What's so different about a brain that is not influenced by porn in a negative way?

Submitted by back2life on
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As I read the topics here I'm left with the impression that porn works in such a way that it should influence aboslutely 100% of the male population no matter who watches it, it will always work, you will sooner or later always get addicted, it will always lead to erectile dysfunction, you will sooner or later not get excited by real women, you will always develop tolerance to a certain porn material and escalate to something different and always want more...

However I have some observations that clearly show this is simply not the case.
I have few friends (4 of them) who have watched porn since they were 14, they are 24 now, they've watched porn regularly, however, they are not addicts, they have not escalated the porn material during these 10 years, they keep getting excited from the same things, when they stop watching porn for let's say 2 weeks, they don't feel the slightest need to watch again, they are always turned on by real women, they are always excited by real women, they have no issues in their sexual lives etc. They are just not addicts, they are not like me , clearly porn has not influenced their brains...or if it did, it's really not so noticable for 10 years.

What is so different about our brains that we become addicts, and why some people do not? I guess that's not an easy question and only some skilled neurologist can answer that but I'm really curious...

And it's not only my friends, I know other people that are not influenced by porn too.


Someone said an interesting thing in this forum somewhere. It sounds something like this. Those of us who were growing up in a family where child received much attention, love, care and social life are not susceptible to outside stimulus. I am looking around my acquaintances and find it very true obesrvation, too precise even. Also, I think it somehow resognes in Freud's studies, tho I don't know much about it, only took basics sociology class in the university.


Marnia had posted an article (a study) about mice that were "fur-licked" and those that weren't and the differences in them (I hope that is right!).



it's true that I had terrible family and didn't grow up in loving and supporting environemnt, just on the contrary :(
So may be it's true to some extent, I don't know...
Also I'm very susceptible to outside stimulus and was all mylife....

There is enough of a

There is enough of a correlation between that behavior and those symptoms to take notice, but there are other factors that are at play too. For example, my profile might have match your friend's when I was 24, there were some circumstances that later plunged me into an addiction.

Deductive reasoning might say for every X ----> Y
Inductive reasoning suggests that something might be true, but doesnt go so far to say it is true in an absolute sense.

Science uses inductive reasoning. Keep that in mind whenever reading scientific studies and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.

Thanks everybody!

[quote=JRsun76]There is enough of a correlation between that behavior and those symptoms to take notice, but there are other factors that are at play too. For example, my profile might have match your friend's when I was 24, there were some circumstances that later plunged me into an addiction.

Deductive reasoning might say for every X ----> Y
Inductive reasoning suggests that something might be true, but doesnt go so far to say it is true in an absolute sense.

Science uses inductive reasoning. Keep that in mind whenever reading scientific studies and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.

You've been great help so far! Thank you Gary for the very useful information, makes sense!
So, JRsun76 when you where 24, for how long you've been watching porn, you say that you were still absolutely fine at that point of life?
Because it's strange that 10 years of porn won't show any real negative effects on my friends, for example....I wonder what other not so noticable effects porn has caused to them, something that they don't notice I guess. But they seem totally fine to me in every aspect.
They don't even watch porn so regularly, but sometimes when they 're bored, or can't have real sex, so this would be around 2-3 times a week for them. Even if their brains are changed somehow by the porn, it's not noticable, if it's not noticable, the change is not harmful.
May be I should ask them more details about their sexual lives to get to the bottom of this :) But Gary's post makes sense, D2 receptor may be one important factor of the big picture.

Our entire society is shaped

Our entire society is shaped by porn, food, and other addictions. So the less addicted among us will seem very normal. Once anyone leaves all those addictions behind, it becomes more obvious how addicted just about everyone is.

Who says what is not noticeable is not harmful? You can't notice it unless you know what to look for and have the right tools. It would be like looking for electro-magnetic energy with our eyes.

Are you measuring their lack of affect by their ability to have sex with women? How do you know the quality of those interactions or what is in their mind during those interactions?

Lastly, I don't think we can know each others level of fine.


I'd say 2, 3 times a week shouldn't be that much damaging, if at all. Some of us here were picking on it daily, and PMO on it sometimes several times a day. THAT's bad.

I don't agree. I have seen

I don't agree. I have seen over time that any usage is bad. Of course, more is worse. One cigarette is bad, but not as bad as a pack a day. A person who regularly uses porn is buying into the mass marketed wisdom that it is ok and by that precluding observing all the reasons that it is not. I'm not considering in that anything about porn production itself. People who think it is not ok primarily for the issues around production are missing a major part of the picture. It exists for the same reasons cigarettes exist. It's cheap to make, profitable, and people think it is ok, then get hooked. Cigarettes in NYC are about $11 a pack and people smoke a lot less. People generally won't give out cigarettes anymore. Due to education most people now would say smoking at all is bad. That's a big change from 50 years ago. Maybe porn will go the same way.

These guys drink water and eat food in some form every day. They are only using porn a few times a week because somewhere they know it is bad just most other porn users and most smokers.

These people can't know what

These people can't know what impact the use is having on them unless they stop for a long enough period of time and are open to an honest assessment. I more or less have not escalated my usage other than the slow migration to high quality images and eventually video. I was never not excited by real women when they were in my life. Heck, I never even had a cooties stage. women are not in my life for a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with porn. There have been times in my life where I have walked away from porn for a while. I probably still masturbated, but even that tended to stop when I was fulfilled and busy with other enjoyable things. At those times I felt no need for porn at all.

I think environment is playing a large role at pulling us in and pushing us out, both of which have been discussed here and in other posts. I think I benefited from my environment at limiting the depth of my addiction, but that also created circumstances that perhaps pushed me in. I think personality matters too. Some people are using real women as a form of porn. Take away the women and then watch what happens.

great question, no easy answer

Though all the above answers get at a lot of it.
First of all, watching Internet porn for years on end will affect the brain, behavior and attitudes. They may not become addicted, but they are affected. As others say, they may have symptoms show up down the road. 24 is still pretty young.

We are working on this, so here's a link to the other site, with the beginnigs of an answer

A few Factors (off the top of my head) that may increase chances of addiction:
1) Low dopamine D2 receptors: Genetics - leads to chronic craving for stimulation
2) Low dopamine D2 receptors: Environment, such as overstimulation- leads to chronic craving for stimulation
3) Low dopamine autoreceptors: genetics - this regulates how much dopamine is released. Usually means more is released with addictive things - making them superstimulating
4) Fetal or childhood stress: Leads to excessive dopamine being released during stress, leading to cravings;
Lower oxytocin levels- oxytocin counteracts stress and soothes the reward circuitry;
Chronically low levels of cortisol which leads to lower levels of dopamine and chronic craving for stimuli;
and a whole lot more that messes with reward circuitry, and other parts of the brain.

SO - genetics and environment once again. But maybe they will have to deal with porn viewing problems further down the road. Don't know.

For Example:

Putting the brakes on impulsive behavior: D2 autorecptors (2010)

Media-Newswire.com) - Everyone knows the type. Maybe it’s you or someone close to you. We’re talking about the kind of people who act without thinking.

A group of Vanderbilt researchers analyzed the role of the brain chemical dopamine in impulsivity to discover more precisely what makes some people more susceptible to rash behavior. Their results appear in the July 31 on-line issue of Science.

The researchers were able to demonstrate a specific deficit in the way the brain regulates dopamine signaling in people prone to impulsivity, according to Joshua W. Buckholtz, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, and David Zald, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry.

Impulsive behavior linked to substance abuse

The findings are important because impulsive personality traits are strongly associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity and antisocial personality disorders, and impulsivity is a key risk factor for developing substance abuse. Gaining a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that cause impulsivity could lead to better treatment of these disorders, which affect millions of people and cost society billions of dollars each year.

People with higher levels of impulsivity showed increased dopamine levels in a region of the brain called the striatum following the administration of the stimulant drug amphetamine, the researchers found. These highly impulsive people showed lower amounts of a kind of receptor that sits on dopamine neurons in a region of the brain called the midbrain. These receptors – called autoreceptors – control the firing of the dopamine neuron, and can therefore regulate how much dopamine is present throughout the entire brain.

Impulsive people can’t turn down the heat

Buckholtz compared the regulation of dopamine by autoreceptors to the action of a thermostat: “In your house, you have a thermostat that senses the ambient temperature and either cranks up or ramps down the activity of your furnace in response to current environmental conditions.

“The brain has a number of different thermostats, which sense the levels of certain brain chemicals and adjust the output of those chemicals accordingly. We show that one particular thermostat-like mechanism – midbrain autoreceptor regulation of striatal dopamine release – is out of whack in people with high levels of trait impulsiveness,” he said.

As a result, too much dopamine is produced in certain regions of the brain associated with reward and motivation. This dopamine excess may lead to enhanced motivation to obtain rewards in impulsive individuals, who tend to seek rewards without considering the consequences of their actions, and without the ability to put the brakes on their behavior.

In addition, these data suggest that exaggerated dopamine responses to stimulant drugs may promote an especially strong craving for those drugs. This may explain why impulsive people are more likely to abuse drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.

Findings may lead to improved treatment

The researchers hope that better understanding the alterations in neural function that promote impulsivity might lead to improved treatments for psychiatric disorders that are characterized by high levels of impulsivity. For example, it may be possible to use targeted drug therapies to correct the dysregulation in dopamine circuitry that results in excess dopamine in the striatum.

Certain drugs do affect the function of dopamine autoreceptors, Buckholtz said. He suggested that with further study it may be possible to use such medicines to re-regulate this circuitry to reduce levels of impulsivity.

I should have mentioned

that "unrestricted access" is a factor in rats that become obese and show corresponding loss of pleasure response in the brain.

Obviously, if someone restricts his porn use, he will be hammering his reward circuitry less. But it's still playing with fire...especially for sensitive brains.