Study shows female brain responds to porn the same as male brain

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A small team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics has found evidence that suggests the female brain responds to pornography in the same ways as the male brain. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe their analysis of data from thousands of MRIs taken while volunteers viewed porn and what they learned from it.

Most people would agree that men are more interested in viewing than women. And statistics would seem to back up such views—the bulk of people watching porn online are male. Such statistics also appear to back up the notion that males are more interested in sex, nudity and the pursuit of gratification. And such widely held beliefs likely contribute to the notion that there are gender differences in the ways that the processes sexual situations in general and pornography specifically. But such a perception might be based more on social convention than reality, as the researchers with this new effort found no differences in the ways the genders process pornography in their brains.

The researchers analyzed data from 61 studies involving sexual response in the —each involved showing volunteers pornographic pictures or videos during MRI scanning—in all, 1,850 volunteers participated.

The researchers found that there were no discernable gender-based differences in the ways the brain responded to the imagery. The areas of the brain that were activated, such as the and the amygdala, fired in nearly identical ways. There was one caveat, however—the women in the study reported reacting less positively to the images they were shown than did the males. The researchers suggest their findings challenge the status quo—it might not be the case that males are more visually stimulated than females when it comes to sexual matters. It might be that women are less inclined to view pornography than men because of the that comes along with viewing such material. They also acknowledge that their study involved looking at large parts of the brain, which means it is possible that there are at a more cellular level.


Explore further

Does pornography use affect heterosexual women's intimate experiences with a partner?

More information: Ekaterina Mitricheva et al. Neural substrates of sexual arousal are not sex dependent, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1904975116

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Jul 17, 2019
Most porn is also extremely poorly made, and the male actors are almost always ugly.

And it's easier for women to get sex, so why would they sit around masturbating to porn?

Jul 17, 2019
So, Eikka watches porn for its "artistic" content.

Jul 17, 2019
So, Eikka watches porn for its "artistic" content.

That's a pretty good excuse... :-)

Jul 17, 2019
So, Eikka watches porn for its "artistic" content.


I watch porn for porn.

But haven't you noticed how most commercially made porn is just a bunch of cliches that end up being really annoying? Like sucking air through your teeth continuously. Porn is a caricature of sex, but most seems to be caricatured by people whose idea of sexy is a grotesque hooker, as if they're trying to make some sort of lip service moral statement about how "nasty" it is.

That, or shoddily filmed "amateur" films that are basically the same, but with less makeup.

Jul 18, 2019
"There was one caveat, however. The women in the study reported reacting less positively to the images they were shown than did the males."

Wow...so..maybe...just MAYBE..the reason they weren't as satisfied with the images...is ..something..to do..with ..their brain? Ya know, your emotions and preferences, things you like and things you dislike, could those things possibly be coming from their brain? Maybe it's coming from how their liver functions, but it's also possible that their brain is the source of this difference....oh goodness...

They even go onto ADMIT the problem could actually be down to a more cellular level. They said they looked at only larger parts of the brain.The title is absolutely inconclusive and not genuine to their findings. Also MRI's dont tell us the secrets to the workings of the brain nearly even close to how this wants you to believe. We don't even need to go down to a more cellular level, we just need to understand everything better.

Jul 18, 2019
And Eikka you clearly have not watched enough porn. You ask haven't I noticed most porn is "x". Nope. I haven't. Your observations in the following statements 100% indicate you have not seen enough of what's out there. That's okay. Porn is fueled by capitalism. That means there is a strong incentive to make the best porn possible. They want to make porn to make you excited and they want their porn to be viewed as opposed to other people's porn. The way you do that is by making all NUMEROUS aspects of porn the best you can. Things that make people get excited and want to view your porn. Part of those are the leading up story, acting skills, and much more. Theres reasons why pornhub is the most popular porn site, why tons of people pay them subscription fees. It's literally capitalism 101. Go on a forum that focuses on porn, (not actual porn sites) and ask them to get a feel what the best porn is like. Why would they say anything but the high quality videos?

Jul 18, 2019
That means there is a strong incentive to make the best porn possible


Social realities apply. Porn is the most pirated thing in the world, so there's no sense in putting much money into its production. Rather, it's the opposite: cheaply made porn makes the most money. The cheapest made porn is stolen off of other websites and simply re-posted.

On the other hand, people don't trust the production values to be very high, paying for porn is generally considered "sad", and porn doesn't need to be very good to fill its basic purpose, so people aren't willing to pay very much for it. Why would they?

Theres reasons why pornhub is the most popular porn site


Pornhub is just brimming full of absolute crud. It works like youtube: people upload their own videos, which means there's either cut-ups from commercial videos or amateurs uploading their own. The latter is usually just some flabby woman crouching in her bathroom with a phone cam stuck up her crotch.

Jul 18, 2019
Go on a forum that focuses on porn, (not actual porn sites) and ask them to get a feel what the best porn is like. Why would they say anything but the high quality videos?


That's like asking a movie critic advice about which movies to watch. There's a mismatch between what the critics like and what the people like, because people who do it seriously and put significant time into it tend to gravitate into the extremes and obscurities, because they start to find the regular entry level stuff boring. The "connoiseurs" no longer appreciate the standard mac and cheese that millions of people enjoy.

The forums don't represent the public tastes, they represent insular groups - a social bubble. It takes a certain sort of a person to join a porn forum in the first place - it's not casual consumers - so I wouldn't expect them to give good advice for the casual viewer.

The forums tend to be dominated by fetishists, and the most vocal are the most obsessed.

Jul 18, 2019
Uh..social realities apply..what a weasel statement..
They also apply to music. Music also gets pirated. Guess what the top and most popular artists are still getting filthy rich, yet people pirate their music. Their music gets pirated because its the MOST POPULAR, just like porn.... No sense into putting money into it's production is just so wrong. Reality kings, pornhub originals, they still try to make the best videos even though it gets pirated. They are doing it because these things earn them money.... The more expensive high quality porn gets copyrighted and watermarked and they can copyright claim people who steal it. Just like music. Porn is a vastly rich industry, hello?? They make sooo much money, especially pornhub. Pornhub is just brimming with absolute crud and at the same time it has an equal amount or even more content that is high quality.....Membership gives you access to even more videos without membership..

Jul 18, 2019
Paying for porn is generall considered "sad"...maybe in your little understanding of reality. There wouldn't be such higher membership counts if that was true. Again, it's an incredibly wealthy industry. It wouldn't be so if a majority of people thought it was sad. That's how capitalism works.
That's not like asking a movie critic lol, that's like going on a forum of regular people who enjoy discussing movies. People aren't trained and have expertise in criticizing porn like they are in the case of legit movie critics. It's not hard to go on ANY forum ANYWHERE asking people what makes porn good, and they will tell you. These are regular people, and there's tons of them. Absolutely they represent the public tastes lol. YOU don't represent public opinion.

Jul 19, 2019
Porn movies are all the same and rather boring. I'd rather have real sex with a real woman than watching someone else have sex in a movie.
Reality is men watch porn for something other than sexual gratification. Its watching some slutty women getting pounded by a guy(s) that is built like a stud horse that excites them. Its the sexual violence that is a turn on to them.
Women (and men) develop negative self images about their bodies based on what the porn stars look like and how often they reach orgasm. If you dont look like this or that then you dont measure up. I had a girlfriend whose husband was a porn addict. He wouldnt have sex with her because she didnt have really big boobs like the women in the porn movies do.
Women are much more hormonally driven in their overall lives so I have to ask if any kind of blood tests were used to check for hormone levels during this study. They would also need to be reevaluated during at different times in their cycle.

Jul 19, 2019
Wow that's pretty delusional. Do you typically just make things up and think they are true because your emotions are attached to it? "Porn movies are all the same" 100% not true. "and rather boring" Your opinion. If they were boring, porn wouldn't be a near $100 billion dollar industry. Simple as that. Try criticizing and researching the things you think before you commit to their truth value. This is like intelligence 101 yet you can't even find these skill sets on a NEUROSCIENCE website. Very unfortunate. Yeah people can develop negative self images about viewing porn, but they also might not. And most often, they don't. I like how you think your single and personal experience of 1 friend of yours speaks for an entire societal thought process, but it doesn't work that way. Also science 101 right there

Jul 19, 2019
I watch porn almost every day. Usually once a day, sometimes twice a day. Rarely but sometimes 3 times a day. This does not indicate unhealthy addiction. My taboos do not need something that's even more so taboo as time goes on. In fact I'm not really interested in any taboos, besides the some of the more usual ones. I do not view woman as unattractive in real life because I prefer slightly sexier women in porn. I'm not addicted to masturbation or porn in any way. It's a healthy and controlled habit of mine that doesn't not interfere with my sex life or any area of my life. I've seen countless porn videos, of all different kinds, the huge range of quality and popularity they all separately have. I've been a member on a porn site. If you think porn is mostly bland, boring, bad acting, low quality, then you 100% have not watched enough porn. You don't have the experience on the subjects to make the accurate conclusions

Jul 19, 2019
While porn addiction can be real and cause issues in people's lives, it's not the case for everybody. Most people have a healthy control of these habits (on slightly varying scales of course)

Jul 19, 2019
Uh..social realities apply..what a weasel statement..
They also apply to music. Music also gets pirated. Guess what the top and most popular artists are still getting filthy rich, yet people pirate their music.


Music artists get royalties from public presentations of their work, they make money off of merchandize, they make money out of gigs, performances, streaming services, advertising revenue... they actually make very little out of direct record sales because the labels keep about 99.99% of that money, and the labels have very slim profit margins: they make money by selling a lot at a tiny profit and spend most of it back to buy off advertising space, radio stations, tv broadcasters, billboards etc. to push their music.

Comparing porn artists to recording musicians is hardly apples to apples. When was the last time you saw porn on a prime time advert on a commercial TV channel?

Jul 19, 2019
I watch porn almost every day. Usually once a day, sometimes twice a day. Rarely but sometimes 3 times a day. This does not indicate unhealthy addiction.


Not necessarily, but it does mean you've consumed so much of it over the years that you can hardly be considered a "casual viewer", and your opinions are like the opinions of the movie critic who's already well bored of the usual stuff.

Still remember the time when you were a teen, getting excited about the underwear pages on a mail order catalogue? That's closer to what "normal" people feel like - people who haven't spend a significant number of their waking hours wanking to porn.


Jul 19, 2019
If you think porn is mostly bland, boring, bad acting, low quality, then you 100% have not watched enough porn. You don't have the experience on the subjects to make the accurate conclusions


On the contrary. Most people simply don't get as much reward out of porn as you do. Viewing more porn and gratifying yourself by masturbation certainly works as operant conditioning, which is a self-amplifying process, but that does not make the porn any better - it merely modifies your attitude towards it.

What you're saying is the same message that I've heard from so many pot smokers when I tell them that I don't actually like the feeling of being high: "You should just smoke more". That's addiction speaking. You can't accept that someone else does not value the thing you value to the same extent, because it challenges your own sense of priorities.

Jul 23, 2019
Interesting - how many subjects get any attention on this site at all??

I think every organism defaults to addiction - for the simple reason that to not have a strong stimulus means repeat behavior ( like eating ) may not provide enough reliable input to survive.

I am addicted to some music - but playing crying' in your beer country music might result in a severe beating...

Repeatedly jumping from a perfectly functional airplane seems a bit short on brain matter... But HEY, why would I disable your pleasure reinforcement
circuitry ...................

Much porn - low quality - BAD

Some porn, why YES....

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