How Sex and Pornography Affects Your Academic Performance

It was the year 2008, and I was having a splendid time in Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri Imo State, Nigeria. I was one of the best in the Department of Public Administration with a first semester GPA of 3.52 and second semester GPA of 3.50 all in a scale of 4.00. The secret was simple, attend lectures regularly, take good rest and read every day. It was clear that with more effort, I will graduate with distinction, which might lead to automatic employment to be a lecturer in the Polytechnic.

In my first semester final year, I met a student called Jane. Before then my relationship with female students was platonic. My close pals were my reading partners. I and Jane’s relationship gradually turned to a sexual type. Instead of going home to rest after the day’s lectures, I went straight to Jane’s hostel. I will return home late, too weak to read.

My night reading also suffered, because I was busy making midnight calls and sleeping away the remaining time. I spent most of my time discussing with and visiting Jane. It became so bad that I couldn’t concentrate in class. I kept recalling our entire sexual escapade while lectures went on. Instead of reading for a proposed two hours, I will spend an hour thirty minutes remembering all we did and a mere thirty minutes for skeletal reading. Concentration, reading, retention and recollection became a big problem.

I met my Waterloo when Jane told she was pregnant. Immediately, my focus changed from my academics to how to deal with the child. We did all we could to get rid of the baby, from drinking of hot drinks to different concoctions, all to no avail. She kept crying around me, forcing me to get money for an abortion.

I became confused and lost total control of my academics. I couldn’t sleep at night because different thoughts enveloped my mind. Am I going to be a murderer? What if she died in the process of abortion? These and many more questions occupied my head. At a point, I started having nightmares. I kept seeing dead bodies. Then, graduating with Distinction was the least in my scale of preference.

Nevertheless, we consulted an abortionist and used my school fees to pay for his service. Painfully, I had peace. Few weeks after, I wrote my first semester HND1 examinations. The result was published a month later, and it became clear that it was impossible to graduate with distinction. My GPA was 3.27. I needed at least 3.71 to get to the top level. Everybody was disappointed including my reading partners.

I came back for my second semester determined to be the best regardless of my last semester’s result. I forgot my past and never recalled my sexual relationship with Jane. One evening Jane invited me to come to her house for sex; I refused to go. She kept alluring me, but I stood my ground. I have decided never to have sex with anyone. She became angry and stopped talking to me, yet I focused on my academics. Jane begged and cried for my return, but I kept fleeing. She started making all sorts of negative comments about me, in spite of that I remained steadfast. I read two times daily, one, immediately after the day’s lectures and another in the early hours of the morning.

After our second semester examination, I nervously went back to my home in Port Harcourt. Few weeks later, my friend Chukwudike gave me a call. He said, “George, our results are out; you are a record breaker. Your GPA is 3.75, The Head of Department and most of the lecturers want to know who Anyaehie George is.” I later graduated as the second-best in the department (distinction level).

Lesson

According to information drawn from a Canadian community health survey 43% of teens aged 15 to 19 reported that they had had sex at least once. A survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire indicated that 42% of internet users aged between 10 and 17 years said they had watched online pornography in the preceding year.

Pre-marital and pornography has become a serious problem today because sex and porn materials can be accessed easily. Sex hawkers are everywhere around the neighbourhood; we even have mobile or Internet sex. Pornographic materials are just a click away. Actors in pornographic films are now recognised as celebrities, they are called “porn stars.”

Pre-marital sex and pornography are one of the cardinal causes of academic failures. How? A vital neurotransmitter in the brain is dopamine. It has many important roles; it serves in functions such as voluntary movement, pleasure experience, motivation, reward, punishment, and learning. Sex and pornography target the dopaminergic system to release great amounts of dopamine, which results in experiencing a “high,” often leading to addiction. When released, dopamine strengthens and reinforces the new connections that are being made in the brain while an activity is undertaken. This in turn acts to encourage the individual to repeat the activity again so they can feel that pleasure once more. And when the person refuses to repeat the activity, it breeds depression, dissatisfaction and anger.

As the sexual or nude images are displayed physically or on the screen, an arousal takes place and the dopaminergic system is triggered just like it would be by drugs such as cocaine. The newly formed connections in the brain from having sex or watching pornographic images become greatly reinforced by the massive amounts of dopamine being released. Rather than going into short-term memory, where these images can be forgotten after the screen is turned off, the dopamine reinforcement ensures they’re moved into the long-term memory stores where they can be stuck in replay mode in the person’s mind. The troublesome fact about this is that the more something is recalled, the further it solidifies it in the brain. That is why you cannot easily forget sexual escapades. You can narrate how the adventure started, how it progressed and how it ended.

What’s alarming about this information is that the brain acts as a whole entity; its plasticity is global. Change in one area affects other regions. Sex and Pornography viewings can literally rewire the overall neural connections. When the brain is rewired to focus on sex or pornography, reading, understanding and recalling becomes difficult because the long-time memory has been occupied with sexual or pornographic images or scenes.

There is nothing as dangerous as “let me try it just once,” because dopamine will make you an addict. Addiction starts from one encounter or scene. It progresses from soft pornography of reading text describing sexual feelings and mild graphic images to hard pornography of graphic images of people engaging in sex and graduates to real sex. With time, the images are imprinted on the mind of whoever is consuming them, leading to addiction to sex and pornography.