Never miss Christian news that matters to you. facebookLike twitterFollow
pop up close

Neuroscientist Explores How Porn Hijacks Male Brain

1
Sign Up for Free eNewsletter ››
By Nathan Black, Christian Post Reporter
January 15, 2010|5:07 pm

What is it about pornography that makes it so appealing to so many men?

Neuroscientist and researcher Dr. William M. Struthers explores that question in a new book, where he approaches the pervasive problem of pornography as not only a spiritual matter but also a physical one.

"Pornography is ... a physical matter, rooted in the biological intricacies of our sexual design," Struthers, associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College, writes in Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. "In my opinion, nowhere is the complexity of our sexual nature seen more than in the wiring of the brain."

While acknowledging that women are increasingly becoming consumers of pornography, the biopsychologist says there's little doubt that it is primarily men who are hooked on it. Even among Christian men, surveys have found that half of them are struggling with pornography.

"Men seem to be wired in such a way that pornography hijacks the proper functioning of their brains and has a long-lasting effect on their thoughts and lives," he states.

Struthers began writing the book after he taught an upper-division psychology class called Men and Addictions. One of the addictions he addressed was pornography. The Wheaton professor would soon find his office filled with college-aged men from the Christian college who confided their addiction and inability to stop consuming pornography.

Follow us Get CP eNewsletter ››

"The simplest explanation for why men view pornography ... is they are driven to seek out sexual intimacy," he writes. "Satisfying this drive is pleasurable. Sexual intercourse and the naked form of women are enjoyable, as designed by God to be."

He notes that men are reflexively drawn to the content of pornographic material.

It's like HD television. Just as standard television signals differ from HD signals, pornographic images are inherently different from other signals, Struthers explains.

"The male brain is built like an ideal pornography receiver, wired to be on the alert for these images of nakedness," he lays out. "The male brain and our conscious visual experience is the internal monitor where we perceive them. The images of sexuality grab our attention, jumping out and hypnotizing a man like an HD television among a sea of standard televisions."

Constant exposure to pornographic images, however, comes with major consequences, especially for men.

"The way that a male brain is organized in being one-track, goal-oriented and visuospatial (mentally manipulating objects) make it the perfect playground for sexual fantasy," he cautions.

"As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways," the professor explains. "Neural paths become wider as they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. ...They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed.

"Every woman they come into contact with is objectified, undressed and evaluated as a willing (or unwilling) mental sexual partner."

Though acknowledging the biological nature of the male brain, Struthers says "my brain made me do it" is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. In other words, it's not an excuse for sin.

Pornography, he says, dishonors the image of God in an individual by treating him or her as a sexual object to be consumed directly or indirectly.

A man with a properly oriented conscience and filled with the Spirit values the image of God in women and has trained his mind to take sexual thoughts captive, the author highlights. Meanwhile, pornography creates moral and emotional confusion that prevents the man from finding fulfillment in the manner he is created (by God) to find it.

Struthers encourages men to use knowledge of how a male's brain is wired to rewire it and to move toward sanctification.

"The process of sanctification is an addiction to holiness, a compulsive fixation on Christ and an impulsive pattern of compassion, virtue and love. This is what we are wired for."

 

Videos that May Interest You

‘Son of God Preview: Evangelical Leader Geoff Tunnicliffe on Last Supper Scene; Christian Apologetics Tool?

Advertisement