert on subject but from my personal experience :
    porn and masturbation seem to make other things in life like studies,talking with friends,going out etc relatively uninteresting.

  6. this is all relate to celibacy .do we really need celibacy,yes why not look at the culture which kid’s r following unsatisfying hollow mind which make them apart from good education,social responsibility against his parents ….we must teach kid n adult for leading gud human life n that only happen we teach celibacy from tender age not when they adult …..tell him sex with ur chosen or chosen by parents girl not with freaky girl….

  7. You might want to see what women have to say. There is a site called http://www.wisechoice.net/wives that reports any number of stories of women and what they think and have experienced.

  8. I just can’t help myself not to swear here.
    You have a lot … and I mean A LOT of bullshit mentioned here, which are either took from poor research or bad interpretation.
    Humans, especially men are NOT monogamous… it is NOT in our instincts to stick with just ONE woman.
    As a psychologist helping old couples with relationship problems (couples that are together for more than 2 years), I do actually sometimes give advice to men to watch porn, as it helps prevent his need to “cheat” with other women, that ofc. if his woman doesn’t allow him to have safe sex with other women.

    I was expecting a site with some nice and objective info, but yet again I am dissapointed.

    There is a healthy amount of porn and there is the unhealthy amount of porn, but then again it’s all RELATIVE. Some people watch porn as they have a tendency to be absolutely individualistic and sometimes even experience strong misanthropy. The misanthropy however isn’t caused by porn, as your articles might suggest.

    • How sad. You’re so bankrupt as a therapist that the only way you can see to strengthen attraction is to hook your clients on screens instead of each other? Isn’t there something inconsistent in that picture?

      As a alternative, maybe explore the power of attachment cues: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/200909/the-lazy-way-stay-in-love

      What evidence do you have that using novelty-as-aphrodisiac is a sustainable solution to habituation? Sure, it provides a few quick orgasms in the short-term, but too much stimulation can also numb the pleasure centers of the brain…leading to a need for harder and harder material – not to mention the risk of wiring to pixels instead of real connection. See “Porn Is The Enemy of Great Sex” http://sexgodproject.com/porn-is-the-enemy-of-great-sex/

      Can’t help wondering what therapists did before highspeed porn came along. Maybe they had to come up with actual solutions.

    • Anonymous says:

      You must be still in denial

  9. Madeira says:

    My husband and I share porn, we have similar tastes and fetishes and it’s a bonding activity for us. We’re both quite freaky but quite monogamous, and we use it to stimulate erotic fantasies and stories that we share with each other.

    • Mad – I enjoy seeing couples that can use porn to enhance their relationships and do not keep it this dark, dirty secret. When it becomes something to be hidden from your lover, then it becomes dangerous because you are hiding it. =(

  10. Curious Guy says:

    I would be interested to read about reasons why men consume unhealthy levels of porn. My personal experience is because my wife wants sex once every week or two. She is annoyed when I want to masturbate to her in between coitus. Porn solves one problem but creates another…

    • I agree with you. I think porn may be helpful at times. However, may I suggest that you find out why your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you. If you truly are seeking a resolution & not just a pacifier which checks you out of the most important relationship you have, then seek a constructive resolution…think.of it as an investment in yourself!!!! Seriously cause unless your wife simply doesn’t want to have sex in general (low sex drive) in which case you would have gotten the inclination before marriage & you are the one who said I do…then there is an issue that she’s unaware of or not sharing with you to preserve your feelings. Ask her, get a book, seek help from a pro, if you truly desire good sex with your wife…otherwise, it’s an excuse

  11. The irony about porn is that it can ruin a normal sexual relationship with your spouse. I can think of three strained marriages where porn is a big factor. Log off the computer and rediscover your real life partners.

  12. This is a great article, and describes many things I had difficulty with/still am having difficulty with.

    Since the age of 12 I have masterbated once a day at least, earlier to thoughts, but then I found out about internet porn, then the porn got more hardcore, and now not much turns me on really. Even when I had girlfriends I found it hard to achieve erection during sexual activity, even at 19 (Currently 22) due to internet porn desensitising me.

    The sentence “They reported increasing difficulty in being turned on by their actual sexual partners, spouses, or girlfriends, though they still considered them objectively attractive” describes the feeling well.

  13. Worth watching this video about the science behind why porn is bad for you.
    The Great Porn Experiment: Gary Wilson at TEDxGlasgow
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU

  14. How can a website work so hard to fight the idea that men are a ball of unthrustworthy, unpredictable hormones and then come up with this evo-psych shit?

    I’m very skeptical of what experiments on animals can teach us about humans. As far as I’m concerned, humans (not just men) are not meant to be monogamous. When you’re not in lust (never said not in love) no more, go experiment with someone else and let your partner do the same! It is just us humans who made this a sin. It takes more balls than to blame it all on porn!

    I know some people who are cyberaddicts (why should WHAT they view make them so different than your porn addicts), and if they can bond more easily with computers than humans, it is because they had problems with humans in the first place. Just another cautionary tale on the “evils” of sexuality.

  15. anonguy says:

    There has long been a war waged on male sexuality everything from circumcision, and boy scouts, to corn flakes has been used to try and control men and keep them from touching themselves.

    Alfred Kinsey defined the nymphomaniac as “someone who has more sex than you do.”
    I find that pretty fitting here.

  16. anonguy says:

    In the great rat example that shows up each time one of sex shaming posts is made are the rats being shown porn?
    I only ask because it seems the rat with only one partner is lossing interest despite a lack of rat porn.
    This makes me think that as novelty is removed some loss of interest is normal….and not the fault of some boogiman named porn.
    Maybe that is why people like to spice things up now and then in the bedroom?

  17. The science in this is so bad I think it gave me cancer.

  18. Gary Wilson says:

    To Sexademic:
    We never said this, but stating that humans aren’t rodents displays an ignorance of scientific method, neuroscience, and evolution. This reminds of Sarah Palin’s brilliant statement “Why Are We Wasting Money on Fruit Fly Research?”

    Scientists aren’t studying rat brains to help rats with their erectile dysfunction or addictions.

    Evolution conserves brain structures, hormones, and neurotransmitters. In rats, humans, and all mammals – addictions, sexual desire, erections and bonding involve the same brain structures and neurotransmitters. It is common knowledge that all mammals share a limbic system and reward circuitry, which possess the same mechanisms that are activated by the same hormones and neurotransmitters. If the author can name a limbic system function that we do not share with other mammals, I’d be interested.

    For example, recent research (2010) on rats with unlimited access to junk food demonstrated brain changes that were later found in human subjects. The changes humans and rats was decline in dopamine receptors (D2) in the reward circuitry of the brain. This caused both human and rat brains to become less sensitive to dopamine – producing overconsumption. Lower D2 receptors is a major hallmark of all addictions.
    Rats: Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats- 2010,
    Humans: Weight Gain Is Associated with Reduced Striatal Response to Palatable Food- 2010
    http://yourbrainonporn.com/garys-research-food-addiction)

    It’s silly to assume that masturbating to Internet porn everyday for long periods would have no effect on the reward circuitry, when overconsumption of junk food has been proven to cause drug-like changes.

    Porn use cannot be studied in animals, but our primate cousins will pay for monkey porn:“Monkeys Pay to See Female Monkey Bottoms (2005)</strong.
    To quote: “The study found that male monkeys will give up their juice rewards in order to ogle pictures of female monkey's bottoms.”

  19. We are connected to rodents via the physiological mechanisms mentioned in the article. Of course we can think our way out of the conditioned responses that drive the behavior of other species, but many of us don’t — a fact made obvious by research available on-line for free. See for example:

    Reflexive testosterone release: a model system for studying the nongenomic effects of testosterone upon male behavior. Nyby JG. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2008 May;29(2):199-210.

    I know that Gary and Marnia will read this, if they have not already done so. And I suspect they will continue to keep us informed.

  20. “It’s silly to assume that mas­tur­bat­ing to Inter­net porn every­day for long peri­ods would have no effect on the reward cir­cuitry,”

    Wouldn’t it become painful for “long periods” each day?

  21. I wish I got juice as a reward for doing things

  22. A couple of things bothered me about this article. Firstly, if humans are wired to long term monogamy why are we also wired to novelty-seeking and seed-spreading?

    Secondly, what studies were referred to that showed cause and effect? I have read several peer-reviewed studies on the impact of Internet porn and they all used convenience samples at a point in time so were able to show correlation but not causation. In these cases partner dissatisfaction might be linked to increase use of Internet porn, but it does not demonstrate that one has caused the other. Curious to know which studies are referred to as I am keen to read them for myself.

  23. We’d agree that human mating is confusing. However, it’s not either-or (either sexual exclusivity or random promiscuity) for any pair-bonding mammals. (Humans are pair-bonders.) That is, there’s a tension between (1) our innate desire to form pairs – at least for long enough for both parents to fall in love with the kid produced and (2) our innate attraction to novel mates. The latter tends to increase after the “honeymoon neurochemistry” wears off (2 years max according to researchers: Will Orgasms Keep You in Love? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201111/will-orgasms-keep-you-in-love ).

    The built-in attraction to novel mates (although not a strong influence on all humans) not only makes it possible for fertile women to move on to new mates if No. 1 comes to an untimely end, but also urges both men and women to fool around a bit on the side, or change mates. This increases genetic variety, and is also a way for women to garner more resources (to support offspring).

    Evolution doesn’t like monogamy, but two parents apparently serve our slow-developing, big-brained offspring. Hence the tension. And the tension may be worse today than for recent generations because sexual novelty is so available that youngsters are training their brains to need it for arousal. (Only) one partner quickly loses their interest (and even erections). Some are unwittingly training themselves to need novelty as an aphrodisiac by viewing Internet porn.

    It may be that sustaining contented monogamy is best done by approaching sex entirely differently than most of us do today: Trailer – Slow Sex – How sex makes you happy http://www.slowsex-derfilm.de/en/trailer.html

    Cause and effect? All studies are correlative. Obviously a study to assess the effects of porn by having half of the subjects regularly used porn for 10 years, and the other half not use porn, could never be done. The only type of experiment that could show cause and effect is to have regular porn users remove a single variable (porn) and report the effects. This experiment has been occurring informally on many forums with surprising results, such as: curing ED and delayed ejaculation, increased attraction to real partners, increased confidence, greater motivation, less anxiety and social anxiety, better concentration. Here are a few of the forums: External Rebooting Blogs & Threadshttp://www.yourbrainonporn.com/external-rebooting-blogs-threads

    Here are hundreds of long self-reports of the many benefits experienced by guys who eliminated porn use. Rebooting accountshttp://www.yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts Scroll down.

  24. Depends on what time period for evolution. Unless you have a pack system where alpha males impregnate the other females and protect them then the alternative is a pairing system where monogamy is handy to keep both parents providing for the offspring vs one having to do the child-rearing and hunting, etc. Human babies are also extremely immature compared to other animal babies (babies can’t walk for months and are very dependent) so the time needed for looking after the baby is greater and they can’t walk with you like puppies n kittens can. These days we have social security, etc which greatly help and humans in the past still had community to help raise the child but the requirement of 2 parents was still very high especially in times of warfare and when food was harder to get.

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  1. [...] Robinson and Gary Wilson probe porn’s secret recipe for keeping the high going. Key ingredient: the convincing illusion of so many willing participants [...]

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  4. [...] However, I oftentimes find that men also aren’t that comfortable objectifying women, or at least us knowing about it. When I’m sitting next to a man and there’s a woman getting naked on screen or something sexual happening, it’s sometimes uncomfortable for both of us, not just me. And why do men hide their porn? Not only because they know how actually shocking and potentially harmful the images could be to people they love, but I think because deep down somewhere, they feel some shame at their inability to control their sexuality in a way that doesn’t include strangers having sex with each other on a screen. (More on porn addiction here). [...]

  5. [...] [How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life] art:manlig sexualitet| Rate this:Share this:TwitterFacebookGillaGillaBe the first to like this. [...]

  6. [...] Can Your Brain Become Hardwired to Porn? Men and porn | World news | The Guardian http://www.socialcostsofpornography….ationships.pdf Fact: Pornography Is Harmful ADDICTION: The Science Behind Pornography Addiction (Senate testimony) Testimony Before Congress: The Science Behind Pornography Addiction BRAIN SCIENCE: Acquiring Tastes and Loves: What Neuroplasticity Teaches Us About Sexual Attraction and Love – Acquiring Tastes and Loves: What Neuroplasticity Teaches Us About Sexual Attraction and Love (Research) CHILDREN: How Adult Pornography Contributes to Sexual Exploitation of Children – How Adult Pornography Contributes to the Sexual Exploitation of Children (Research) CYBERSEX: Online Sexual Compulsivity: Getting tangled in the net – Online sexual compulsivity: Getting tangled in the net (Research) FAMILY: The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community – The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community (Research) INTERNET: Online Infidelity: The New Challenge to Marriages – Online Infidelity: The New Challenge to Marriages (Research) INTERNET SAFETY: US Internet Pornography: A Court Of Appeals Analysis – U.S. Internet Pornography: A Court of Appeals Analysis (Research) MARRIAGE: Couple Recovery from Sexual Addiction/Coaddiction: Results of a Survey of 88 Marriages – Couple Recovery from Sexual Addiction/Coaddiction: Results of a Survey of 88 Marriages (Research) MEN: Use of Internet Pornography and Men's Well-being – Use of Internet pornography and men's well-being (Research) PORNOGRAPHY LAWS: Fighting the Pornification of America by Enforcing Obscenity Laws (Law Review by Senator Orrin Hatch) – Fighting the Pornification of America by Enforcing Obscenity Laws (Law Review) PROSTITUTION: Backgrounder: Secondary Negative Effects on Employees of the Pornographic Industry – Backgrounder: Secondary Negative Effects on Employees of the Pornographic Industry (Research) PSYCHOLOGICAL: From Pornography to Porno to Porn: How Porn Became the Norm – From Pornography to Porno to Porn: How Porn Became the Norm (Research) RELATIONSHIPS: Pornography's Effects on Interpersonal Relationships – Pornography’s Effects on Interpersonal Relationships (Research) RESEARCH: A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography – A Meta-Analysis of the Published Research on the Effects of Pornography (Research) SELF-IMAGE: Effects of visual and verbal sexual television content and perceived realism on attitudes and beliefs – Effects of visual and verbal sexual television content and perceived realism on attitudes and beliefs (Research) SEX TRAFFICKING: Links between pornography and sex trafficking – Links Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking (Research) SEXTING: Self Produced Child Pornography: The Appropriate Societal Response to Juvenile Self-Sexual Exploitation – Self Produced Child Pornography: The Appropriate Societal Response to Juvenile Self-Sexual Exploitation (Research) SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Predicting Sexual Aggression: The Role of Pornography in the Context of General & Specific Risk Factors Predicting Sexual Aggression: The Role of Pornography in the Context of General and Specific Risk Factors (Research) SOCIETAL: The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings & Recommendations – The Social Costs of Pornography: A Statement of Findings and Recommendations (Research) STD: Mass Media Influences on Sexuality – Mass Media Influences on Sexuality (Research) TEENS: Adolescence, pornography and harm – “Adolescence, pornography and harm” (Research) WOMEN: The Impact of Pornography on Women: Social Science Findings & Clinical Observations – The Impact of Pornography on Women: Social Science Findings and Clinical Observations (Research) Reply With Quote   [...]

  7. [...] The Good Men Project has an article that is thought provoking reading. The author states that porn can more or less hardwire your brain to find porn more pleasurable than real sex over a period of time. The pleasure response is numbed and your spouse can be less enticing to you. You become indifferent to your mate, but not only that, you find that you need more porn and more stimulation to even be able to complete sex. [...]

  8. [...] Link 3—-> How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life [...]

  9. [...] Nowadays pornography is just a few clicks away and its negative effects on the brain are researched and documented. Another effect of pornography is that it created a new kind of sex culture in which the orgasm and [...]

  10. [...] growth of pornography in our culture is frightening.  It is damaging to those who consume it and it is damaging to those who make it.  What would it take to change the [...]

  11. [...] firstly – no matter what anyone says, porn is not harmless. Can Your Brain Become Hardwired to Porn? Basically it can rewire their dopamine reward system to prefer porn over sex. I have a long [...]

  12. [...] the culture peddles porn, it praises it as an aid to a healthy sex life. But in reality, it’s just the opposite. Men who regularly use porn report growing dissatisfaction with the bodies of their wives and [...]

  13. [...] you believe some recent reports, turning to porn to slake your thirst may have the opposite effect, exacerbating your desire for more extreme stimulation and reducing your attraction to your wife. [...]

  14. […] Porn and partnership: When does chronic stimulation become chronic dissatisfaction? — The Good Men… […]

  15. […] How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life […]

  16. […] How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life […]

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