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Rewire Your Brain for Good or Bad, Part 1

By January 14, 2023January 18th, 2023No Comments

The newest information coming out of brain studies over the last twenty-five years is amazing! No matter your age, you can continue throughout your lifetime to rewire and grow your brain and IQ. The study is now called neuroplasticity. Let me explain.

The prefrontal cortex (encased in the front of your skull) is important in control and judgment; it is what separates us from the animal kingdom. Our decision-making abilities are determined there. The nucleus accumbens play a central role in our reward circuitry.

The ventral tegmental area (VTA) is the dopamine rich nucleus; dopamine is produced here. Dr. Hilton writes, “When a stimulus from the cortex comes into the brainstem, the VTA causes dopamine to be released from the ends of the nerve cells, where it crosses the synaptic cleft (space between nerve cells) and binds to receptors on the pleasure cells in the nucleus accumbens.” There are five primary chemicals released through sexual arousal and response­–the most significant being dopamine—the chemical of reward-driven behavior. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain.

Dopamine and Pornography

Dopamine is clearly one of the most important neurochemicals in the brain. In a positive way, it is dopamine that causes us to take risks like leave home, take a job, have a child, choose a mate, etc. It is the reward system of the brain that can also be very destructive if it’s not disciplined: leading into pornography, casual sex, excessive drinking from the high one gets from doing risky things.

The improper use of dopamine can have the same addiction as the chemicals found in cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamine. Dopamine has been called the novel chemical/drug. Dopamine surges when a person is exposed to novel stimuli, particularly if it is sexual. Any kind of sex releases dopamine; pornography releases dopamine.

Research in the United States has shown that 66% of men and 41% of women consume pornography on a monthly basis. An estimated 50% of all Internet traffic is related to sex.

The Huffington Post reports that the average age that kids are being exposed to pornography is now eleven years old.

Pornography today is way more interesting than pornography in the past because of what experts say is unending novelty.

“The Coolidge Effect”—is the idea that the novel drug in our brain is dopamine and our brain needs more and more novel experiences to reach the same levels of release—a person can see more novel bodies in twenty minutes with the click of the mouse than their parents saw in a lifetime! Erotic imagery triggers dopamine more than actual sex with a familiar partner and leads to arousal addiction. It teaches the brain to prefer an image and become less satisfied with the real-life sexual partner. And it actually rewires your brain—dopamine digs ditches in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The brain is rewired with each click of the mouse leading to a desire to be more alone, voyeurism, need for constant novelty, shock, and surprise.

Arousal addiction is associated with ADHD, social anxiety, depression, performance anxiety, and OCD. A dopamine surge results in a binge mechanism (which kicks in a molecular switch, DeltaFosB that accumulates) leading to cravings for more. This changes the structure of the brain. It is no wonder, even from a scientific perspective, why pornography and casual sex is so addicting.

Next week, we will look at the ways we can rewire our brain for good!


Pastor Steve