"How Watching Porn Might Mean The End Of Your Sex Life As You Know It"

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EliteDaily logoArousal addiction is a concept that refers to seeking out novelty in order to achieve or maintain a high level of arousal.

Unlike alcohol or drug addiction, in which someone wants more of the same alcohol or drug, a person who exhibits addictive behavior with arousing activities, like video games or porn, craves material that is constantly changing.

Simply put, it is like saying, “Give me the same but different.”

Over time, the things that turn on porn addicts when they first started watching will no longer turn them on the same way. This is because the old porn is not creating the same level of arousal.

If an image or scene isn’t doing it for a person, he or she will then look for newness and variety in the content, more hardcore material or anything unseen in order to attain a sexual climax.

Sameness is soon habituated; difference sustains attention, even if it means morphing porn tastes that don’t necessarily line up with a person’s sexual orientation.

The porn industry is supplying a virtually endless variety via instant streaming online, so porn addicts can always get their fix. Regarding porn, brains demand change, novelty, excitement and constant stimulation, as pornography is a dopamine-producing machine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with activation of the brain’s reward system. Its presence helps initiate feelings of enjoyment and pleasure.

Neutral stimuli and events that are associated with the addictive substance or its process, such as gambling or drugs, can become conditioned to generate further arousal and add to the body’s chemical addiction.

The more aroused you are, the higher your dopamine level. The higher your dopamine, the more you crave something.

Though the impact of arousal addiction on behavior and physiological responses varies from individual to individual, it is worth looking at the potential physiological, mental and emotional effects of watching too much porn because few people consider how it affects their brains and their ability to become aroused during porn-watching sessions and in real-life sexual encounters.

The subtle and not-so-subtle effects of arousal addiction can negatively impact any part of a person’s life that are analog, static or involve planning, delaying gratification or long-term goal setting (e.g. romantic relationships, school, job).

People with whom I’ve spoken who demonstrate signs of arousal addiction feel very anxious in social situations, have less motivation to set and complete goals, feel out of control and even discuss suicide.

Other symptoms can include erectile dysfunction, performance anxiety, desensitization, brain fog and depression. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found,

Regular porn users are more likely to report depression and poor physical health than nonusers… The reason is that porn may start a cycle of isolation… Porn may become a substitute for healthy face-to-face interactions, social or sexual.

Guys are even starting to talk about how porn has personally affected them.

Before high-speed Internet, people consumed porn much differently. Arousal addiction wouldn’t have been as possible as it is today.

First, it was small photos in National Geographic, then it was flipping through spreads in a Playboy or Penthouse magazine, or going to a theatre specifically for adult films.

Then, it was a pile of VHS tapes, followed by a burned DVD mix of selected clips. Now, you can have as many windows open as you want on your computer screen and all you have to do is click between them — or you can use tools like Pornhub’s PornIQ, which creates a custom playlist for you based on your desires.

Most remember the first sexual image or movie they saw — it leaves an ever-lasting impression. If you’re a young, sexually inexperienced person who grows up watching hardcore porn (or really, any person who watches a lot of hardcore porn) and you masturbate exclusively to it, imagine how that will affect your future sexual experiences.

If you’ve trained your brain and body to become aroused by hardcore porn scenes, most likely, real-life sex partners will not turn you on nearly as much as they would if you hadn’t watched porn. You might objectively find the other person attractive, but he or she won’t physically or mentally arouse you.

If you’re a guy, you very well could have trouble getting or maintaining an erection. Even if you are aroused at first (because of the partner’s newness), several months into a romantic relationship, you might find that he or she no longer turns you on.

Dopamine, as mentioned above, is also the basis for the motivation to achieve your desires, and in the context of sex, it’s central to sexual desire and erections. An erection won’t happen if there is not enough dopamine to signal the reward circuitry.

Dopamine skyrockets with novelty, so with every new sexual partner or sex scene, you will get another surge of dopamine. If your dopamine starts to decline — that is, your erection starts to dwindle — you just click on something else to boost yourself back up.

With Internet porn, there is always something new, exciting or shocking. Watch enough porn and your reward circuitry will essentially burn out because your dopamine system has burned it out and thus, become less responsive.

At this point, you become dependent on new porn because you need more and more stimulation to become aroused and get an erection.

Eventually, the porn pathway in your brain will become so strong that you will no longer be sensitive to normal or usual stimuli, such as sex with a real person.

Viagra or Cialis won’t help these problems no matter how old you are, because they only dilate the blood vessels to sustain an erection, not create one.

The brain needs to be aroused first; without arousal, nothing can happen. And that’s what porn does over time — it kills the arousal response. If you think you may have porn-induced ED, check out these links to YourBrainOnPorn here and here.

Overcoming arousal addiction can be simple, but not necessarily easy. A lot of people have found success with the Reboot program on YourBrainOnPorn and support on the No Fap forum on Reddit.

Other people have found that the Internet itself is too tempting and have found success with 12-step programs. If you watch porn, ask yourself how much of the things that attract you are influenced by porn.

Clarify your relationship with porn so you can avoid its downsides. If you want to get aroused by being with people, porn can be a part of your fantasy life, just not the whole thing.

Original article by Nikita Coulombe