Photo Credit

Getty Images
Advertisement

Raunchy flicks may turn him on, but too much erotica might hurt his brain: The more porn men watch, the smaller and less active regions of their brain handling reward and motivation are, reports a new German study. [Tweet this stat!]

After polling and scanning the brains of healthy men with a range of viewing habits, researchers found that more stag films correlated with more damage to a specific part of the brain called the straitum, which includes the reward and motivation centers, as well as a separate section that is activated when a person sees a sexual stimuli. Researchers speculate that intense stimulation over time may change the neural plasticity in the brain, causing important regions to be less reactive to arousal. Smut spectators also had less grey matter, which influences motor skills, speech, and emotions.

So if this is the potential result of watching porn, what’s actually happening in his brain when your man is watching a dirty movie?

When he first considers watching it, and then anticipates the first moments of the skin flick, areas of the brain are activated that correlate with our behavioral approach system (BAS), according to a 2013 study in PLoS One. This activated system regulates motivation to move toward something desirable (as opposed to the BIS which urges us to avoid a situation). That means the excitement and anticipation floods his reward centers and keeps him wanting more.

RELATED: Good Vibrations: Supercharge Your Sex Life

Once the erotica is in full swing, a whole slew of regions are activated in both men and women alike, including those dealing with empathy, decision making, risk taking, impulse control, memory, reward, and self-awareness. However, according to a study from Indiana University, men respond in a few unique ways: Only guys see activity in the hypothalamus, which traditionally controls body temperature, hunger, sleep, and circadian rhythms. And the more aroused they reported being, the more active this area is. Researchers think this may mean the hypothalamus is involved in physiological reactions to arousal, like erections. Men also see more activity in the amygdala, which handles decision-making and emotional responses.

And when he watches porn, he’s not actually watching it: When we look at movies, our brain typically sends extra blood flow to the region of your brain handing visual tasks. But a 2012 study from the Netherlands found that when the movies are x-rated, the brain actually routes blood elsewhere, perhaps to parts of the brain responsible for arousal. The brain may not need to take in all the visual details because it knows what’s going to come next, and it needs to allocate its energy elsewhere, researchers explain.

So, while German researchers in this new study can’t say for sure whether watching porn leads to decreased volume and activity, or if people born with certain brain characteristics are more likely to watch more porn, this is the first study to suggest possible long-term effects of too many dirty movies.

And while this study makes a strong argument against spending too much time with x-rated movies, the effect of stag films isn’t all negative: A Danish study found that both sexes report positive effects of watching porn, including improvement toward their attitude and sex life and perceptions of the opposite sex.

53 shared this
53
Comments
comments powered by Disqus