This isn't nutritionally based, more of a paleo lifestyle/sexual question, but I've been reading some recent articles about the effect of porn on the "modern" (male, specifically) mind.
Specifically this article, which begins with the following quote:
"To the extent that present day conditions are different from ancestral conditions, the ancestral genetic advice will be wrong" (Dawkins)
Anyway, long and short of their hypothesis (largely confirmed in my own experience): Porn is sort of a hyper stimulant that actually desensitizes you to normal attraction cues, can eventually lead to ED, greatly reduce drive and do a ton of undesirable other stuff. Not to mention it can be highly addictive and lead to dissatisfaction with current mates.
My question/s: -Anyone notice these sorts of negative effects? -Anyone intentionally STOP viewing pornography for this or other reasons?
I have zero moral/ethical qualms with pornography (as long as all performers are willing adults who aren't being exploited...in fact I've read a ton of very moving, sex positive defenses OF pornography by female porn stars who love their work). From a physiological standpoint, definitely see how it could be desensitizing to the savannah-brain, further seems like there is a gigantic emphasis on: 1) novelty 2)VISUAL stimulation--entraining these (very small) aspects of sex seems like it could definitely lead to desensitization. Thoughts??
Supernormal stimuli come in many forms and are generally harmful, as they're co-opting mechanisms that arose in order to cope with much less potent environmental cues. Whether it's watching porn or eating a Snickers bar, you're succumbing to a product engineered to provide highly intense but fleeting bouts of pleasure, so you keep coming back to the dealer.
To answer your question:
-Anyone intentionally STOP viewing pornography for this or other reasons?
Yes. I did.
I know, shocking that this is coming from a woman.
I was exposed to a lot of porn in my teens* and realized at about 18 I was no longer turned on by a muscular arm peaking from under a T-shirt, or the V shape of a man's back. Even at that age, I recognized I was sliding down a slippery slope and completely stopped.
And now when I've been 'exposed', I see how it desensitizes my sexual urges almost immediately. I'm surprised that more men don't realize how desensitizing porn can be and how exciting it can be to be turned on by the slightest of stimuli.
*When allowing babysitters to watch your kids, lock your porn, don't just hide it.
My own experience supports their hypothesis too. The lower brain doesn't really differentiate between things that are actually happening and things you're watching or imagining. So watching extremely attractive people have sex in inventive ways trains your brain to experience that as normal. Your brain gets "used to" having lots of sex with lots of different sexy people. Eventually routine sex with your same-old partner just doesn't stimulate your mind anymore -- and without the mental stimulation, physical stimulation may not be enough to get you going. Then you can try to spice things up, change the routine, but it's not likely that you're going to be able to make things as spicy as what you can watch on the screen.
There's also a difference between today's online porn and that of just a couple decades ago. If you're looking at dirty magazines, or even a small collection of fuzzy video tapes that you keep hidden in your bottom dresser drawer, you still have to use your imagination. But now you can go to a variety of web sites and find more free porn than you could watch if you quit your job and dedicated your life to it -- all in living color. You can even pick your favorite fetishes, whatever you find the most intense, and just watch video after video of that. If the intensity wanes for a few seconds, or you get bored with watching the same bodies for two minutes straight, you can jump to a new set doing new things. It has the potential to be far more intense and far more destructive to your appreciation for the real thing than ever before.
I think that in the 90's, internet porn was more "natural" than it is now.
You'd make sure no one's watching, go over to altavista/webcrawler/lycos, and stealthily search for your favorite Baywatch babe to find a glimpse of her in a long forgotten B-movie...
...five minutes later the image would finish downloading, and you'd praise the Lord for modern technology. The anticipation and necessarily sporadic nature was almost like foreplay, in a very roundabout way.
Porn now adays is just so easy. Take your pick of ethnicity, celebrity, number of participants, and a universe of perfect looking specimens is at your disposal. Nothing natural about this ease, except it's happened so fast. What if cavemen suddenly found a free vending machine doling out Coke and M&Ms? They would not know when to stop. And that's why internet porn addiction is the greatest public issue of our generation. (well, not really)
I think allot of the arguments against pornography could be made against all kinds of current entertainment, and technology. I do look at or watch porn sometimes if I feel like it. Just like I eat some Ben and Jerry's once in awhile if I feel like it. It doesn't cause a porn craving for me so I don't see a problem with it. Do I think it's ideal no. But I don't think there is any way around it with our level of technology. Without denying a very strong male desire to see naked people and hear sex noises.
Ways I think could lessen peoples dependance on porn are. Acceptance of humans as non-monogamous animals. I have been in a 10 year non-monogamous relationship. Having the option for both myself and my primary partner to explore with other lovers. Kept us both fit(you want a chance right?) Openly communicating and exploring our needs with each other. Horny! even just a little make out session with someone new can really get you going for awhile. It's still hard because there are very few people who feel comfortable exploring these things. I don't blame them. It's one more thing that requires time and energy they don't have. Plus living in a society that doesn't share resources and child rearing makes it much more risky.
Closer relationships and communities . I think a lot of men in particular forget about all the stuff that is really sexy. How a women carries her self, her smell(B.O. please!), her laugh, imperfections. Thats what is sexy! It's not just because of porn but some men are attracted to an image and a status. I find that men like this tend not to know or respect many women. Sometimes it's because they are scared of women. Sometimes it's because they think women are a different species. Both I feel are products of a lack of meaningful close relationships and community.
An acceptance of pornography as something we are stuck with.If we want to have a high level of technology. We are going to have porn. I think making it less of a taboo is key to making it less addictive, and alienating. We should try to make porn that's better and more loving. Something I feel the proliferation of porn is doing right now to an extent. With things like Xtude, youporn, etc. The ability for real people to share real sex with real bodies is encouraging. People should be able to explore porn with partners. Be able to learn from and explore porn without it being secretive. Some may say access to porn may lessen sexual violence. In the past 25 years incidences of rape have dropped 85% and we have had much more access to porn. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=913013 I am not saying there is a direct correlation for sure but all that porn hasn't seemed to equal more violence.
I could go on but this is getting to long. Basically my stance is can porn be bad yes. But I see it as more as a symptom. A healthier society would be less affected be porn's ills. Does this mean people should stop watching porn. Yes if it's a problem for them. No if it's not. If you have a problem with porn figure out why. Talk to your partner about what you are getting out of porn that you aren't getting out of your sex life. If you are having a hard time finding partners. Shake things up stop the porn get out of your comfort zone and work towards the only thing worth working towards. Happiness for your self and the people around you. blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah sorry
Pornography has been shown to increase agression towards women, promote sexual perversions, and lead to increasingly deviant behaviour. Insofar as it does not appear to have any beneficial effect on human behaviour, it hardly fits well with the life-enhancing aspects of Paleo.
Sex isn't new. Neither is watching sex. According to the book Sex at Dawn, group sex and the spectation thereof was very common in our evolutionary past. So the question might be, "Are monogamy and avoiding porn paleo?"
Wow. Who would've expected a question like this to be SUCH a good one?! I think a lot on natural stimulation- pheromones, lunar cycles, foods, etc. I have yet to see any porn that I deem "good", erotic lit ont he other hand..... but anyway. This seems like a good topic to cover. WIsh I had something of subtance to contribute.
I don't know. On the one hand, sexuality probably was not the private affair that it is nowadays. So part of me thinks that the "desenzitizaton" does not come from being exposed to it. However, we are more alienated from our body than our ancestors, and so much of sexuality seems to be interfered with by over-thinking (we get caught up in our head). Pornography, it occurs to me, re-enforces that. And let's face it, it's highly scripted and becomes boring. Maybe part of the desensitization comes from the "model of great sex" (pornography) being so boring. If you look at a few films over at You Porn, you can pretty much predict what is going to happen next in any other film there. Does the act always have to end in a "Money shot"? According to YouPorn the answer seems to be "yes".