In This Article
- How Pornography Effects Your Marriage
- Video #1: The Science of Pornography Addiction
- Video #2: The Great Porn Experiment
- Video #3: What Are The Effects of Porn on the Brain
- Video #4: The Side Effects of Pornography
- Video #5: How Porn Destroys Marriage
- What Next?
- Wrapping it Up
How Pornography Effects Your Marriage
Years ago Nikolaas Tinbergen studied female birds and found that they could be duped into preferring fake eggs over their real eggs. Not only that, they chose fake mates over real birds. He did this with what he called super-normal stimulus.
In essence, he presented female birds with larger than life fake eggs. These eggs stimulated the reward circuit in the bird’s brain. They got excited seeing the larger eggs. Their tiny brains fired on all cylinders with excitement. This caused them to choose the bigger, prettier fake eggs (and mates) over their real ones.
What’s interesting about this study is that pornography produces the same results in humans – an over active dopamine rush. This stimulus produces ‘an unending sexual novelty that buzzes our reward system.”
Not only that, it fires up other emotions and stimuli as well.
You might think that this stimulation is a good thing. You’d be wrong.
Alarming Statistics on Pornography
Gert Martin Hald, Carlin Yuen and Neil Malamuth found an alarming correlation between violence toward women and pornography.
In contrast to the earlier meta‐analysis, the current results showed an overall significant positive association between pornography use and attitudes supporting violence against women in non-experimental studies.
Another study found that exposure to sexually explicit material led to greater dissatisfaction in relationships and sexual engagement.
Higher frequencies of SEM use were associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction.
In this article we’ve compiled 5 videos that delve deep into the psychology of pornography and why it is damaging to your marriage.
Video #1: The Science of Pornography Addiction
This video is only 3 minutes but explains what happens to the brain when exposed long term to pornography.
With prolonged exposure your tolerance is increased resulting in addiction. This often leads to a loss of control and compulsive behavior that is similar to drug addiction.
Continued exposure can cause long term neuroplastic changes in the brain. It literally rewires your brain to get the same dopamine ‘fix’ over and over again.
A feedback loop is developed over time. Watching porn leads to a dopamine high which reinforces the behavior which leads to a deeper desire to see more. This loop becomes more and more powerful, requiring more and more exposure to the sexual fantasy.
The more you expose yourself to pornography the more tolerant you are of it; so your brain requires more and more to get satisfaction. You move from a desire to see pornography to require to see more of it.
Video #2: The Great Porn Experiment
This is TED talk by Gary Wilson. He has studied the effects of porn and reported his findings on his website, www.yourbrainonporn.com
Gary contrasts ‘porn sex’ with real sex in a fascinating way. Here’s his list:
- Being Touched
- Emotional Connection
- Interaction with a Person
- Multiple Tabs
- Constant Novelty
- Shock and Surprise
Wilson also makes a connection between arousal addiction and other problems such as ADHD, social anxiety, depression and OCD. The symptoms of porn addiction mimic these other issues.
His big statement is:
Internet porn is not sex. It’s as different from real sex as today’s video games are from checkers (the game).
He also explains WHY internet pornography is so addictive. I’ll spare you the technical explanations with this; it’s all about the ‘reward circuit’ where the brain gets too much dopamine. This can make porn addition more powerful than cocaine.
His studies found that the effects of heavy internet erotica were:
- Escalation – the need for more graphic material
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Inability to Perform Sexually
- Social Anxiety
- Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms
Two more big takeaways from Gary’s TED Talk:
Constant novelty at a click can cause addiction.
Internet porn is killing young men’s sexual performance.
There is a wave of new studies that show the connection between erectile dysfunction and pornography.
He quotes Dr. Carlos Foresta (head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine) who says:
It starts with lower reactions to porn sites. Then there is a general drop in libido, and in the end it becomes impossible to get an erection.”
He closes with a story about a young 20 something former porn addict. Begins at the 12 minute mark.
Video #3: What Are The Effects of Porn on the Brain
Dr. Valerie Voon from Cambridge University studies brain activity by using MRI imaging. She is a global authority on addiction.
A group of twenty men (ages 19-34) who considered themselves addicted to porn were studied.
Their brain scans were compared to a control of men who did not use porn.
When images were shown to both groups, the study revealed:
While both groups experienced brain stimulation, the compulsive users of porn had twice the activity in their ventral striatum (the reward center of the brain).
The same thing happens with people who are addicted to cocaine.
Their entire reward network is being hijacked by pornography.
Dr. Voon states:
Compulsive pornography users do have parallels with substance use disorders. And that’s on several levels.
Video #4: The Side Effects of Pornography
Project Alpha gives 5 negative side effects of pornography.
- It Desensitizes you to the Real World
- It Creates Anxiety
- Demotivates You to Strive
- Creates False Expectations
- Only Offers a Temporary Escape (which makes you avoid problem solving)
My major takeaway is that anything that controls you strips you of your power.
Video #5: How Porn Destroys Marriage
Flextalk.org is an organization that helps couples talk about big issues. In this video, they discuss pornography’s effect on marriage.
I want to include this because it is given from a woman’s perspective. This is something that is often missing in discussions about pornography.
Pornography makes sex a one person thing. It’s all about self-gratification instead of desire to please your spouse.
It breaks intimacy. Sex should be two people who desire to gratify one another. Porn turns it into a selfish act of taking instead of giving.
Traci explains the female point of view:
Porn also damages the female self worth.
I’m thinking every time I’m having sex with you, who are you picturing? I’m certainly feeling like I’m not going to measure up to a porn star who they choose to have the perfect body and all that stuff…
So it damages my self worth and my view of of myself, and my ability to (feel like I’m) fulfilling you (my husband).
It creates more disconnection emotionally.
It’s bringing other people into your relationship and making your spouse feel like they are not good enough (to satisfy you fully).
If you or your spouse is struggling in your marriage because of pornography, you need to realize that the addiction is real. The above videos demonstrate what happens in the human brain when viewing sexually explicit material.
There is hope.
Our goal at The Healthy Marriage is to help you build the marriage of your dreams. To do this, we want to connect you with resources that address your issues.
In this last video you’ll learn about a program designed to help you conquer pornography and restore your marriage. It’s a faith-based, 12 week program that will give you encouragement and practical help in winning the battle.
The video explains how the program works.
Click here to find out more about No More Porn
Wrapping it Up
If want more to know more about the psychology behind pron addiction, check out YourBrainOnPorn.com
Has pornography affected your marriage in a negative way?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.