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Does Porn Shrink Your Brain?

by Craig Gross on June 28th, 2014 in The Haps

Does Porn Shrink Your Brain? -blogIf you have followed our ministry for any period of time or tracked news stories on pornography addiction then you most likely have heard the argument that porn alters you brain. You might even say “damages” it.

The idea of pornography exposure actually affecting one’s brain is certainly a compelling argument for what we have always contended … porn is not healthy for you. But the question has often been this.

Is it true?

Does porn really damage or alter your brain?

The results of a recent clinical investigation out of Germany seem to indicate yes.

In May the “JAMA Pscychiatry” journal published findings from a study of 64 men, who’s brains were scanned in an MRI. The study found that men who viewed porn frequently had smaller striatums (an important part of your brain’s rewards system) and displayed less active rewards system activity when watching sexual imagery inside an MRI machine.

What really caught my attention was a quote I found from the actual study. It said the following:

We found a significant negative association between reported pornography hours per week and gray matter volume in the right caudate (P < .001, corrected for multiple comparisons) as well as with functional activity during a sexual cue–reactivity paradigm in the left putamen (P < .001). Functional connectivity of the right caudate to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was negatively associated with hours of pornography consumption.”

In other words, your brain gets smaller and you become more difficult to get aroused. (You can read about the full study here if you like that academic sort of stuff.)

Now admittedly, 64 men is a small sample and the cause-effect relationship of these factors is not entirely certain. BUT, the arguments this study puts forward are very convincing.

Ultimately, if you look at porn and wonder if it’s good for you then all you really need to do is ask yourself:

1. Has porn made it more difficult for me to get turned on by things that used to do the trick?
2. Has porn made it more difficult for my marriage?
3. Has porn become something that I just can’t seem to stop looking at even if I wanted to?
4. Other than a quick fix, does porn really add any value to my sex life of romantic relationships?

The reality is this. It doesn’t matter what a study says. The best person that can determine if porn is good for you or bad for you is you (Tweet This!).

And if after thinking about it you come to the conclusion that porn is hurting you then we are here to help.

 

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Does Porn Shrink Your Brain? by XXXchurch.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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  • Matt

    Porn most definitely affects your brain. And it affects those around you as well. I was so angry all the time that I could not beat this addiction that my wife is leaving me because of the anger and addiction. And even still where did I turn to for comfort. The lies of pornagraphy. Do as the bible says and flee from it if you are not already ensnared

  • albibird

    You are misunderstanding the study. It doesn’t say the subjects’ brains got smaller. It says a very specific part got smaller, which is a different thing altogether. It suggests that there is a physical mechanism involved in desensitization to sexual material, not just a psychological mechanism.
    It’s early stage research anyway – they only found correlation, not causation. It’s possible that the effect is backwards: Men with smaller striatums watch more pornography. It’s plausible – those with larger striatums may be more content with only their own imaginings and thus not seek pornography out. The only way to be sure is more research.

    • Tom Scooter Seiple

      Correct, as a statistician, this crossed my mind as well. Those p values are extremely compelling and and correction for multiple comparisons also makes the study more robust. The negative association is also compelling because that begins to address correlation. The study is truly factual when you introduce correlation to the argument.

      Craig: 64 is a perfectly sized study, not to big to introduce lurking variables (i.e. something to cause random correlations or type 1 error) and not to small to introduce doubt in the validity of the study. Pharmaceuticals do similar sized studies and then compare the trials, which is where data gets more robust. Bottom line, it’s a solid study with some very strong data based on a few assumptions, which is really all that stats is.

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