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Causes of pornography addiction

Causes of Sexual and Porn Addiction

Many individuals with an addiction to sex admit being abused during childhood


You are probably wondering what could cause a condition like sex addiction and how many causes there could be? Debates still exist among experts about the underlying mechanisms of hypersexuality and the compulsive use of pornography, like with any other addiction. There are also inconsistencies about the nature of this behavior – is it a disorder or just a habit? Nevertheless, more and more experts have begun to accept that "sexual" addiction is real, as much as alcohol, food or gambling addiction.


''Behaviors that activate dopamine pathways are connected with pleasurable feelings''


Now you're probably wondering why only some individuals develop an addiction to watching pornography, masturbating or sex? Answers to these questions are not so robust and research is still being conducted in order to determine all underlying factors. As we know, sex is an extremely pleasant activity, and a part of normal everyday life. However, some people develop hypersexual disorder due to biological, psychological and social influences. Biological factors include genetics, changes in neural pathways, biochemical and hormonal imbalances. Genetic predisposition is believed to have an impact on addiction’s development, which makes certain individuals more vulnerable to addictive behavior, but does not determine them to addiction.


Furthermore, neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine play a role in the experience of pleasure. Dopamine is especially crucial in the processing of rewards derived from various behaviors. The brain responds by increasing the release of dopamine whenever we expose ourselves to certain stimuli or activity. Behaviors that activate dopamine pathways are connected with pleasurable feelings. Our brain saturates with dopamine after we engage in sexual behavior. Then, the number of receptors which react to the stimulus is decreasing, and more stimuli is needed in order to feel primary pleasure – that’s called desensitization. The pleasant feeling we then experience strongly forces us to repeat that behavior, and that’s the reason why is it so hard to quit addiction.

Pharmacotherapy

Sex hormones called androgens are present in both men and women. These hormones have an impact on our sex drive and could play a role in one’s addiction to porn or sex. During the treatment, medications that regulate these hormones are sometimes used. In decreasing sexual urges anti-androgens are helpful. For sexual obsessions LHRH agonists are used because they lower testosterone production. In some cases the antidepressants (particularly SSRIs which target serotonin) and mood stabilizers (lithium) can be helpful.

Other causes

Considering psychological factors that contribute to sexual addiction development, abuse should be mentioned. Many individuals with an addiction to pornography or sex admit being abused during childhood. Also, a history of substance use and addiction in closest relatives is common among sex addicts. Emotionally closed, uncaring or rigid parents can create dysfunctional family dynamics, which is usually seen in addicts.

Finally, sometimes hypersexual behavior can occur as a consequence of some other conditions that affect our brain. Certain diseases like dementia and epilepsy are often connected with this addiction, because they cause damage to areas of the brain which also regulate sexual behavior. This is noticeable in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, in which dopamine agonist medications might cause an increase in sexual behavior.