Since the commercialization of the Internet in the mid-1990’s, it has been an immense source of information and an effective medium for communication. It has helped to shape up global events in the past two decades. Now it is possible to teach anyone from any corner of the world with the prerequisites being basic computer literacy and access to the internet.
Fig 1. Internet Connectivity & Learning
This global reach of the internet has also been used by the industry which normally used to operate in the shadows. One which is linked to eroticism and flesh trade.
Yes, I am talking about the “Adult Content” websites.
Adult content in the form of pornography, escort services, prostitution, massage services etc. are being offered on the internet without any inhibition or surveillance from the authorities. Purchases, if made, are discreet and confidential.
Fig 2. Typical Adult Content Site Opening Page
Taking this discussion ahead, let us talk about one aspect of this adult content that is freely available to any individual at any time of the day – Internet Porn or Cyber Porn. The growth of the Internet in the 90’s also saw the availability of porn on the Internet which was earlier available in offline formats.
Fig 3. Typical Image from Porn Website
Internet Pornography since its debut on the online space has been growing at an exponential pace. There are estimates that about 15-20% of the websites browsed are porn or related to adult content. Terabytes of data are available free of charge with it getting refreshed never to be repeated again.
Kids are being drawn into it out of curiosity whereas adults are being drawn because of boredom.
Fig 4. Internet Pornography
As technology evolves, some of the sites like Pornhub are getting tech savvy and employing Machine Learning, Facial Recognition and Artifical Intelligence(AI) to improve their stash.
These techniques are employed by companies like Facebook, Twiter etc.
So, Pretty cool stuff right?
But, Why is a Porn Website employing them?
Fig 5. Why?? 
Pornography is the New Addiction Drug:
Affect on Relationships:
Scientific Case Study:
To further this cause, they do tests on volunteers under some controlled conditions and/or ask questions and analyze their responses. One of the best ways to enroll the volunteers is by giving them rewards or honorarium.
It would be a surprising piece of information that the word “Award” or “Reward‘ does indeed light up some sections of our brain. This is because we have a neurotransmitter called Dopamine that is released. The figure below shows the dopaminergic pathway in the Brain that passes through the Ventral Striatum.
Fig 7. Dopaminergic pathways in the brain via Ventral Striatum
The Ventral Striatum is the part of the brain that has a prominent role in reward processing. With a strong connection to other emotion generators this region is active during the anticipation and receiving rewards.
A study was carried out by Researchers at Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, the United Kingdom in 2014. The sample space included 19 people with Compulsive Sexual Behaviour (CSB) and 19 people who were healthy.
Above MRI images show the results of the study. We can see that compulsive porn viewers(CSB) have Ventral Striatum region lit up as compared to normal people in an MRI scan when excited using the explicit adult content. This brain activity is very similar to one seen in drug addicts.
A recent study from a research group in Germany in 2016 on cybersex or Internet pornography addiction has shown that the activity of Ventral Striatum increases when participants watched sexual content compared to non-sexual/erotic content. The study was done using MRI imaging.
The symptom severity was known from the Ventral Striatum response by regressive analysis. The result corroborates the role of the Ventral Striatum in processing reward anticipation and gratification linked to the subjectively preferred pornographic material.
This rewarding mechanism can be one of the possible explanation as to why individuals with certain sexual fantasies are in danger of losing control over their consumption appetite.
After going through the article, you might have been convinced to some extent that Internet porn or Cyber Porn comes with a lot of downsides to self and to the people around us. It can only provide instant gratification and keep the hunger alive for more such stuff from the virtual world. Next time for whatever reason(curiosity/boredom) you are elicited towards porn, think about the possible fallout on your life and on your loved ones. 🙂
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