PORN: The New Heroin

85A5AEC1-EDFC-4C66-AD25-82E97F7C17E3If you glanced at this title and sighed, laughed, or nodded your head in disapproval, you’re not alone.  I also once thought to myself how could a behavior such as viewing pornography be compared to a powerful and illicit substance such as heroin–or any other drug for that matter.  But after researching and working with those suffering from porn addiction a bit closer, I discovered more similarities than differences when making the comparison.  Let’s face it, porn has evolved over the past few decades in terms of its accessibility and overall content.  Some may argue that it’s always been the same, that all generations of young and old have always explored with sexually explicit images and little to no harm came as a result.  This only serves as a good argument without taking into account the great increases in technology, internet accessibility and other global emerging communicative gadgets at the hands of almost anyone at any range.  The topic then must be taken into account with the current sudden increase of young men and women developing a compulsion to pornography in contrast to previous decades.  There are so many factors that play into the development of porn addiction but efforts to understand its causes will be hindered if our perceptions and reactions remain mundane with comical, shameful, or disdainful responses.  Heroin and other substance addictions have come a long way in its understanding and conceptualization of a disease rather than a moral problem as once labeled.  Porn is the new opiate.  It is concocted with the brain and a soup of visual images.   The result is a powerful drug with the capability to form a dependency and destroy the individual as any other substance.

The following will reference how porn has become the new heroin:

A Novelty of Visual Images

A flooding of visual images that excites the brain leads the viewer to crave more. Previously viewed images become dull with an inability to excite arousal and so the brain searches for more intense depictions to produce the same level of euphoria.  Viewing may escalate from softer forms of pornography to an escalation of scenes where intensity and unnatural forms of sex are portrayed.  An example came from a former client of mine who began watching soft-core pornography with women undressing.  Over time he could not be aroused by these images and spent his time visiting ‘tranny’ sites (porn involving transsexuals) and videos of women using mechanical objects to have sex.  The endless supply of availability in this area always leads the person to want more, and more is needed to satisfy the pleasure principle.  Studies have been carried out in regards to areas of the brain being activated in porn addicts when viewing porn similar to those of heroin addicts when exposed to their drug.

Reality No Longer Cuts It

The brain has been altered due to the excessive release of brain chemicals produced by prolonged viewing of pornography.  This has created a mood altered state in which the viewer gains a sense of satisfaction and relief that usual forms of intimacy can no longer provide.  The person’s concept of relationships and sex become distorted and in turn leads to difficulties with forming bonds and relating to others.  A false sense of connection is formed with porn, pornography becomes a one way street and leaves the person deprived on a social level.  Several of my clients and their spouses have expressed grief over not being able to enjoy intimacy without involving pornography in their sex lives.

Everyone Becomes Porn

Perceptions of people and their intentions change.  The role of fantasy becomes the norm in a porn addict’s life as he now looks at others as potential players of a steamy sex scene.  A shift in reality has taken place where people are seldom looked upon as individuals with feelings, beliefs, and needs of their own.  Rather, people serve one purpose–the pleasure seeking need of the porn addict.  This comes as a result of prolonged engagement with the search for the perfect “hit” behind the laptop.  The separation of reality and fantasy blur and this mechanism becomes ingrained, spilling over into vital areas of life.    Many porn addicts will share that it becomes challenging to relate to others on a human level where objectification and fantasy take over.

When a behavior produces a mind altering effect (high), distorts reality, and interferes with making healthy connections it will always lead to a myriad of negative consequences. Looking at it from this angle, porn should be considered the new heroin.  This should raise great concern towards the younger generation with readily accessible means to electronic content.

What are your thoughts on comparing pornography to illicit drugs such as heroin?

To learn more on the research carried out on this topic click here.

http://yourbrainonporn.com/

 

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