More recently, porn delivery evolved in the direction of video gallery sites (increasingly referred to as 'tube sites') which aggregate pages of thumbnails of streaming tube videos from different porn sites. No guesswork, no pause while downloading. You look across a matrix of thumbnails of videos with maybe 100 or so screenshots, see a picture that floats your boat and click on it.
However, porn purveyors want hits, so your click may take you to that video, or it may take you to another site that you didn't intend to visit, often another gallery site, which is giving the first site a referral kick-back. Now you've got two pages of thumbnails open. At first, you find that annoying and close one, but after things deteriorate, something on the new page catches your eye and you click on that, making a mental note to go back to the first thumbnail. ....and so on until you find yourself with 20 tabs open.
There are two parts to a physical sexual experience: the build-up of arousal, and then the sex. In "normal" porn there is usually more emphasis on story. It often conveys some intimacy and touch etc. (Even though you are not physically experiencing it, you are mentally connecting more with those thoughts.) But on a tube site a clip is often a mere 3-5 minutes long. You go straight from 0 to 100mph. Arousal isn't a slow, relaxed, teasing build-up of expectation.
- Because tube clips are so short, you do a LOT more clicking to novel clips for various reasons: one is way too short to build up arousal; you don't know what will be in the clip till you watch it; endless curiosity, etc.
- The variety on tube sites is limitless.
A professor in the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Sheri Pagoto PhD, writes:
Studies on appetite show that variety is strongly associated with overconsumption. You will eat more at a buffet than you will when meatloaf is the only thing on the table. In neither scenario will you leave hungry but in one you will leave regretful. In other words, [if you want to circumvent overconsumption and its problems] avoid the buffets of life.
Professor Pagoto points out that,
By frequently seeking extreme forms of sexual stimulation, the porn addict will eventually develop an inability to experience sexual pleasure from normal sexual activity; and if the habit goes long enough, an inability to experience pleasure from anything except porn. This pattern of behavior actually changes the brain’s “baseline” of what turns them on. As you can imagine, serious problems develop. First sexual problems, then relationship problems, and then work problems.
It's not that food or sexual arousal are "bad." Things go awry when an activity "become[s] necessary, a 'go to,' preferred over normal life experiences." Not surprisingly, a 2011 study (USA) found that, "Higher frequencies of [porn] use were associated with less sexual and relationship satisfaction."
"Uh-oh...where's my erection?"
Endless in-your-face variety not only promotes higher-than-usual consumption, it typically also decreases sensitivity to pleasure. One common result is decreased feelings of satisfaction; the brain wants more and more.
In the case of porn buffets, another effect men often report is loss of sexual responsiveness. Decreased response to pleasure is common in all addictions, both behavioral and chemical. As erections and orgasm depend in part on sensitivity to dopamine in a key part of the brain, it appears that a decreased sensitivity to dopamine is making some users less sexually responsive too.
But a numbed pleasure response is probably only one factor, especially for the younger guys. They appear to be wiring their sexual response to sexual cues that are so different from human sexuality that they don't respond normally to the "real deal" when a three-dimensional partner turns up.
As with some other technological advances, humanity has apparently outsmarted itself with the creation of tube sites. One insightful observer commented,
If people have the right to be tempted—and that’s what free will is all about—the market is going to respond by supplying as much temptation as can be sold. Market incentive continues well beyond the point where a superstimulus begins wreaking collateral damage on the consumer. —Eliezer Yudkowsky
What makes tube sites the Bermuda Triangle of porn? Judging from men's self-reports we'd say:
- Using a tube site, users seek for, and consume, more novelty per session than ever. They tend to overconsume, and risk numbing their response to sexual pleasure.
- Tube sites offer videos, rather than stills, so the viewer doesn't use his imagination and becomes a passive voyeur, no longer imagining himself as protagonist.
- Clips are shorter than normal sex and "cut to the chase," rewiring users' sexuality to an unnaturally hasty sexual rhythm.
- Hotter thumbnails/clips, endless novelty and abundant material that violates expectations constitute supernormal stimulation, and may rewire users' sexuality to pixels that goose the reward circuitry more than real mates.
- Searches for the perfect clip tend to ratchet up anxiety.
- Tube sites are intense brain-training--but not for real sex, as demonstrated by viewers' unreliable erections with partners.
Another piece of secular research. When will Christians stop hiding their sin?
Even the world has caught on a little bit:
Porn isn't good for you.
Porn isn't good for relationships.
Porn isn't good for society.
This blog post was adapted from an article found on the Psychology Today website:
BE A MAN.