Noah is one of the ‘fapstronauts’ who were once porn-addicted, now have achieved much more in life by abstaining their addictions and having a better control over their lives and relationships. They are also spreading awareness about pornography addiction and avoiding “PMO” (Porn-Masturbation-Orgasm) on a reddit community “NoFap” ( http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/ ). Link to his post on NoFap.
This is one of his awesome talks on the issue where he shows what porn does to our brain. I have documented important points as text. Still I would request you to watch the video (just 25:46 long), as it has no replacement.
Raised on a Diet of Internet Porn: The Health Consequences of Long-Term Use
-Noah B.E. Church
We are the first generation to face this internet and fighting the addiction to pornography.
Symptoms & Conditions
Social anxiety, lack of confidence, lack of interest in building real (non-web) relationships, less interest (non-web) in opposite sex people, brain fog, lethargy, no motivation, less energy..etc.
- Dopamine: creates cravings, wanting, desire, seeking behaviour.
- Opioids: creates feeling of content, satisfaction, and stops craving.
Dopamine surges overrides the feeling of satisfaction easily, creating more craving and lesser satisfaction.
Maintaining high level of dopamine in brain for longer time- by ‘searching’ a porn, some fetishes, or something new- which kicks off dopamine level to even higher level. Keeping this high level of dopamine leads to desensitisation of other receptors for other rewarding activities. For e.g: watching too much porn would excite me so much that outdoor sports, reading books, talking to people and participating in discussions feels dull to me.
The Coolidge Effect
Because of evolutionary reasons, dopamine levels decrease with same mate, so as to reproduce as much as possible and not leave any female unfertilized. But down the line, this has lead to men feeling boredom with same sexual partners and their dopamine levels keep decreasing. And the fact that watching porn makes your brain desensitised to low levels of dopamine- makes it worse.
Unnatural things, like: Porn (large amount of sexual urge-actually false), Fast foods (large amount of fat and carbohydrates), Gambling/Video games (feels like you are winning a big jackpot, or saving the world, but again- an illusion).
These things cause high level of dopamine release in brain.
brain rewiring- brains ability to change itself according to new conditions and experience. Creation of new neural pathways and weakening the older ones.
slowly and gradually, our need for the addictive substance increases, because we require more amounts of the addictive to release same level of dopamine rush in our brains. So addicts will look for more addiction and get trapped.
A research in Max-Planck Institute states that: high hours of pornography per week causes reduction in reward circuitry grey matter.
Regular consumption of pornography wears out your reward system of brain.
WHAT IS ADDICTION (American Society of Addiction Medicine)
Definition: A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.
- inability to consistently abstain
- impairment of behavioural control
- diminished recognition of one’s own behavioural problems
- dysfunctional emotional response
Changes it brings in the brain:
- Sensitization: watching porn makes our brain to think that it wants more, because it feels that it has just got an evolutionary jackpot- an ultimate sexy women to reproduce. But actually its just a screen.
- Desensitization: except for the addictive substance, your brain becomes non-responsive to other activities. It stops receiving a rewarding feeling in other activities.
- Hypofrontality: (Hypo- lower than normal, Frontal lobe- part of brain responsible for decision making, planning, self-control, impulses..) Pornography weakens your reward center of brain in the frontal lobe, and creates a short cut to evolutionary aspect of sexual reproduction.
- Altered stress response: Minor stress leads to relapses (repeating addiction cycle), which leads to short term satisfaction but you end up craving for even more. Also abstaining from porn (or addiction) leads to increased stress.