Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement
WHY Porn Changes the Brain | Science of NoFap [SFW]

WHY Porn Changes the Brain | Science of NoFap [SFW]


“No Fap” – the name for the practice of
giving up pornography and self stimulation as a means for self improvement. Easily the most frequently requested topic
on this channel, so here it is. Before we start I want to clarify that masturbation
by itself or even pictures of naked people are not necessarily a problem. This discussion is about the brain changes
made by high speed internet porn – a recent phenomenon that didn’t exist until around
20 years ago. Naturally, any discussion about porn is going
to start with a bit of cell biology. We are made up of two types of cells, the
germ cells and the somatic cells. The germ cells’ job is to hold and spread
genetic material. The somatic cells’ role is essentially to
protect the germ cells and make sure they are able to do their job. What you consider to be yourself, your body,
is the soma. What nature wants the soma to do is to live
long enough to allow the germ cells to pass the genetic material off to a new soma. Whatever DNA resides in your body arrived
there thanks to the perpetual relay race a countless number of somas took part in before
you or your ancestors came into existence. Nature’s expectation for you is to pass
the baton to what will be the next soma carrying the precious genetic material. The point of this is to highlight just how
high on the priorities list sexual reproduction is going to be for living things. Take for example the small, mouse-like creature
called an antechinus. The males have very short lifespans, because
at a certain point they will have finished making all the sperm that they can and lose
the ability to make anymore. When they reach this point, they will aggressively
mate with as many females as they can. Tirelessly having sex hours for on end to
the point that their fur falls off, they bleed internally and their immune system fails,
leaving them riddled with gangrene. And they will then continue to have sex, until
they die. Luckily, us humans naturally do not lose the
ability to produce sperm and we are very keen on staying alive. We have a very strong imperative to protect
ourselves, to feed ourselves, to survive – and many mechanisms are set in place to motivate
us to do so. In particular, the brain has within it the
all powerful dopamine system. It’s there to motivate you to do the things
that would help you survive. And of course reproduction is the other very
strong imperative. Maybe unsurprisingly, the dopamine system
seems to be much more reactive to chances for reproduction. Comparing a 1999 study from the University
of Cagliari to a 1997 Study from the University of British Colombia, we can see that the dopamine
output from sex is about twice as strong as what you get from food. If we go all the way back to the Paleolithic
era when the hardware for the human dopamine system – the brain was being developed , these
reproductive opportunities didn’t come very often. As James McClellan says in his book “Science
and Technology in World History,” “Over the entire 2 million years of the Paleolithic,
beginning with the first species of Homo, population density remained astonishingly
low, perhaps no more than one person per square mile…” Potential reproductive opportunities would
have been very limited simply by the fact that there weren’t that many people to reproduce
with. So, the brain developed certain strategies
to maximize reproduction. For example, an animal will reach a sort of
sexual satiation after having sex multiple times with the same mate. And, you will see a decline in dopamine that
matches the waning motivation. However, if you introduce a totally new partner,
then the dopamine and the motivation to have sex will shoot back up- this is a great strategy,
it would maximize the total potential babies. This is known as the coolidge effect. “As you can see from this Australian experiment,
subjects watched 22 porn displays. See that spike? That’s where researchers switched to porn
the guys hadn’t seen before. The result? Subjects’ brains and boners sprang to attention
again. It’s not mere nudity, but novelty that sends
arousal skyrocketing.” And herein lies the appeal of high speed internet
porn. It takes advantage of this programming by
giving you instant access to a virtually limitless supply of new mates engaging in whatever novel
position or fetish you like. Nowadays, in 30 minutes, you can see more
members of the opposite sex erotically displaying themselves than the total number of humans
our ancestors could see in their lifetime. Not to mention the number of those humans
they’d actually get the chance to have sex with is much lower. In this way, novelty packed internet porn
takes advantage of your brain’s programming to keep your attention for hours on end. The wasted time is unfortunate, but the real
problem is how each porn viewing session changes and molds your brain. I think most people are familiar with the
fact that the brain is plastic – it can change based on your environment and your behaviors. But it’s not often apparent how powerful
this plasticity is. In Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain that
changes itself” he describes how In certain stroke patients who lost function in their
limbs, doctors thought recovery was impossible. If a muscle atrophied surely you could re-strengthen
it, but since the stroke knocked out the portion of the brain controlling that limb, surely
nothing could be done. A new strategy was put into play. By doing things like putting a patient’s
good hand in an oven mitt and taping it up with duct tape, patients had no choice but
to attempt to use the dysfunctional limb. After much frustrating practice, their brains
started to change in response to this behavior. The brain reconfigured itself to map different
areas of the brain to the task of controlling that limb. This would be like being able to use the fingerprint
scanner to control one portion of your smartphone’s screen after you cracked it. This remapping of the brain produced remarkable
recoveries of function in the stroke patients’ dysfunctional limbs. Before, this type of recovery was thought
to be impossible. Over many other incredible examples throughout
the book, Norman Doidge demonstrates how the brain can adapt itself to actually “get
better” at almost anything, positive or negative, by actually changing its physical
structure. The phrase “the medium is the message”
– coined by Marshall McLuhan, highlights the problem with internet pornography. The point of this phrase is that the way some
content or “message” gets into your brain is just as important, if not more important,
as the message itself. In our case, without the medium- high speed
internet, the message- sexual content, would have far less power to instigate negative
changes in the brain. Since the medium is so important, let’s
first look first at how just the internet itself can be addicting – even if you’re
looking at totally safe for work content. The previously mentioned neurotransmitter
dopamine is the door to addiction. You can open that door with substances or
behaviors . It’s not often clarified, but dopamine isn’t the pleasure molecule, it’s
the molecule that controls wanting – the seeking of pleasure. Dopamine is released when you get a new or
unexpected reward, at first its purpose is to make you learn what behavior got you that
reward. After that step is done, dopamine is released
when you recognize that you are in a situation where that particular behavior can get you
a reward. Now, the purpose of this dopamine is to now
motivate you to do the behavior. This is how drugs take advantage of the dopamine
system. All drugs of addiction provide a massive dopamine
release – so your brain thinks you just received the best unexpected reward ever. So everything that led up to getting that
substance is strongly written into memory. This is how addicts develop strong triggers
– they might see an alleyway where they bought some narcotic in the past and their brain
will surge them with dopamine that says “Hurry up and do the behavior necessary to get that
substance!” In the same way your nose can get used to
a bad smell if you hang around it long enough, the brain can get used to high levels of dopamine. When the brain is frequently exposed to elevated
dopamine, the dopamine receptors decrease – they downregulate. And then, more dopamine is necessary to create
motivation. Dopamine receptor downregulation is a universal
symptom of addiction. So, the drug user loses interest in everyday
activities because they don’t provide near as much dopamine as the drug so they’re
not motivated to do that activity. The brain comes to favor the thing with the
highest dopamine payout and the wanting for the substance gets stronger and stronger. And, Behavioral addictions cause this same
dopamine receptor downregulation as seen in substance addictions. The internet’s addictive power comes from
the fact that it is a novelty machine. Novelty is something dopamine is particularly
reactive to. New information is interpreted by your brain
as a reward, and this reward comes for very little behavior. You can get a new picture for a swipe on imgur,
fresh links for a click on reddit, and new tweets for a scroll on twitter. Very quickly your brain learns that, when
you’re holding a smart phone, you can perform a very simple behavior – a swipe of the thumb,
to get new information. So, seeing your smartphone triggers a small
rise in dopamine, which motivates you to swipe, and you get a reward – a new picture. But the chance to be rewarded with a new piece
of information reappears as fast as your internet can load the page. Your brain understands that now, there’s
another chance for reward, so your dopamine rises again and the cycle repeats. This never ending novelty keeps your dopamine
levels elevated, which leads to your dopamine receptors downregulating and the other symptoms
of addiction come with it. It might be hard to see how say twitter could
cause a surge in dopamine like heroin – well, it doesn’t. It’s the frequency of the dopamine rise
that’s important here. A quick thumb swipe is all you need to reinforce
to your brain that using the internet is a valuable, important experience. David Linden points out in his book “The
Compass of Pleasure” that Cigarettes hook 80% of those who try them, but heroin actually
only hooks a small minority of the users. The cigarettes don’t provide near as much
dopamine per puff compared to shooting heroin, but with frequent multiple puffs and therefore
multiple rises in dopamine, cigarette smokers can very frequently train the brain that smoking
is a very important experience. Now, take this already addictive nature of
the internet and combine it with the fact that our brains’ most ancient programming
wants us to be super motivated by anything sexual, and you start to see how internet
porn has such high potential for negative molding of the brain. “We predicted that based on the way sex causes
these reward chemicals in the brain to be produced, that we would see some of the brain
scan findings that we find with drugs… …And the latest research seems to be proving
him right” Gary Wilson, author of the very thorough book
“Your Brain on Porn” and host of the website yourbrainonporn.com, points out that studies
on internet porn all show that the users experience the same brain changes as those suffering
from substance addiction: Sensitization to porn, desensitization for other things, and
hypo-frontality – less activation in the prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain responsible
for self control starts to shut down. This means your reward circuit gets more responsive
and excited about porn, less excited about everyday life, and it gets harder and harder
to control yourself. Now you might be wondering how much is too
much, how many high speed porn sessions can you have before your brain develops these
negative changes. But that’s not how it works. The changes appear on a spectrum. That is, you can use internet porn a little
bit and have a little bit of these brain changes or you can use it a lot and the changes will
be much worse. A study from Korea University showed that
in healthy young adults, marked sensitization to video games developed in as little as 5
days. The gamers weren’t technically addicted,
but they found that their cravings to play actually aligned with an observable elevation
in brain activity. As for Internet porn itself, a study at Germany’s
Max Planck Institute found that men who were not classified as having an addition showed
addiction-related brain changes. More hours per week of internet porn viewing
correlated with a reduction in grey matter in areas of the brain involved in motivation
and decision-making. The nerve connections between the reward circuit
and prefrontal cortex worsened in sync with increased porn watching. Remember, the prefrontal cortex is the driver
of self control. This is the hypofrontality we talked about
before, showing the connection between internet porn use and impaired self control. Gary Wilson points out that there are hundreds
of studies showing the addiction like brain changes that come from using the internet
in a way that over-engages the dopamine system. As of 2015 there were only 4 studies he found
that looked specifically at internet pornography. But, they all showed the same negative brain
changes we just discussed. And they also found:
-60% of compulsive porn users had Erectile Dysfunction or low libido. -Very high cue-induced reactivity in the reward
center – Meaning something like seeing a bikini model while reading the news could set off
strong cravings to look at internet porn -The users reported greater wanting and craving,
but lessened enjoyment of the experience of looking at porn. This is a key pattern seen in addiction to
drugs. Other symptoms based on Gary’s research
and user’s personal reports include: -Difficulty maintaining an erection for a
real partner, but no problems getting it up for porn. -Uncharacteristic, worsening social anxiety
or lack of confidence -Inability to concentrate and extreme restlessness
-Depression, anxiety and brain fog Several men have participated in a “reboot”
– the act of giving up internet porn to allow their brains to reverse these negative changes. This rebooting process is the point of “nofap”
Many of these men report impressive boosts in confidence, reversal of anxiety and enhanced
concentration. Some men diagnosed with ADHD found that their
symptoms drastically improved to the point that they stopped relying on medication. Gary says:
“There’s good reason to believe these symptoms can often arise from addiction-related brain
changes, as the reward circuit contains structures that influence emotions, moods, cognitive
function, stress response, the autonomic nervous system, and the endocrine system. For example, many of the complaints such as
social anxiety, depression, low motivation, ED, and concentration problems, have been
linked to low dopamine and low or altered dopamine D2 receptors.” When it comes to engaging with a real partner,
internet porn can rewire the brain to change what it expects from a sexual experience. While a heavy user of internet porn might
understand cognitively that their partner is very attractive and they should be more
excited about the “real deal,” if their brain has wired itself to understand sex as
a… rapid cycling through multiple partners that provide no other sensory input than just
visual information on a screen… the experience of real sex probably doesn’t do much for
the reward circuit of that brain. I remember when I first came across this concept,
what struck me was how much it reminded me of this segment on Munchies about a South
Korean Mukbang star – Mukbang is a relatively recent trend where people livestream themselves
eating. There was a point in the segment where the
fans of the streamer BJ Hana got to meet her in person over dinner. The dinner was broadcasted as a replacement
for her usual streaming. “But what about the fact that they couldn’t
draw their eyes away from their phones – the whole time they were locked into the broadcast
– that was their comfort zone, they still had to have BJ Hana in that format. They couldn’t just enjoy the real thing
even though she was right there in front of them.” Now without commenting on whether these people
were already very socially awkward in the first place, I thought it was very interesting
how even with vanilla experiences one could be so used to reducing themselves to a voyeur
that they come prefer that rather than the real deal. Even without discussing the complicated nature
of dopamine, it’s not surprising that internet pornography has similar effects on the brain
as narcotics. What we humans love to do is identify some
component of an experience that we like, isolate that component from the rest of the parts,
and then amplify that one component as much as possible. Daniel Lieberman points out in his book “The
Story of the Human Body,” that the sweetest thing (other than honey) an ancient hunter
gatherer could find was probably a piece of fruit about as sweet as a modern day carrot. Now you can buy a pound of granulated essence
of sweet for about a dollar. Farmers in the andes chew coca leaves for
a mild boost in energy. Extract that energy boosting power and you
wind up with the highly addictive cocaine. And, Columnist Damian Thompson sums up the
situation with alcohol, “As a general rule, the distilling of pleasures
is a quick route to addiction. … In the mid-18th century, parts of inner
London suffered the world’s first mass epidemic of alcoholism. … The gin craze was eventually stamped out
by legislation banning home distilling. Once cheap gin ceased to be available, addicted
drinkers kicked the habit.” And, with internet pornograhy, we isolated
the experience down to only the visual component of sex and then amplified that one component
with endless and instantaneous novelty. Our ancestors’ ancestors developed a very
effective method for making sure our genetics would stay alive as long as possible. In the case of humans, a big brain has been
a very effective tool for protecting the important germ cells and the genetic information they
carry. But, we’re a little too smart for our own
good. We learned how to exploit the programming
that paired survival and reproduction with pleasure. With a few taps on a magic rectangle, we can
access pure distilled pleasure, completely separated from its original purpose: survival
and reproduction.

100 comments on “WHY Porn Changes the Brain | Science of NoFap [SFW]

  1. I watched so much porn that I've pretty much lost the ability of arousal, I even tried prostitutes but nothing helps. I think the fact I've never had a romantic relationship, besides the odd one night stand every now and then, plays a part in my obsession. Right now I'm trying to quit porn and focus on myself without the feeling of needing sexual gratification and approval of others

  2. This sounds nuts but I'm telling you is the best. Get your fwb for your sex needs… Replace porn with your really attractive friends telling u about their sex lives, photos, or having u watch. Best of both worlds and you'll always end up sleeping with them lol … It totally killed my desire for porn

  3. "Self Stimulation"?…
    Is that what they're calling:
    *JERKING OFF
    *WACKING THE PUD
    *PLAYIN' THE SKIN FLUTE
    *MASTURBATING
    *ETC,
    *ETC,
    *ETC,…
    These days?…
    Why not just say:
    *JERKING OFF
    *WACKING THE PUD
    *PLAYIN' THE SKIN FLUTE
    *MASTURBATING
    *ETC,
    *ETC,
    *ETC,…
    🤔🧐🤭😬😎

  4. Besides dopamine, we also have serotonine and oxytocine, bonding hormones. We are also fundamentally wired for contribution, connection and community. Addictions are a sign these other parts miss.

  5. hi there. Please help me.

    I am so addicted to thinking about my crush, and how, if ever, we'll spend time together, that i think that even if i get to be with her some day, i will still feel this way.

    the songs are the triggers of the missing/melancholic feeling. What should i do?

  6. Thanks for the video.
    What I’ve personally learned about the topic is that all the energy grow from root chakra up. From legs to root Chacra – then more up. So the most vital life energy is at the bottom that naturally used only for reproduction, rather than pleasure. So it’s a lot of damage to abuse this primal energy center. Because it’s just affects everything.

  7. Cocaine is the alkaloid in those said coca leaves, so those supposed farmers are consuming cocaine. Also, you don't need to shoot heroin; there are many other ROA's besides shooting heroin or snorting coke.

    Wtf is this, fifth grade?

  8. so shouldn’t i beat my meat so that my genes evolve and as my descendants progress this won’t be as big of a deal because we would have evolved over time due to consuming porn?

  9. Theoretically you can say that Human Evolution of acquiring dopamine was an error and somewhat a blessing in the Materialistic world of today

  10. Ive quit porn and fapping (not voluntarily due to exams) for about 3 weeks now. I don’t feel any of the superpowers that the nofap community keeps talking about but im so glad to not think constantly about porn anymore.

  11. If I had any reason to stop watching porn, it's how much time it takes to even find a half decent looking chick since I care more about facial features than anything else. Take out no facial piercings and well, it takes ages to even find a decent woman on there.

    So I'm pretty much done. Doesn't mean I'm not gonna fap, but porn? Yea that's a pass for me now.

  12. This desire for dopamine this is true for everything we do. Whenever we do something we like, dopamine is released and thus triggering more desire for that activity. This is even true for working out, eating, sports, drugs, porn, etc…

  13. I'm still a skeptic towards this movement. But I am willing to try it. How long would I have to go without in order to reap the rewards?

  14. Human babies are ugly, reproduction and all the effects of it is demoralizing, and pregnancies are just plain gross. Change my mind.

  15. then, twitter, instagram, yt and propably even google search or blogs have similar addictional behavior as a consequence as porn has. and I'm or better we are way too much into a lot of those

  16. For me, nudity is disgusting. I am always disgusted by it. I don't find it interesting, and I don't even want to start. Sometimes nudity will just pop up in a movie or show unexpectidly, and the nudity just makes me look away in disgust. Is this normal?

  17. THANK YOU for a correct description of the role of dopamine. It's the first time I've come across an accurate understanding in the context of general information and blogs etc.

  18. For me, the constant hits of dopamine from various sources is the only thing that keeps my treatment-resistant depression even remotely tolerable. The reward loop is the lesser of two evils, since living without it makes the depression worse because there's nothing to distract from the extreme, chronic sadness.

    Nothing depresses me more than trying to engage in mindfulness or meditation. Performing rudimentary tasks is like living in a state of shock, because beyond the pain, I feel nothing from them, nor from the people around me. 8 years of pharmaceutical, cognitive, behavioral, diet, and lifestyle treatments has left me with the same crushing reality: Without the dopaminergic cycle – I am dead inside.
    Now off to another YouTube video to anesthetize the pain. Woo dopamine!

  19. Funny how like any human activity with modern tools can be projected on this template. Take even traveling which feeds nonstop novelty experiences.

  20. Gosh- One wonders where exactly one resides in this walking, talking sack of chemical concoctions.
    The ghost in the machine defers to a ghost in the cocktail…
    Perhaps it's in me rather than I in it…
    What exactly is me and I?

  21. Concerning those scientific studies, I wonder what organizations funded them. Were any of them religious organizations? Also, what were the beliefs of the scientists doing the research. If they believed in a religion, which religion?

  22. Can someon explain to me, what happens when my dopamine receptors are downregulated ? It means that I only chase the porn or the same behaviour ?

  23. Interesting fact: if you actually do some independent research on Google it’ll take you about 5–10 minutes defined results that show NOFAP actually REDUCES testosterone levels due to thr body seeing no point in expending available resources in creating a hormone that’s not being used.

    If you do a Google search on what low testosterone can do, such as making you more willing to submit to an authority you might start questioning why THIS video compares in detail humans to a mouse that gets so horny at the end of its life it will mate till it’s dead while showing footage of the crypt keeper.

    You might suspect that they are using fear and scare tactics to make you submit to an authority figure by Scaring you into reducing your testosterone levels willingly.

    But that’s assuming that you have an independent thought and are willing to question if the authority that demands that you submit to it genuinely has your best interest at heart.

    Just remember though, if you have an independent thought that means you have to develop discipline and self-control if you discover that no, that authority that demands that you submit to it doesn’t have your interests at heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *