Feeling stressed? Porn may help

A new study shows that erotic pictures helps men reduce stress. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2013  — Recent research shows that erotic pictures reduce stress and improve cognitive performance in men.

J. David Creswell, Ph.D. of Carnegie Mellon University coauthored a study that randomly assigned 54 heterosexual men to view either mildly erotic or neutral images of mixed sex couples before completing the Trier Social Stress Test. The men in the group that saw mildly erotic images displayed less stress than those in the group that saw non-sexual images.

Moreover, according to Dr. Creswell, the group that saw the soft-porn images performed almost 50 percent better on the math portion of the test than those who saw other images.

Creswell and the other researchers specifically found that the sexual images reduced cortisol in the brain. Cortisol is a hormone that the is produced when an individual is stressed. It excites the nervous system and makes it more difficult for the brain to problem-solve.  

For heterosexual men, at least, the sexy images calm the brain and cause the body to produce less cortisol when under stress than it would normally.

The study states, “This finding may have applied implications for helping people use rewarding activities to cope with upcoming stressors, and this research suggests new directions for exploring basic brain-rewarding pathways in modulating HPA-axis response to stress.”


SEE RELATED: Alleviate stress for health and success


The HPA-axis refers to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is part of the neuroendocrine system. It is the system that responds to stress, and also regulates processes such as digestion, the immune system sexuality and emotions.  

As the study pre-empted stress by perusing porn, it is unclear whether thumbing through Victoria’s Secret will reduce cortisol once the body is already stressed.

One researcher at Carnegie Mellon commented, however, that the University is unlikely to suffer from a dearth of participants if it decides to investigate other advantages of looking at erotic images.


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Lisa M. Ruth

Lisa M. Ruth started her career at the CIA, where she won several distinguished awards for her service and analysis.  After leaving the government, she joined a private intelligence firm in South Florida as President, where she oversaw all research, analysis and reporting.

Lisa joined CDN as a journalist in 2009 and writes extensively on intelligence, world affairs, and breaking news. She also provides investigative reporting and news analysis. Lisa continues to write both for her own columns and as a guest writer on a wide variety of subjects, and is now Executive Editor for CDN and edits the Global, Family and Health sections.  She is also a regular contributor to Newsmax and other publications.

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