Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow

Long before the Internet, the father of modern sexology warned of desensitization. Alfred C. Kinsey cautioned his photographer Clarence Tripp that, “As soon as we get you to photographing sex every day and paying attention to sex right, left and center, pretty soon nothing will turn you on, nothing in the area, nothing visual will turn you on. Because you’ll lose all those sensitivities.” In fact, however, desensitization is having a major impact today. The more some people rely on cyber erotica, the more frequently they may feel the “need” to climax, and the more extreme material they often require to get the job done. For many, erections also grow weaker. Escalation and youthful erectile dysfunction are often signs that someone is inadvertently numbing the brain to subtler pleasures. Desensitization is an addiction process related to a drop in dopamine sensitivity. Nora Volkow MD, Director of NIDA, explains, “Once the brain becomes less sensitive to dopamine, it “becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcers” such as the “pleasure of seeing a friend, watching a movie, or the curiosity that drives exploration.” Tragically, the now-less-enjoyable pleasures often include the rewarding feelings of human touch and close, trusted companionship. This is how extreme stimuli can indirectly interfere with our innate pair-bonding tendencies—causing dissatisfied unions. Becoming restless in your relationship due to too much porn use isn’t a character defect. It occurs because too much stimulation causes physical changes in your brain. The good news is that former users can indeed reverse this desensitization. They give their brains a rest from frequent sexual stimulation (sexual fantasy, masturbation, orgasm) and steer clear of porn. It’s tough. Most experience weeks of uncomfortable, temporary withdrawal symptoms, such as mood swings (irritability, anxiety, despair, apathy, restlessness), insomnia, fatigue, very frequent urination, intense cravings or flat libido, etc. How we use our sexual desire appears to have a powerful influence on how loudly we hear our pair-bonding programming. Unlike us, our ancestors weren’t driven by unending, novel erotic visuals to climax beyond normal satiety. They were more likely to allow their brains and bodies to rest and renew themselves. Returning the brain to homeostasis in between passion bouts may turn out to be very healthy for those who want relationships. The greater the brain’s sensitivity to pleasure, the more rewarding we perceive our intimate relationships. From an article by Marnia Robinson & Gary Wilson http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201202/guys-who-gave-porn-sex-and-romance

Male Codependence

hooked-on-porn-addictionLong before the Internet, the father of modern sexology warned of desensitization. Alfred C. Kinsey cautioned his photographer Clarence Tripp that, “As soon as we get you to photographing sex every day and paying attention to sex right, left and center, pretty soon nothing will turn you on, nothing in the area, nothing visual will turn you on. Because you’ll lose all those sensitivities.” In fact, however, desensitization is having a major impact today. The more some people rely on cyber erotica, the more frequently they may feel the “need” to climax, and the more extreme material they often require to get the job done. For many, erections also grow weaker. Escalation and youthful erectile dysfunction are often signs that someone is inadvertently numbing the brain to subtler pleasures. Desensitization is an addiction process related to a drop in dopamine sensitivity. Nora Volkow MD, Director of NIDA, explains, “Once the…

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13 Responses to Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow

  1. larryarcher says:

    What do you think of this blogger’s post’s, especially what you re-posted?

    • rougedmount says:

      this article completely reflected my personal beliefs and states many things I have read over the years about over stimulation and desensitization. This last statement “The greater the brain’s sensitivity to pleasure, the more rewarding we perceive our intimate relationships”, explains so very much about how people can be driven to an affair or stay in one when you are missing it with your partner.

  2. kdaddy23 says:

    It is certainly interesting and it certainly has an anti-porn/pro-monogamy feel to it or “if you want to have more sexual pleasure in your relationship, don’t watch porn or masturbate…” I’m not sure that I agree with the premise of the article… but it’s interesting just the same.

    • larryarcher says:

      A much more polite response to what I would have written!

      • rougedmount says:

        lol…kdaddy sees things at a different angle than i do, while sharing a similar understanding… i love how he makes me think

      • larryarcher says:

        I’m sorry but I have a real problem buying into his solution that all of our problems can be solved if we don’t jack off or think about women besides our spouse and we only think of sex with our spouse in a way that harkens to the only have sex to procreate. Would you like sex tonight? Yes pass me the turkey baster.

        Being addicted to something is typically a group of people who are addicted to everything. They smoke too much, drink too much, etc. Generally speaking abusers tend to abuse everything including sex. This seems to me to be a simplistic solution to complex issues and I’m not convinced that we can relate porn to a Pavlovian response. The Puritan portion of our society has always blamed all of the worlds problems on sex in one fashion or another unlike many of the other “enlightened” countries.

      • rougedmount says:

        when i read it, my impression was the issue was watching porn and masturbating ‘in excess’ and i think would truly speak to a very small population of people who have major sexual dysfunction which then creates relationship issues.
        if you have ever experienced a sexual relationship with someone who has this affliction, it is almost like witnessing someone with OCD. The biggest problem is that porn and masturbation has taken over their life in way very similar to a drug addict.They are unable to interact with a woman or think in any other way.
        I am very pro sexuality and think porn has a place in a healthy relationship…but when you replace a live person who will support and create your fantasies with you in favor of a flat monitor?…then you have issues

      • larryarcher says:

        While not trying to beat a dead horse here, do you think that porn is the actual problem or simply a symptom of the real problem. Is this any different than the many people who have grown apart from their partner and find more enjoyment in the flatscreen than they do in their partner? Different people have different sex drives, some more and some less and for what ever reason, a couple does not desire sex with each other. The divorce rate in the US is about 50% from the statistics so there are probably many reasons why people are not happy (satisfied) with each other.

        As I’m happily married, it’s difficult to understand the why this happens. But after reading several of his posts, I just make the knee jerk reaction that the whole world’s problems revolved around things he thought were wrong and mostly caused by sex. There didn’t seem to be any gray in his opinions, it was either good or bad and obviously if you did something that was not on his good list, you were bad.

        If one person likes blue and the other person likes red, then it doesn’t mean that one is wrong but simply different. I probably believe in a lot of the things that he feels are wrong and I don’t consider myself a complete pervert, yet if I listen to his definition of a bad person with a sex related disorder, then obviously I am. Everybody doesn’t fit the same mold and you cannot expect others to feel the same as you do and walk the same path. So I question someone who has a simple answer to a complex issue and that you must be like him or your going to hell (at least I infer that).

      • rougedmount says:

        There is always something valuable in material I read where I do not agree with the content. It challenges me to think about why I feel as I do or to view something differently than I had before and I need that stimulation to challenge myself.
        What he may have implied is not the only thing I took from the article.
        My premise is that issues happen in a marriage and we make choices on how to deal with them. Those choices have consequences. When the enjoyment of porn becomes abuse of porn; when the pleasure of masturbation becomes a fetish as opposed to a normal process, then the reasons on why it happened are secondary to the issue that has to be lived with.

      • kdaddy23 says:

        If anything causes relationship problems, it’s the lack of sex/sexual stimuli that can be blamed – Rouged knows this too damned well. Our morality needs to make and keep sex a “special” thing to do and only at certain times and with certain people… but humans don’t really work like that, do they?

    • rougedmount says:

      when i read the article, it sounded more like it was describing “excess’ as opposed incorporating porn as part of a normal, sexual relationship. i found it so interesting simply because i knew a man who had a major porn addiction that prevented him from having a normal sexual relationship with a woman. he was in effect, castrated by it and his ability to have a normal relationship in the future will be so impaired that i highly doubt anyone would want to become involved with him, unless they were as sexually damaged as he was.

      as well for myself in reading it, i saw not so much a ‘pro monogamy’ slant but an explanation as to how passions fade in a relationship and why. Simply, the access diminishes the newness resulting in a lessening of the dopamine response and the reason why so many men say they have ‘lost that spark’.

  3. Ned's Blog says:

    This is an excellent article, and one that I think reaches beyond porn and relationships between couples. It also addresses what I feel is becoming a dopamine-driven culture that comes as a results of our iPod/Smart Phone mentality. These vehicles are constantly delivering dopamine fixes, much like the famous Pavlov’s Dogs experiments, with “Likes” taking the place of the ringing bell. Whether it’s porn, entertainment news or YouTube videos, we are being conditioned to need those dopamine fixes that are fueled by the pleasure center of our brain. In essence, it’s the same psychological effect that slot machines in casinos deliver; ringing bells and flashing lights that beckon and “reward” us with sounds and images. Gradually, we are relying less and less on honest feedback and interaction, and more on the instant click of a “Like” button. I fear the result will eventually lead to a society of desensitized people incapable of true, meaningful interaction — intimate or otherwise.

    • rougedmount says:

      I loved your message.
      It so completely conveys the situation of chosen isolation. I find it hard for the first few days after ‘unplugging’; I can not imagine the discomfort felt by the younger generation who have not been given the gift of delayed gratification and anticipation.

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