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Research shows that sexual images have become increasingly common in advertising and mainstream media and that technological developments makes sexual content more visible and accessible. As a by-product of this, children and young people may develop unrealistic ideas about what is and isn’t acceptable in a romantic relationship (Bailey, 2011).
Here is what some of our users had to say on the subject:
Is easier access to pornographic material changing the attitudes of young people?
Is the sexualisation of media harmful to society?
Does watching porn affect your brain?
Some key points from a German study:
this was the first brain-scan study on porn users. Researchers found several brain changes, and those changes were correlated with the amount of porn was consumed. The subjects were moderate porn users, not classified as addicted. In this study, experts at Germany's Max Planck Institute found:
Higher hours per week/more years of porn viewing correlated with a reduction in grey matter in sections of the reward circuitry (striatum) involved in motivation and decision-making. Reduced grey matter in this reward-related region means fewer nerve connections. Fewer nerve connections here translates into sluggish reward activity, or a numbed pleasure response, often called desensitization. The researchers interpreted this as an indication of the effects of longer-term porn exposure.
Lead author Simone Kühn said - "That could mean that regular consumption of pornography more or less wears out your reward system."
Some key points from a Cambridge study:
Compulsive porn users craved porn (greater wanting), but did not have higher sexual desire (liking) than controls. This finding aligns perfectly with the current model of addiction, and refutes the theory that "higher sexual desire" causes compulsive porn use. Drug addicts are thought to be driven to seek their drug because they want – rather than enjoy – it. This abnormal process is known as incentive motivation. This is a hallmark of addiction disorders.
The other major finding (not reported in the media) was that over 50% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn.
Finally, researchers found that younger subjects had enhanced reward circuit activity when exposed to porn cues. Higher dopamine spikes and greater reward sensitivity are major factors in adolescents being more vulnerable to addiction and sexual conditioning. [Anonymous]
Let us know what you think, get involved in the debate here!
For other discussions around this topic have a look at:
Should Page 3 be banned?
Is pornography an art form?
Are women objectified?
Do highly sexualized music videos change the way you look at women?