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So if you’re a Christian (or not) who struggles with pornography addiction, I recommend Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. Learn the science of this addiction and how it impacts the brain. Studying this brain science is not turning away from the LORD—it’s simply using every tool in the toolbox He gave us so we can break free from this horrible addiction and live the life of freedom He wants for us.


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post.

Today I’m once again discussing matters of sexual health, like I did in my recent post about no fap and semen retention. Today’s post is on a great book about a sexual health topic. And that book is Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson.

Your Brain on Porn

CLICK HERE for an overview of the book. And CLICK HERE to buy the book.

My last post on nofap was for men, but today’s post is for anyone struggling with pornography. I know that in general the issue of pornography addiction is one that men struggle with more than women. But the number of women suffering from this addiction is rising, which I learned from this book.

I considered making today’s post part of The Christian Book Corner. That, of course, is my Christian book review series. I finally decided not to because Your Brain on Porn is not Christian at all. The words “God” or “Jesus” don’t appear in the book anywhere. But addiction is not the kind of life that God wills for us to live. And this book is all about the science of pornography addiction: How it works, and how to recover from it. That’s useful and helpful for all people suffering from this addiction—including the many Christians who suffer this. So that’s why I felt obligated to write about Your Brain on Porn on my blog.

So let me tell you about the book. But first, who was the author, Gary Wilson??

A Good Doctor

Gary Wilson only recently passed away, in May of this year. As a matter of fact, he passed away about a week before his book reached my mailbox. May he rest in peace. May God bless him for his efforts to counter the public health problem of pornography. Gary Wilson wasn’t a moral or religious Crusader like some people think he was. In his book, he makes it clear he did not write the book on religious or moral grounds. In his own words:

I am not saying that you should have a problem with porn. I am not trying to start some kind of moral panic, or to say what is and isn’t ‘natural’ in human sexuality. If you don’t feel you have a problem, then I am not about to argue with you. It’s up to each of us to decide what we think about graphic sexual content and the industry that produces much of it.

Gary Wilson, Your Brain on Porn, Page 9

Gary Wilson was a doctor who was observant enough to notice a new public health crisis as it was first emerging. He saw this wave of men, most of them young, distraught over sexual problems like erectile dysfunction. He heard their stories and listened, taking note of the common elements. He followed the groundbreaking research on pornography and how it impacts men’s sexual health. He was at the very forefront of research into pornography addiction, and was only motivated by a doctor’s instinct to help people.

Many people scoff at the idea of pornography addiction. They don’t believe it’s real. But if someone feels they’re addicted to something, who are we to argue?? If they say it’s unwanted and has a negative impact on their life, we should be compassionate and listen to them. One of the main criteria for determining if you have an addiction is if you keep using the substance even when it causes negative consequences. So if someone wants to remove something unwanted from their life that causes them distress, especially something unnecessary for survival like pornography, we should help them do that. This is especially true for doctors, who have a mission to help people with their issues. Gary Wilson understood that.

Since so many people—including Christians—are addicted to pornography, of course a book on how to defeat the addiction is useful to Christians. And I repeat that although this is largely a problem for men, many women are also addicted to pornography. It only affects them a little different. But the proportion of women addicted to pornography is growing, so this is more than a man’s health issue. It’s a public health issue now.

Shocking Consequences

This book is filled with shocking science on pornography and the damage it causes to our mind and body. Most of the consequences affect men, though there are consequences for women too. For men, the main consequences of using too much pornography are erectile dysfunction, low libido and interest for real partners, disturbing fetishes that upset the addict or conflict with their values, and other sexual problems like delayed ejaculation among other issues.

The wonderful news for which we can all thank God is that the symptoms are reversible. They can be healed when we abstain from pornography for a long time. When we recover from pornography addiction, these problems should clear up.

All these problems occur when pornography hijacked the brain reward system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter God created so we can enjoy pleasure in this fallen world. I wrote about this in a post about another non-Christian book about addiction. You can check that out HERE.

Dopamine was created by God and is a good thing. Dopamine is part of God’s design for the human race. There’s nothing wrong with dopamine itself, God created it and it is good. The problem comes when the artificial pleasures of this fallen world mess with God’s natural design. And pornography messes with this design in a major way. When men use too much pornography—and the threshold for “too much” is very low—their brain comes to view pornography as pleasurable sex. The brain craves the pornography, mistakenly believing the person is having tons of pleasurable sex. Very soon the brain will only want pornography (sexual gratification with no effort) instead of real sex with a real partner. This is how sexual problems like the loss of interest for real partners develop.

This causes less intimacy between a couple, of course. And for this reason and others pornography is listed as a factor in a growing number of divorces.

On that note, we can see (if we didn’t know already) that pornography creates real life consequences in the real world. But many people can’t stop despite these consequences and knowing they have a problem. I also struggle in this area myself. The pull of this addiction is very strong because it’s connected with a basic biological need God put in us. Like any addiction, abstaining from pornography creates withdrawal symptoms like irritability and cravings and headaches and more. So this makes it very difficult to quit.

But if we fight our brain, we can make it past the withdrawal stage and begin our recovery. To succeed in fighting our brain it’s very helpful to know what our brain is doing and why it fights us so hard as we try to recover. And on that note, let me end with what I see as the most important message of Your Brain on Porn. And that would be the science of addiction recovery and how we can heal the damage done to our body and brain.

Hope of Healing

Your Brain on Porn offers hope for every pornography addict. There is freedom from this addiction!! Abstaining from pornography does create benefits and reverses so much of the damage. But we must be consistent and never give up in our struggle to abstain from pornography. This is a long term battle, one that takes many months or even a few years.

We’re all bound to stumble and fall in our journey to sobriety, especially in the early stages. I’ve been struggling with this myself lately. It’s a horrible struggle, one I would never wish on my worst enemy. When I’m finally free from this terrible addiction, I will never, ever, EVER go back to it again. I’m so ashamed for not being able to defeat this sin. I stay clean for a little while, and keep relapsing. It’s ups and downs, it’s not easy.

But it does give hope to know that if I or any other addict can make it through the withdrawal stage and beyond, there’s recovery from this addiction. And it’s also very helpful to know why the cravings that cause relapse are so strong. Pornography is an incredibly strong drug, and Your Brain on Porn explains the science of how it’s as strong as cocaine as far as pleasure in the brain. when we have strong cravings that lead to relapse, there is science behind this too. It’s all explainable and understandable. and this book does a very good job of teaching that science.

I wrote a recent post about science and Spirituality, and how the two are not mutually exclusive. God created both, and there’s value in both. We should use every tool in the toolbox God gave us to live a better life that brings Him more Glory. And when it comes to defeating the pornography addiction, I’ve honestly found the science to be more helpful than the Spirituality so far. I can pray and pray for help in my battle, but I’ve gone so much farther so quickly only by learning the science behind why the brain has the cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The new insights I have into my own brain have been helpful for getting a handle on my behavior.

And I’m not the only one. Listen to the story of a porn addict on this issue of science and Spirituality.

Interestingly, people (including religious ones) on the forums we monitor often make rapid progress in rebooting after they re-frame their porn challenge in biological terms:
I no longer see my addiction as the influence of demons or the natural expression of my wicked sinful heart, but as a very human, very natural (albeit misplaced) desire for sexual intimacy. It was a bad habit, reinforced by neurochemicals, but nothing mysterious or ethereal. I realized that I already had the power to control my actions. And so I did. I realized that the life I wanted to lead was incompatible with porn use, so I made that decision. ‘Simply’ doesn’t mean easily, of course.”

Gary Wilson, Your Brain on Porn, Page 151

Despite my recent stumbles (I recently relapsed), I must agree with this person. Spirituality and science are not mutually exclusive. We don’t have to drop one to have the other. We can use them both. And if there’s something, anything that can help us break free from this horrible soul-crushing addiction then it’s worth it to use it. And it’s quite likely that God is the one who guided us to it so we could make use of it.

And here lies what I see as the greatest value of Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. It’s already been very helpful to learn the science of pornography addiction, relapse, and withdrawal. And I predict that it will be helpful to many other men and women also. Which is why I wrote about the book today.

So if you’re a Christian (or not) who struggles with pornography addiction, I recommend Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson. Learn the science of this addiction and how it impacts the brain. Studying this brain science is not turning away from the LORD—it’s simply using every tool in the toolbox He gave us so we can break free from this horrible addiction and live the life of freedom He wants for us.


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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