How Much Porn is Too Much Porn?

Computer Porn Illustration

A good friend attended a conference in New Orleans last week.  While there, someone asked him a familiar question.  “How much porn is too much porn?  It’s bad if you were using it like every day.  However, if you just use it once in a while, that’s OK, right?”

Let me respond to his question by first telling you about my childhood.

I grew up in a home of cigarette smokers.  Matter of fact, my family had raised tobacco on the family farm in “Turner Holler” for over five generations.  My grandfather, father, stepmother, oldest brother, and younger sister all smoked.  Some still do.

As a result, I grew up in an environment where secondhand smoke was normal.  For the first 18 years of my life, I encountered smoking and secondhand smoke daily.

Now to be totally honest, I tried smoking cigarettes with my cousin behind the barn when I was about eight years old.  When my Dad found out, he made us smoke half of an old cigar he’d gotten at a wedding some years back.

My cousin thought it was funny.  I thought it was nauseating!  It was horrible, tasted terrible, and made me sick to my stomach.  Everything kept spinning so much that I had to lay down on the back porch.

That cured me from wanting to smoke anything ever again.  Although my father never overcame his addiction to nicotine, he didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps.

It wasn’t until much later that research revealed the dangers of secondhand smoke, especially to children.  Until then my father didn’t know or believe that secondhand smoke was harmful to us.  In later years, my father would never smoke indoors around children or grandchildren because of this.

So, what does all this have to do with using porn?

If you don’t know or believe something is harmful or poisonous to your life and relationships, you’ll keep doing it just as my family did with smoking.

The gentleman at the conference believes that porn is only bad if you’re using it every day, but it’s OK if you just use it occasionally.

However, asking how much porn it too much porn is like asking how much poison is too much poison.  Research is revealing this to be true.  Porn is poison to the brain and healthy relationships.

On the surface, porn doesn’t seem that bad.  It’s free to download, except for the cost of a high-speed internet connection.  However, that the porn industry’s perverse secret.  Porn dramatically affects your brain.

When you watch porn, just a little or a lot, it rewards you by releasing chemicals in your brain – mainly one called dopamine, but also others like Oxycontin.

Usually, these chemicals are really handy.  They help us feel pleasure and bond with other people.  They also motivate us to come back to important activities that make us happy.

The problem is porn hijacks the reward pathway.  It gives users a high by triggering the reward pathways to release unnaturally high levels of dopamine without making them do any of the work to earn it.

The more a porn user looks at porn, the more those pathways get wired into the brain.  It makes it easier and easier for that person to return to using, whether they want to or not.

Over time, the constant overload of chemicals causes other brain changes as well.  Just as an addict will eventually require more and more to get a buzz or even just feel normal, porn users can quickly build up a tolerance as their brains adapt to the high levels of dopamine that porn releases.  In other words, even though porn is still releasing dopamine into the brain, the user can’t feel its effects as much.

As a result, they have to find more porn, see it more often, or find more extreme versions – or all three – to generate even more dopamine to feel excited.

Once a porn user becomes accustomed to a brain pulsing with these chemicals, trying to cut back can lead to withdrawal symptoms, just like with drugs.

Describing porn’s effect to a U.S. Senate committee, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of Princeton University said, “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin 100 times more powerful than before, usable in the privacy of one’s own home, and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.”

Here’s the terrifying part.  The more porn a person looks at, the more severe the damage to their brain becomes, and the more difficult it is to break free.

So how much porn is too much porn?  Any amount of porn is too much porn!

Want more information?  Check out Fight the New Drug.

I created UnbreakableBond.org to make you aware of issues like these so that you know what you’re up against.  I’m here to coach you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the healthiest man you can be.  My hope for you is that through these blog posts, references, and resources you’ll learn how to restore and transform you and your relationships.  So, subscribe today, and let’s get this restoration process started.

 

 

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