an image of the brain

Why is porn addicting?

Is porn addicting? Like many other substances and behaviors that cause a dopamine spike in the brain, yes. Our brains are designed to seek the chemical rewards of pleasure, which is what makes it so easy to become addicted to anything that gives us a high-level dopamine hit, whether that be porn, sex, drugs, sugar, or smoking a cigarette.

Why is porn addicting? It provides endless novelty.

The brain is a big fan of novelty. This is why we scroll through our smartphones endlessly, and get a little boost when someone “likes” or “follows” us on social media. It’s all about constant novelty and instant gratification. Today, internet porn combines instant accessibility with almost endless novelty. Gone are the days of having to walk into a physical store to purchase one lousy Playboy with a handful of pictures inside. Now, high-speed internet offers a full buffet of pornographic options for free, anytime of the day or night, with total anonymity. This is a dangerous combination for the dopamine-junkie that is the human brain.

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Sex is powerful.

Human sexuality is one the most powerful forces on earth. We’re all sitting here today, right? Sex is almost mystical in its fascination, and imagery of sex can be completely arresting. In its best form, human sexuality helps to drive us toward another person, and eventually, bond us in partnership with another person. It fosters trust, intimacy, and deep friendship. In the best case, sex is one of the most profoundly fantastic experiences a human being can have. Because sex is so powerful a force, it can be used for our good or our harm. When twisted out of a healthy context, it can lead to addiction, shame, and heartache.

 

But the beautiful thing? It’s for you to decide. No matter what your story has been up until now, you get to decide how the power of sexuality is going to affect your life. And you can decide right now.

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