By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
Research indicates that most young men are curios about pornography by the age of ten (Simon Lajeunesse, PhD). At this age the brain is fascinated by sex as adolescence approaches. Unfortunately, this natural curiosity is hijacked by an American culture that has become overly sexualized.
Gary Wilson indicated that one of the reasons internet pornography is so addicting, is due to the constant novelty-effect. In other words, anyone can find an everlasting gallery of pornographic images that are always diverse and new. Unlike healthy committed relationships that require communication and negotiation, pornography is a constant stream of stimulation that doesn’t require any relationship skills. It is a one-sided association. Healthy social interaction is overrun by unreal images that provide a chemical rush.
In an Australian study of pornography, college men were asked to view pornographic images. The stimulation these young men experienced slowly diminished as they continued to view the same images repeatedly. The novelty wore off. But when the researchers introduced new images they hadn’t seen before, the stimulation levels spiked to maximum levels (Eric Koukounas, Ray Over, 2000).
This effect can also be seen in other species. When a Ram is left with only one partner, he needs an increasing amount of time to mate with the same ewe. When a Ram is encouraged to breed with multiple and different ewes, he can mate in much less time and much more often (Peter Owen 1989 & Scott Townsend 1992). This is called the “Coolidge Effect.” Ranchers have understood this concept for years and used this knowledge to increase the herd, and ultimately their profits.
Without the Coolidge effect, internet porn would not be as addicting. Men and youth have easy access to more images within minutes, than previous generations might have seen in a lifetime. Dopamine levels spike with each new image, creating a “go-get-it” sensation. This is the body’s way of pushing toward procreation. Unfortunately, this unreal gallery of visuals has the opposite effect. It gradually drives men and youth away from healthy social interactions.
If you need help overcoming an addiction to pornography then call us for a free 15-minute private consultation. We have specialty programs for pornography and sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona. (480) 668-8301.