Note: This is a 3 part email sequence, all the 3 parts have been compiled in this blog post. Each email is separately labeled
We have been getting a lot of questions about how p*rn specifically affects the brain, and something tells me you may have some of the same questions.
In case you didn't know – I was a university researcher for several years before becoming a local church pastor, so the whole neuroscience thing through a Biblical lens is kind of my jam 🤓.
The male brain is changing in some pretty disturbing ways these days. To give you an idea...
These alarming trends can all be accounted for by a concept in neuroscience called desensitization.
Let me ask you something...
Have you ever walked into a room that had a funny smell? Like Uncle Rick let one rip real bad right before you walked in and now he's trying to play it cool and pretend he didn't do it when he's the only other person in the room and it's very obvious he did it?
(You know what I'm talking about...)
What happens about 30-45 seconds later? The smell starts to disappear (assuming Uncle Rick has no more gas left in the tank, so to speak).
You may tell yourself, "Oh the rancid fumes of Uncle Rick's crop duster have finally blown away!"
What actually took place was a process called desensitization.
In other words, your nerve cells got used to the stimulus (those poor nerve cells) to the point that the fart fumes no longer register. Our nerve cells are responsible for detecting CHANGES in stimulus, rather than stimulus itself.
This is also why when you squish in the backseat of a car with a bunch of people, at first it feels uncomfortable and you're very aware that your legs are touching other people's legs. But after a while, you don't even notice.
The legs didn't go anywhere. Your nervous system simply became desensitized because there were no changes in stimulus. The only way you'd become aware of the legs is if someone (or you) started to shuffle around.
When you watch p*rn regularly, your brain experiences arousal desensitization.
Remember the good ol' days of puberty where the pretty blonde-hair, blue-eyed (or black-hair, brown-eyed for my fellow darker skinned readers) taking a glance in your direction was enough for you to pitch a tent?
Well if you continue to watch p*rn, those glances no longer do the trick. P*rn provides abnormally high amounts of stimulus that nothing in real life can compete with.
And as you keep watching highly-stimulating content (aka. p*rn), your brain's threshold to experience arousal starts to elevate.
Then after a while, you notice that the same kind of content you used to watch doesn't cut it.
So you try some "new" stuff.
The kind of stuff you used to judge other people for watching (or doing).
It's not because you're so messed up and dark. It's because your brain has become desensitized and is looking for a new way to experience arousal like it used to.
But in the process...
The threshold becomes SO high, that when you engage in normal sex, it's not enough to register any kind of arousal. Hence why 1/3 men under the age of 40 are dealing with ED right now.
When the Bible says that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom 12:2), there is a hidden principle in there that we must grasp...
How we think determines how we function.
Which is why desensitizing your brain is a big deal. A desensitized brain leads a zombie of a man. Numb, disconnected, and fragmented.
So what's a guy to do with a desensitized brain, a limp noodle and concerned wife?
You'll have to wait til tomorrow's email. But let me give you a clue...
It involves a lot of thrusting.
You'll see what I mean.
Alright, now you learned about desensitization – essentially, the main driving force of your brain's rewiring.
Once we understand HOW the brain is rewired, the next set of questions is something along the lines of "How do I make it better?"
Today, we're going to tackle this from 2 different angles: the practical and the Biblical (and as you'll see - there's tons of overlap between the two).
Angle 1 – The Biblical: Changing Your Perspective
The first instruction man ever received was not to abstain from sex before marriage. Or to avoid porn. Or to not commit murder.
God's first instruction to Adam & Eve was to be fruitful and multiply.
I find a lot of comfort knowing that the creator of the universe is actually rather positive about the whole subject of sex.
That's challenging and refreshing for me.
I grew up with virtually no convos around sex, tons of shame around anything sexual to begin with, and a lot guilt/condemnation for anything in my body or brain that had to do with sex.
Maybe you can relate?
And then, all of the sudden you're expected to get married and start having the best sex e-v-e-r.
To quote my Jamaican father-in-law...
What kind of foolishness is that?!
We have to start changing our views of sex so that they align with the Bible.
God is the creator of sex. He thinks it is good for me and for you.
God provided parameters around sex to protect us and ensure we get the most benefit from it without any of its harmful effects.
Things like – saving sex for marriage. Not watching pornography (or to be more scriptural – fleeing sexual immorality, 1 Cor 6).
Learning to manage your sex drive when you're single is maturity.
Having sex with your wife is worship.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Without a change in our PERCEPTION of sex, we will continue to live in shame.
We will continue to resort to suppressing our sexual desires in the name of "purity".
When in reality, God's word actually gives us permission to be fruitful and multiply and to enjoy sex in its appropriate context (see the entire book of Songs of Solomon if you need more convincing. Some of the text in there will send tingles down your spine).
Angle 2 – The Practical
Here's the thing. The damaging effects of p*rn on your brain did not happen over night. In fact, they happened slowly over long periods of time.
So naturally, you would think that your brain's rewiring process into a healthier state would be the same – gradually over longer timeframes.
But...I have amazing news for you.
Your brain rewires REAL quick.
80% of it happens in a very small span of time, the remaining 20% is where the small changes over long periods of time come into play (this is also where a lot of people fall short in their recoveries).
But you cannot just quit cold turkey because some snappy Indian dude compellingly explained how your uncle's smelly farts relate with you watching more violent p*rn (see yesterday's email for context).
You need a game plan. And every good game plan starts with one thing...
In the last part of the blog below, I'm going to explain what to do after the quick wins come (which is the most important part of this process anyway).
But let's talk about a few practical things you can do to kickstart the rewiring process.
Next...what to do once you get the ball(s) rolling?
PS. If you're ready to quit p*rn and want some help doing it properly, you can find out more about what we do here. This will allow you to see if you think the program is a good fit for you and then you can book a call for us to see if we think the you're a good fit for the program (to give context - we only end up working with about 35-40% of the people that reach out, we want to make sure we can actually help).
Let me ask you something...
Do you think your brain looks and functions the exact same way today as it did 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 20?
Of course it doesn't.
You've grown. Changed. Developed.
You have new interests.
Things you used to value are no longer important.
Meanwhile, new priorities have emerged.
You have new relationships. Maybe new family members.
It would be impossible for your brain to look the exact same over any stretch of time.
Heck, it probably looks different now than it did when you read email #1 in this sequence and we were talking about poppin' bones when the pretty girl in your high school class took a look in your direction.
So what is it that actually causes our brains to change?
In a word – decisions.
The structure and functionality of your brain is a by-product of the decisions you have made and are currently making more than anything else.
That's crazy when you really think about it.
You're reading this because you want your brain to change.
You want to reverse the curse that p*rn and other harmful sexual behaviors have had.
And you want to operate fully in the things God has called you to be.
I'll just tell you straight up...
If you really want to effectively change your brain, renew your mind, and rewire the parts that have gone a little wonky from all the porn...
Your behavior must change.
But behavior doesn't simply change. I mean, maybe you could quit cold turkey or change a few things for a few weeks.
But what kind of accomplishment is that?
To have lasting change to your behavior, you have to actually get to the cause.
The ROOTS, as it were.
How are you coping with stress?
Is there trauma in your past that is unresolved?
Do you have any bitterness/resentment?
How are you able to handle and manage your emotions?
Do you know how to foster meaningful connections in your relationships?
What about your relationship with God – are you going through the motions or actually experiencing meaningful connection?
The last couple of day's, you've been given some in-depth neuroscience and practical ways to get your brain back on track again.
But now, what?
Well – if you want to keep the progress going, then you'll have to start getting to the roots of your issue.
Success in life is not about hacks and quick fixes. Recovery is no different.
This email sequence is meant to be a STARTER – something to get the ball rolling.
But if you really want to man up and walk in true freedom, then it's time for you to do the work of getting to the roots.
99% of men aren't willing to do it. They're too afraid, unwilling, or maybe worst of all... too weak.
But the 1% who are willing to embrace the process and address the causal elements of their sexual misbehavior wind up with the things that only the 1% get.
-Purpose in life
-Rich relationship with God
-Confidence, ambition and libido
I'm about to give you a link to book a time in our calendar if you're interested in finally resolving your addiction once and for all, but let me give you a disclaimer.
We now have a podcast with 200k+ downloads, almost 45k followers on our social platforms, and you're one of about 6k reading this email.
When we open up times to speak with people in need – the slots fill up quickly.
So this link comes with warning...
Only click it if you mean business. Because if you don't, we'll give the slot to someone else who does.
Your brain is not too messed up.
Your past is not too grave.
And your future is not too far away.
You get to make a DECISION today. One that could change the wiring of your brain and the trajectory of your life.
Click here if you want to book a time to see if our program is a good fit for you.
In the meantime, take care of that brain of yours.
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