The Boundless Webzine has a good column by Matt Kaufman discussing a recent report on the effects of pornography. Unfortunately, this addiction is everywhere in our society and hold many in its clutches. According to the report, it promises much but offers a declining level of satisfaction that, in the end, leaves its abusers depressed and unfulfilled. The dangers of the addict are one thing, but even dabbling in it is dangerous. That is because it creates a place in our brains that needs to be fed:
The second pleasure system [in our brains] has to do with the satisfaction, or consummatory pleasure, that attends actually having sex or having that meal, a calming, fulfilling pleasure. Its neurochemistry is based on the release of endorphins, which are related to opiates and give a peaceful, euphoric bliss. Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyper-activates the appetitive system. Porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see.
Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we’ve been sitting all day, so too our senses hunger to be stimulated. The men at their computers [addicted to] looking at porn [are] uncannily like the rats in the cages of the NIH [National Institutes of Health], pressing the bar to get a shot of dopamine or its equivalent. Though they [don’t] know it, they [have] been seduced into pornographic training sessions that [meet] all the conditions required for plastic change of brain maps.
So, it’s not a take-it-or-leave-it kind of thing. The beast that we create demands to be fed. As Kaufman points out, we need to realize that we are in a battle. As Christians, we realize it is a spiritual battle and the Devil is using pornography as a powerful tool against us. However, we know that every temptation we face is one that Christ experienced as well while he was on earth. (I Cor. 10:13; Hebrews 4:15). But, we must be wise and not play in the Devil’s toolbox.
Helpful resources from Boundless:
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