4 MIN READ | Psychotherapy

Adam Mulligan

Your Brain on Porn: How Internet Porn Addiction Is Harming Us All

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Adam Mulligan, (2022, March 21). Your Brain on Porn: How Internet Porn Addiction Is Harming Us All. Psychreg on Psychotherapy. https://www.psychreg.org/brain-porn-internet-porn-addiction-harming-us-all/
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The majority of the population is aware of the severity of drug, alcohol and nicotine addictions, but there is an addiction out there that is just as psychologically harmful: porn addiction. Porn addiction is often overlooked and simply not recognised, but this is a massive mistake. The ‘taboo’ nature surrounding the subject is why it is overlooked. Millions of people all over the world struggle with porn addiction without even realising it. If you are questioning whether or not you have a porn addiction, take the porn addiction test.

Porn is an addiction that is often formed at a young age. Technology and the internet is made more available to teenagers than ever. When going through puberty, the overwhelming feeling of sexual arousal can become addicting alone. Add pornogrophy to the mix, and that is a recipe for disaster. Web safety for teenagers is a whole other topic, but my point is that porn addiction often starts at a very vulnerable period of time in one’s life. 

Porn sets an incredibly altered view of what sex is truly like. The content and scripted nature of porn videos will trick you into thinking that is what a real encounter with a woman is like. Especially if viewed at a young age, it sets an extreme and unrealistic standard of sex. Rapid erectile dysfunction can most definitely be attributed to this. Sex can be completely different than porn almost in every way. This is a problem many men with porn addictions face. When interacting with a woman in real life is not like how it’s displayed in porn videos, it becomes frustrating. Remember… every porn video ends in sex, not every interaction does. 

Your brain undergoes drastic changes during porn addiction. Porn changes the hormonal balance maintained by the brain. The human brain consists of neurons that are activated by various types of stimuli from senses. The chemical dopamine which is released by the brain, is a function of the stimuli. Dopamine is responsible for the feelings of excitement, happiness and rewarding experiences. Your brain will regulate when to release dopamine to save it for positive actions. Too much dopamine being released by your brain will cause an unhealthy imbalance and ultimately result in a depletion in happiness and motivation. 

What causes your brain to undergo a hormonal imbalance due to excessive dopamine rushes? To name a few – cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and porn. That’s right, porn is right up there. Porn causes an as intense chemical imbalance in your brain as ‘party drugs’. It is quite simple, really: you complete a productive task, do something kind, your favorite sports team won a game, your brain will release dopamine. When you take drugs or watch porn, you are not completing any normal tasks in which your brain should release dopamine. You get addicted to the dopamine rush and forever chase that feeling you got the first couple of times you watched porn or took drugs, but it will never be the same.

In pursuit of finding the feeling you once felt watching porn, further down the porn rabbit-hole you go. Porn addicts usually seek far more deviant content in videos to find that initial high yet again. This is the time period where strange fetishes are found in order to feel something. Abuse of porn causes vast desensitisation not only in sex, but in aspects of life where you would otherwise be happier. The content that will even arouse porn addicts will be pushed further and further until they find themselves watching videos that would have used to be seen by themselves as appalling. This inevitably leads to this desentization following them off their screens and into real life, which is a frightening thought.

Erectile dysfunction is a common symptom of porn addiction. Those in a relationship will find it almost impossible to “get it up” when it comes time to please their partner. Porn addicts sexual disconnection from their partner is often present, which leads to their partner feeling the effects of that. If you can achieve an erection and orgasm while watching porn but not during sex, you are probably a porn addict. Human relationships will be destroyed and ruined if the addiction is severe enough. Those with porn addictions in relationships do not reveal their addiction to their partner, so the odd behavior in bed can make the other partner feel very isolated.

One of the most important symptoms of porn addiction is the damage it does to your self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-image are extremely crucial for every aspect of life if you want to accomplish almost anything. Low self-esteem can easily cause you to spiral out of control. Low motivation and productivity, unhealthy habits, erratic sleep cycle and depression can be attributed to low self-esteem. Present day, these symptoms are as common as ever before. What can we attribute this to? That’s right, you guess it – porn addiction. There is a direct correlation between porn addiction and depression growing in tandem. The incongruity between porn addicts’ values and their actions can cause extreme harm. Knowing it is wrong but caving in every time the urge is there is a demeaning feeling to many. What is displayed in the porn videos can make you feel gross after orgasm. The rarity of those expressing their porn addictions also will cause porn addicts to feel isolated. To be clear, porn addiction is rather common and there are many individuals out there sharing the same feelings and thoughts. 

Porn addiction is widespread and only getting worse. It is important to get the word out there that there are many people struggling with it too. If you believe you may be a porn addict, take the porn addiction test Pornaddictiontest.com and get started on your road down a porn-free lifestyle.


Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.


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