Fantasizing About an Action Trains the Brain Almost the Same as Doing It

Porn defenders commonly characterize it as ‘harmless fantasy’. Few viewers, they say, will act it out in the real world. Unfortunately, research on learning suggests this assumption is risky. Visualizing an action is close in training power to actually performing the action. Learning from porn is also reinforced by the pleasure of orgasm.

This article describes the learning effects of visualization:

Perhaps you’ve heard of a well known experiment conducted by Australian psychologist, Alan Richardson, that used the skill of shooting baskets as a way of testing the effectiveness of creative visualization. One third of the test participants (group A) were told to practice their free throw technique twenty minutes per day, the next third (group B) were directed to spend twenty minutes per day visualizing but not attempting successful free throw attempts, and the third group (C) were not allowed to either practice or visualize. At the end of the test period, the group’s skill levels were measured. Predictably, Group (C) did not improve at all, however, both groups A and B showed nearly the same degree of improvement. Amazingly, the people who merely thought about playing basketball were able to perform almost as well as the ones who had actually practiced! Richardson’s study showed that peak performance is obtained through 75% visualization and 25% physical practice. So, do you think your brain knows whether you are practicing physically or mentally?

Neuroscientist Dr. Karl Pribram, PhD., a researcher at Stanford University, spent forty years investigating the mysterious way visual learning works and this is what he came up with: the brain follows the properties of a mathematical equation, called the Fourier Principle, which enables images to be transformed into skills and behavior. Put simply; imaging, especially with the inclusion of rich sensory details such as smell, sound, feel and taste, creates a “neurological template” or set of instructions for our body and mind. Images of movement, whether on a TV screen or in the mind’s eye, Pribram says, trigger memory of motion.

See also:

Video Presentation: A Content Analysis of 50 of Today’s Top Selling Porn Films (explicit language)
Bridges: “So how many scenes didn’t contain aggression? About 10%…”

Bridges: “Gagging and choking were much, much more common than any of us thought when we first walked into this project…”

Bridges: “Slapping happened 30% of the time… Most of the aggressors
in these films were men…73%. By far the most common recipient of
aggression was a woman. Even when women were aggressing, they were
generally aggressing other women…”

Some porn hard to distinguish from training for pedophiles (explicit language)
The scenarios had Max providing the woman/girl with her first sexual
experience. A detailed description of one of the vignettes shows how
this video not only depicted child-adult sex, but offered realistic,
detailed instructions on how to initiate a child into sex, a manual for
how to perpetrate a sexual assault on a child…

After he put her up on the sink and basin and shaved her pubic hair,
Max penetrated her with his fingers before vaginal intercourse,
something rapists of girls often find necessary in order to stretch the
child’s vagina so that it can accept the penis. He then penetrated her
anus with his fingers before anal intercourse. Although her facial
expression suggested she was in pain, she said, “This is fun, mister…”

Porn’s “Verbatim” Accounts of the Pleasures of Child Sexual Abuse Don’t Square with Reality
Researchers estimate that, in our country, about 10% of boys and 25% of girls are sexually abused…

Gail Dines Presents: Pornography and Pop Culture (explicit)
“When you look at print, and you see something, you can think to
yourself, ‘I agree or disagree.’ You can put it down and come back. You
engage with it. However, the problem with image is that we have no such
immunization to the seduction of eloquence of the image. You look at
that [magazine cover of buff man and woman] and you don’t engage with
it. You immediately think, ‘Oh my God I’m such a fat pig. Look at me
compared to her. What’s wrong with me?’ My students do this all the
time… [T]hat’s the role of images…to construct your identity in
relation to what is normalized.

“…[T]he bizarre thing about media is it makes normal the abnormal, and makes abnormal the normal…”

“I do not believe that men go to look at pornography because they hate
women. I think for most males in our culture, and remember the average
age of downloading your first porn is now 11 to 12… I don’t think
that these 11 to 12 year-olds hate women. Their hormones are going
crazy, they live in a hypersexualized culture…what passes for sex
education is pathetic, so where are you going to go? You’re going to go
to pornography…

“I say this to men over and over again. You
might not go to pornography hating women, but you’re sure as hell going
to come away with that feeling. You get much more than you bargained
for with pornography, and that’s the problem with it. The other problem
with pornography is it sexualizes the violence and degradation against
women. And when you sexualize violence you render that violence
invisible, because when men see that they can’t step back and critique
it… You are basically trying to have a rational conversation with an
erection and it doesn’t work.”

Interview of Dr. Edward Donnerstein (by phone) by Catharine A. MacKinnon, January 10, 1984
Donnerstein: “The most interesting thing about the X-rated commercially
released market is how the violence is displayed, which I think is the
most important thing. While maybe only 25 or 30 percent of them contain
overt violence, I think we probably all find that 90-95 percent of the
time when a women is sexually assaulted or raped or aggressed against
someway in these films, she is turned on and shows pleasure, enjoyment
and so on and so on…

The problem is that what you are doing is conditioning sexual release,
or relief, which is a very positive thing in men, to violence or to
rape. One doesn’t have to be a scientist to understand what
conditioning does… I think the whole idea of catharsis really has to
be put aside…

Time to Explore the Links Between Porn, Testosterone, Sexual Behavior and Violence
…[T]estosterone is highly susceptible to environment. T levels can
rise and fall depending on external circumstances–short term and long
term. Testosterone is usually elevated in response to confrontational
situations — a street fight, a marital spat, a presidential debate–or
in highly charged sexual environments, like a strip bar or a pornographic Web site

[T]he more cellular memories (biological and physiological processes)
that pornographers can link their porn to throughout the male brain and
body, the greater chance they have of addicting their viewers. And the
more naturally occurring drugs/hormones (especially testosterone, but
also adrenaline, epinephrine, and others) flowing in the male mindbody
during viewing, the more narrow will be his focus, the more intense his
sexual/mindbody arousal, the more deeply the images will be imprinted
in his memory, and the greater his addiction.

Pornographers achieve this combination of a high number of mindbody
links and maximum drug/hormone release by mixing sexual images with
male dominance, aggression and violent images intended to shock and
stimulate simultaneously. Porn scenes ranging from simple “male in
control” to aggression, rape, torture and murder, abound in Internet
porn geared to the male viewer.

These kinds of images link sexual arousal in the male mindbody with
emotions of shock, anger, confusion, violence and domination which
cause the male mindbody to release enormous amounts of additional
testosterone, which further increase male narrowing, loss of reason,
feelings of aggression, and sexual drive and arousal.

Porn Use Correlates with Infidelity, Prostitution, Aggression, Rape-Supportive Beliefs
In 1995, Human Communication Research reported on a meta-analysis of 33
different studies. Researchers found that “Exposure to pornography
increases behavioral aggression.
While there are many factors that influence this effect (for example,
the content of the pornography viewed), the researchers conclude that a
connection between exposure to pornography and subsequent behavioral
aggression exists…”

In 2004, researchers also reported in Social Science Quarterly that “Individuals who have had an extramarital affair are 3.18 times more likely to have used Internet pornography than individuals who did not have affairs.”

In 2005, a survey of 718 Swedish high school students
found that “Seventy-one percent of adolescents surveyed believed
pornography consumption influenced others’ behavior, and 29 percent
believed it affected their own behavior.” Reported in International
Journal of STD & AIDS.

Testimony from Northampton Shelter for Battered Women: Half of Abusers Use Pornography as a Part of the Abuse (explicit)
We have recently begun to formally ask the battered women who call us whether the abuser uses pornography and from this we conservatively
estimate that at least 1/2 of the abusers use pornography as a part of
the abuse. Battering is based on an issue of power and control, with
the abuser using all kinds of methods to continually assert his power
and control over the woman. Throughout, he is persistently working to
deny her of her ability to make informed decisions about her life and
through threats, coercion, and continual terror succeeds at clearly
establishing himself as “in control”. We frequently hear a woman say
that she feels like a prisoner in her own home, and in fact, she is…

[Example case:] Not only had the children been forced to have sex with each other and
several playmates, but the adults had used objects in their genitals,
had killed animals in their presence, had made them engage sexually
with animals, had hung them from rafters, had threatened to throw them
off a cliff, all acts depicted in pornographic videos.

in Minneapolis: “Pornography is probably the most extreme example of
anti-women socialization that men receive in this society”

If you look at a lot of pornography, it shows women being beaten,
humiliated, tied up. It shows women tied and stabbed, poked, prodded
and abused by devices, assaulted by several men or animals, and many
ugly and degrading things. When you see a woman being battered, you see
a lot of the same ugliness and violence at the same time. Not only do
they portray women as liking and deserving this sexual abuse, it shows
them as enjoying it, deserving it. And that is what one of the great
myths of battery is, is that women deserve to be battered and that they
enjoy it. If they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t stay…

Everywoman Center Coordinator: Porn Damages Women; Porn Addiction
“Typically, a woman will say that her boyfriend is into very violent
forms of pornography and likes to act out specific aspects of that, and
she doesn’t know how to stop it,” Roth said, “or a battered woman might
perceive a connection between the pornography in her household and the
bouts of violence…

“In no other case [of media communications] are people so quick to
discount the argument about the human cost, which I think reflects how
low protection of women ranks in our priorities. We’re quicker to
protest media (material) that depicts the mistreatment of animals than
of women,” Roth said. “A society does need to make choices about what
attitudes it wants to condone.”