A new study has found a connection between viewing pornography and diminished brain activity, but the researchers can't say that watching porn causes diminished brain activity. So fear not, porn watchers. Science hasn't condemned you all just yet. 

The German study, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, claims to have found "the first evidence for a link between pornography consumption and reductions in brain size and brain activity in response to sexual stimuli." Researchers took men, asked them how often they watch porn, and then checked their brain to see how it reacted when they were shown pornography. It turns out that men who admit to watching higher levels of porn have diminished function in the areas of the brain that deal with motivation. In more scientific terms, from Reuters:

“We found that the volume of the so-called striatum, a brain region that has been associated with reward processing and motivated behavior was smaller the more pornography consumption the participants reported ... Moreover we found that another brain region, that is also part of the striatum that is active when people see sexual stimuli, shows less activation the more pornography participants consumed,” [Lead author Simone] Kühn said.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that watching porn causes a decline in this specific sort of brain activity. "Alternatively, it could be a precondition that makes pornography consumption more rewarding," meaning the way a person's brain is already wired could affect his porn habits, driving him to watch more porn. It could go either way.

Moreover, scientists already admit that pretty much anything can alter your brain function, if you do it enough. From driving to reading to watching crappy reality shows. And, as Kuhn said to Reuters, "Basically everything that people do very frequently can shape their brain structure and function." So there you go.

A definitive answer to just how bad porn messes with your brain (or if it does at all) requires, it seems, further research on porn. How convenient.