Watching porn erodes an important region of the brain, rewiring it into a juvenile state, a researcher warns

Watching porn rewires the brain to an increasingly juvenile state, neuroscientist cautions
Porn appears to erode key regions of the brain and could impact impulse control, a scientist says

Rachel Anne Barr, a neuroscience PhD student and researcher at Canada‘s Université Laval, says studies show people who regularly watch adult entertainment often develop damage to the prefrontal cortex, the brain region that controls morality, willpower and impulse control.

That brain region is, crucially, one that does not fully develop until adulthood. 

Barr warns the research suggests porn could cause users to struggle with their emotions and impulses, possibly leading to compulsive behavior and poor decisions.

‘It’s somewhat paradoxical that adult entertainment may revert our brain wiring to a more juvenile state,’ Barr wrote in an article about her research for The Conversation

‘The much greater irony is that while porn promises to satisfy and provide sexual gratification, it delivers the opposite.’

Kinks, fetishes, and pornographic imagery have always existed.

But with the internet, live-action porn became available on demand. And the demand is insatiable, with 33.5 billion hits on Pornhub, the biggest free porn site, in 2018.  

The thirst for increasingly vivid sex scenes within seconds is so strong that it has, in fact, been a major driver behind technological advances. 

‘The porn industry has blazed a commercial path that other industries are hastening to follow,’ says Frederick Lane, author of Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age. 

It is an unprecedented commercial success, tapping into something universal and carnal. 

But, Barr warns: ‘Science is only just beginning to reveal the neurological repercussions of porn consumption.’

‘It is already clear that the mental health and sex lives of its widespread audience are suffering catastrophic effects,’ Barr says. 

‘From depression to erectile dysfunction, porn appears to be hijacking our neural wiring with dire consequences.’

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