Watching porn rewires the brain to a more juvenile state, neuroscientist claims

Watching porn rewires the brain to a more juvenile state, neuroscientist claims

A Canadian PhD student claims that watching porn erodes an important region of the brain, rewiring it into a juvenile state.

Writing for the scientific website The Conversation, neuroscientist Rachel Anne Barr (a researcher at Canada's Université Laval) claims that the consumption of porn and the instant gratification it provides can have a profoundly damaging effect on the development of the brain's neural pathways.

Watch actress Jada Pinkett-Smith talk about her unhealthy attitude to porn:

Barr writes: "In my own lab, we study the neural wiring that underlies learning and memory processes. The properties of video porn make it a particularly powerful trigger for plasticity, the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Combined with the accessibility and anonymity of online porn consumption, we are more vulnerable than ever to its hyper-stimulating effects."

Barr postulates that an over-reliance on pornography has led to depression, erectile dysfunction, and stunted emotional maturity among its users.

She cites two studies to back up these claims: one which shows that changes in the transmission of dopamine can facilitate depression and anxiety and another showing that porn users report greater depressive symptoms, lower quality of life and poorer mental health compared with those that don't watch it.

Recently, Pornhub even offered viewers a special discount on their lifetime membership:

She also claims that pornography is desensitizing its users to graphic material or even sexual violence. She quotes the Psychiatrist Norman Doidge, who once wrote:

"Pornography satisfies every one of the prerequisites for neuroplastic change. When pornographers boast that they are pushing the envelope by introducing new, harder themes, what they don’t say is that they must, because their customers are building up a tolerance."

Take a look at this interview with an ethical porn actor below: 

Barr's claims are disputable, but it seems as though more and more people are coming round to the idea that pornography is bad for us. Check out VT's article about NoFap - the movement that's urging thousands to give up masturbation for the sake of their health.