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Sex addicts get high from watching porn, say Cambridge University researchers

poledriver

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Sex addicts get high from watching porn, say Cambridge University researchers



PORN addicts get high in the same way drug addicts do when using, brain researchers have discovered.

Scientists at Cambridge University examined a group of male sex addicts and found that their brain patterns when watching pornography closely matched the patterns of drug users. A control group showed no such correlation.

“There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers.

“These differences mirror those of drug addicts,’ said Cambridge researcher Dr Valerie Voon, whose findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

While there are no exact figures, it’s estimated that about one in 25 adults is affected by compulsive sexual behaviour and an obsession with sexual thoughts.

There is no formal way of diagnosing sex addiction, although excessive use of pornography is common among sufferers.

In the study 19 men were shown videos containing porn. The researchers found that three regions of the brain were stimulated by the explicit sexual images — the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate and amygdala.

The ventral striatum is known to process reward and motivation; the dorsal anterior cingulate is thought to anticipate rewards and drug craving and the amygdala has a role in processing the significance of events and emotions.

These same regions are activated in drug addicts when they get a hit.

The researchers, however, were quick to stress that their findings don’t necessarily mean that pornography is addictive.

“While these findings are interesting, it’s important to note, however, that they could not be used to diagnose the condition,” Dr Voon said.

“Nor does our research necessarily provide evidence that these individuals are addicted to porn — or that porn is inherently addictive.

“Much more research is required to understand this relationship between compulsive sexual behaviour and drug addiction.”

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/he...sity-researchers/story-fneuz9ev-1226987069988
 

neversickanymore

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Why are the slinging this out there like its new new.. I thought they have known this for quite awhile now. The whole tolerance thing, having to watch more and more hard core porn. Anything that stimulates the mesolimbic pathway gets you fucking high and can potentially be addicting.. sex, food, drugs, shopping, gambling, makeing or spending money, etc etc etc.
 

my3rdeye

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I have a problem labeling it all addiction though. I watch a ton of porn, too much for sure, I probably meet the porn addict criteria. But when my laptop craps out I can wait 2 months to get another. I don't miss porn like I would miss smoking. If I run out of cigarettes at 3 am I will walk/bike/skate to the store. I feel there should be a line between addiction and just over use or over consumption. I agree if you need harder and harder stuff to get off you are going probably going to run into trouble.
Anyway we as a male species are changing our brains. I saw the University here was looking for control group that didn't watch porn for a study and they could not find 10 guys on campus who didn't watch it out of a population of 30 000. Before the internet there were lots of people too embarrassed to walk into a porn store. Now everyone watches it including young children. I consider masturbation healthy but a lot of porn is pretty sick and unhealthy...
 

pmoseman

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ro4eva

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'Mutts' can unite tribes :-)
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slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
This thread has taken a bizarre and smelly turn...

To respond to the OP, I remember seeing evidence that gambler's brains and exercise addicts' also look like heroin addicts' brains, etc.
(As NSA said earlier)
So, addiction is addiction, whether you rely on an outside stimulus (such as heroin) or something mostly inside (exercise).
This should make them re-think the war on drugs!

What 3rd eye says is also relevant : use and addiction are different.
But, 3rd eye, just because you personally aren't addicted to porn doesn't mean others can't be, of course (as I am sure you know).
So, we need a clear, scientific definition of addiction.
Too bad that is so hard to create!
 

my3rdeye

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This thread has taken a bizarre and smelly turn...



What 3rd eye says is also relevant : use and addiction are different.
But, 3rd eye, just because you personally aren't addicted to porn doesn't mean others can't be, of course (as I am sure you know).
So, we need a clear, scientific definition of addiction.
!

I will have a problem with any definition of addiction that includes video games, sex, junk food or exercise. I consider this different than alcohol or cocaine where other people may have serious have problems with it and I do not. I recognize that addiction addiction is real. I do not accept that someone has an addiction to video games. We have created a whole generation of people for whom nothing is ever their fault, it's an addiction. That's lame and I do not accept it. If internet porn is ruining your life turn it off, it's a choice you made. It is no way similar to an addiction to cigarettes.
 

neversickanymore

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That's lame and I do not accept it. If internet porn is ruining your life turn it off, it's a choice you made. It is no way similar to an addiction to cigarettes.
This could be said about anything thats addictive. Sure its a choice, its just a really difficult choice to make over and over. The subconscious part of the brain is more powerful than the conscious brain. The subconscious is what becomes "obsessed" with the substances or activities people become addicted to. The subconscious drives people to engage in their addiction. Its very difficult to just choose to resist.

A good example of the power of the subconscious would be if a person was in a shipwreck and found himself afloat in the ocean without fresh water. The person is fully aware that drinking salt water will have no positive effect and will kill them. The subconscious is responsible for all drives to do activities necessary to sustain life on a personal and species level, the drive to drink is thrust, the drive to eat is hunger, the drive to reproduce is the sex drive.. etc. So even though a person stranded on a lifeboat knows that drinking salt water will have no positive effect and will kill them, I guarantee they will eventually be driven to drink the salt water.

Addiction is the unconscious driving a person to do something that stimulates the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway. Doing drugs, watching porn, having sex, eating food, gambling, etc, etc, all stimulate this pathway. Is it a choice, its more like a struggle or a battle, as a person in strong addiction has to constantly fight not to do something, instead of giving in and doing what the other more elusive part of the brain desires and drives at.

Just because a person indulges in porn and it makes them feal good does not mean they are an addict. The definition of addiction given in the first post of this thread is very long and some what confusing, but it still shows pretty clearly some key components that indicated addiction.

Addiction Guide

If you think that addiction just boils down to a simple choice then I say anyone who has not experienced addiction should try and refrain from any sexual satifaction, no masterbation or intercource for the period of one year as this should give any sexualy and emotionally healty person a pretty good taste of addiction. Sure haveing sex or masterbateing is a choice, but continuing to choose not have any sexual satisfaction will become very hard if not impossible.

Once a person passes through the physical part of the addiction to cigarettes, then the addiction to porn and the addiction to cigarettes is pretty much the same thing, though cigarettes may seem a little stronger as they will have more triggers as people smoke twenty some cigarettes a day for years and years, so the brain has logged in all the sensory input associated with all those cigarettes, and all these are potential triggers for smoking, while the amount of porn triggers could be smaller, making it easier.
 
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ro4eva

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This could be said about anything thats addictive. Sure its a choice, its just a really difficult choice to make over and over.
I totally agree with you.

My opinion is based on what I've experienced, but also interactions with others when I was given a choice to go to rehab, or face the (very severe) consequences.

At first, I was upset that it came to this, but as I settled in at the rehab center, I got to know many others who were there for other addictions, including (but not limited to):

- comfort foods (several people who eat/ate junk food to dull their pain)
- spontaneous shopping (one person who was there claimed that he shops/shopped to "fill the hollowness of [his] life with materialistic things")
- gambling (some seriously bad gambling issues which shocked me)
- sex and/or porn (had no idea it was possible to masturbate 7 times in 24 hours)
- work (several workaholics who lost their spouses and kids as a result of never being home)
- the internet (felt quite bad for this person, as there were some pretty severe circumstances leading to this)
- alcoholism (surprisingly, a lot of people)
- other drugs (one guy was in there for weed, believe it or not)
- self-harm (there was a girl there who was addicted to cutting herself, as it gets/got her high apparently)

Some fellow patients asked that I be discreet, thus, my vagueness in a few of the examples, but it really underscored for me the range of addictive behaviors and/or habits which can affect an individual.

What really bothered me about the rehab center's rules and regulations was that they allowed us (without any consequence whatsoever) to smoke. And in a way, it ruined the experience - double standards much?
 

slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
I agree with NSA (in fact, that is what I was hinting at in my post above).
Addiction is real.
And Ro's post supports that.

"Addiction elitism" is real too:
"My drug is much stronger than yours, and my addiction is much more real than yours. If you tell me you are addicted to cannabis, or X, or Y, or Z, I will laugh at you because that is not a real addiction. You don't know what addiction is, if you think that is real. My addiction to benzos / crack / meth / heroin is so much stronger than your addiction that you can't even use that word - "addiction" - for yours. Because you don't understand. Because only people who take my drug (or something stronger) can possibly understand."

Some people get heavily addicted to gambling. They lose all of their money, their family, their job, and they cannot stop.
Just because there is no physical component (or less of a physical component than tobacco, etc.) doesn't mean that their addiction is not real.
In fact, we have neurological evidence showing that, in the brain of the individual, they are treated the same way.
If that doesn't clinch the argument, I think that you (my imaginary opponent in this argument) are just selectively choosing what you want to count as "addiction" based on your addiction elitism.
 

S.J.B.

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I've done many, many drugs and never approached addiction with them, yet I feel that my compulsive Internet use (reading, not porn) is absolutely detrimental to my well-being. No, I don't think the experience is in any way as harmful as that of my friends with I.V. opioid addictions, but I still consider it an addiction. An addiction is a broad behavioural affliction and the specific form that the addiction manifests itself as (be it drug use, sex, gambling, working, etc.) is not as important as (a) the magnitude of the negative effect of the addiction on a person's well-being and (b) the psychological cause of the addiction.
 

_DankOpiAmp_

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This is like saying anything that makes you feel good gets you high. This trivializes addiction and is ridiculous. This type of concept is supported by impotent, decrepit, moralist old men and gender-insecure cunts whose egos get hurt when they see pornography.
 

slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
This is like saying anything that makes you feel good gets you high. This trivializes addiction and is ridiculous. This type of concept is supported by impotent, decrepit, moralist old men and gender-insecure cunts whose egos get hurt when they see pornography.
I don't see it that way.

It is easy to understand that taking certain drugs can lead to addiction. You can see and touch the drugs and easily imagine the need that can arise. You can watch people physically put them into their bodies. People around here have an especially easy time imagining addiction to benzos, opiates, speed etc because most people commenting here have probably tried those drugs, and presumably everyone here has a strong interest in drugs.

With gambling and porn, you don't physically put them in your body. So it's harder to make the connection, when we go to analyze whether they should "count" as the same thing, or whether saying this "trivializes" "real" addiction.

But the human brain makes the connection. The evidence is clear. If you don't believe it, you should argue against the evidence. The same brain regions are activated when porn "addicts" (if I may) watch porn as when heroin addicts shoot up.
Trying to stereotype the people who "support" this concept is pretty tangential to the discussion, I would say.
Anyone who believes the science should support it.
Instead, it would be better to make an argument. Do you have an argument?
 

_DankOpiAmp_

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I fully believe gambling is an addiction. Porno addiction is like a video game addiction, it is invalid. Even if you choose it over other important activities it is still not the same as a real addiction, it is more of a mix up of priorities. Pornography and sex are associated with normal bodily functions and desires. Pornography is simply more convenient. You have arrogantly stereotyped people who do not believe in porno addiction as being too stupid to realize it because they are not self-administering a substance.

The same brain regions light up when you do heroin as when you do anything new or fun in life, just not as much. Calling anything rewarding addictive is a joke that degrades the concept. It is idealistic and naive to brand all enjoyable things as addictive.

You have fallen for a potential new arm of the recovery industry's attempt to cash in on the erroneous pathologising of normal behaviours.
 

Libertin

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There's no such thing as an addictive substance or activity. Addiction does not exist externally, addiction is merely a psychological compulsion. Some substances may cause dependence by disrupting the body's natural mechanisms but that's not addiction, that's dependence (which we used to refer to as 'physical addiction').

I fully believe gambling is an addiction... Porno addiction is like a video game addiction, it is invalid. Even if you choose it over other important activities it is still not the same as a real addiction, it is more of a mix up of priorities. Pornography and sex are associated with normal bodily functions and desires. Pornography is simply more convenient... Calling anything rewarding addictive is a joke that degrades the concept. It is idealistic and naive to brand all enjoyable things as addictive.
You believe in gambling addiction but not pornography or video game addiction? Explain to us then, the mechanism by which gambling causes addiction. It causes addiction the same way that other rewarding activities do, by stimulating the body's natural reward pathways. You have confused the issue, like many others who believe that substances and behaviours are 'addictive' - this is the wrong way to view it - you're putting the horse before the cart! Any rewarding activity can cause addiction.
 

ro4eva

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Here's my crudely put together argument:

Science tells us that, with any pleasurable activity in life, the brain begins releasing dopamine - even before it's begun - in anticipation of the upcoming experience (which results in a mild high).

As an example, for a heterosexual male who happens to have a compulsive/habitual desire to have unprotected sex with many different partners (regardless of the potential risks), the sight of an attractive female in public, or the sight of porn may be enough to get the dopamine rush going before actually engaging in sexual activities.

Afterwards, the actual act of sexual intercourse by this person accounts for the dopamine climax, if you will.

The problem with our pleasures in life is that, as with everything which we perceive as a unique experience, with each repetition, we become desensitized to whatever it is that makes it pleasurable. This desensitization varies in amount depending on the activity and experience.

In other words, when we look at what happens in the brain, we see that on repeated exposures to pleasures - whether it's food, drinks, sex, drugs, etc. - we've observed that the dopamine response gets a little bit less with each repetition.

So, each time we repeat a pleasurable activity, we get a little less "bang for the buck" as progressively less dopamine is released into DA synapses.

As a consequence, this tends to lead pleasure seekers to increase the risk in order to chase the pleasurable effects (or high) - whatever their pleasure seeking may be (e.g. extreme sports, drugs, sex, etc.)

It has become evident that novelty is a really big jolt for the dopamine system, and it applies to everything, not just recreational drug use.

Experiment for yourself if you disagree. Eventually, you'll find that your favorite type of comfort food will make you gag if you eat enough of it, and, for a prolonged period of time.

In any case, scientists believe that humans find risky behavior pleasurable because it's been necessary to our evolution.

"If humans didn't take risks," they say, "we'd still be living in caves."

Granted, some pleasures which have turned into unhealthy habits are harder to break than others, but the fundamental similarity is that they all manage to activate our brain's "reward center" with enough intensity that the activity is not easily forgotten.
 

pmoseman

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As a hypothetical, does nicotene "use" dopamine to cause addiction or is it caused some other way?

Nicotene is addictive as shown by taking it out of a cigarette.

Test the difference in dopamine release of a virgin smoker who smokes a cigarette with or without nicotene.

You can't do that experiment. But another way to answer the question, is more dopamine released for smokers who are addicted versus those who are not addicted.

I think that is the distinction they are making, not just a release of dopamine but a kind of release which shows addiction. And whether a substance is addictive or not, such as nicotine, depends on the regularity of addiction.

Being addicted may not be caused by the reward center but rather that is a symptom of addiction. Pretty sure...
 
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