Effects of Pornography on the Brain

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A study done by Kühn and Gallinat (2014) examines the adverse effects of pornography on the brain. Furthermore, to see if watching porn activity corresponds to the structurally and functionally areas of the brain. There were 64 males between the ages of 21 and 45 were chosen by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, that participated in the study. The subjects of the study reported watching different types of pornography regularly.

A questionnaire was given to these gentlemen to measure the hours spent watching pornography. Moreover, another test was given to the participants called a sex screening test. The sex screening test was a less sophisticated version of a sexual addiction test. Researches used 60 erotic illustrations from different porn sites by way of the internet and 60 nonexotic illustrations. The layout for the sexual and not sexual picture was six blocks and ten images. The structural data were administered with voxel-based morphometry, and functional imaging was performed by an fMRI to measure the gray and white matter in the brain.

Once the structural and functional evaluation was performed, researches used mediation analysis to examine the relationship between the two. The results revealed that the size of the gray matter in the brain is smaller in the right caudate of the striatum, the more one looks at pornography (Kühn & Gallinat, 2014). Moreover, the task-related operational stimulation revealed that there was more activation in the left putamen of the striatum; the more hours one looked at pornography (Kühn & Gallinat, 2014). In short, this research implies that overexposure to porn does change structural and functional and has adverse effects on the brain. Other research suggest that sexual stimuli might help people that has loss of sexual desire.

A study conducted by Versace et al. (2013) suggests that women who survivors of breast cancer that experience loss of sexual appetite and if they could regain sexual desire through erotic and emotional stimuli. The researches proposed that due to chemotherapy and being post-menopausal women brain is altered. Furthermore, researchers suggest a side effect from chemotherapy could harm one’s brain circuits. Moreover, researchers indicate that the part of the brain that is changed is tied to reward-seeking. There were 29 women sign up for the study, but two were disqualified due to extreme variation in their fMRI data (Versace, 2013). These participants were taken from the University of Texas Cancer Center’s databank. The participants were separated into two groups. The groups were decided by four questions the participants answered.

All the questions pertained to the measure of the participants’ sexual desire and if they were bothered by a lack of that sexual desire. The participants were put into two groups. The first group (distressed group) answered yes to all four questions, and the second group (nondistressed group) answered no to at least one of the four questions. Researchers evaluated reactions to emotional stimuli by using different types of pictures. Sixty pictures in all were selected for this study. Once reaching the lab, the participants finished more questionnaires, followed by fMRI.

Once in the fMRI, the participants looked at the pictures that were previously selected. After the participants viewed different styles of imagery, they were given a rating scale on pleasure and arousal. The results revealed that participants who were distressed about their sexual drive had diminished responses to sexual and emotional imagery. Furthermore, chemotherapy does damage the reward system of the brain. In short, this research not only revealed that chemotherapy damages the part of the brain that is reward-seeking, but the reward system has a critical effect on one’s sexual desire.


Overall, there are many people with different views on the effects of erotic stimuli. There is research that reveals the positive and negative sides of looking at sexual imagery. One side of sexual imagery might be able to help someone that has diminished limbo. On the other side of the spectrum, overexposure could lead to negative effects on the brain. That is why it is essential to study the effects of pornography because it could affect everyone differently.

Cite this paper

Effects of Pornography on the Brain. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/effects-of-pornography-on-the-brain/

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