Invited to speak at a TED Talk (Technology, Entertainment & Design), Dr. Phil Zimbardo, a Psychology Professor at Stanford University, discussed the Demise of Guys, his book states that boys are flaming out academically & wiping out socially with girls & sexually with women.
At the TEDxGlasgow 2012, in response to Zimbardo’s talk, Dr. Gary Wilson, who has spent more than a decade pouring over research concerning the neuroscience of reward, sex and bonding, presented an explanation for why guys are flaming out and what we can do about it.
According to Wilson, most boys seek porn by age 10, when they are driven by a brain that is suddenly fascinated by sex. Due to high-speed Internet, a boy has access to unending “novelty”. With each new image, his brain releases dopamine. As long as a guy can keep clicking, he will keep going. His TED talk is called “The Great Porn Experiment: Brains on Porn.”
Eventually his brain wires itself to everything associated with porn such as: being alone, constant clicking, voyeurism, shock and surprise. This conflicts with learning about real sex, which involves interaction with a real person, courtship, commitment, touching, being touched, emotional connection and commitment.
In 2009, a Canadian researcher attempting to conduct research on the impact of porn could not find college males who weren’t using porn and therefore had no control group for his research. He asked 20 male students who had been using porn for at least a decade if they thought porn was affecting them or their relationships with women. All said they didn’t think so. However, many of these males were dealing with social anxiety, performance anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction and concentration problems. “Of all the activities on the Internet, porn has the most potential to be addictive,” said Wilson. “Everything in the porn user’s life is boring except porn.” Interestingly, thousands of men, young and old, are giving up porn because it is killing their sexual performance.
A guy in his 20s told Wilson: “I have been to psychologists and psychiatrists off and on for the last eight years. I was diagnosed with “depression, social anxiety and severe memory impairment”, he tried numerous medications, dropped out of college twice, had been fired twice, used pot to calm his nerves, and have been approached by women, but they quickly left because of his weirdness.
“I have been a hard-core porn addict since age 14. I stopped porn completely two months ago. It has been hard. I have quit all of the medication I was taking. My anxiety is nonexistent. My memory and focus are sharper than they have ever been, & my erectile dysfunction is gone. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life.”
Wilson said “widespread youthful erectile dysfunction like this has never been seen before. This is the only symptom that seems to get anyone’s attention.”
High speed Internet has taken porn to a new level, and it is messing with our children, teenagers and men. As a result of watching porn, boys’ brains are being digitally rewired into a never-ending desire for change, constant arousal, novelty and excitement. This creates real issues when it comes to romantic relationships that grow gradually and subtly, not with a click of the mouse.
So here are some questions for you:
– Do your children know what healthy relationships look like?
– Have they been taught about the perils of the Internet?
– Are you paying attention to their computer use?
It’s time to take back our boys, boyfriends and husbands. Their health and future relationships are hanging in the balance. Just because “Sexual Addiction” is not in the new DSM 5 (latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) doesn’t mean it’s not real.