321/444 Healing from Infidelity: Lies We Believe
323/444 Healing from Infidelity: Less Is More, Recover Your Life

322/444 Healing from Infidelity: Your Brain On Porn

From Surfing for God by Michael Cusick,

Like sand on a beach, the brain bears the footprints of the decisions we have made, the skills we have learned. 

~Sharon Begley

Restart and reboot yourself. You're free to go.

~U2, "Unknown Caller"

Porn changes your brain, but it is possible to rewire it, is the dire and hopefull message of this chapter. 

Cusick tells us that our brains are our most important sex organs. Sexual arousal begins in the brain not in the genitals. Porn today can overstimulate the brain. He lets us know that what we are dealing with today is much different that pre-internet days,

If the magazines, videos, and DVD's of the past were like the Wright brother's plane at Kitty Hawk, then Internet porn would be a supersonic jet. Although supersonic jets are impressive for military use or high-speed travel, you wouldn't want one landing in your backyard. Its sheer power and intensity create a heightened level of stimulation that your brain was never intended to experience. Because of this, the brain of a man regularly using porn can change and shape itself to resemble neuropathways similar to those of an alcoholic or drug addict. 

He explains the science of the chronic use of pornography, 

Every addiction occurs because the brain has adapted to being overstimulated--too much dopamine. As a result, three troublesome changes occur in the brain. The first of these involves our cravings. Cravings occur when dopamine (the "I want it" neurotransmitter) is released. When more dopamine is released, a man experiences cravings. Cravings usually lead to viewing more porn. Viewing more porn leads to more dopamine being released. More dopamine leads to viewing more porn. You get the picture. 

...When the "go for it' system is overloaded with excess dopamine, the "think about it" system responds by saying, System Overload! and shuts down. Think about it this way. Across the synapse--the microspace between neurons --reward cells talk to one another through dopamine signaling. Dopamine, remember, is the message, and the receptors on the receiving nerve cells are the ears. 

Eventually, the brain transforms to a place where there are essentially two options for it. Choice number one is feeling bad and choice number two is using porn. Porn becomes the easy drug of choice. 

But it isn't a terminal condition, your brain can be rebooted. Michael then lays out a plan to help you transform your brain. He does this scientifically, relationally and spiritually. He closes the chapter with these words of hope,

So be encouraged. Your struggle with porn is a learned response, in many ways, just like the skills of a pianist or athlete. Your brain can unlearn, and it can change.  

 

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