The Hidden Pain In Porn- Let’s Get Down To The Bare Facts

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the pain of porn

Bree Olson came out recently and talked about what it was like leaving the porn industry. To say that she was not accepted back into normal society is putting it mildly. My heart went out to her. I suspect that she has more support than she realizes.

I have my own thoughts about this. In my younger years, I was a model. I have always had a curvy figure so I fit more naturally into lingerie and being without clothes then I did in fitness or fashion.

I wasn’t brought up being taught that my sexuality was a bad thing and becoming an adult, I was willing to explore that. I wasn’t prepared for the society (or let’s say the darker side of society and men).  When I first appeared in Playboy, I suddenly found myself immersed in a very different world and one that I wasn’t willing to play in. I’ll spare you the details of what that world looks like but it was something I rejected from the get go.  That’s not a healthy world for an introvert.

Even though I climbed to fame quickly in my career, I left it all behind and tried to shut out what I had seen and now knew about some of the darker sides of humanity and the industry.

I’m a supporter of women – no matter what. I don’t judge men or women for the choices they make in their life.  Over the years I have openly spoken out against porn for one reason and one reason only; the relatively ignored changes it brings with it.

My life is science. My science-based beginnings were in biology and psychology. I wanted to understand what happened in the brain of people and why.

Porn has several destructive functions to the brain and nervous system, which impacts how men and women relate to one another, how we relate to the world around us, and even how we relate to ourselves.  Studies have shown that it can cause erectile dysfunction in men later in life – although this is hotly debated by porn advocates.

Porn activates the reptilian brain. Our brain literally has 3 control center “brains” inside. The reptilian brain controls our emotions and survival. However, emotions like love, empathy, compassion, and gentleness do not stem from the reptilian brain. Obsessiveness, anger, control, fighting or fleeing and even hunger are the emotions of the reptilian brain.

We live in a very visual world that is intended to stimulate us. The reptilian brain works primarily through visual stimulation and activates hormone and nervous system responses very quickly.

Even when we are very young, we know what feels good and what doesn’t, without understanding why. When something feels good, we want to go back for more.

Working in genetics, there are genes that predispose people to addictions and escapism. This has to be factored in when discussing the harm of porn. Someone without those gene expressions are not as likely to become addicted to porn.  However their reptilian brain still sends out the same message to seek out pleasure once it has been exposed to it.

After viewing porn, the brain becomes accustomed to the images and over time becomes numb to that same level of stimulation. The reptilian brain seeks pleasure so the degree of stimulation always needs to increase. There is enough scientific research that backs up a connection to porn and violence and even a reduced satisfaction in a partner.

Marketers and producers of pornography understand how the brain works and their job is to supply the message that has the most impact on the reptilian brain.

All marketers, including pornography producers, are very well aware of the inner workings of our brains. As time goes on, the push for the boundaries of what is socially acceptable is constantly being crossed, but just slightly. Their message needs to avoid legal troubles but are just wrong enough to cause the strongest stimulation in the reptilian brain.

It’s sad because we are competing with media for our own minds. We lose sight of how powerful this is on our thoughts and actions. This entire process creates new neural pathways and burns old ones.

I’ve been with men that have had a great deal of porn exposure and others that have little to none. The way they treat women, interact with the world and them selves is vastly different. The ability to be fully present during sex was also very different.

Attitudes are not the only thing impacted. Of the porn watchers, the kidneys, hormonal system and nervous system generally shows more signs of fatigue and imbalance. The men that watched porn could not even perceive there was a difference. Lending to the old adage, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Then there’s the problem that we don’t place as much value on what we are readily surrounded by. There is a question that needs to be explored: Has sex become less intimate and spiritual because it is everywhere we turn in our modern world?

Science has raised the possibility that male DNA becomes part of a woman after sex. (An interesting – although non-study write up can also be found here.) This is not only a huge possible revelation, it is also implies a big responsibility in our sexual world. Do we really understand what is occurring and why when it comes to sex and our body and mind?

We are literally in competition with various forms of media for our own minds and never realize how we are becoming reshaped through our visual stimulation.

I have known relationships that dissolved over porn use and I have met men that said they wish they had never even looked at their first Playboy magazine. This is where the beautiful, naked and natural human body becomes corrupted into something that it is not -within the minds of humans.

I’m not pro suppression of pornography. I am pro people becoming healthy and being able to have a healthy relationship with self and with other people. There is too much change that occurs within the mind and body of someone that watches porn to render it harmless.

Maybe the answer lies in a change within society. Maybe each individual finding their own purpose in life would change the negativity associated with porn. Maybe it lies in acceptance and support of other people that are different.  Hatred always creates unhappy feelings that many people want to escape from.  Maybe the idea of real love is skewed in this fast paced virtual reality world we live in and it is being replaced with sexual stimulation and non physical encounters.  Maybe the answer lies in being taught the potential of our greatness early on so we don’t have to look outside ourselves for an ever-growing need for more stimulation to feel good.

However, each individual person deals with it, porn and sexual activities that push the line will always be around as long as we have a reptilian part of our brain.  The idea is not to censor it, our focus should be to make our own lives (and the lives of our children) as healthy as possible to reduce the need to seek out excess stimulation.

*** This does not just affect men this way, women react in similar ways.

 

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Paul, P. (2005). Pornified. New York: Times Books.

Zillmann, D & J. Bryant. (1984). Effects of massive exposure to pornography. In Malamuth, N and Donnerstein, E. (Eds), Pornography and sexual aggression. San Diego, Academic Press.

Albright, J. (2008). Sex in America online: An exploration of sex, marital status, and sexual identity in Internet sex seeking and its impacts. Journal of Sex Research, 45, 175–186.

Yoram Barak (2006) The immune system and happiness. Autoimmunity Reviews Volume 5, Issue 8, 523–527

 

 

 

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