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The Truth About Pornography

Jonathan Riley

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” – J.P. Morgan

The accessibility and consumption of pornography have surged dramatically. While debates over its moral and societal implications rage on, there’s one topic that’s remained largely under the radar – pornography desensitization. This isn’t just about becoming numb to explicit images, but about how our brains, relationships, and perceptions of reality are changed without us even realizing it.

Firstly, let’s understand what desensitization means. In simple terms, it’s when you become less sensitive or less responsive to something due to repeated exposure. Consider the way you become accustomed to your surroundings, like how you might stop noticing familiar scents after spending time in a place. Now, apply that idea to the consumption of adult content.

One of the most shocking facts about porn consumption is just how early it begins. With nearly every young person having a smartphone in their pocket, studies show that the average age of first exposure to pornography is now around 11 years old. That’s before most kids even start high school. Imagine the impact on an impressionable, developing brain that’s still figuring out the basics of human relationships and intimacy.

The repeated viewing of such material at such a young age – and continuing into adulthood – doesn’t just alter one’s perspective on sex, but on relationships, self-worth, and even reality. Over time, as one consumes more and more explicit material, the brain requires even more stimulation to achieve the same level of arousal. This means that what was once exciting and novel becomes mundane, and one may seek out more extreme forms of content just to feel that same ‘high’.

Now, some might argue that seeking greater stimulation is a natural part of our evolution – always wanting more or better. However, when it comes to porn, the consequences of this never-ending pursuit are disastrous.

Here’s a comparison that might shock you. Think of a drug addict, constantly chasing a more potent high. As their tolerance increases, they require more of the drug or even stronger drugs. Similarly, consistent porn consumers often find that over time, they need more extreme and varied genres of porn to achieve the same level of excitement. This isn’t about broadening horizons but about the brain’s desensitized demand for higher doses of dopamine.

Furthermore, the implications of this desensitization spill over into real-life relationships. For many regular viewers, real-life intimacy can become unsatisfying compared to the virtual world. This is alarming because physical intimacy is not just about pleasure. It’s about connection, understanding, trust, and love. But when a person’s perception of intimacy is distorted by countless hours of unrealistic and often degrading depictions of sex, the real-world counterpart can feel underwhelming. When you eat fast food all the time, then try to eat a simple home-cooked meal; the home-cooked meal may seem bland in comparison.

Another alarming fact: with the rise in the availability and consumption of pornography, there has been a reported increase in sexual dysfunction among young men, something that was previously rare in this demographic. Researchers believe that this is tied to porn-induced desensitization. Essentially, real-life encounters don’t match up to the extreme stimulation of porn, leading to decreased arousal and, consequently, dysfunction.

Also, our sense of self-worth and how we see our bodies are at risk because mainstream porn often shows acts and standards for bodies that aren’t realistic. When viewers, especially young ones, consume this as the ‘norm’, it fosters feelings of inadequacy. People begin to question if their bodies, desires, and performances are ‘normal’ or ‘good enough’, adding another layer to the already complex world of self-esteem and body image issues.

Lastly, we need to address the illusion of choice. With countless genres and niches available, it seems like there’s something for everyone, catering to every fantasy. But this abundance is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it gives an illusion of vast choice. On the other, it propels viewers to consume more, constantly looking for that next thing that might give them the dopamine rush they’re after. The choice becomes a chain, locking them in a cycle of consumption and desensitization.

In conclusion, pornography desensitization is a real and growing concern. As the line between virtual and reality blurs for many, it’s crucial to be aware of the profound shifts occurring in our brains and perceptions. The virtual world’s impact on our real lives is undeniable, and the ripple effects of this desensitization are only beginning to be felt.

Seek clarity, find balance, and rediscover joy. Jonathan Riley is a renowned porn addiction specialist in Melbourne. Schedule a session with My Practice Counselling Melbourne today. Your journey to wellbeing starts with one step.