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.
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.
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.
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 other.
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.