There’s a Science Behind Pornography Addiction

Why Porn Has a Harmful Effect On Relationships

pornography addictionPornography addiction is harmful, both to the user and to the relationships involved. Unfortunately, it’s also very difficult to kick the habit.

40 million U.S. adults regularly visit pornography websites, and 10% of adults admit to internet sexual addiction.

Although many who use porn realize the harm of it, it’s incredibly difficult to stop. Science may explain why.

The Science Behind Pornography Addiction

We live in a society with a lot of pressures. The desire to escape is very strong in many people, and not everyone finds a healthy way to do so.

Many turn to porn, which is readily available, anonymous, and many times free.

Studies show that pornography is a chemical addiction which activates the brain in a way very similar to street drugs. Realizing this truth can take a huge burden of shame off of the user and help them move forward.

Like street drugs, pornography addictions can be overcome, but it takes a lot of work and a clear understanding of the science involved.

Pornography taps into an intense mix of biological and chemical reactions that occur throughout the body during sexual activity. Done in the context of marriage with a spouse, this causes powerful positive feelings and helps build the relationship.

However, sexual activity done as the result of viewing pornography causes an extreme high as well, which the brain and body come to associate with viewing porn. Consequently, the body and mind crave more and more pornography and regular intimate relationships can suffer.

Why is Porn Addictive?

People tend to develop addictions to substances and behaviors that stimulate the dopamine centers in the brain, resulting in intense feelings of pleasure. Like drugs, alcohol, video games, and sugar, porn triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. When you reach orgasm, your body releases endorphins and your dopamine levels rise, making you experience pleasure similar to using drugs or alcohol.

A person can develop a tolerance to porn in the same way as alcohol or drugs. This means that over time you will need more stimulation to get the same level of pleasure. Due to their constant need for more stimulation, some people may seek out potentially dangerous sexual practices in real life. Dopamine isn’t the only brain chemical affected by porn use. Other chemicals affected by porn use include norepinephrine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, and serotonin. When activated by porn, a combination of these chemicals can cause problems such as contractions, cravings and chemical bonding. Shrinkage of the frontal lobes of the brain can occur when someone abuses drugs, alcohol, or pornography. The frontal lobe is responsible for making rational decisions. When this atrophy occurs, it also reduces a person’s ability to make informed decisions. Cravings arise when dopamine is triggered many times. Watching porn creates a surge of dopamine, creating the desire and appetite to release more dopamine. Chemical bonds are formed when multiple chemicals are released in the brain. Bonds formed between chemicals become more substantial, increasing the need for substances that create these bonds.

How Pornography Affects the Brain

Pornography dulls the reward system of the brain, desensitizing it to smaller rewards and demanding the rush of an orgasm instead. Studies have found that men who view pornography have less motivation and a narrower reward system than non-viewers.

In addition, the reward centers in the brains of frequent pornography viewers were less active when viewing porn than less-frequent users. This shows that, like many drugs, the impact of porn is reduced and it requires more and more porn to get the level of excitement desired.

The Negative Impact Of Excessive Porn Use

Because of how strongly porn activates the pleasure centers of the brain, it can become a compulsive practice. It also influences what activities and visual stimulus are needed to get “turned on” and ready for sex. As a result, it can have a substantial negative impact on intimate relationships.

Freedom is Possible

Fortunately, addiction does not have the final word. It is possible to get free from pornography addiction, even if you’ve been consuming porn for a long time.

Over time, porn and masturbation become more of a compulsion than a pleasure. You want to get your life back. You want your relationships and your family to be healthy once again.

We understand.

In fact, many of our therapists are graduates of our program. They found freedom, put their lives back together, and now they want to help others.

It’s vital that participants in our programs be ready to change. No one can force another person to give up an addiction, whether it’s to porn, gambling, or drugs.

However, if you’re ready to make a change, we’d love to help.

Contact us to get the help you need to start over. We’re available and ready when you are.

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