This article explores the intriguing way our ancient brain behaves during exposure to modern-day sexual content, nudity, and stimulation.
Recapping from what we said in ‘’Part 1’’, the human brain is to a large degree unchanged in its intricate behaviour and instincts for the last 80, 000 years, way before the days of agriculture, domesticated farm animals, literacy, professions, towns, cities, institutions, healthcare, public transport and most of all – internet and smart devices. In fact, the human species in all of their different homo-subgroups have been hunter-gatherers for the bulk of their time spectrum. Therefore our brain has gradually evolved through thousands of generations to support a lifestyle that remained mostly the same for a few million years. We said that societies during the hunter-gatherer era were usually in small groups, that were also nomadic in nature. Men ventured into the wilderness to hunt for large game, while the females were busy around the presumably small encampments and temporary shelters, looking after the young and the old. People back then were in the company of their immediate close relatives, as well as other families they were not related to but all in all they weren’t more than 100 people.
Now, how might this influence our behaviour in modern, 21st-century everyday life, you might ask? And what does the consumption of sexual content have to do with this? Well, currently we live in societies which are from a couple of tens of thousands all the way to tens of millions of people all in one large Metropolis. That is, we have access to so many people of the opposite (or same) sex with whom, on paper we have the potential to engage sexually. Naturally, some have more mating prospects than others but that’s irrelevant in this argument. What is more bizarre for our brain, however, is the internet. Through the world wide web we have instant access to thousands if not millions of hours of sexual content with equally as many people. To say it again, we have right under our fingertips pictures and videos of naked bodies. So many in fact, which our hunter-gatherer ancestors wouldn’t see in a hundred lifetimes.
This is deep and is also the cause of a plethora of problems across individuals. From adultery to abuse of online sexual content and addiction as well as problematic relationships and unhealthy sex life. Although these problems aren’t exclusive to just one of the two sexes, they are, however, predominant in males. Or at least, they cause greater havoc in their lives. This is so, because men, due to the naturally higher testosterone levels, have a higher libido and hence – greater desire to engage with sexual activity, be it with a partner or just with themselves. Men have a different approach to choosing a partner than their female counterparts. Males rely more on their physical senses, such as eyesight to determine the ‘’fitness’’ of a female, that is, how attractive she is and how likely she is to bear children. Most of the mentioned ‘’assessments’’ are almost entirely on a subconscious level. So, when a man has fast internet access to sexual content and many attractive (often unrealistic) bodies, it’s not uncommon for them to develop addictions to such stimuli. Just like the case with high-calorie, rich in fat and carbs meals from Part 1 of this series, it’s not hard to grasp why something like this might cause our brains to go off-rails.
The unfortunate part here is, that men often ruin real and meaningful relationships and intimate encounters because of their habits of abusing sexual content. One of the plights of watching adult content is that it creates unrealistic expectations of how bodies should look, propagating unfeasible feminine and masculine ideals. This leads to dissatisfaction with the relationship or sometimes the inability to get aroused enough. This is hardly something one could hide for a long period of time and eventually eats the relationship from within and it’s not uncommon for both partners to look elsewhere for love and affection, either ending the relationship or having affairs.
Depriving ourselves of this quick and easy shot of dopamine via online adult content isn’t easy. After all, sexual desire is glued towards our ingrained instinct for procreation. It is an urge as powerful as the desire to eat food when hungry or drink water when thirsty. Furthermore, modern media and way of life don’t make it any easier for us. But again, just as we noted in Part 1, acknowledging the problem may be the first but it is the most important step at solving it. We needn’t be victims of our primaeval urges and there are lots of ways for us to counter them. There are many books and guides on how to tame this craving for dopamine and not only tune it down but make it work for us.