Having established, like the recent [UK] Children’s Commissioner report, that ‘basically, porn is everywhere’, we set out to discover what all this porn was doing to their brains. Was it having any effect at all? Could it be addictive?
We found Dr Valerie Voon, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University and a global authority on addiction.
Then, in the first study of its kind, we recruited 19 heavy porn users who felt their habit was out of control and had Dr Voon examine their brain activity as they watched, among other things, hardcore porn.
She showed them a variety of images, both stills and videos.
These ranged from images known to excite all men, such as bundles of £50 notes and extreme sports in action, to mundane landscapes and wallpapers – all inter-spliced with hardcore porn videos, plus pictures of both clothed and naked women.
The ways in which their brains responded to this diverse imagery were compared with the responses of a group of healthy volunteers.
She was interested in a particular brain region called the ventral striatum – the ‘reward centre’ – where our sense of pleasure is produced. This is one of the areas where an addict will show a heightened response to visual representations of their addiction – whether it’s a syringe or a bottle of vodka.
What we discovered was a revelation. When shown porn, the reward centre of normal volunteers barely reacted, but that of the compulsive porn users lit up like a Christmas tree.
The compulsive porn users’ brains showed clear parallels with those with substance addictions.
Everybody on the project was astounded, even Dr Voon, who admitted she had been ‘sceptical and ambivalent’ about the study at the outset.
If porn does have the insidious power to be addictive, then letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house, or handing out vodka at the school gates. And this toxic effect is filtering down directly into young girls’ lives.
Read full article:
Experiment that convinced me online porn is the most pernicious threat facing children today: By ex-lads’ mag editor MARTIN DAUBNEY. Published 25 September 2013