People often take time in coming forward when dealing with any type of dysfunction, in particular issues of a sexual nature. We all have varying degrees of what we consider “normal” sexual behaviour or function. Some live with behaviours that others may struggle with. The underlying common thread being, when the behaviour or function inhibits […]
People often take time in coming forward when dealing with any type of dysfunction, in particular issues of a sexual nature. We all have varying degrees of what we consider “normal” sexual behaviour or function. Some live with behaviours that others may struggle with. The underlying common thread being, when the behaviour or function inhibits you from leading a full and happy life, its time to make a change. In this weeks blog we are going to look at one of the more common presentations in sex therapy- porn addiction- and consider some of the latest research.
Is Porn Changing Our Brain??
As we are all aware sex and the porn industry is thriving, the internet has made it even more accessible than ever before. Has this increased exposure changed the way our brains function? According to Phillip Zimbardo, a leading Psychologist increased exposure has not only had a cognitive impact but he believes that it is also influencing romantic relationships. Zimbardo believes that it will cause an emotional disconnection when an individual becomes addicted, and as a consequence they may struggle to be intimate with real life partners. This disconnect often manifests in sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction- the addicted person may only be able to become aroused with porn and fail to become excited by real life partners. PIED (porn induced erectile dysfunction) is yet to be fully understood and researched, however studies by Qiyong Gong, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, China in 2015 gave insight into the cognition of erectile dysfunction (ED). They found that psychogenic ED (EDp) showed decreased neural connectivity in fRMI scans. The section of the brain most notably affected was the default mode network and the salience network. Both regions showed a marked decrease in intrinsic functional connectivity. These areas are responsible for recalling past experiences, and thinking to the future, along with conceiving the viewpoint of others. Perhaps the reliance of another script or story, that porn provides is influencing how we are able to recall or create our own fantasies from memory. Interference with what scientists call pair bonding is believed to also be occurring and as a consequence less attraction to one partner may be the outcome of over exposure, according to research. According to a recent article in the Science Daily, dopamine levels surge for novelty, a new car, movie or the latest electronic gadget cause a rush. Internet porn is enticing for the reward circulatory system because novelty is just a click away. There are dozens of clips and genres to choose from- inexhaustible novelty. Given the fact that 35% of all internet downloads are pornographic we can be certain that porn is here to stay and we will find out more about the impact not just on sexual function but emotional interaction in the future.