Tonight on the season premiere of "Guy Code," the cast is talking about porn. If you're reading this post at work right now, then you obviously have other stuff on your mind besides the, um, job at hand.
Is it possible that watching adult videos is why your performance is slipping from 9 to 5? A growing number of researchers (and reformed porn addicts) say, "Yes, yes, yes." Here's why...
For some people, internet porn is highly addictive
A significant percentage of people with genitals and a WiFi connection can likely attest to the fact that pornography is habit-forming. And they can be even stronger than other addictions because, when it comes to sex, we have an evolutionary desire to "get it while the getting [is] good," explains Gary Wilson, a retired physiology teacher and the author of "Your Brain On Porn," in the TED Talk above.
Your brain gets a hit of the reward hormone dopamine when you look at new images of naked people. Excessive amounts of dopamine can lead your brain to trigger a binge mechanism called "Delta FosB." This leads to stronger cravings, which, compounded with our modern unlimited access to porn, can allow an addiction to quickly spiral out of control.
As with any addiction, once your brain has been wired to become fixated on porn, virtually everything else becomes secondary to you -- even that promotion you want but can't seem to bring yourself to hustle for.
This impacts your brain's ability to function correctly
Studies have indicated that "pornographic picture processing" can have a negative impact on your brain's working memory. This is a part of the brain that, for example, helps you troubleshoot when you get that email from an angry client, or allows you to meet a deadline while successfully fielding emails.
Excessive porn use has also been linked to increased impulsivity, so if you can't seem to muster up enough self-control to get that report written, it may be the fault of "Hot Teacher Does Oral."
According to Wilson, internet porn addiction "symptoms are easily mistaken for other conditions, such as ADHD, social anxiety, depression, performance anxiety, OCD, and so on," and a misdiagnosis may cause job performance issues to continue. "So, many guys never realize that they could reverse their symptoms by changing their behavior."
Thousands of guys swear that giving up porn has made them better employees
Perhaps the most compelling evidence linking porn use and crappy job performance is anecdotal. Here's the anonymous testimony of dudes who claim to have stopped watching clips of other people having sex:
"My writing has gotten much better.... word choice, sentence structure, etc. During my first year of graduate school (which I just finished), writing was a real chore. Now, after no-porn, it's a pleasure. So easy and free. I have more words at my disposal, probably because my memory has improved in general."
"I feel much more in control and calm now...My ability to concentrate and think logically has skyrocketed without the fog."
"My concentration, my effort, my attention to detail, my memory, my recall, and my social skills have all improved."
Maybe it's time to give your right hand a rest?
Watch new episodes of “Guy Code” Wednesdays at 11:30/10:30c on MTV2