As our website was recently spammed with internet pornography, I feel that now is as good a time as any to let you in on a little secret: Porn behaves the same way as a drug. Perhaps you already know this. Now, I’m not here to say that drugs are bad and in extension that pornography is bad. Moushumi Ghose encourages readers to look at porn with an open and intelligent mind. I encourage you to investigate your sexuality to whatever end you please.
I will plug this though: the use of both pornography and drugs is probably best done in moderation and, in the case of pornography, it can and often will be degrading to both women and men alike. That being said, lets look at some cold hard facts.
The internet is full of information. All types. Ask any question and you’re likely to get an answer. If you don’t find an answer the great compass search engines will guide you along your quest. If your quest is pornography you’re in luck as the great world wide web contains so much pornography that you may die of exhaustion… enjoying it. In this article from ExtremeTech.com, Sebastian Anthony writes:
While it obviously varies from site to site, most adult sites will probably store in the region of 50 to 200 terabytes of porn. This is quite a lot for a website (only something like Google, Facebook, Blogger, or YouTube would store more data)
That is a lot of pornography. Think about how much media you could store in just ONE terabyte. How much pornography is stored in the collective computers of everybody reading this post? 200 terabytes really isn’t all that surprising considering how long both the internet and the pornography, which predates it, have been around. With all the various pornography sites it boggles my mind thinking about the amount of information transferred to and from viewers’ computer screens.
At peak time, Xvideos might burst to 1,000Gbps (1Tbps) or more. To put this into perspective, there’s only about 15Tbps of connectivity between London and New York.
…the internet only handles around half an exabyte of traffic every day, which equates to around 50Tbps — in other words, a single porn site accounts for almost 2% of the internet’s total traffic. There are dozens of porn sites on the scale of YouPorn, and hundreds that are the size of ExtremeTech or your favorite news site. It’s probably not unrealistic to say that porn makes up 30% of the total data transferred across the internet.
So not only is there a lot of pornography to choose from, but it is actively being chosen and at an incredible rate. More people around the world are watching every day. Teens in high school, lawyers in offices, photographers on location, and pretty much everybody with a computer has had a visual taste of pornography. How does the viewing of a beautiful sexual act transform into a hindrance? What makes viewing pornography an addiction?
The series, which inspired this post, entitled Your Brain on Porn was put together by Gary Wilson and Marnia Robinson to explain just that. They do a wonderful job of breaking down the causes and effects of pornography as an addiction.
Here’s what’s going on with the animals: It’s called the Coolidge Effect. It starts out with declining interest in the present sexual partner. Then, renewed vigor for a novel sexual partner. This is present in all mammals, and it also occurs in females. Again, it improves genetic variety of offspring.
The Coolidge effect extrapolates to cases where lab rats have died of exhaustion because of the reintroduction of novel partners. pornography allows for the same amount of “New partners” because, as I mentioned above, there are so many video partners to choose from. It turns out that the limbic system of the brain plays a major role in the Coolidge effect.
At its most basic, our limbic system is all about “avoiding pain” and “repeating pleasure.” You see, survival depends upon the avoidance of pain—both physical and emotional. And upon the repetition of pleasure. “Hot stove bad; ice cream good; Mommy good; snake bad; porn good.” You get the idea.
So the limbic system defines our fundamental right and wrong. This is not to be confused with morality because the limbic system is instinctual and primitive where as morality is (hopefully) reasoned and rationalized.
Chemicals turn on and off certain parts of the brain. The main chemical, or neurotransmitter, that turns on the reward circuit is dopamine. The reward circuit is the engine, and dopamine is the gas.
It all comes down to…
… dopamine rising in your reward circuitry can override what’s called satiety, completeness or fullness—regardless of what your rational brain thinks about overeating, or even watching [pornography].
Addictions are basically chasing after dopamine. So addiction equates with wanting more, but liking it less.
So in reality we aren’t really addicting to anything but dopamine. In surreality, it is the great goose that we’ve all been chasing after. Novelty catches these geese of satisfaction but slows us down as well. The more geese we catch the faster we have to run to obtain that golden egg which makes less tasty golden omelets every time. That first omelet was delicious though, I think the next one will be better.
If you do suffer from pornography addiction or any other type of addiction please take care of yourself and seek help. The world is your clam and there are many people out there who care enough to lend you a hand.