Blog Devotion

Yes, Porn Messes with Your Brain

January 16, 2023 | Sam Rainer

We have a permissive society when it comes to issues of sexual freedom. Sex is more
accessible now than it’s ever been—in all kinds of forms. Would you say we are more loving as
a society as a result? I don’t believe we are. People expressing their sexuality has not helped to
create a more loving culture. In fact, it’s done the opposite.

But there is one form of sexual perversion that stands out. Pornography is a pervasive,
anonymous sin. The consumption of porn is everywhere while at the same time hidden. Paul
wrote to the Corinthian church that sexual sins are a common temptation. The same problem
exists today.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
(New Living Translation)

Approximately 25% of search engine requests are for pornography. It’s everywhere. It’s just
about everyone. Let me take a brief detour into the neuroscience of pornography. Sexual
behavior creates a process in the brain in which hormones cause a person to be bound to the
object of focus. Biblically, this would be your spouse. With pornography, it’s a screen image.
Porn teaches your brain to want an image, not a real-life sexual partner. The dopamine release
is highly addictive—as much as hard drugs.

The teenage brain is most susceptible because it’s at peak dopamine production. Those who
start early and stay addicted face lifelong consequences. Porn, according to many scientists,
literally “rewires your brain.” Considering how the brain interacts with sexual images, continued
porn use at all ages will make you more and more bored with reality. The brain is a “use it or
lose it” system. If you stop viewing porn and jump back into reality, you can re-strengthen the
healthy parts of your brain. But the longer you wait, the more difficult this process becomes.

We will discuss more on Sunday in our addiction series, but there is hope. The gospel is the
antidote to pornography addiction. You are not trapped. You are not alone. Your desires do not
define you. Jesus saves.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us
from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9 (New Living Translation)

Onward!