Study: Watching Hardcore Porn Makes Women Go Blind (Temporarily)

Women may have to start watching "Game of Thrones" like this.
Women may have to start watching "Game of Thrones" like this.

A new study from researchers at the University of Groningen Medical Centre in The Netherlands asserts that the part of the brain that processes visual data shuts down in women when they are shown graphic pornography.

Twelve heterosexual, premenopausal women allowed Dutch scientists to scan their brain activity with Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan) while they were shown a series of films with varying degrees of sexual content. Results indicated that when women in the study were shown explicit pornography (e.g., up close shots of genitals), the area of the brain that controls the visual cortex shut down rather than heating up.

Gert Holstege, a member of the research team, says the drop in visual cortex activity has to do, in part, with the subject's level of anxiety. Anxiety and visual cortex activity are closely related, and anxiety drops when sexual arousal goes up.

Kayt Sukel, a neuroscientist and author of 'Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex and Relationships, did her own experiment with brain scanning and sexual arousal. Sukel masturbated in an FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine so that she could scan her own brain during an orgasm. FMRI is similar to the traditional MRI except that it focuses on measuring changes in blood flow to the brain.

Brain scan machines: a sexy new getaway for ladies.
Brain scan machines: a sexy new getaway for ladies.

Scientists have been debating the effectiveness of PET versus FMRI for years, and Sukel states that PET scanning may not be the best method for this kind of experiment:

"In terms of methodology, there are a couple concerns. First, the study used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and that has a much slower resolution. It may be that there is very little activation in the visual areas because they're only catching the end of the activation. Maybe at first there was more. I'd be very curious to see how much activation was in sensory integration areas to see whether or not women were fantasizing. Maybe they weren't paying as much attention to the film because they were putting themselves into it in their own head. I think that there are a lot of potential rival hypotheses. I think the basic idea is sound, but I'd like to see it in MRI to score the faster resolution."

Sounds like the debate as to whether masturbating makes you go blind will isn't over yet. On a sidenote, scientists have made no progress in helping us all find a way to unsee the butter scene from "Last Tango in Paris."

Follow @TheLizBrownShow and @AfterDarkLA on Twitter

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >