4 Ways Porn Warps the Male Brain

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4 Ways Porn Warps the Male Brain

By Matt Fradd

I’ve often heard men say, “I love looking at hdsexvideo porn movies. Besides it doesn’t hurt anything. It’s only fantasy. What’s the problem?”

Now, you may not have a moral problem with porn, but many are starting to have a medical problem with it. The more we study the impact of porn on the male brain, the more men are starting to think twice about porn being a harmless pastime.

1. Porn gives men a new standard of beauty.

In 2002, the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, published research showing that when men are shown pictures of centerfold models from Playboy and Penthouse, this significantly lowered their judgements about the attractiveness of “average” people.

In our hyper-sexualized media culture, is this something that really needs to be reinforced? Should we train our brains to rate women by the size, shape, and harmony of their body parts? Do we want our standard of beauty to be shaped by a fictional standard or by the woman we are actually in love with?

2. Male brains don’t just view porn. They enter into it.

The journal NeuroImage published a study in 2008 demonstrating that as men are sexually aroused by porn films, something called “mirror neurons” in the brain also fire.

What is a mirror neuron? Have you ever seen someone get hit in the face with a ball or some other blunt object, and then your own body recoils? This is because of mirror neurons: you instantly react as if you were the one hit.

When it comes to porn, the brain naturally imagines the viewer in the pornographic scene. When a man is turned on by porn his body is not merely responding to the naked woman. His brain is picturing himself as the main character, heightening the arousal. You see, porn isn’t merely arousing to men because the women in it are attractive, but because it makes the man feel sexy. With so many website around these days like Full Tube XXX providing higher quality experiences all the time is becoming increasingly more common and as a result more immersive.

This trains men not to get their sense of personal validation from real life relationships but from pixels on a screen.

3. The more porn men watch, the more their brains look like an addict’s brain.

In 2014 scientists at Cambridge discovered that the brains of habitual porn users show great similarity to the brains of alcoholics. When a self-confessed porn addict is hooked up to an MRI machine and then is shown a fullhdxxx pornographic video , a brain structure called the ventral striatum “lights up” in the same way it lights up for an alcoholic who sees a picture of an drink.

You might be thinking, “So what?” Well, researchers speculate that continued use of porn over time, especially starting at younger ages, makes it such that we actually lose willpower. The more we watch porn, the more difficult it is for men to say to no to watching porn because of the strong craving they feel.

This is not the kind of men most men want to be. We want to enjoy our passions, not be enslaved to them.

4. Porn makes violence sexy.

According to research by Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant, the more porn one is exposed to, the more likely one is willing to trivialize rape. In their experiments, after watching just five hours of pornographic films stretched over a six-week period, subjects were willing to cut the sentencing of an accused rapist nearly in half, compared to those who had not watched pornography at all.

Those who watched more porn were also likely to believe that practices like sadomasochism were two to three times more common in general society than those who had not seen porn. Of course porn doesn’t make most consumers into sexually violent people, it does train men to embrace a culture of objectification, reinforcing a belief that women exist to give sexual pleasure to men. Again, is this the kind of men we want to become?

Let me make an appeal to men:

  • if your goal is to become a man whose standard of beauty is shaped by the one you love…
  • if your goal is to feel a personal sense of worth and validation based on your most valuable relationships…
  • if your goal is to be a man of self-mastery, not enslaved to your passions…
  • and if your goal is to treat women as people to be served and loved, not see them as objects for your pleasure…

…then consuming porn will take you in the opposite direction.

If you would like help breaking free from the power of porn, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor.

Screens May Be Terrible for You, and Now We Know Why

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Screens May Be Terrible for You, and Now We Know Why

By Brandon Keim

For more than 3 billion years, life on Earth was governed by the cyclical light of sun, moon and stars. Then along came electric light, turning night into day at the flick of a switch. Our bodies and brains may not have been ready.

A fast-growing body of research has linked artificial light exposure to disruptions in circadian rhythms, the light-triggered releases of hormones that regulate bodily function. Circadian disruption has in turn been linked to a host of health problems, from cancer to diabetes, obesity and depression. “Everything changed with electricity. Now we can have bright light in the middle of night. And that changes our circadian physiology almost immediately,” says Richard Stevens, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut. “What we don’t know, and what so many people are interested in, are the effects of having that light chronically.”

Stevens, one of the field’s most prominent researchers, reviews the literature on light exposure and human health the latest Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. The new article comes nearly two decades after Stevens first sounded the alarm about light exposure possibly causing harm; writing in 1996, he said the evidence was “sparse but provocative.” Since then, nighttime light has become even more ubiquitous: an estimated 95 percent of Americans regularly use screens shortly before going to sleep, and incandescent bulbs have been mostly replaced by LED and compact fluorescent lights that emit light in potentially more problematic wavelengths. Meanwhile, the scientific evidence is still provocative, but no longer sparse.

As Stevens says in the new article, researchers now know that increased nighttime light exposure tracks with increased rates of breast cancer, obesity and depression. Correlation isn’t causation, of course, and it’s easy to imagine all the ways researchers might mistake those findings. The easy availability of electric lighting almost certainly tracks with various disease-causing factors: bad diets, sedentary lifestyles, exposure to they array of chemicals that come along with modernity. Oil refineries and aluminum smelters, to be hyperbolic, also blaze with light at night.

Yet biology at least supports some of the correlations. The circadian system synchronizes physiological function—from digestion to body temperature, cell repair and immune system activity—with a 24-hour cycle of light and dark. Even photosynthetic bacteria thought to resemble Earth’s earliest life forms have circadian rhythms. Despite its ubiquity, though, scientists discovered only in the last decade what triggers circadian activity in mammals: specialized cells in the retina, the light-sensing part of the eye, rather than conveying visual detail from eye to brain, simply signal the presence or absence of light. Activity in these cells sets off a reaction that calibrates clocks in every cell and tissue in a body. Now, these cells are especially sensitive to blue wavelengths—like those in a daytime sky.

But artificial lights, particularly LCDs, some LEDs, and fluorescent bulbs, also favor the blue side of the spectrum. So even a brief exposure to dim artificial light can trick a night-subdued circadian system into behaving as though day has arrived. Circadian disruption in turn produces a wealth of downstream effects, including dysregulation of key hormones. “Circadian rhythm is being tied to so many important functions,” says Joseph Takahashi, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern. “We’re just beginning to discover all the molecular pathways that this gene network regulates. It’s not just the sleep-wake cycle. There are system-wide, drastic changes.” His lab has found that tweaking a key circadian clock gene in mice gives them diabetes. And a tour-de-force 2009 study put human volunteers on a 28-hour day-night cycle, then measured what happened to their endocrine, metabolic and cardiovascular systems.

Crucially, that experiment investigated circadian disruption induced by sleep alteration rather than light exposure, which is also the case with the many studies linking clock-scrambling shift work to health problems. Whether artificial light is as problematic as disturbed sleep patterns remains unknown, but Stevens thinks that some and perhaps much of what’s now assumed to result from sleep issues is actually a function of light. “You can wake up in the middle of the night and your melatonin levels don’t change,” he says. “But if you turn on a light, melatonin starts falling immediately. We need darkness.” According to Stevens, most people live in a sort of “circadian fog.”

Just how much health risk can be attributed to artificial light rather than sleep disruption? If breast cancer rates jump 30 percent in women who work at night, and prostate cancer rates nearly triple in men, what proportion of that circadian disruption comes from artificial light rather than sleep cycle problems? And just how much blue light must be absorbed before things get risky: a few minutes a night or a few hours, a few years or a few decades? These are now pressing research questions, yet it may be difficult to know for sure, says Stevens. Conclusively settling the matter would likely require studies both rigorously controlled and terribly unethical. In the meantime, it might make sense to let a little nighttime back into your life.

 

9 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain

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9 Things You Should Know About Pornography and the Brain

By Joe Carter (Originally Published March 8, 2013 on The Gospel Coalition)

“Because the human brain is the biological anchor of our psychological experience, it is helpful to understand how it operates.” says William M. Struthers, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College. “Knowing how it is wired together and where it is sensitive can help us understand why pornography affects people the way it does.” Here are 9 things you should know about pornography affects the brain.

1. Sexually explicit material triggers mirror neurons in the male brain. These neurons, which are involved with the process for how to mimic a behavior, contain a motor system that correlates to the planning out of a behavior.  In the case of pornography, this mirror neuron system triggers the arousal, which leads to sexual tension and a need for an outlet. “The unfortunate reality is that when he acts out (often by masturbating), this leads to hormonal and neurological consequences, which are designed to bind him to the object he is focusing on,” says Struthers. “In God’s plan, this would be his wife, but for many men for example those whose visit the website Nu Bay it is an image on a screen that they are bound to. Pornography thus enslaves the viewer to an image, hijacking the biological response intended to bond a man to his wife and therefore inevitably loosening that bond.”

2. In men, there are five primary chemicals involved in sexual arousal and response. The one that likely plays the most significant role in pornography addiction is dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual, or when a stimuli is more arousing than anticipated. Because erotic imagery triggers more dopamine than sex with a familiar partner, exposure to pornography leads to “arousal addiction” and teaches the brain to prefer the image and become less satisfied with real-life sexual partners. Websites like https://www.hdpornt.com/ are extremely stimulating so we can see why.

3. Why do men seek out a variety of new explicit sexual images rather than being satisfied with the same ones? The reason is attributed to the Coolidge effect, a phenomenon seen in mammalian species whereby males (and to a lesser extent females) exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new receptive sexual partners, even after refusing sex from prior but still available sexual partners. This neurological mechanism is one of the primary reasons for the abundance and addictiveness of Internet pornography.

4. Overstimulation of the reward circuitry—such as occurs with repeated dopamine spikes related to viewing pornography—creates desensitization. As Gary Wilson explains, “When dopamine receptors drop after too much stimulation, the brain doesn’t respond as much, and we feel less reward from pleasure. That drives us to search even harder for feelings of satisfaction—for example, by seeking out more extreme sexual stimuli, longer porn sessions, or more frequent porn viewing—thus further numbing the brain.

5. “The psychological, behavioral, and emotional habits that form our sexual character will be based on the decisions we make,” says Struthers. “Whenever the sequence of arousal and response is activated, it forms a neurological memory that will influence future processing and response to sexual cues. As this pathway becomes activated and traveled, it becomes a preferred route—a mental journey—that is regularly trod. The consequences of this are far-reaching.”

6. What makes Internet porn unique? Wilson identifies a number of reasons, including: (1) Internet porn offers extreme novelty; (2) Unlike food and drugs, there are almost no physical limitations to Internet porn consumption; (3) With Internet porn one can escalate both with more novel “partners” and by viewing new and unusual genres, a prime example of an unusual genre is shemales, seeing the human form having both breasts as well as male genitalia and then watching both men and women having sex with a shemale like the videos that can be seen at shemalehdsex just leads to even more confusion. Why is there such confusion you ask, normally someone will find either the female or male form arousing, yes admittedly some are attractive to both but a shemale has half of each on the same body that’s what can be confusing; (4) Unlike drugs and food, Internet porn doesn’t eventually activate the brain’s natural aversion system; and (5) The age users start watching porn. A teen’s brain is at its peak of dopamine production and neuroplasticity, making it highly vulnerable to addiction and rewiring.

7. Men’s exposure to sexually explicit material is correlated with social anxiety, depression, low motivation,erectile dysfunction, concentration problems, and negative self-perceptions in terms of physical appearance and sexual functioning.

8. The following video offers a brief overview of the affect of pornography on the brain.

9. In this video, Gary Wilson discusses the disturbing symptoms showing up in some heavy Internet porn users, the surprising reversal of those symptoms, and the science behind these phenomena. Although it is not presented from a Christian perspective, the discussion is highly recommended for better understanding the deleterious and wide-ranging effects pornography has on men.

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If you or a loved one struggles with the use of pornography, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our skilled counselors or coaches.

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

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5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power… Today!

By Daniel G. Amen, MD

brain powerThe movie ”Lucy” stars Scarlett Johansson as a drug smuggler for a Taiwanese Mob. A drug (implanted in her body) leaks into her system, allowing her to ”access 100% of her brain function.” The result is telekinetic powers and incredible memory capacity. Although entertaining, the premise is simply not true. Yet still, two-thirds of the population believes that humans only use 10% of their brain.

The truth is…

If we only used 10% of our brains, we’d be evolving backward. Through the lens of brain SPECT imaging, we can actually see how the brain is functioning at rest and during concentration activities. All of the brain’s systems are active—except for when the brain has been damaged or is otherwise low-functioning (click here to view images).

Even when you are resting or sleeping, your brain is still functioning! Your brain is the command and control center for everything you think, do and say. So, how can you keep your brain active and in shape?

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

  1. Get in the classroom! Take up a new language or learn a new hobby by enrolling in a class. You’re never too old to learn new skill!
  2. Read. You’d be surprised how many new connections you can make by reading for just 30 minutes a day.
  3. Play board games. Engaging in play—especially with youngsters—keeps you sharp!
  4. Teach. As you’re learning a new skill, teach it to someone else. That will increase your understanding too!
  5. Learn an instrument. Music has a calming effect on the brain and learning a new instrument establishes new neural connections that keep your brain healthy and active—that is, as long as you continue to practice!

…Just imagine what would happen if you exchanged an hour of TV watching for [one of these 5 ways to boost your brain power].

Coffee and Tea May Protect the Brain

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Coffee and Tea May Protect the Brain

Daily drinkers have lower rates of depression and cognitive decline

Exercise is Good for Children’s Brains

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Exercise is Good for Children’s Brains, Too

By  W. Douglas Tynan, director of integrated health care for the American Psychological Association.

We all know exercise generally benefits children, and another study to confirm that was recently published in Pediatrics. Though this finding may yield a yawn or two, the latest research goes well beyond quantifying what most of us think is true.

child exercise

Charles Hillman from the University of Illinois and colleagues found kids who took part in regular physical activity enhanced their cognitive performance and brain function. His group looked at the impact of a little more than an hour of vigorous exercise followed by 45 minutes of a less-vigorous skills game for a total of two hours every day after school during 150 days of a school year.

On measures of concentration, attention, flexible thinking, controlling impulses, and actual brain activity measured by scalp electrodes, the exercise group of these 8- and 9-year-old children did much better overall.

“The message is, get kids to be physically active” for the sake of their brains, as well as their health, Hillman told the New York Times. After-school programs like the one he and his colleagues developed require little additional equipment or expense for most schools, he said, although a qualified physical education instructor should be involved.

The Atlantic magazine cited the results and suggested this might be a treatment for impulsive and overly active children.

What makes these results so extraordinary is they are not unusual. Three years ago, Catherine Davis at the University of Georgia did another study of slightly older children who were overweight and did low-level (20 minutes per day) and higher-level (40 minutes per day) exercise versus a control group. They did only about 15 weeks, or half a school year, and found the same results. In a small group of subjects examined with a functional MRI of the brain, Davis found changes in brain activity that can be seen on the visual image of brain function, along with better scores in math, organization, and control of impulses.

In science, replication is key, and here we have two groups, working independently, getting the same benefit from vigorous exercise, and the same test results and brain activity changes. Other studies of school exercise in Delaware have shown 30 minutes of physical activity raises test scores and lowers absences.

If there were a medicine that showed this benefit, there would be full-page advertisements in this newspaper. If there were a curriculum that showed this benefit, it would be snapped up by your local school district.

But it is not a product; it is a lifestyle to be taught in school and at home. Just an hour of vigorous activity, either through games or other play, enhances academic, cognitive, and executive skills of planning and self-control. Schools and families that limit or eliminate these opportunities impede children’s progress.

The science is clear. To advance academically and in terms of self-control, children’s bodies need to move. An extra hour of instruction may help, but if it comes at the cost of reducing active play, it will probably hurt.