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More on the effect of pornography on the brain

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, here are two more links with information from Dr. Judith Reisman, referred to there.

1. The first is an excerpt from her senate testimony, given in 2004.

2. The second is a link to her white paper, with some in-depth information about how pornography affects the brain. It’s great information, but I include the link with a couple of caveats: First, the white paper contains some sexual images that may be triggering for an addict. The images are cartoons from pornographic magazines, and especially graphic ones are blurred, so as not to be any more offensive than they already are. But be warned. Second, much of her attention is focused on the normalization of child pornography — and the dangers thereof — whereas my concern is about the effect of pornography in general. That said, here is the link to “ The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography: Restructuring Brain, Mind & Memory & Subverting Freedom of Speech”.

John Harmer: porn re-wires teen brains

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.

Do we “believe in” porn addiction?

An anonymous author on the (very good) Mothers Against Pornography Addiction blog recently posted a bit of a rant about her frustration with the ongoing question of whether porn addiction is “real.” In the past 10 years, she points out, awareness has grown about this issue, but there still is an undercurrent of resistance to “believing in” porn addiction.

The awareness has expanded and information is more readily available. There are entire online programs geared toward the recovery of addicts, websites dedicated to information about the addiction, postings online by well educated psychologists that validate the reality of pornography addiction, counselors now specialize in sex and porn addiction recovery.

And yet still most information is written from the point of view to convince readers that this is real. I have to wonder if while porn addiction is obviously exploding all over our world why it is that convincing people it exists is still necessary.”

You have to read the post … she has great insights and a genuine passion that doesn’t come through in the brief excerpts I have included here. Of special interest is Continue reading Do we “believe in” porn addiction?

Report: Not Enough Sex in Japan

A recent study published in an AP Report showed that growing numbers of people in Japan are not having sex. This has health officials concerned about declining birth rates. Here’s an excerpt:

(AP) — The secret behind Japan’s plunging birth rate? A record 39.7 percent of Japanese citizens ages 16-49 have not had sex for over a month – up 5 percentage points from two years ago – according to a survey published this week by the Japan Family Planning Association. Among married couples, the rate was only slightly lower, at 34.6 percent.

“This is very bad news for the country’s birth rate, and something the government needs to look into urgently,” said Dr. Kunio Kitamura, the family planning association’s director. Continue reading Report: Not Enough Sex in Japan