Men who watch porn have significantly less grey matter in their brains, a new study shows. MRI brain scans of 64 men between 21 and 45 years of age were taken while participants were shown images of porn and people exercising.
The participants were later requested to provide information about weekly porn consumption via a phone interview. Every person in the study volunteered to answer these questions, even though they were not told that this information would be needed before commencing. The men had a wide range of porn consumption averaging 4 hours a week.
Men with higher porn consumption had lower grey matter volumes. Interestingly, when men were shown sexually explicit material during the MRI scan, the region of the brain associated with motivation showed reduced activity.
"Our findings indicated that grey matter volume of the right caudate of the striatum is smaller with higher pornography use," researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany told ABC Science.
The study could not show that porn caused men's brains to lose grey matter. "Future studies should investigate the effects of pornography longitudinally or expose naive participants to pornography and investigate the causal effects over time", researchers told ABC Science.
This research was published this week in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.