John Harmer: porn re-wires teen brains

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Two posts in a row linking to the same site. I can’t help myself, they’re posting good stuff! The latest post from Mothers Against Pornography Addiction is a report on a book by John Harmer, The Sex Industrial Complex. Here’s what they say:

Can pornography actually damage the teenage brain?

That’s one of the assertions lawyer and former California legislator and Lt. Governor under Governor Ronald Reagan, the Hon. John L. Harmer makes in his latest book, The Sex Industrial Complex. Exploring MRI research gathered by Dr. Judith Reisman, president of Arizona’s Institute for Media Education, the book claims that exposing a young person’s developing brain to pornography rewires neural connections to create a lasting addiction to pleasure-inducing brain chemicals Reisman refers to as Erotoxins. “Pornography creates a chemical addiction in the same way cigarettes and alcohol do,” said Harmer.

In his book, Harmer cites sources from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the British National Addiction Centre to describe how dopamine, a key drug released by the brain during arousal, has the same effect as cocaine or speed and can create the same addictions in the brain.

For children and teens, Harmer feels that the addiction could be even stronger and more damaging. The amygdala, the part of the brain that controls fear and other “gut” reactions, develops at a much younger age than the more cognitive frontal lobe, and cites information from the National Institute of Health that says the amygdala is used more often to process images even into the teenage years. Because of this, Harmer said, when teenagers look at porn the images are not only linked in the brain to feelings of lust, but to other “gut” responses that the teen might be feeling such as anxiety or shame.

As an addiction forms, lust becomes permanently linked with the more negative emotions. “Studies have shown that the human brain is the last body organ to mature,” he said. “The teenage brain is at risk because it’s a long way from being fully developed.”

I want to learn more about this. What Harmer is saying certainly makes sense. We talk in the men’s sex addiction workshops that I coordinate for Faithful and True Ministries about the phenomena of imprinting. When he have strong sexual/pleasurable experiences at a young age that help us medicate painful feelings, they become imprinted on our brain. We learn that this is a good solution to the bad feelings that we’re trying to escape, and thus sexual behavior begins to emerge as a coping mechanism.

7 thoughts on “John Harmer: porn re-wires teen brains”

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. ~The closest thing to a bedtime story little Susie Survivor ever knew was “daddy” reading suggestive stories to her out of his “Playboy” magazine. She learned very young that whenever he looked at his porn, it was always much, much worse for her-and her worst “nightmare” would happen all over again. She hated the names Hugh Hefner & Larry Flint-who caused her so much pain. Some people say porn doesn’t hurt anyone-but that’s a lie-It hurt little Susie Survivor, her entire family, and countless others like them…It also hurt all the people effected by their hurt as well. It never seems to end-that ripple effect-We are all effected by the actions of one another-and it is spinning out of control.
    Not all people who look at porn are child abusers….but almost all child sex abusers look at porn…It is an evil addiction that feeds into a weak or demented mind. It needs to be stopped…
    There is nothing good about porn, it is addictive, hurtful, and degrading-especially to women~

  3. I am recovering from porn addiction, lust, and the chaos that these things lead to. I believe, without doubt, that looking at porn during my pre-teen years “re-wired” my brain, making this obsession nearly impossible to stop. At my worst point, I’d spend 4-8 hours at one sitting, looking at porn. As of today, I have not viewed any porn in nearly 4 years (Thank you God!!). I highly recommend 12 step groups and working on yourself, forming a relationship with God, and helping others recover from this seemingly hopeless pit. There is hope!!

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