Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Brain Structure and Pornography Consumption Research

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

As a clinician deeply involved in the treatment of sexual addiction, I often encounter individuals grappling with the far-reaching effects of pornography consumption. A significant study by Kühn and Gallinat (2014) in JAMA Psychiatry offers critical insights into how pornography affects the brain, which can inform our therapeutic approaches.

Understanding the Neurological Impact

Kühn and Gallinat (2014) conducted a pivotal study revealing that frequent pornography consumption is linked to alterations in brain structure and functional connectivity. Their research indicates that individuals who consume pornography regularly have a reduced volume of gray matter in the right caudate nucleus. This part of the brain is crucial for processing rewards and emotions, suggesting that high pornography consumption might dull the brain's natural reward systems. Additionally, the study found decreased functional connectivity between the right caudate and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area associated with cognitive control and decision-making.

Educational Strategies

Understanding these neurological changes is essential for developing effective educational strategies. For instance, in therapy sessions, I emphasize the importance of awareness regarding how pornography consumption can alter brain function. Education on the brain's plasticity offers hope, highlighting that with reduced consumption and therapeutic interventions, it is possible to reverse some of these changes. This aligns with the principles advocated by Dr. Patrick Carnes, Dr. Kim Buck and John Hinson, who emphasize the need for comprehensive education on the effects of addiction as a foundational step in recovery.

Therapeutic Interventions

Incorporating this knowledge into therapeutic practices is crucial. As a clinician, I focus on interventions that address both the psychological and neurological aspects of pornography addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in this regard. By helping clients recognize and modify problematic thought patterns and behaviors, we can mitigate the impacts on brain structure and connectivity identified by Kühn and Gallinat (2014). Additionally, mindfulness practices can enhance cognitive control and emotional regulation, counteracting the deficits in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Role of Therapeutic and Coaching Interventions

Beyond traditional therapy, coaching interventions play a significant role in recovery. For example, integrating coaching to provide continuous support and accountability. In my practice, I incorporate coaching techniques to help clients set realistic goals, develop healthier habits, and maintain long-term recovery. This holistic approach ensures that clients receive both the immediate psychological support and the ongoing guidance necessary for sustained change.


The study by Kühn and Gallinat (2014) underscores the profound impact of pornography on brain structure and function. By integrating these findings into educational strategies, therapeutic interventions, and coaching practices, we can offer more effective support to those struggling with pornography addiction. Recovery is not only possible but achievable with a comprehensive, informed approach.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey, PhD, please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com.


Kühn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Brain structure and functional connectivity associated with pornography consumption. JAMA Psychiatry, 71(7), 827. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93


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