Eli5 what happens to a persons brain who is addicted to porn/sex? Why cant they just stop watching or having sex?

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Eli5 what happens to a persons brain who is addicted to porn/sex? Why cant they just stop watching or having sex?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Gross oversimplification in the spirit of ELI5

The nature of addiction is to release happy chemicals that you depend on to feel good.

For many, seeing or experiencing something new or naughty releases the happy.

But, especially for men whose sexuality tends to be visual, once you have seen or experienced the thing, it is less powerful in the happy chemical next time. And less and less.

Because our imaginations can be stronger than reality, this means that it can soon become the only way to feel the happy chemical.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Let’s say that you and your two siblings live at home with your parents.

Let’s also say that your parents treat you all differently in terms of how and when they show love to you.

For your brother, your parents only show love to him when he excels in sports.

For your sister, your parents only show her love when she excels in school.

Whereas your parents show love to you regardless of the pursuit.

As you guys grow up your brother stops bothering with anything that’s not an athletic pursuits. Anything else he does seems to go unnoticed by your parents.

Similarly, your sister stops showing interest in anything that’s not an academic pursuit. If she does sports or music or anything else your parents show now interest in it.

And then there’s you. Doesn’t really matter what you do, your parents are involved and supportive regardless of what it is.

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Our brain rewards us for doing certain things. Eating. Mating. Drugs? It does this through neurotransmitters. Etc etc. It drives us to do things.

Our drive as living things is to get as much of these neurotransmitters as possible, so typically, humans pursue the most efficient avenues for acquiring these neurotransmitters.

Ideally your brain should reward you for doing *anything* that is beneficial to us as a human.

But the reality is that some have predispositions to be rewarded more for certain things. Some have a predisposition toward alcohol. Some towards drugs. Some towards food. Some towards gambling. Some towards nicotine. And some towards sex or love or porn.

Addiction is a progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure. It occurs when there is a significant discrepancy in neurotransmitter acquisition avenues.

So what happens in the brain for people with porn and sex addiction is that their brains gives them more of these “reward” neurotransmitters for sex and porn than it does for anything else. So the addict has basically said “well, what’s the point in doing anything else if my brain isn’t going to reward me for it.”

In the same way that your brother probably wouldn’t opt to do something other than sports if his parents aren’t going to love him for it, or your sister doing something other than academics that your parents won’t love her for, addicts are basically living with the choice of being unhappy/unfulfilled or chasing this toxic pursuit.