Neuroscience proves Porn makes men’s brains childish

Two hundred years ago in the U.K., if you said you were going to a “gentleman’s club,” it was understood you were going to a private upper-class establishment where you could relax, read, play parlor games, get a meal, and gossip with others of your class. Today, in the U.S., if you said you were going to a “gentleman’s club,” it is assumed you will be paying to see a striptease in a low-lit bar.

Is this really what should typify a “gentleman”?

Pornography is often classified, along with other sexually oriented businesses, as “adult” entertainment—something for “mature” audiences. If this meant that these kinds of entertainment are “not suitable for children” then few would protest.

The very thing in the brain that is the mark of adulthood and maturity is the thing that is eroded as we view more porn. It is as if the brain is reverting, becoming more childlike. “Adult” entertainment is actually making us more juvenile.

That said, it would be foolish to use this as an argument that pornography is suitable for adults. Heroin and methamphetamines are also “not suitable for children,” but this does not mean, ipso facto, that they are healthy for those over the age of 18.

Porn advocates are fond of saying (“fond” is an understatement—they repeat it like a mantra) that pornography is sophisticated, mature entertainment suitable for responsible adults. Porn, they will have you believe, is what true gentlemen appreciate—like blue cheese, good scotch, and Dostoyevsky. As the infamous Ron Jeremy is quick to say: “Pornography is consensual sex between consenting adults, to be watched by consenting adults.”

Which leads us to ask: What exactly constitutes “adult” or “mature” behavior? Is it merely a commentary on the age of the participant? Or is it about something more? Stipulating proper definitions is complicated because today these terms are so often used as synonyms for erotic media—which is the very topic we’re trying to dissect….

Ask any neuroscientist what a “mature” human brain looks like, and he or she will likely talk to you about a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. It is located directly behind the forehead and serves as the managerial center of the brain. It is responsible for our willpower, regulating our behavior, and making decisions based on wisdom and principles. When emotions, impulses, and urges surge from the midbrain, the lobes in the prefrontal cortex are there to exercise “executive control” over them. By the age of 25, this region of the brain reaches maturity, meaning that our thinking becomes more sophisticated and we can regulate our emotions more easily.

Why bring neuroscience into the equation? Because fascinating research is being done looking at the impact of viewing porn on this region of the brain.

The brain is designed in such a way to respond to sexual stimulation. Surges of dopamine are released during a sexual encounter—and yes, also pornographic encounters—giving the person a sharp sense of focus and an awareness of sexual craving. Dopamine helps to lay down memories in the brain, so the next time a man or woman is in the mood,the brain remembers where to return to experience the same pleasure: whether that be a loving spouse or the laptop in the den.

However, scientists are now seeing that continued exposure to porn gives the brain an unnatural high—something it literally isn’t wired to handle—and the brain eventually fatigues. Anatomy and physiology instructor Gary Wilson notes this is the same pattern noticed when drugs are abused: the brain becomes desensitized. More of the drug or harder drugs are needed to get the same high, and the downward spiral begins. Wilson says this brings about significant changes in the brain—both for drug abusers and porn users.

One of those changes is the erosion of the prefrontal cortex—that all-important center of executive control. When this region of the brain is weakened, when the craving for porn hits, there is very little willpower present to regulate the desire. Neuroscientists call this problem hypofrontality, where the person slowly loses impulse control….

By Matt Fradd – Life Site News –

Psychological Moment We are In

Since 9/11 the world has felt like a different place. A recent exhibit of Hung Liu’s work (at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City) reminded me of that. Her deeply psychological and sociological art explores both ancient China and the modern world. Immediately after 9/11, she painted a picture entitled “Chinese bride with bird flying into her head.” This elaborate painting signified that the airplanes hijacked by terrorists not only crashed into the World Trade Center, they flew into our brains and colonized our physiological systems.

Daily we are bombarded with horrific information. In the last few months, we have seen the rise of Isis with its beheadings and attempted genocide of the Yezidi people. In December, 136 schoolchildren were shot in Peshawar. Recently, terrorists have killed staff members of Charlie Hebdo and other Parisians and, this month, Boko Haram has slaughtered at least 2000 people in Baga. Indeed, the news of late has been so alarming that the voices of journalists have cracked as they reported it.

In addition to the constant messages we receive that the world is filled with evil, danger and unpredictability, we also know that our planet is endangered. Global climate change with its consequent effects on food, water, animals and plants has so many tragic implications that we can hardly bear to face it. We feel primal panic and shut down emotionally.

Humans are not built to deal with this level of information flow. We evolved in small communities equipped to deal with proximal stimulation. This was nearby friends and foe, animals, plants, water and weather. We had no distal information. Tibetan villagers preoccupations were family, food supply and Buddhism. Irish peasants needed only to concern themselves with peat, potatoes and pubs. Homesteaders’ primary news was who had a baby, who was hailed out, or who bought a new wagon. Now, thanks to our global communication system, there is no distal information. Everything that happens in the world feels proximal to us.

The news we receive frightens us and triggers our arousal system to do what it has always done in dangerous situations– flee, fight or freeze. Unfortunately, we can neither fight most of these problems nor can we flee. What we do instead is freeze. We find no actionable intelligence in the news of the day, only a paralyzing sense that the world is an overwhelming place. Psychologists call this response “learned helplessness.”

Our core phenomenological state is overwhelmedness. We are bombarded by too much information, too many choices and too much complexity. We have mammalian arousal systems, Neolithic brains, Medieval institutions and 21st century technology and communications. Our biorhythms have become entrained with machines. We operate in nanosecond time. We struggle with slowing down, staying calm and relaxing.

By Mary Pipher – Op Ed News –