Understanding Your Addiction

How Reading Affects Brain Function

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Found this article on Psychology Today…  thought it was interesting, and read through to the bottom for my comments:


Your Brain on Text

Word Recognition is Between Faces and Objects

The brains of literate people are profoundly different from those who do not learn to read. One intriguing phenomenon involves how reading comes to occupy its own space in the brain such that damage to this (in the left ventral occipital temporal region) selectively destroys the capacity to read (1, p. 260). Word recognition takes up residency in the region of the brain that sits between a face recognition area and an object recognition area.

In addition to such specialized changes that facilitate character, and word, recognition, there are many generalized changes in brain function. Literate people have a thicker corpus callosum, indicating that more information is crossing from one side of the brain to the other with the left hemisphere doing most of the language processing and the right hemisphere having an advantage in pattern recognition. Literate people have a broader pattern of brain activation in response to spoken words, suggesting that the verbal stimulus evokes a visual response. They also have longer verbal memories, presumably because words are processed more deeply, both by accessing different sensory modalities (visual as well as auditory) and also getting more attention in terms of their constituent sounds.

Literacy and Intelligence

Given these varied changes in brain function, it would be surprising if being able to read did not affect information processing capacity in a more generalized way.

Literate people ask more of their brains and get more in return. One finds that as countries become more economically developed, and as literacy increases, that IQ scores go up.

This is a complex relationship and there are many different factors that boost IQ scores as a country develops, including improved nutrition, better prenatal health, less low birth weight, smaller family size, and increased complexity of life in modern societies (2).

Given what we know about the impact of learning to read on the developing brain, it is plausible that at least some of the effect of rising intelligence (i. e., the Flynn effect) is attributable to literacy. One relevant piece of evidence is the strong correlation between IQ and years of education. The more time people spend in school, the more intelligent they become and this is not simply a self-selection effect where more intelligent children are more likely to complete high school and go to college (2).

Given that education has the potential to boost intelligence, it could be argued that a third-level education should be a civil right in developed countries that could afford it.

For the more hard-headed amongst us, it could be argued that inexpensive third-level education brings more than commensurate returns to nations willing to make this commitment. One thinks of Ireland that took this leap in the 1960’s and rapidly moved from being one of the poorest countries in Europe to being one of the wealthiest. This argument is bolstered by evidence on the health benefits of literacy.

Literacy and Health

Apart from the economic advantages of higher education, research has shown that general health, and even length of life, increase with years of education in this country (3). This effect is not easily explained in terms of smoking, alcohol consumption, or other risk factors for reduced life expectancy.

The most plausible explanation has to do with functioning of the brain itself, particularly given that senile dementia is often a harbinger of death.

One of the biggest causes of dementia is poor functioning of capillaries in the brain so that neurons do not receive the nutrients they require for processing information effectively. Well-educated people likely make greater demands on their brains throughout life so that circulation in the brain is maintained at a high level, much as physical exercise boosts cardiovascular health..

 

References

1 Henrich, J. (2015). The secret of our success: How culture is driving human evolution domesticating our species and making us smarter. Princeton, NJ: Princeton university Press.

2 Barber, N. (2005b). Educational and ecological correlates of IQ: A cross-national investigation. Intelligence, 33, 273-284.

3 Molla, M. T., Madans, J. H., and Wagener, D. K. ( 2004). Differentials in adult mortality and activity limitation by years of education in the united states at the end of the 1990s. Population and Development Review. 30, 625-646.

4 Greenfield, S. (2015). Mind change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains. New York: Random House.


Reading this article reminded me of how important it is to “busy” yourself with other things while you are recovering.  Anytime we “deny” ourselves the thing we are addicted to in recovery, we run the risk of creating a “hole” in our day-to-day routine… 

…unless

We replace bad choices with good choices; bad behaviors (those that lead to acting out) with good behaviors; bad beliefs with good beliefs; unsafe people with safe people… and on and on it goes.  Don’t JUST go without the bad things… REPLACE the bad things with GOOD things, so you never feel like you are “missing” out on anything.  

Watching Porn can Literally Change your Brain

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Another great article from the folks at Fight The New Drug, (www.fightthenewdrug.org), enjoy:


Science is finally catching up with the truth and its findings cannot be ignored: porn is harmful. Did you know that porn can mess with your head, actually rewiring the actual chemistry of your brain?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that relays messages to and from the brain) and it is central to our brain’s understanding of rewards and pleasure. It is released when we experience pleasure (could be anything from eating a delicious meal or watching a comedy to shooting up heroin or watching porn) and of course it makes us feel good. Normally, this release of dopamine is a good thing; it helps our brains to recognize things that keep us happy and healthy, and it is one of the chemicals that allows us to form relationships and fall in love.

On the flip side, an oversupply of dopamine can be triggered when the pleasure stimulus is too frequent or too prolonged (as is the case with all addictions) or unnaturally stimulating. When it comes to porn, think about the hours and hours that can be spent clicking on new videos and shocking the mind with every type of sex imaginable and unimaginable. You better believe that this habit is unnaturally stimulating to the viewer and forces a prolonged rush of pleasure chemicals in their brain. And what happens is that this causes the brain becomes desensitized to dopamine, which is majorly bad news.

The reason why this is so harmful to the brain is because the end result of dopamine desensitization is that the brain no longer recognizes the pleasure signals. In order to adjust to this frequent and prolonged chemical release, the neuroconnectors in our brain have to lessen. When the brain is no longer recognizing the dopamine release (the reward) from its usual stimulus, it craves stronger and more frequent hits to feel something. This desire can become quite consuming, causing obsessive behavior and detracting focus from other important areas. Worst of all, it fuels habitual use, or even addiction, and makes the compulsion (that must have it now! feeling) stronger than ever.

Related: Psychologist – Teenage Brains, Porn, & Video Games Are A Bad Mix

Addiction of any kind—alcohol, drugs, porn, whatever it may be—is a huge cause of dopamine desensitization. And if that’s not enough, addiction or compulsively watching can also cause dysfunction in the stress circuits of your brain. Dysfunction in stress circuitry means that stress of any kind, be it physical (illness) or emotional (a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend), makes the addict especially prone to seeking out that behavior to numb the pain. Relapsing, of course, means further exposing the brain to the addictive stimulus, which brings on more dysfunction in the stress circuits, which means more susceptibility to relapse… and we’re back at square one.

Your frontal cortex is the part of your brain that directs ­tasks like decision­ making, problem­ solving, planning, weighing pros and cons, focusing, and controlling impulses (you know, like the urge to yell at your boss or eat an entire chocolate cake). Decreases in the function of your brain’s reward circuits can cause activity in your frontal cortex to start plummeting too. Bam. Now your frontal cortex is operating below what it should, and your ability to perform all those important decision making functions will suffer. This can make things pretty difficult when you need to solve problems in your relationships, make decisions at work, focus on your schoolwork, or just make overall healthy life choices. Not good.

Related: The Serious Mental Costs of Watching Porn

And then, of course, the stress of realizing you have these problems is only going to wreak havoc on your already­ malfunctioning stress circuits. Your brain’s going to crave porn to forget about the stress and the resulting dopamine release won’t fully register because it’s desensitized…and on and on the cycle of the porn habit goes.

This ugly cycle drives the viewer further and further into a porn struggle, and farther away from a happy, healthy, and passionate life. So the next time you think watching porn is harmless, think again. It can mess with your head—literally.


article source: http://fightthenewdrug.org/watching-porn-can-mess-brain-v2/?utm_expid=19046507-1.HyXL65kBT7a6WMmRQWBZQw.1&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=ftnd_general&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FfHisbel8E5

 

Is abstaining from sex in marriage while recovering from porn really necessary?

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This article comes from CovenantEyes.com.  The concept in this article is one that any person addicted to or struggling with pornography [and their spouse] needs to read.  


Should Married Couples Fast from Sex During Porn-Detox?

 

90 days of no sex. This is what several porn addiction counselors prescribe for addicts and their spouses during the initial months of recovery. Why is this? Is this really necessary?

Dr. Mark Laaser, a nationally recognized author in the field of sex addiction, requires his patients to sign a 90-day abstinence contract: no masturbation, no porn, not even sex with your spouse. Sam Black, in his book The Porn Circuit, explains Dr. Laaser’s rationale:

First of all, he says, a person needs to learn that they won’t die without sex, especially for 90 days. But more importantly, the person struggling with pornography or sex addiction needs to work proactively about learning true intimacy.

“The abstinence contract on the front end is entirely about neurochemical detox,” Laaser says. “It’s resetting the brain in terms of sexual expectations.”

Dr. Laaser isn’t alone in the 90-day abstinence concept. Dr. Patrick Carnes, founder of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, himself a 30-year veteran in the field of addiction therapy, also requires this of his patients.

 

The Rationale Behind “90 Days”

From a clinical perspective, a porn addict is hooked on the neurochemicals released in his or her brain during a sexual encounter. This powerful neuro-cocktail of dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, and serotonin is responsible for the physical aspects of porn addiction (including withdrawal symptoms). These neurotransmitters and hormones are part of the “reward circuit” in the brain.

Some addiction therapists believe the only way to deactivate the reward system of the brain is to stop the reinforcing behavior—i.e. letting these neuro-circuits rest.

The concept of “90 days” is taken from substance abuse research which has demonstrated that it takes about three months for neurochemistry to reset to normal levels once the substance use has ended.

Other counselors are far more flexible on the time frame, suggesting 30 or 40 days instead.

The Biblical Rationale: Fasting From Sex

There were some in the early church who thought sex was beneath the ideal Christian life. Sex was a base act of the body. These Christians wrote to Paul saying, “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman”—not even his own wife (1 Corinthians 7:1).

Hear Paul’s response:

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:2-4)

Paul’s position was radical. In the Greco-Roman world of his day, marriage was often a mere social arrangement. But here, Paul talks about a mutual sexual responsibility and blessing. Moreover, in that day, men of status were masters of their wives. For Paul to say that a woman has conjugal rights and that she has authority over her husband’s body would have been unheard of.

But then Paul adds this addendum:

Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:5)

Paul here implies that sex in marriage should be frequent. In fact, he says to deny sex to one’s spouse is to “deprive” him or her—this same word is translated “defraud” one chapter earlier (6:8). Sex helps to guard against sexual immorality and a lack of self-control. But he does make the provision that a couple can make a mutual agreement to abstain from sex for a “limited time” for the purpose of being devoted to prayer.

Paul is describing a type of fasting. Just as fasting from food was an acceptable way to devote to prayer for a season, fasting from sex was also a custom in Paul’s day.

Caveats and Conditions

While Paul endorses the idea that sexual fasting can be an appropriate way for a couple to devote themselves to prayer, the following caveats should be noted…

  • Sexual fasting is not required. Nothing in Paul’s tone should lead the reader to think most or all married couples should engage in sexual fasting. Paul is wary of the Satan’s ability to tempt and sees frequent sex in marriage as a good safeguard.
  • Sexual fasting should only be done by mutual consent. The man or woman in porn-detox may not simply declare a sexual fast. It must be discussed and agreed upon. Christian counselors, even if they encourage a sexual fast, should not require it if the spouse is not agreeable to it.
  • Routine sexual abstinence in marriage is not just unwise but is clearly immoral in Paul’s eyes. My marriage bond means my body is no longer my own, and to deny my wife sex is to defraud her. Fasting from sex might be appropriate on occasion, but should never become the norm.
  • Fasting from sex should be for “a limited time,” or literally, a fixed period of time. Fasting from sex indefinitely was not prescribed here. A set time should be agreed upon.
  • Fasting from sex should end with sexual enjoyment. Paul tells couples to come back together again when the agreed upon time is over.

Dethroning the Idol of Sex

Every case of porn addiction is difference among men and women. In each instance, counselors should meet people where they are. This means not every couple should fast from sex.

For many Christian counselors, this abstinence period is recommended as a time to intentionally de-throne the idol of sexual gratification. For many porn addicts, sex is life to them. Intimacy is about sex and nothing else.

A sexual fast disciplines the man or woman obsessed with sex to remember that sex is not a need. It may feel like a need, but it is not. A sexual fast can also be helpful for the man or woman who finds it impossible have sex without pornographic fantasies dominating his or her mind.

A sexual fast also reinforces an important truth for the spouse: she or he is not to blame for the partner’s addiction. It is easy for a spouse to feel like if they were more sexually available, prettier, or thinner, the partner wouldn’t need porn. A sexual fast reminds the couple: porn was never a need to begin with. The spouse can rest knowing there is no pressure to sexually perform to make recovery a success.

During a sexual fast, the couple is encouraged to practice and develop the habits of non-sexual intimacy. For many addicts, their porn-saturated minds are numb to everyday pleasures and joys. They have lost the ability to simply enjoy spending time with their spouses—talking together, taking walks together, cooking together, praying together. Sam Black writes,

For someone with an obsessive porn habit or an addiction, the focus has been on personal and immediate gratification. The people in porn are used; the porn user gives nothing. Especially for men, porn equates to selfishness that typically extends to their marital life. This even includes the overemphasis men can have of their sexual performance, pride or fear about their prowess, and where sexual performance is equated to their manliness. (The Porn Circuit, 33)

Porn trains us to treat sex as something that should be devoured. A sexual fast retrains the mind to understand that sex is better when it is savored.

Can You Really Go 90 Days?

Before Christian men and women are married, they go years—even decades—without sex. Going without sex for 90 days is more than possible.

However, for a married couple, the situation is somewhat different. Sex unites men and women in a profound way: the Bible calls it being made “one flesh.” There is an intimate bond established, and God beckons married men and women to reforge that bond through frequent sex.

Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19)

This is why sexual fasting in marriage—in the sparing instances when it is done—should never be done with a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it mentality. The goal of a sexual fast is drawing closer to God and one another, with the ultimate goal of more intimate sex when the fast is over.


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2014/02/25/married-couples-refrain-sex-porn-detox/#

Cocaine and Porn… alike in their effect on the brain

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Many people do not believe that porn affects us like drugs do.  Others don’t believe porn can be addictive at all.  Read the article below to be in the “know” about this.

The following is from the blog at FightTheNewDrug


On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do.

What’s more is your brain actually begins to rewire itself because of this artificial stimulation. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. Read more to learn how it works.

On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common. One is purchased in seedy alleyways; the other is free to download. One habit can get expensive pretty fast, while the other is about the price of a high-speed Internet connection. Besides, Hugh Hefner doesn’t exactly conjure up images of a cartel drug lord.

So where’s the similarity? Inside the brain. [1]

In case you’re not a neurosurgeon, here’s a crash course in how the brain works. Deep inside your brain, there’s something called a “reward pathway.” [2] You’ve got one. Your cat’s got one. For mammals, it comes standard. The reward pathway’s job is to help keep you alive by doing exactly what its name promises: rewards you, or more specifically, rewards you when you do something that promotes life, such as eating food or achieving something you’ve worked hard for. [3] And the way it rewards you is by releasing chemicals in your brain—mainly one called dopamine, but also others like oxytocin. [4]

Normally, these chemicals are really handy. They help us feel pleasure and to bond with other people, and they motivate us to come back to important activities that make us happy. [5] The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked. [6]

The way substances like cocaine and opioids make users feel high is by triggering the reward pathway to release high levels of dopamine without making the user do any of the work to earn it. [7] Want to guess what else does that? Porn. [8]

And that surge of dopamine is causing more than just feelings. As it goes pulsing through the brain, dopamine helps to create new brain pathways that essentially lead the user back to the behavior that triggered the chemical release. [9]

The more a drug user hits up or a porn user looks at porn, the more those pathways get wired into the brain, making it easier and easier for the person to turn back to using, whether they want to or not. [10]

Over time, the constant overload of chemicals causes other brain changes as well. Just like a junkie will eventually require more and more of a drug 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. [11] In other words, even though porn is still releasing dopamine into the brain, the user can’t feel its effects as much.

Image result for brains on porn

That’s because the brain is trying to protect itself from the overload of dopamine by getting rid of some of its chemical receptors, [12] which act like tiny catcher’s mitts that receive the dopamine released. With fewer receptors, the brain thinks less dopamine is there and the user doesn’t feel as strong a reaction. As a result, many porn users have to find more porn, find it more often, or find a more extreme version—or all three—to generate even more dopamine to feel excited. [13]

And once a porn user becomes accustomed to a brain pulsing with these chemicals, trying to cut back on the habit can lead to withdrawal symptoms, just like with drugs. [14]

While people often think of porn as something that’s been around forever, today’s version of porn is a whole new ball game. Thanks to the Internet, porn now mixes the most powerful natural dopamine release the body can produce with a cocktail of other elements—endless novelty, shock, and surprise—all of which increase the dopamine surge. [15] And because Internet porn offers an endless stream of variety, users can flip to a new image every time their high starts to fade, keeping dopamine levels elevated for hours.

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 … usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.” [16]

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Citations

[1] Pitchers, K. K., Vialou, V., Nestler, E. J., Laviolette, S. R., Lehman, M. N., And Coolen, L. M. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience 33, 8: 3434-3442; Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Hilton, D. L., And Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 2: 19. (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3050060/)

[2] Hilton, D. L., And Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 2: 19; (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3050060/) Bostwick, J. M. And Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, 2: 226–230; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449; Leshner, A. (1997). Addiction Is A Brain Disease And It Matters. Science 278: 45–7.

[3] Bostwick, J. M. And Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, 2: 226–230; Balfour, M. E., Yu, L., And Coolen, L. M. (2004). Sexual Behavior And Sex-Associated Environmental Cues Activate The Mesolimbic System In Male Rats. Neuropsychopharmacology 29, 4:718–730; Leshner, A. (1997). Addiction Is A Brain Disease And It Matters. Science 278: 45–7.

[4] Hedges, V. L., Chakravarty, S., Nestler, E. J., And Meisel, R. L. (2009). DeltaFosB Overexpression In The Nucleus Accumbens Enhances Sexual Reward In Female Syrian Hamsters. Genes Brain And Behavior 8, 4: 442–449; Bostwick, J. M. And Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, 2: 226–230; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 108; Mick, T. M. And Hollander, E. (2006). Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior. CNS Spectrums, 11(12):944-955; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449; Leshner, A. (1997). Addiction Is A Brain Disease And It Matters. Science 278: 45–7.

[5] Bostwick, J. M. And Bucci, J. E. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated With Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 83, 2: 226–230; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 75; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 107; What Is Oxytocin, Psychology Today, Http://Www.Psychologytoday.Com/Basics/Oxytocin

[6] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 106;

Kauer, J. A., And Malenka, J. C. (2007). Synaptic Plasticity And Addiction. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8: 844–858; Mick, T. M. And Hollander, E. (2006). Impulsive-Compulsive Sexual Behavior. CNS Spectrums, 11(12):944-955; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449; Leshner, A. (1997). Addiction Is A Brain Disease And It Matters. Science 278: 45–7.

[7] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 106; Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449.

[8] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 106;

Nestler, E. J. (2005). Is There A Common Molecular Pathway For Addiction? Nature Neuroscience 9, 11: 1445–1449.

[9] Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered In The Context Of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Pitchers, K. K., Vialou, V., Nestler, E. J., Laviolette, S. R., Lehman, M. N., And Coolen, L. M. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience 33, 8: 3434-3442; Hedges, V. L., Chakravarty, S., Nestler, E. J., And Meisel, R. L. (2009). DeltaFosB Overexpression In The Nucleus Accumbens Enhances Sexual Reward In Female Syrian Hamsters. Genes Brain And Behavior 8, 4: 442–449; Hilton, D. L., And Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 2: 19; (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3050060/)

Miner, M. H., Raymond, N., Mueller, B. A., Lloyd, M., Lim, K. O. (2009). Preliminary Investigation Of The Impulsive And Neuroanatomical Characteristics Of Compulsive Sexual Behavior. Psychiatry Research 174: 146–51; Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 107.

[10] Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 102.

[11] Pitchers, K. K., Vialou, V., Nestler, E. J., Laviolette, S. R., Lehman, M. N., And Coolen, L. M. (2013). Natural And Drug Rewards Act On Common Neural Plasticity Mechanisms With DeltaFosB As A Key Mediator. Journal Of Neuroscience 33, 8: 3434-3442; Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 105; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 75.

[12] Hilton, D. L., And Watts, C. (2011). Pornography Addiction: A Neuroscience Perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 2: 19; (Http://Www.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/Pmc/Articles/PMC3050060/) Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721.

[13] Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Zillmann, D. (2000). Influence Of Unrestrained Access To Erotica On Adolescents’ And Young Adults’ Dispositions Toward Sexuality. Journal Of Adolescent Health 27, 2: 41–44.

[14] Angres, D. H. And Bettinardi-Angres, K. (2008). The Disease Of Addiction: Origins, Treatment, And Recovery. Disease-A-Month 54: 696–721; Berridge, K. C. And Robinson, T. E. (2002). The Mind Of An Addicted Brain: Neural Sensitization Of Wanting Versus Liking. In J. T. Cacioppo, G. G. Bernston, R. Adolphs, Et Al. (Eds.) Foundations In Social Neuroscience (Pp. 565–72). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

[15] Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, And Our Families. New York: Henry Hold And Co., 75; Caro, M. (2004). The New Skin Trade. Chicago Tribune, September 19; Brosius, H. B., Et Al. (1993). Exploring The Social And Sexual “Reality” Of Contemporary Pornography. Journal Of Sex Research 30, 2: 161–70.

[16] Satinover, J. (2004). Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation, Subcommittee On Science, Technology, And Space, Hearing On The Brain Science Behind Pornography Addiction And Effects Of Addiction On Families And Communities, November 18.


article source: http://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-affects-the-brain-like-a-drug/

 

How Porn Trains Objectification

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Research into Pornography Addiction

Posted on Updated on

Excerpt from an article on Gary Wilson’s site, http://www.yourbrainonporn.com.  Great read:


This page lists all the studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users. To date every study offers support for the porn addiction model (no studies falsify the porn addiction model). The results of these 31 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 200+Internet addiction “brain studies”, many of which also include internet porn use. All support the premise that internet porn use can cause addiction-related brain changes, as do 10 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

  1. Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update (2015). A thorough review of the neuroscience literature related to Internet addiction subtypes, with special focus on internet porn addiction. The review also critiques two recent headline-grabbing EEG studies which purport to have “debunked” porn addiction.
  2. Sex Addiction as a Disease: Evidence for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Response to Critics (2015), which provides a chart that takes on specific criticisms of porn/sex addiction, offering citations that counter them.
  3. Neurobiology of Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Emerging Science (2016). Excerpt: “Given some similarities between CSB and drug addictions, interventions effective for addictions may hold promise for CSB, thus providing insight into future research directions to investigate this possibility directly.”
  4. Should Compulsive Sexual Behavior be Considered an Addiction? (2016). Excerpt: “Overlapping features exist between CSB and substance use disorders. Common neurotransmitter systems may contribute to CSB and substance use disorders, and recent neuroimaging studies highlight similarities relating to craving and attentional biases. Similar pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments may be applicable to CSB and substance addictions”
  5. Neurobiological Basis of Hypersexuality (2016). Excerpt: “Taken together, the evidence seems to imply that alterations in the frontal lobe, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, septum, and brain regions that process reward play a prominent role in the emergence of hypersexuality. Genetic studies and neuropharmacological treatment approaches point at an involvement of the dopaminergic system.
  6. Compulsive Sexual Behaviour as a Behavioural Addiction: The Impact of the Internet and Other Issues (2016). Excerpts: “more emphasis is needed on the characteristics of the internet as these may facilitate problematic sexual behaviour.” and “clinical evidence from those who help and treat such individuals should be given greater credence by the psychiatric community.”
  7. Cybersex Addiction (2015). Excerpts: “In recent articles, cybersex addiction is considered a specific type of Internet addiction. Some current studies investigated parallels between cybersex addiction and other behavioral addictions, such as Internet Gaming Disorder. Cue-reactivity and craving are considered to play a major role in cybersex addiction. Neuroimaging studies support the assumption of meaningful commonalities between cybersex addiction and other behavioral addictions as well as substance dependency.”
  8. Searching for Clarity in Muddy Water: Future Considerations for Classifying Compulsive Sexual Behavior as An Addiction (2016).  Excerpts: “We recently considered evidence for classifying compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) as a non-substance (behavioral) addiction. Our review found that CSB shared clinical, neurobiological and phenomenological parallels with substance-use disorders. Although the American Psychiatric Association rejected hypersexual disorder from DSM-5, a diagnosis of CSB (excessive sex drive) can be made using ICD-10. CSB is also being considered by ICD-11.”
  9. Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review With Clinical Reports (2016). An extensive review of the literature related to porn-induced sexual problems. Involving 7 US Navy doctors and Gary Wilson, the review provides the latest data revealing a tremendous rise in youthful sexual problems. It also reviews the neurological studies related to porn addiction and sexual conditioning via Internet porn. The doctors provide 3 clinical reports of men who developed porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. A second 2016 paper by Gary Wilson discusses the importance of studying the effects of porn by having subjects abstain from porn use: Eliminate Chronic Internet Pornography Use to Reveal Its Effects (2016).
  10. Integrating Psychological and Neurobiological Considerations Regarding The Development and Maintenance of Specific Internet-Use Disorders: An Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution model (2016). A review of the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of specific Internet-use disorders, including “Internet-pornography-viewing disorder”. The authors suggest that pornography addiction (and cybersex addiction) be classified as internet use disorders and placed with other behavioral addictions under substance-use disorders as addictive behaviors.
  • See Questionable & Misleading Studies for highly publicized papers that are not what they claim to be.
  • See this page for the many studies linking porn use to sexual problems and decreased sexual & relationship satisfaction

“Brain Studies” (fMRI, MRI, EEG, Neuro-endocrine):

  1. Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn (2014) – This Max Planck Institute fMRI study found less gray matter in the reward system (dorsal striatum) correlating with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that more porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation while briefly viewing sexual photos. Researchers believed their findings indicated desensitization, and possibly tolerance, which is the need for greater stimulation to achieve the same high. The study also reported that more porn viewing was linked to poorer connections between the reward circuit and prefrontal cortex – a common addiction-related brain change.
  2. Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) – The first in a series of Cambridge University studies found the same brain activity pattern in porn addicts (CSB subjects) as seen in drug addicts and alcoholics. It also found that porn addicts fit the accepted addiction model of wanting “it” more, but not liking “it” more. The researchers also reported that 60% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn.
  3. Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) – The second Cambridge University study. An excerpt: “Our findings of enhanced attentional bias… suggest possible overlaps with enhanced attentional bias observed in studies of drug cues in disorders of addictions. These findings converge with recent findings of neural reactivity to sexually explicit cues in [porn addicts] in a network similar to that implicated in drug-cue-reactivity studies and provide support for incentive motivation theories of addiction underlying the aberrant response to sexual cues in [porn addicts].
  4. Novelty, Conditioning and Attentional Bias to Sexual Rewards (2015) – Another Cambridge University fMRI study. Compared to controls porn addicts preferred sexual novelty and conditioned cues associated porn. However, the brains of porn addicts habituated faster to sexual images. Since novelty preference wasn’t pre-existing, porn addiction drives novelty-seeking in an attempt to overcome habituation and desensitization.
  5. Neural Substrates of Sexual Desire in Individuals with Problematic Hypersexual Behavior (2015) – This Korean fMRI study replicates other brain studies on porn users. Like the Cambridge University studies it found cue-induced brain activation patterns in sex addicts which mirrored the patterns of drug addicts. In line with several German studies it found alterations in the prefrontal cortex which match the changes observed in drug addicts. What’s new is that the findings perfectly matched the prefrontal cortex activation patterns observed in drug addicts: Greater cue-reactivity to sexual images, yet inhibited response to other normal stimuli.
  6. Sexual Desire, not Hypersexuality, is Related to Neurophysiological Responses Elicited by Sexual Images (2013) – This EEG study was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn/sex addiction. Not so. This SPAN Lab study, like #7 below, actually lends support to the existence of both porn addiction and porn use down-regulating sexual desire. How so? The study reported higher EEG readings (relative to neutral pictures) when subjects were briefly exposed to pornographic photos. Studies consistently show that an elevated P300 occurs when addicts are exposed to cues (such as images) related to their addiction. However, due to methodological flaws the findings are uninterpretable: 1) the study had no control group for comparison; 2) subjects were heterogeneous (males, females, non-heterosexuals); 3) subjects were not screened for mental disorders or addictions; 4) the questionnaires were not validated for porn addiction. In line with the Cambridge University brain scan studies, this EEG study also reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlating with less desire for partnered sex. To put another way – individuals with greater brain activation to porn would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with a real person. Shockingly, study spokesman Nicole Prause claimed that porn users merely had “high libido”, yet the results of the study say something quite different. Four peer-reviewed papers expose the truth: 1, 2, 3, 4. Also see the extensive YBOP critique.
  7. Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with “Porn Addiction” (2015) – Another SPAN Lab EEG (brain-wave) study comparing the 2013 subjects from the above study to an actual control group (yet it suffered from the same methodological flaws named above). The results: compared to controls “individuals experiencing problems regulating their porn viewing” had lower brain responses to one-second exposure to photos of vanilla porn. The lead author, Nicole Prause, claims these results “debunk porn addiction”. What legitimate scientist would claim that their lone anomalous study has debunked an entire field of study? In reality, the findings of Prause et al. 2015 align perfectly with Kühn & Gallinat (2014), which found that more porn use correlated with less brain activation in response to pictures of vanilla porn. Prause’s findings also align with Banca et al. 2015 which is #4 in this list. Moreover, another EEG study found that greater porn use in women correlated with less brain activation to porn. Lower EEG readings mean that subjects are paying less attention to the pictures. Put simply, frequent porn users were desensitized to static images of vanilla porn. They were bored (habituated or desensitized). See this extensive YBOP critique. Five peer-reviewed papers agree that this study actually found desensitization/habituation in frequent porn users: 1, 2, 3, 4. 5.
  8. HPA Axis Dysregulation in Men With Hypersexual Disorder (2015) – The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is the central player in our stress response. Addictions alter the brain’s stress circuits leading to a dysfunctional HPA axis. This study on sex addicts (hypersexuals) found altered stress responses that mirror the findings with substance addictions.
  9. Compulsive Sexual Behavior: Prefrontal And Limbic Volume and Interactions (2016) – Compared to healthy controls CSB subjects (porn addicts) had increased left amygdala volume and reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex DLPFC. Reduced functional connectivity between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex aligns with substance addictions. It is thought that poorer connectivity diminishes the prefrontal cortex’s control over a user’s impulse to engage in the addictive behavior. This study suggests that drug toxicity may lead to less gray matter and thus reduced amygdala volume in drug addicts. The amygdala is consistently active during porn viewing, especially during initial exposure to a sexual cue. Perhaps the constant sexual novelty and searching and seeking leads to a unique effect on the amygdala in compulsive porn users. Alternatively, years of porn addiction and severe negative consequences is very stressful – and chronic social stress is related to increased amygdala volume. Study #8 above found that “sex addicts” have a overactive stress system. Could the chronic stress related to porn/sex addiction, along with factors that make sex unique, lead to greater amygdala volume?
  10. Can Pornography be Addictive? An fMRI Study of Men Seeking Treatment for Problematic Pornography Use (2016) – (in the press) Excerpts: Men with and without problematic porn sue (PPU) differed in brain reactions to cues predicting erotic pictures, but not in reactions to erotic pictures themselves, consistent with the incentive salience theory of addictions. This brain activation was accompanied by increased behavioral motivation to view erotic images (higher ‘wanting’). Ventral striatal reactivity for cues predicting erotic pictures was significantly related to the severity of PPU, amount of pornography use per week and number of weekly masturbations. Our findings suggest that like in substance-use and gambling disorders the neural and behavioral mechanisms linked to anticipatory processing of cues relate importantly to clinically relevant features of PPU. These findings suggest that PPU may represent a behavioral addiction and that interventions helpful in targeting behavioral and substance addictions warrant consideration for adaptation and use in helping men with PPU.
  11. Ventral Striatum Activity When Watching Preferred Pornographic Pictures is Correlated With Symptoms of Internet Pornography Addiction (2016) – Finding #1: Reward center activity (ventral striatum) was higher for preferred pornographic pictures. Finding #2: Ventral striatum reactivity correlated with the internet sex addiction score. Both findings indicate sensitization and align with the addiction model. The authors state that the “Neural basis of Internet pornography addiction is comparable to other addictions.
  12. Altered Appetitive Conditioning and Neural Connectivity in Subjects With Compulsive Sexual Behavior (2016) – A German fMRI study replicating two major findings from Voon et al., 2014 and Kuhn & Gallinat 2014. Main Findings: The neural correlates of appetitive conditioning and neural connectivity were altered in the CSB group. According to the researchers, the first alteration – heightened amygdala activation – might reflect facilitated conditioning (greater “wiring” to previously neutral cues predicting porn images). The second alteration – decreased connectivity between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex – could be a marker for impaired ability to control impulses. Said the researchers, “These [alterations] are in line with other studies investigating the neural correlates of addiction disorders and impulse control deficits.” The findings of greater amygdalar activation to cues (sensitization) and decreased connectivity between the reward center and the prefrontal cortex (hypofrontality) are two of the major brain changes seen in substance addiction. In addition, 3 of the 20 compulsive porn users suffered from “orgasmic-erection disorder”.
  13. Compulsivity Across the Pathological Misuse of Drug and Non-Drug Rewards (2016) – A Cambridge University study comparing aspects of compulsivity in alcoholics, binge-eaters, video game addicts and porn addicts (CSB). Excerpts: CSB subjects were faster to learning from rewards in the acquisition phase compared to healthy volunteers and were more likely to perseverate or stay after either a loss or a win in the Reward condition. These findings converge with our previous findings of enhanced preference for stimuli conditioned to either sexual or monetary outcomes, overall suggesting enhanced sensitivity to rewards (Banca et al., 2016).
  14. Preliminary Investigation of The Impulsive And Neuroanatomical Characteristics of Compulsive Sexual Behavior (2009) – Primarily sex addicts. Study reports more impulsive behavior in a Go-NoGo task in sex addicts (hypersexuals) compared to control participants. Brain scans revealed that sex addicts had greater disorganized prefrontal cortex white matter. This finding is consistent with hypofrontality, a hallmark of addiction.

The above studies are all the “brain studies” published (or in the press) on internet porn users.

Together these brain studies found:

  1. The 3 major addiction-related brain changes: sensitization, desensitization, and hypofrontality.
  2. More porn use correlated with less grey matter in the reward circuit (dorsal striatum).
  3. More porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation when briefly viewing sexual images.
  4. More porn use correlated with disrupted neural connections between the reward circuit and prefrontal cortex.
  5. Addicts had greater prefrontal activity to sexual cues, but less brain activity to normal stimuli (matches drug addiction).
  6. 60% of compulsive porn addicted subjects in one study experienced ED or low libido with partners, but not with porn: all stated that internet porn use caused their ED/low libido.
  7. Enhanced attentional bias comparable to drug users. Indicates sensitization (a product of DeltaFosb).
  8. Greater wanting & craving for porn, but not greater liking. This aligns with the accepted model of addiction – incentive sensitization.
  9. Porn addicts have greater preference for sexual novelty yet their brains habituated faster to sexual images. Not pre-existing.
  10. The younger the porn users the greater the cue-induced reactivity in the reward center.
  11. Higher EEG (P300) readings when porn users were exposed to porn cues (which occurs in other addictions).
  12. Less desire for sex with a person correlating with greater cue-reactivity to porn images.
  13. More porn use correlated with lower LPP amplitude when briefly viewing sexual photos: indicates habituation or desensitization.
  14. Dysfunctional HPA axis and altered brain stress circuits, which occurs in drug addictions (and greater amygdala volume, which is associated with chronic social stress).

article source: http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/brain-scan-studies-porn-users

 

Marriage Recovery After a Porn Addiction

Posted on Updated on

I wanted to share this article, primarily because the author is a woman and she agrees with my belief that wives should not be accountability partners for their husbands who are struggling with or addicted to porn.  Read on:


Marriage Recovery After a Pornography Addiction

Is intimate sex after porn addictions even possible? 

Perhaps your marriage hasn’t been touched by pornography, and if so, that’s wonderful. But I still encourage you to read on, because porn is so prevalent, and we have to understand it just to help our husbands and sons, as well as our friends who are going through this trauma.

The effects of porn are devastating. Pornography addictions are now one of the largest causes of divorce. Porn is wrecking marriages. It’s also wrecking men’s libidos, and it’s one of the largest causes of men’s reduced sexual interest. In one study I read recently, college aged males were having far less sex with actual people because they were so addicted to porn. Now, of course, I don’t want college aged males to be promiscuous with actual women, either, but the point is that here’s a group that is notorious for sleeping with many partners, and yet they’ve stopped because porn is easier. And once you become addicted to porn, you tend not to want the real thing.

That’s true in marriages, too. Not all marriages experience this, but slowly but surely a man who is addicted to porn becomes less interested in sex with his wife. When he is interested, he tends to want to try more extreme things. And he also has difficulty making love without fantasizing, because what porn has done is rewire his brain to think of images as erotic, as opposed to relationship. Thus, most men who are addicted to pornography cannot actually get aroused without concentrating on a few images in their brains first.

So can your marriage recover from a porn addiction? And can sex after porn ever be intimate again? Let’s look at some steps to real recovery and intimacy.

1. Understand that Porn Use Can Be an Addiction

When men say “it’s got nothing to do with you”, they honestly mean it. Men are wired, much more so than women, to be aroused visually, and so pornography is a huge temptation for them. And it’s so easy to access today. Once they start watching, though, they tend to need more and more to get the initial high that comes with it, in the same way that an alcoholic needs more and more drinks to feel tipsy.

It does change the chemical balance in the brain, and it is an honest to goodness addiction for many men. That doesn’t mean it can’t be broken; it’s just that many men WANT to break it, but don’t know how. They feel great shame about it, in the same way that an alcoholic feels shame.

If your husband has a porn addiction, you’re going to be angry when you learn. You’ll feel disgusted, ashamed, and probably a little vengeful. That’s only natural. But when you calm down, try, as much as you can, to also feel a bit of sympathy. Listen to your husband’s heart. If he is repentant, but doesn’t know how to stop, then help him. If he isn’t repentant, then lay down some pretty firm rules and an ultimatum. A marriage can’t survive a porn addiction long-term. It is cheating, whether he admits it or not. He may not think of it that way, but it is stealing his sexual interest from you, and it is undermining the whole basis for your marriage.

2. Help end the Porn Addiction.

You need to take some action to end the addiction. It would be nice if he could stop all on his own, but it’s rarely that easy. We don’t ask an alcoholic to stop drinking when there is still a ton of alcohol in the house. In the same way, your husband can’t just stop his porn addiction without removing the internet lure.

Covenant EyesSo either drop the internet temporarily altogether, or get filters installed. Talk to him about this. He may be leery at first, but make it clear that if he wants to stay in the marriage, he needs to take these steps. And please, try to do it in a loving way. I know you’re angry, but if you blame him and lecture him you’ll just drive him away. How much better to tell him instead that you want to work towards rebuilding your sex life, and making it satisfying for both of you. You want to achieve true intimacy. You want your marriage to be rich and close and beautiful, and this is the first step towards that.

And often that means involving a third party. Here’s a response by a former porn addict on how he managed to quit–and advice for wives in that same situation.

3. Do not be his Accountability Partner

Most men will need some sort of an accountability partner to recover from this, similar to a buddy that people are matched with in AA. You can’t be that partner, because he can’t be honest with you if he’s tempted again.

Churches need to go out of their way to start accountability groups for men in this area. We need to step up to the plate, and if you can grab the pastor’s ear and suggest it, then do so. Encourage your husband to find a godly man that can hold him accountable. Some computer programs can automatically send an email to someone of your choice if you go onto a questionable website, so that the partner can literally monitor his web use.

Be aware, too, that he likely will fall in the initial period. It’s very hard to break an addiction, and he’ll be moody, twitchy, and angry. He can’t be perfect overnight. And occasionally he’s going to fall, whether it’s at work where he still has internet access or when he’s in a hotel or something. If he does fall, he’s going to feel even worse.

Have you ever tried really hard to lose weight? Or quit some food that you don’t want to eat anymore? It’s hard. And remember how awful you feel when you grab one and stuff it down? This feels way worse. Remember that just because he falls does not mean that he isn’t still moving in the right general direction. If he remains committed to breaking the addiction, then forgive him. And encourage him to talk to an accountability partner about it.

And if he won’t seek an accountability partner? I’d really question his commitment to seeking porn. If he is truly sorry, then he will want to get help. Sometimes, of course, getting accountability is hard because it may endanger your job if you confess. If your husband is in ministry, or on the mission field, and is addicted to porn, here are some more thoughts that can help.

4. Rebuild your sex life–it is possible to have great sex after giving up porn!

Here’s the hard part. Pornography, fantasy, and masturbation go hand in hand. For males, you rarely have one without the other. So if a man tells you that he’s addicted to pornography, it also means that he fantasizes and that he masturbates. It’s gross to think about it, I know, but it’s true.

To get out of that cycle so that his physical desire is channelled towards you again is often a very long process. Understand that from the outset. Rediscovering intimate sex after porn is not going to be an easy road, but it is one you can travel together.

First, you have to give him the freedom to be honest with you. If you want to rebuild intimacy, he needs to be free to tell you when it’s not working. Because pornography rewires the brain and tells a man that what is arousing is an image rather than a person, many men actually experience impotence without external stimulation (the images they’re used to seeing). So many men, in order to have sex with their wives, start imagining and fantasizing about those images.

That may be a shock to some of you, and I’m truly sorry. This is such a difficult thing, I know, but remember that God can help you get through anything.

You need to leave room for God to work, though, and show your husband forgiveness and grace, because most men who are recovering truly do want to get better. It’s just very difficult for them. They’re scared that they’ll never be able to really have sex again without the pornography.

So make a plan that you want to help him get reacquainted with true intimacy. Spend some time, perhaps a week or so or however long it takes, not actually making love. Lie naked together and get used to touching each other again. Look into his eyes. Let him experience the erotic nature of just being so close to someone he loves. Take baths together. Explore each other, and take things very slowly so that he can see that he can become aroused just by being with you. If you try to go too fast, you can push him into fantasy again in order to “complete the deed”. Instead, spend some time letting him discover that he can become aroused once again by being with you. But this is much easier if there’s no pressure, and if you spend a lot of time just being together naked, talking, kissing, and exploring.

My book 31 Days to Great Sex can help with this, because I confront the dangers of pornography head on and explain how it changes the libido. And then I provide exercises that you can build on, little by little, step by step, over the course of a month so that you do start to feel more intimate again.

Usually when we think of rebuilding sex lives we think that we have to somehow compete with pornography. We want to be so arousing that he won’t need it anymore, and so we go the lingerie route, or we decide to try new things. That actually feeds into his addiction, because what he really needs is to experience the sexual high that comes from relational and spiritual intimacy, and not just from visual arousal or fantasy. It’s not that you can never wear lingerie again; it’s just that in the initial recovery period, the aim is not to be “porn lite” in your marriage; it’s to help him channel his sexual energy in a different direction: towards you. If you try to just act out pornography, you actually encourage him to keep those fantasies in his head alive, and you do nothing to retrain his brain.

So take things slowly, and let him know that if he needs to take a break because his mind is wandering, it’s okay for him to tell you that. You’d rather he be honest so that he can get his heart and head right and start again.

Rebuilding sex after porn means spending a lot of intimate time together, perhaps reading Psalms, or Song of Solomon, while lying together. I know that sounds corny, but honestly, when you are spiritually close, the sexual feelings often follow. One of the sexiest things you can actually do together is to pray, because it is so intimate. And it’s the kind of intimate that is the exact opposite of fantasizing, so it helps keep those impulses at bay.

But believe that God can restore your marriage.Throughout this whole process you will need some support to continue showing grace and forgiveness, and to get over your initial revulsion. Talk to maybe one close friend or mentor, but don’t talk to everyone you know, even “in confidence”, because then they will always think of your husband in a certain way.

He can make it even more intimate than it was before. He can take you to new heights together. But it’s a process that takes time, and will inevitably have some setbacks. That doesn’t mean you’re not progressing; just be patient, rely on God, and believe that you can reach the other side together.

My book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, helps couples see the beauty that God intended for sex, and has a big section on how to rebuild intimacy after a porn addiction.


article source: http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2010/02/sex-after-porn-addiction-restoring-intimacy-marriage/

 

When porn stops being “fun”

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This article speaks very candidly about the addictive nature of pornography.  It is written by Zachary Horner


WARNING: This is real talk to help you learn about pornography.

 

Porn May Be Great for a Season, But Then This Happens

I remember the first time I stumbled across pornographic material, 10 years ago. I was fascinated. I hadn’t discovered masturbation yet, but the stuff I was seeing made me feel good just by itself.

Seeing women the way they were portrayed in this material activated a feeling I had never felt before. I still had a lot to learn about pornography.

Porn was something I pursued on and off for the first four years. Never got hooked or addicted to it except for a few weeks at a time, and then I’d walk away without much of a problem.

Then it drew me back. With ferocity and ruthlessness. And I got stuck. I got hooked.

Masturbation entered the picture. All of a sudden I found a way to have release, to have relief, to feel good almost whenever I wanted to.

Porn was a nice tool to have, a nice treat on the side. Keep in mind, all this time I was a Christian. And pretty soon, I realized that what I was doing what not healthy. So I tried to stop. But I couldn’t. And this is where I learned the most important thing you can ever learn about pornography.

Porn is magnetic. And you’ll get stuck.

Pornography promises so much, and it delivers on it. It promises you attention and good feelings. It promises you relief, release, and relaxation. It promises you the reward of sexual fulfillment, if even for a moment.

But then you’re hooked and it’s hard to leave. All of a sudden, watching porn and masturbating becomes more about filling a craving and not about the pleasure you first felt. Yeah, there’s still some pleasure attached to it, and that’s why you keep coming back.

Ultimately, it leaves you empty. It leaves you with just a few moments of pleasure and then a heck of a lot of emptiness. But when you’re addicted and you’re craving a fix, you keep coming back.

The most helpful thing we can ever share with someone struggling with a pornography addiction or habit is that it feels good.

Wait, really?

If we ignore the magnetic nature of pornography, we’ll never be able to beat it. Because we won’t take it as seriously as we must. It’s something that draws our attention and our time in an intense and fierce way, with the potential to fight through and take over every part of our lives, but when we ignore that magnetism, we won’t give it the effort we need.

We won’t put in the proper mechanisms to block our access to it. We won’t surround ourselves with the right people for accountability and encouragement. We won’t work to train our mind to think differently when temptation comes. Basically, we won’t do what’s necessary to overcome it.

Many times I’ve struggled to properly evaluate pornography’s effect on me, and it’s in those times when I’m most vulnerable. When you get hooked on pornography, it’s like a magnet is implanted in you, and porn is the other magnet, calling you, drawing you to itself time and time again so you get stuck. Any time I thought I had it all figured out, how to stop looking at it, or that it wasn’t all that bad, that I could resist it, you could bet that I would give in within a day or two. And you would be right.

We have to understand that just because something feels good doesn’t mean we should pursue it. Just because it feels natural to watch pornography and masturbate to it doesn’t meant it’s helpful. Just because it calls our name and begs for us to join it doesn’t mean we have to answer.

Fortunately, there are many stories of men and women who have been in this place, who have been hooked, and who have gotten themselves off the hook. Let us all, those who are losing the fight and those who are winning, seek to join their ranks, be one of the many who found real, lasting victory.


article source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/men/porn-may-great-season-happens.html?utm_term=twitter-followers&utm_content=bufferc4257&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Your Kid’s Brain and Porn

Posted on

Every parent should read this, and every person who knows others with children should read this and pass it on.  I struggled with pornography addiction for 18 years, and it all started…  …when I was a kid.  Read on, this article has some good info and resources:


This Is Your Kid’s Brain on Porn

BY
Erica Etelson
POSTED ON
January 24, 2017

childbrainWhen my son was little, we liked to go see a family variety show that performed around town. One afternoon, I sat at my computer to check the performance schedule. I Googled “The Buddy Club,” and, a moment later, was up to my eyeballs in hairy, erect penises. I fumbled to close the browser while checking over my shoulder to see if my three-year-old had witnessed the display. (He hadn’t.)

That incident came to mind years later, during a parent meeting of my son’s Jewish youth group, when a youth mentor warned us of the easy availability and extremity of online porn. One of the moms there recounted a disturbing anecdote: Her 13-year-old had seen an online porn video and later tearfully confided to his mom, “I can’t get it out of my head. I wish I could go back to the time when I’d never seen that.”

So began my quest to learn everything a mother never wanted to know about pornography: What is typically portrayed? How does watching porn affect adolescent boys? Is it addictive? Can I keep my son away from it?

If your idea of porn is naked women in lewd poses or close-ups of people vigorously copulating, you’ll have to put aside such quaint notions. Today’s porn is hard-core, hard, hard, hard. The industry’s diabolically effective marketing strategy involves baiting and hooking young viewers by feeding them a series of increasingly dehumanizing content, ratcheting up the shock quotient to forestall boredom.

By “dehumanizing,” I mean that the vast majority of heterosexual porn portrays women being violently brutalized and humiliated by one or more men in one or more orifices. Women are gagged, choked, struck, and verbally abused. They have cum squirted in their faces and large objects (made of flesh or other materials) shoved into their orifices. Close-up shots are careful to show the woman’s swollen, torn, and inflamed body parts.

In other words, when boys watch porn, they’re seeing women being sexually assaulted and tortured. Even relatively tame porn videos typically portray sex without intimacy, with a focus on ejaculation, speed, and unusually large breasts, buttocks, and penises. No wonder my son’s youth group friend was traumatized.

Most boys see porn for the first time at the age of 11 and, by the time they’re 18, many are consuming porn on a regular basis. Some of those young men become addicted to porn, though no one seems to know how many.

Girls watch porn, too. The recent spike in the incidence of teen girls waxing their pubic hair, undergoing breast augmentation, and mutilating their genitals with “labiaplasty” surgery has been blamed on porn.

Sociology professor Gail Dines, author of “Pornland”, calls pornography “the public health crisis of the digital age.” Her rhetoric isn’t overblown. According to Huffington Post, porn sites get more traffic than Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix combined. A staggering one-third of all internet downloads are pornographic.

Research into the psycho-social effects and addictive qualities of porn is just beginning to catch up with the magnitude of the crisis. A slew of studies link porn consumption with infidelity, job loss, and erectile dysfunction. Young men profiled in Time’s recent cover story on porn describe their experience in similar terms – they got hooked young, and their compulsive use of porn led to sexual dysfunction, shame, and, later, withdrawal symptoms such as depression, headaches, and insomnia.

According to Gary Lynch, a neurobiological psychiatrist at the University of California at Irvine, the viewing of a single pornographic image can immediately alter brain structure. Many researchers corroborate Lynch, among them University of Texas neurosurgeon Don Hilton, who testified at a congressional briefing on pornography in January 2015.

Hilton characterizes pornography as a readily available drug that produces an addictive neurochemical trap and notes that brain imaging of porn addicts shows shrinkage in the brain’s reward and control centers akin to that of drug addicts.

Cambridge University addiction expert Valerie Voon puts it more succinctly: “Letting our children consume [porn] freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house.”

There are, to be sure, a handful of researchers who posit the innocuousness of porn, but they’re up against a growing consensus that porn is harmful and addictive.

Certified sex therapist Wendy Maltz has treated dozens of compulsive porn users at her practice in Eugene, Oregon, including growing numbers of young men who started using porn as teens but didn’t acknowledge they had a problem until they began suffering erectile dysfunction or depression in their 20s. Her porn clients are ashamed of themselves, often self-isolate, and experience poor self-esteem, insomnia, and anxiety.

Maltz, co-author of “The Porn Trap: The Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Caused by Pornography,” says that porn was the first sexual experience of many of her clients. Instead of stealing kisses under the bleachers, these young men are masturbating in front of screens. “Porn railroads their sexuality,” she says. “They don’t realize they’re forfeiting control to this industry and giving up something very precious – love-based intimacy and erotic imagination.”

A little-noticed Salon essay by novelist Mark Slouka echoes Maltz’s lament. Slouka contrasts the experience of cyberporn with the experience of lovemaking. He likens online porn to a “million-room whorehouse” that offers a 24/7 smorgasbord of pre-packaged sexual fantasies that colonize the mind. In Slouka’s experience, the price porn users pay is the loss of imagination, accountability, and agency. They become an “army of unmanned drones, piloting our libido through the ether.”

Maltz’s clinical experience bears out what Slouka intuited and researchers have found – that porn serves up a powerful cocktail of feel-good neurotransmitters and adrenaline and that this blend of novelty, stimulation, and pleasure amps up what’s already a powerful, feel-good, biological response to an irresistible intensity.

Kids whose brains are wired for novelty, excitement, and risk, are particularly susceptible.

To make matters worse, free porn is never more than a few mouse clicks or cell phone swipes away. Some kids seek out porn, others come across it accidentally while Googling seemingly innocent terms such as “panda movies,” “bravo teens,” and, my personal favorite, “whitehouse.com.”

Age-appropriate curiosity can land a young child searching for words like “boobs” or “butt” on some highly inappropriate sites. A colleague of Maltz’s once treated an eight-year-old boy who got shocked, then hooked, when his search for butt images delivered images of double penetration anal sex.

Maltz reminds parents that all kids are naturally curious about sex and counsels them to make sure their kids get authentic sexual education before porn becomes their teacher. Some of Maltz’s clients don’t even know they can have an orgasm without porn while others demand that their first sexual partners act out scenes they saw in a video.

If your child does get exposed, Maltz advises staying calm and not lashing out or blaming your child. Educate yourself about why porn is harmful and share this information with your child. Validate your child’s curiosity, engage in honest, non-judgmental communication, and, if needed, seek professional help.

Parental filters on devices can help protect younger children, but most seem to figure out how to disable the filter. Eventually, they’ll see porn, whether on their own device or a friend’s. Dines’ organization offers additional resources for concerned parents.

During the time it took you to read this article, eight million people viewed porn. Was your child one of them?


source: http://www.parent.co/this-is-your-kids-brain-on-porn/

 

Prevent Recovery Burnout

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This is a great article I read on the Covenant Eyes blog.  A good reminder, and good encouragement.  Enjoy:

Porn Addiction Recovery: 5 Ways to Avoid Burnout

Last week I was having an informal conversation with one of my accountability partners. Our chat flowed through normal catch-up material and soon the quintessential question arose: How are you doing with pornography?

Having anticipated this, I delivered a rehearsed answer, one that gave the truth but left out the true emotions that ran underneath the surface: I was getting tired of the fight. Truly, I was exhausted, and down to the core I knew that I needed to speak up. I started to say things like, “I am tired of this being so hard,” “Isn’t it supposed to get easier as time goes on,” and even “I don’t think it’s worth all these sacrifices anymore.”

As I heard myself speak, I started to understand that I had hit a point that many before me had warned me about: recovery burn-out. In my discussions with those who are battling addictions of many kinds, I have observed that almost all suffer with this in some context.

At the beginning of one’s recovery, the desire to make a change and be free from that addiction fuels them, driving them forward with a determination to gain back control of their life. Everything is hard, but they were warned of this, and they have the necessary support (therapists, accountability partners, friends, etc.) to wrestle through the withdrawal stage.

Now fast-forward to a few months or even years down the road. Are they still surrounded with support, or even seeking out help? Are they still as dedicated to their recovery as they were in the beginning? Honestly, it depends on the person, but too often I find that many (including myself) get tired of asking for help.

I hear in my own head too often, “You were supposed to be over this by now, so get a handle on it without bringing anyone else into this mess.” I know that I am not alone in these angst-filled contemplations, because many times the process of recovery is viewed as peak-and-dive, where the degree of difficulty peaks during the initial withdrawal and forming of healthy thought-patterns and habits, and then drastically declines with time. Instead, the recovery process looks a lot more jagged, with ups and downs in unpredictable configurations that cause frustration and feelings of hopelessness and defeat.

Why does this matter? Ultimately, it means that all of those in recovery and those helping need to have postures of grace that adequately take into account the long-term nature of recovering from pornography addiction. With any addiction, there should be the continual reminder that this most likely will be something that will be struggled with for years, if not for a lifetime. In my recovery, I have found some thought-patterns and practical ideas that have helped me survive the reality of this long-term journey of overcoming.

1. Be realistic about the long haul.

A porn addiction is just that: an addiction. It means that this process most likely will be a temptation and a battle for months, years, if not a lifetime. When we hold ourselves to standards or expectations that demand complete deliverance from our addictions, we set ourselves up for failure.

Recovery is a process, and included in that will be many seasons of hardships, others of great success.  All of those seasons are a part of the the inclusive redemption of God’s story, no matter if this is something that we struggle with until our last day. We need to continually prepare our hearts for a battle that can be won, but a battle that will need new energy, motivation and strategy as time goes on and the circumstances of our lives change.

2. Find ways to channel that energy with a new hobby/idea.

Honestly, this has been one of the most helpful tips that I have found in my recovery process thus far. Find an interest, a hobby, a talent, and throw your energies into it.

The less time that we spend idle means that there is less time to fall into temptation. When I notice that I am having a harder week fighting temptation, I will work even harder to be intentional about what I do with my time. It makes an incredible difference in my life when I can be using so much of my frustration and angst into something productive, one that leads me away from pornography and promotes a healthy lifestyle at the same time.

3. Recognize that falling into sin may happen, but it does not discount the effort that has been taken in the recovery process thus far.

In my journey, It makes me so upset when I fall back into sin that I have already confessed and made the commitment to rid my life of. When I confessed my sin of watching pornography and found accountability, I finally felt like I could get rid my life of it. However, that process of healing did not happen in a continuous forward motion of resisting temptation. Too often, it meant that I would be resisting for a while and then eventually falling right back to where I was before I made that promise. Every time I found myself in a place of sin again, I felt more and more dejected and that the effort I had put in thus far was useless.

Yet, how beautiful is it that even when we make a commitment to resist sin and yet fall into it again, we have a God that welcomes us with open arms. His relentless love does not hold a limit of the amount of times we can fail before He begins to walk away.

In recovery, meditate on the truth that each day that is a victory! Each minute, hour, day, month is a testament to God’s strength that gives us determination. It is not about counting the number of days that we have resisted, but about the power of Jesus that weaves in our story, whether we have made it 1 day or 150, or made it a year and lost sight of the purpose for a day.

It is not a success countdown that allows us to go the distance, but a mentality and thought process that lives and breathes grace and victory.

4. Celebrate the little victories.

I already touched on this point a bit, but I want to emphasize just how important it is to this process. At the beginning, it seemed like I could not actually feel that I was winning the battle until I had reached a year without pornography. The problem was I did not make it that far. And during those times, I found no reason to celebrate that I had made it months without it.

It is critical that we learn to celebrate all the victories in this recovery, even the little ones. Did you resist going on the computer today because you were feeling tempted? Yeah, it might have been yesterday that you did not, but today you did! Were you able to make it a week without it? That is incredible! Find ways to be thankful in each and every step, however seemingly small.

God walks us through, and He gives us strength in the moment to overcome temptation. It has made my process full of much more joy when I am able to thank God for the minutes, hours, days, and months where He has walked in this with me.

5. Document the process.

It does not have to be anything fancy or creative. I have a friend who writes down on little pieces of paper the little victories or where she has seen God move in her battle against pornography. When she is feeling particularly disheartened, she reads a few of them to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in her journey.

Do whatever feels most comfortable for you and make sure you can come back to it in the future. What a blessing it is to be able to look at how God has provided for us before and be reminded that He can and will do that for us again.

Sometimes the relentless battle of fighting darkness seems too much to press on. Be encouraged that the power of Christ already has victory, and His strength will be sufficient for you. Whatever season you are in, however fall you have fallen or pushed through, God will provide for you. Find reason to celebrate in that!