Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Manliness and Porn

The Catholic Gentleman just published an article entitled "How Porn Turns Men Into Little Boys" by the ever-clever Matt Fradd. The article highlighted the science behind addiction as it relates to pornography. Do yourself a favor and read the whole article, but my highlights are below:

Porn has been promoted as a socially respectable thing for some time now, as something that mature men partake in. What does it mean to be mature?
Ask any neuroscientist what a “mature” human brain looks like, and he or she will likely talk to you about a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. It’s located directly behind the forehead and serves as the managerial center of the brain. It is responsible for our willpower, regulating our behavior, and making decisions based on wisdom and principles. When emotions, impulses, and urges surge from the midbrain, the lobes in the prefrontal cortex are there to exercise “executive control” over them. By the age of 25, this region of the brain reaches maturity, meaning that our thinking becomes more sophisticated and we can regulate our emotions more easily.
What does neuroscience have to do with porn?
The brain is designed in such a way to respond to sexual stimulation. Surges of dopamine are released during a sexual encounter—and yes, also pornographic encounters—giving the person a sharp sense of focus and an awareness of sexual craving. Dopamine helps to lay down memories in the brain, so the next time a man or woman is in the mood, the brain remembers where to return to experience the same pleasure: whether that be a loving spouse or the laptop in the den.

However, scientists are now seeing that continued exposed to porn gives the brain an unnatural high—something it literally isn’t wired to handle—and the brain eventually fatigues.
This neurological pathway to pleasure, where the brain becomes hardwired to make itself happy, is the same thing that research has found with chemical addictions like cocaine and natural addictions like overeating. All of these studies have found that "addictions physically affect the prefrontal lobes of the brain," and remember, the human brain is judged to be mature when the prefontal lobes, the lobes that control impulses and urges, are fully developed. So the kicker of the article is this:
The very thing in the brain that is the mark of adulthood and maturity is the thing that is eroded as we view more porn. It is as if the brain is reverting, becoming more childlike. “Adult” entertainment is actually making us more juvenile.
Then he goes on to explain how porn has been marketed as "mature" by weak men in order to excuse their weak behavior and inability to control their impulses. A real man doesn't use porn. A real man controls his impulses.

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