Begin changing your life for good, the first steps to become a man of purpose and integrity. Written by Clay Allen, who has helped men over 20 years on the road to freedom.

the science of porn

Through numerous non-biased studies,  Science is speaking with authority on the effects of pornography and pornography addiction symptoms. The findings  explain the effect of both occasional and frequent use of porn on  a person. 

These findings are extremely helpful to answer the 'why' of cause and effect, and at the same time, it validates Scripture's advice and directives on how and why to avoid this same pitfall.



Chemical hormones in the brain reward sexual activity by God’s design, to foster a strong bond in marriage and to result in having children. Pornography tricks the brain into providing these same chemical rewards without the benefits of relationship. Internet porn is akin to the ‘crack of porn’ because of the ability to ‘ingest’ such a large volume of porn, with a continuum of variety and deviancy to increase the high:

When using porn, the hormone dopamine, which induces cravings, is released into the brain.

Oxytocin is released during sexual arousal routing through neural pathways of memory creating a bond with porn images and the sexual sensations that we experience.

Endorphins are then released by the brain, the body’s natural version of opiate drugs, giving the sensations of feeling high and euphoric.

Last, serotonin is released, bringing the sense of calm and relaxation after sexual release.

With these awesome rewards at the click of a keypad, who needs the bother of nurturing a relationship with a real woman? So where’s the downside you say?

Internet porn creates an environment quite like the mouse in a lab that can keep hitting the button as often as it wants for another dose of cocaine. This is very different than healthy sexual relations in marriage, where natural sexual satisfaction and life itself create a pace to your sexual life.

Pornography Addiction Symptoms

1. For the frequent porn user, all those hits of dopamine trigger an accumulation of DeltaFosB in your brain's reward circuit and starts to change one's brain promoting a cycle of binging and craving.

2. Then, a numbed pleasure response kicks in - so everyday pleasures leave the habitual porn user dissatisfied  (desensitization).

3. At the same time, other physical changes make him hyper-reactive to porn (sensitization). Everything else in his life seems boring. Eventually he finds a need for new novelty to reach the same high, which fans an increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography, and more.

4. Finally, his willpower erodes – as the frontal cortex, the CEO of his brain, is given to compulsive action instead of rational decision making.

How do scientists measure these brain changes? Brain scans. Studies showed frontal dysfunction specifically in patients unable to control their sexual behavior. One such study used diffusion MRI to evaluate function of nerve transmission through white matter. It demonstrated abnormality in the superior frontal region, an area associated with compulsivity. They concluded that sexual compulsion can cause physical, anatomic change in the brain, the hallmark of brain addiction.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) state after more than 20 years of study and review, that the neuroscientific literature leads to the conclusion that Internet pornography addiction fits into the addiction framework and shares similar basic mechanisms with substance addiction.

And then there’s the ‘other’ physical changes in your body. A percentage of men as compulsive porn users, find that they’re unable to ‘perform’ at will with porn as before, as erectile dysfunction has come on the scene.

Sexual enhancement drugs help minimally or not at all, because the problem is not below the belt, where Viagra operates. And the problem isn’t psychological. It’s because of the physical & biochemical changes in the brain – addiction-related changes. The man’s numbed brains are sending weaker and weaker signals below the belt.

The good news is all these scientific facts don’t have to define your destiny. God made your mind, as the scientists say, ‘plastic’, changeable. If your mind has been affected this way, it can be restored to a healthy way of thinking about sex.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

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Let’s be frank. Men don’t just view porn; we use porn, far beyond looking. We look for the opportunity to use it; to reward ourselves, to comfort ourselves, to feel good about ourselves. We treasure it, and what we treasured before porn decreases in value in our lives. For the guy that habitually uses porn, these are common outcomes to what was once treasured:

Devaluation of monogamy - Studies conducting of people watching porn, who were surveyed before and after a series of sessions with porn viewing, found that men who valued monogamy before, were less concerned about the value of monogamy, after just 8 sessions. So first a heart changes…

Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction - Many men come into marriage with a history of porn use, and hide that fact from their wife. Many men think that being married would eliminate their interest in porn. When it doesn’t, men continue using, and commonly justify by blaming their wife. The problem is that you’ve been trained to believe that porn sex is normal sex. Yet there’s nothing normal about it. It doesn’t depict a happy couple loving each other. All porn created for the male audience plays into a fantasy that men are very susceptible to; his desires, his perspective, his power, his, his, his. All that focus on sex, and not a shred of valid, helpful sex education from it. Men don't learn about what lovemaking is from watching porn. Men don't learn what appeals to a normal woman, from watching paid actors pretending. Porn sells sexual fulfillment, but it creates misery and a dark emptiness in real meaningful relationships.

Infidelity - There is a strong relationship between porn use and infidelity, as the slippery slope described above. It’s certainly not the only reason, but it’s one factor. Porn weakens the resolve of marriage vows, and replaces it with reasoning and excuses why you’re entitled; the coveting of others hardens your heart to your own wife, and tells yourself that you’re being shortchanged in life, in bed, etc.

Divorce - Porn use and addiction is now cited as the single highest factor leading to divorce. It’s no wonder that marriages suffer when one party is pre-occupied with others. For the offended partner, porn use is felt as even more destructive than an affair.

Postponing marriage - With the ushering in of 24/7 unlimited access to porn in your pocket, the institution of marriage itself is now on the chopping block. Men under 30 in large numbers aren’t dating, instead they live in the hook-up culture, or stay transfixed to their computer. These same men are avoiding or postponing marriage, and the live-in arrangement is on the rise again.

Unwed pregnancy - Internet Porn is the newest corrosive element in the cultural decline of sexual accountability. Legal abortion and the Pill opened this door to sex without consequences in the 70’s. In recent years the percentage of women in America having babies outside of marriage is at an all time high; while there’s two people responsible in these situation, many men and women are choosing to abandon their own children in the womb, and in life, in the name of ‘fun’.

Abusive, Illegal or Unsafe behavior - Using porn dehumanizes your spouse. It increases the likelihood of hurtful attitudes, words, and behaviors brewing in one’s heart, and manifesting in abusive actions toward your ‘loved one’. It encourages you to drag your spouse into demeaning activity that is harmful for both of you. The longer a man entertains porn in his life, the higher likelihood of mild to very severe risk-taking, crossing the line into illegal acts of soliciting prostitution, or, with minors. Once caution is tossed aside, men engage in sex that leads to contracting STD’s. Even if you use ‘protection’, there's no protection from contracting an STD that's passed on to you outside of the 'protected' condom area. And condoms have an astounding 25% failure rate within the condom's 'protected' area due to microscopic leakage. Would a man drive a car with new brakes that had a 25% failure rate?  Yet condoms are marketed with hype like any product; you have to read the fine print to find out the facts. They know that’s not gonna happen.

PTSD - Some men will casually claim that their wife wouldn’t care about them using porn. While that’s true in a fraction of marriages, the acceptance usually comes about by indoctrination or giving up on having intimacy in the marriage. In a survey of wives of sex addicts, 70% met most criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s overwhelming for most women to cope with the deepest betrayal a person may suffer, coupled by a death experience of her marriage as she knew it, layered with imploded trust, which stirs anxiety, anger, fear of the unknown, fear for the future. Not unlike a soldier, it can take years of diligent work to overcome the effects of PTSD, and still, every so often, there’s an echo out of nowhere that resonates throughout a lifetime.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

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Some men will fantasize about how great their future could be… life with a porn star would make life perfect…

“Once the pornography actresses are in the industry they have high rates of substance abuse…depression, borderline personality disorder …The experience I find most common among the performers is that they have to be drunk, high or dissociated in order to go to work. Their work environment is particularly toxic …The terrible work life of the pornography performer is often followed by an equally terrible home life. They have an increased risk of STD including HIV, domestic violence, and about a 25% chance of making a marriage that lasts as long as 3 years.”
– Dr. MaryAnne Layden

Shelley Lubben felt trapped in a cycle of degradation and destruction as a porn star. It is because of this that after eight years, she finally left the porn industry after meeting a pastor, who later married her, sticking with her through ten long, painful years of recovery. In 2007, she started the Pink Cross Foundation, to help bring porn actresses and actors out of the industry and warns young people enamored with the industry of the darkness and pain that awaits them within.

Asked if she could say one thing to someone who’s looking at pornography? “You’re contributing to your demise,” she answered. “And to your family’s demise, and your wife’s. I can’t tell you how many porn addicts have lost their families and jobs. It’s really sad.”

A Mayo Clinic 2014 study conclusion is even more dire than Shelley’s observations:

People with problematic, compulsive pornography use, are found to "display decreased interest in pursuing goal-directed activities central to survival.”

Nothing short-circuits the survival mechanism except irrational addictive behavior. The facts are in that if one continues on the path of internet porn consumption, one of the most addictive ‘substances’ for men, a person goes from choice to compulsivity to outright addiction. Unless and until the man chooses recovery, and, most importantly, restoration, his life and his future are paved by losses.

Loss of -

intimacy in relationships
time spent with wife
time spent with children
time spent with friends
time spent on creative pursuits

Potential loss of -

at home with children

It’s never too late to restore your life, your future. With the right help and a supportive, restorative community, the road to freedom is smoother. Let this Scripture be your new image of what you are turning away from:

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! (Proverbs 5: 3-12)

Research sources:

Barna Group - Porn in the Digital Age: New Research Reveals 10 Trends- April 6, 2016
Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction: A Review and Update - Sept. 18, 2015
Dr. Patrick Carnes - In the Shadows of the Net (2001), and The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction (2002)
Dr. Mary Anne Layden - Morality in Media Article, titled - If Pornography Made Us Healthy, We Would be Healthy By Now. April,1999
Dr. Harry W. Schaumberg - False Intimacy, Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction, 1991

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God created sex to be amazing! God didn’t have to make it that way. It was a gift to you! But it doesn’t always seems that way. It can make us feel bad about ourselves. Men have destroyed lives and countries because of it. Which reveals how powerful a force it is. Just like all power, it can build up or tear down. God wants to restore you, including your sexuality. Join us into an adventure to transform your life to be amazing!


self assessment


  1. Do you find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
  2. Do you seek out provocative images in media or print? 
  3. Do you masturbate while fantasizing? 
  4. Do you lock-on when you see an attractive person?
  5. Do you find your spouse to be less sexually satisfying?
  6. Do you frequent porn sites?
  7. Has sex been a way to escape your problems?
  8. Do you have sexual behaviors you hide from your wife?

  9. Does your spouse show concern about your sexuality?
  10. Do you scan personals, chat rooms, and respond?
  11. Do you look forward to business trips for sexual activity?
  12. Have you used sexual encounters, affairs, or prostitutes? 
  13. Has your sexual activity created problems for you?
  14. Has your sexual activity caused problems for your family?
  15. Was anyone hurt emotionally by your sexual behavior?
  16. Was anyone hurt physically by your sexual behavior?
  17. Are you worried your sexual activities be discovered? 
  18. Do you feel some of your sexual behavior is not normal?
  19. Do you ever feel depressed after having sex?
  20. Have you promised yourself you’ll quit some behavior?
  21. Have you ever tried and failed to quit any sexual activity?
  22. Have you sought out previous help for a sexual behavior?
  23. Are any of your sexual activities illegal?


If you identify only with the first 8 questions, you might doubt whether you really need to 'fix' anything in your life. 'No one else knows, nobody's getting hurt, I've been doing this since I was 12.' The other side of that coin, however, says that doing the same behavior consistently is a 'habit'. These habits aren't healthy, they use other people, and they're progressive. The good news is that you can deal with it now, before it cascades into further behavior.


    Ready for a change?

               If you want to ramp your life to a higher standard,               we can help you make it happen.

If you found yourself saying “yes” a lot to the long list, it reflects the progressive, toxic nature of misused sex. Millions of men have been sucked into a vortex of obsession because of porn on the internet.                          


But you don’t have to be trapped there. There is unlimited hope and absolute solutions to overcoming these destructive patterns. Are you ready to grasp our hand of help?  Get started today.

You deserve to overcome this struggle

Toxic Sex Life?

Do you engage in sexual behavior that leaves you empty, is contrary to your values, and seems to get factored into most days? Whether it’s viewing porn, or connecting for sexual activity, you may be snared in a consuming cycle of habitual use.

Damaged Relationships?

Has your wife or fiancé been hurt by your sexual activity? Maybe you don’t agree with her perceptions of your behavior, but it’s become a chasm in your relationship, the subject of your arguments.

Restore Your Life

Avenue knows what it takes for a man to go from detoured to dynamic. We can help you succeed in such a new direction! Men often find their careers and finances flourish after this incredible restoration.

Q & A

  internet porn: a highly toxic drug