Understanding Porn: Novelty Based Overload

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We are infatuated, enchanted, entranced by novel visual information. Novel information challenges us, makes us see life anew, and stimulates the mind. In particular, novel visual information, rather than textual information, alerts us and engages us, because in the past it could be an indication of an approaching predator, or prey. But novel information takes a toll on the mind precisely because: of its novelty. It requires additional mental resources to process and store.

Digital media streamline the consumption of novel visual information at a heightened rate through tens of thousands of constantly moving, shifting pixels. In healthy amounts, the benefits of interacting with digital media can be worth the consequences of processing and storing the vast amount of novel visual information, if your digital media consumption provides emotional and intellectual value. But if overdone, the streamlined consumption of novel information can overwhelm us. And when we interact with digital media for extended periods of time, we may have difficulty concentrating on work or other activities requiring concentration because our minds are overloaded.

What porn does is amplify this novelty based overstimulation and overload. Not only are viewers receiving stimulation from streamlined consumption of novel visual information, but they are receiving sexual stimulation through masturbation as well. And not only are they overloading themselves with novel information, but they are overloading themselves with novel sexual information, which occupies mental space and is difficult to eliminate.

As a result, after interacting with porn, it is particularly difficult for people to concentrate on work. They have an acute desensitized receptivity to stimulation and they have an overload of novel information in the mind. Additionally, they have the depletion of sexual energy, reducing their sensitivity to stimulation even further. The source of infatuation and consequences of digital media, novel visual information, is also the source of infatuation and consequences of porn, albeit in a simply more heightened way because of the sexual component.

And the consequence of porn, as will be repeated, is overstimulation and then desensitization to stimulation.

Benton Turner