Friday, May 14, 2010

pornography, masturbation, and the brain

From Mark Laaser in CT...

William Struthers, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at Wheaton College, has written a book to help us avoid becoming seduced in a culture where pornography can invade our homes.

The bad news, he argues in Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain (InterVarsity), is that the human brain can be chemically hijacked by pornography.

The good news is that the apostle Paul was right: The brain can be transformed by a renewed commitment to sanctification. Yes, I mean the brain, not just the mind. This book demonstrates that, while the process of transformation is based on a spiritual commitment of the mind to Christ, the result will be an anatomical rewiring of the brain....

One question I am frequently asked is, "Is masturbation a sin?" Struthers believes, as I do, that whatever one believes about it morally, masturbation is "playing with neurochemical fire." In other words, even if you can masturbate without "lusting in your heart," you cannot escape the consequences of addiction if masturbation becomes routine...

2 Comments:

At May 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Albert Mohler interviewed Dr. Struthers on his January 11th radio program. The program was entitled "Pornography and the Male Brain: What's Really Going On?" and is available at http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/11/sanctifying-the-male-brain-the-fight-against-pornography/

A summary:

Why is the male mind so attracted to pornography? Brain cells in the male mind connect differently than the female brain. When a husband is attracted to his wife during the day, his hormones work in such a way that he anticipates that night's upcoming encounter. Therefore, it's easy to understand that the consequences, in a male's mind, of pornographic images continue long after the images are gone.

The brain stores highly emotional information. How a young boy makes sense of this is critical. Between ages 10 and 16, it's important for a boy to learn how to channel the sexual energy that is resulting from being bombarded by the numerous sexual images from our culture.

What is the role of the contemporary church in responding to the challenge of pornography?

It's important that sex is not viewed primarily as reproductive nor primarily for pleasure. Rather, Struthers argues that sex should be viewed primarily for the purpose of intimacy, to know and to be known. How do we channel this energy to become more like Christ as opposed to it preventing us from becoming more like Christ?

Even if a man's sexual energy has not been channeled appropriately, his brain can be re-wired. Struthers said "I'd rather have the mind of Christ, but I'll settle for the cortex (the way a brain is wired together) of Christ."

Pornography distorts what it means to be human and what it means to be a man. It places too much an emphasis on sex. "Lord, help us to not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but help us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can test and approve your good, pleasing and perfect will."

 
At May 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I forgot to mention that "my" comment came by email from someone else!

 

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