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Part 2: A Link Between Biology and Technology

(September 15, 2010)

Example #2: Excessive Pornography Use

In the same way that women are more apt than men to get caught up in excessive text messaging and phone calls, men are more likely to use pornography to excess. Why is this?

Compared to the male brain, the female brain has larger, more active areas devoted to verbal skills, emotion, and processing gut feelings. Hence, women communicate more — and more often — than do men. Conversely, the male brain has larger areas devoted to sex and aggression, and men have more testosterone. This is why, as a general rule, men are more competitive and aggressive, and why they respond more quickly and more intensely to erotic stimulation.

For this reason men, more than women, are more apt to use pornography to excess. Moreover, once a man is addicted to porn, it can be very difficult to quit. As an example, an online experiment challenged 100 pornography users to quit using porn voluntarily.[2] The main requirement was that, if someone started again, he or she (there were 96 men and 4 women) would inform the organizer anonymously. After two weeks, the organizer calculated the results: 55 percent had failed to last even one week without porn.

Consider the following example: the case of Kirk Franklin, a gospel musician with three Grammys, twenty number-one hits, and more than 10 million records sold. He described his story of pornography addiction on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[3] Franklin has been addicted to porn since he was 8 years old: "From my first look," says Franklin, "I was hooked." He thought getting married would "fix" his obsession, but "that's when I started realizing how much it was an addiction." He found himself craving pornography more than ever, and he would watch videos in private while his wife was sleeping.

As a general rule, men are more competitive and aggressive, and they respond more quickly and more intensely to erotic stimulation.

One time, he was so disgusted with himself, he drove a long way from home and threw away his porn collection. However, he recalls, "I tried to go to sleep that night, and it was literally like a drug calling me. About 3 or 4 in the morning, in my flip-flops and boxers, I got in my car and drove back to that dumpster and dug [looking for my porn]."

The same show featured another couple.[3] Rebecca discovered Josh was a online porn addict two weeks after the birth of their first child: "After she confronted Josh, she hoped it would never happen again. But over the past four years, she says Josh's addiction has progressed rapidly. Some days, Josh says, he would spend eight straight hours looking at pornographic websites. Now that he's stopped looking at pornographic websites, Josh's body is suffering from withdrawal symptoms. For the past two weeks, Josh says he's been getting headaches and feeling irritable and anxious."

Finally, consider the following comments from the ex-fiancÚ of an addict:[4] "My ex told me he knew porn was an 'addiction' for him. He said he wanted to stop and that, because he couldn't, porn had 'ruined his life.' He showed me a scar from masturbating to the point of bleeding because he was unable to stop. I have spoken to many guys who claim that their main problem with porn is that they cannot stop even when they want to."

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A Link Between

The Island Syndrome
1. What Is the Island Syndrome?
2. What's in the News?
3. Difficult Questions
4. Why the Nature of Communication...
5. No Man Is an Island
6. Putting a Name to the Malaise
7. The Lady and the Psychiatrist
Living in the Bubble
8. What's in the News?
9. The Three Mandatory Machines
10. Life in the Bubble
11. Why We Keep On Keeping On
12. The Lady and the Psychiatrist
The Importance of the Brain's Biochemical Environment
13. What's in the News?
14. The Story of Dave
15. Importance of Neurotransmitters
16. The Stuff of Moods, Feelings and...
17. What Does Dave Need?
18. The Lady and the Psychiatrist
19. Introduction to Part II
20. The Island Syndrome
21. Excessive Text Messaging
22. Excessive Pornography Use
23. Understanding the Biology
24. Hormones and Neurotransmitters
25. The Pleasure Center
26. Too Much, Too Fast: Craving and...
27. The Female and Male Brains
28. Biology of Excessive Text Messaging
29. Biology of Excessive Pornography...
30. Conclusion: The Island Syndrome...
31. References