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One of the most commonly asked questions about porn addiction is what makes porn so addictive? Is it the sexual pleasure you get from it? Is it the rush of adrenaline you feel after “surrendering” to your partner? Is it the intense feelings of longing you have for that one image? Or is it something else?

In fact, there are many things that make porn addiction addicting. It’s not simply a matter of what makes porn so addictive. There is a reason that men watch porn and women watch pornography. The real question is what causes social anxiety in people who habitually watch pornography? And how can you counter that with successful self-loss behavior therapy?

First off, what makes porn so addictive is the artificial sexual stimulation it provides. Scientific research has found that frequent exposure to pornography releases high levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that helps us to experience pleasurable responses. When a man or woman views pornography, they experience what scientists call “enjoyment”. What happens is that a high level of dopamine is released, leading to feelings of euphoria and pleasure. The release of dopamine also activates what is called a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which plays an important role in the “releasing” of that euphoria.

It’s important to recognize that although the release of dopamine may increase feelings of pleasure, pornography does not really provide those feelings. Social anxiety can also be increased when watching pornography because the “feelings” associated with sexuality (the anticipation of arousal, intimacy, ejaculation, etc) are present. Also, pornography addicts frequently say that their porn addiction is not something that they actually want to do-it is just a way of relaxing and escaping real life. But at the same time, this “relaxation” often leads to real compulsions for the pornography user.

For many men and women suffering from compulsive masturbation or erectile dysfunction, it is important to realize that dopamine does not cause erectile dysfunction. Nor does it cause “quickies” or short-term erections. In fact, the reason why pornography addicts (and all addicts) have trouble achieving and maintaining long-lasting erections is because they are missing one very important component of the reward pathway: the part that triggers the release of dopamine. This missing component is often called “the reward pathway”, and what makes porn addiction particularly “hard” is the fact that “the reward” is often very difficult to come by (and can take up a lot of space). The result is that compulsive porn users often have to substitute another form of reward, usually food, for the one they are missing.

Another thing that makes porn very addictive is the artificial sexual stimulation that it affords. Even when a porn user is not sexually aroused, a lot of the time he or she will be feeling a tremendous amount of social anxiety. That is, a person in this state will be far more likely to use pornography. Why is this? Social anxiety causes the brain to signal the body to look for the physiological reward of pornography. And that’s where you find people compulsively shopping online or looking at lingerie ads, for example-they are using the “reward pathway” just to feel good about themselves!

It turns out that the increased social anxiety and the artificial sexual stimulation that accompany it are each what makes porn addiction particularly hard to break. They pull you in, hook you for life, and then they pull you out again. There is not one kind of porn that is inherently addictive; all types are equally addictive. All kinds require that the user either consciously seek them out (for instance, internet traffic and pornography), or that the person simply becomes used to the stimuli and loses their mind.

The fact is that porn addiction isn’t limited to only one group of individuals. Researchers estimate that 20% of the men and women in the US have a problem with pornography, and that there is a majority of them who continue to use pornography even when they are married. This should serve as a great warning to anyone who is thinking of using pornography, no matter how much they say that they are clean and won’t use it after marriage. It may seem easy to avoid temptation and remain porn free once you’ve gotten married; but the damage that can be done to a married individual when they continually seek out porn, either on the internet or offline, will be difficult to reverse. That is why so many of the newly married people in the US are having sex shortly after getting married.

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