Pornography Affects More Than the Brain

“When we damage our brain, it changes us.”

In Fight The New Drug’s new docu-series Brain Heart World, various neuroscience experts explain the detrimental effects of pornography on the brain. The series is a deep exposé on pornography and the way it harms us. But, most importantly, it is a documentary with a powerful story to tell: pornography changes who we are.

The film relates this change to a famous example learned in high school science class. Phineas Gage was a railroad worker who, in a crazy accident, had an iron rod driven through his head. Gage survived the accident but suffered permanent brain damage. Its effect was most interesting. People reported Gage was “like a different person”. His personality changed; he became moody. Phineas Gage no longer seemed like Phineas Gage, despite being the same person, because of the damage to his brain.

What can this tell us about pornography? Research has shown that pornography use is correlated with   with physical changes in the brain. The visual stimulus of pornography hijacks the brain’s reward system and overwhelms it with unnatural prolonged dopamine levels. The result is the brain physically deteriorating in shape, size, and chemical balance. (Learn more about the impact of pornography on the brain here.)

While seemingly impersonal and scientific, these effects on the brain impact us on a personal level. Like Phineas Gage, the changes in our brain from pornography correspond with changes in our mood, personality, and the way we treat others.

The issue of pornography

Pornography can often lead to depression or feelings of isolation. It can cause us to view ourselves in a negative light, like we aren’t worthy of love. Perhaps worst of all, it can cost us friendships and relationships.

“When we damage our brain, it changes us.” The impact of pornography isn’t some abstract occurrence over in “Brainland.” It’s a serious issue that affects us on a deep, personal level in our day-to-day life.

The beauty of Brain Heart World is that it strikes a balance between these two aspects of pornography. The docuseries has no shortage of interviews with academics highlighting the research behind pornography addiction, but it is also interlaced with personal stories of people who have overcome. It’s beautiful, engaging, and hits close to home.

Pornography’s impact starts in the brain and then proceeds to trickle down to the heart before finally worming out into the world. Brain Heart World reminds us of this reality and is a must-watch for everyone living in our pornified culture.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.