Sex Addiction Versus Porn Addiction


Porn addiction and sex addiction are not the same disorder. Addiction to porn is considered to be a type of sex addiction and can manifest itself differently than other types of sex addiction. Like “sex addiction,” “porn addiction” is not an official diagnosis in the DSM-5 yet. However, an addiction to porn can lead to serious distress and consequences in many facets of life. Sex addict doesn’t have sex primarily for the pleasure of the act, the porn addict doesn’t look at pornography primarily for sexual enjoyment. Instead, his/her addiction is a way to escape from stress and other forms of emotional discomfort, including the pain of psychological issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and unresolved trauma such as abuse or neglect. Alcoholics drink and drug addicts use for exactly the same reasons. So, as with other addictions, porn addicts are not looking to feel good, they want to feel less, or at least to control what they’re feeling.
As with drugs of abuse, pornography triggers a chemical response in the brain that feels pleasurable. This is fueled mostly by the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, but also by other biochemical, such as oxytocin, adrenaline, serotonin and endorphins. Over time, porn addicts learn to abuse this naturally occurring reaction in the same way that alcoholics and drug addicts learn to abuse alcohol and drugs, intentionally triggering the pleasure response with pornography and sexual fantasy. In this way, the addict creates and uses that high as a way to avoid experiencing depression, anxiety and other stressors.
Like other addicts, porn addicts like to stay high for prolonged periods. For that reason, they’re typically much more interested in using porn to sustain their intense sexual fantasies than in reaching orgasm. In fact, for porn addicts an orgasm ends the high and catapults them back to real life, which is what they’re trying to avoid. As such, porn addicts often spends hours, sometimes even entire days, in a trance-like, zoned-out neurochemical bubble, looking at and fantasizing about porn and sexual activity without actually masturbating or having sex.

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