Studies in addiction report sex addiction to be similar with drug addiction, because it triggers similar response, but in fact it does not report that porn can be addictive. Cambridge University’s researchers stated that excessive use of porn is an indicator of a disorder condition called sexual compulsive behavior and it can affect work and personal life. It is not the first time behaviors related to other than substance usage are coined as addiction, video games consumption have also been proved to show signs of addiction.
Porn addiction was studied using 19 males who started using porn early in their life and their brain activity was compared to other 19 male volunteers who didn’t use as much porn. The trial group had difficulties in controlling their sexual lives and behavior, difficulties which were not reported in the control group. While watching either porn videos or sports videos, their brain activity was monitored using MRI. The results indicated that three regions of individuals with sexual difficulties were more active than those of the control group. Apparently the same regions have an intense similar activity in case of drug addiction.
Porn addiction is different from drug addiction
The researchers made a significant difference between having a higher level of desire after watching a video and liking that video. When it came to establishing a difference between those groups, the trial group expressed more desire for some porn videos, but didn’t necessarily like them more. This, according to Fox News, is typical of how drugs works, because addicts are looking not to like drugs, but to obtain a reward after using them, a strong theory in drug addiction. Sex addiction is, in fact, a debated addiction and recently the term has been rejected from being included in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Lead author of the study, Doctor Valerie Voon, is aware of debates surrounding the issue, especially claims that sex addiction doesn’t exist. She specifically noted that just because some topic is under-studied, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Voon was hopeful that this experiment, although not with significant results, is a study that can be added to field in order to build a research topic around the debate.
As researchers noted, the influence of porn addiction on the brain can’t be stated based solely on these experiments, because although there are high similarity of patterns in brain activity, reaching and watching porn is a socially and individually dependent activity, whereas drug addiction has a chemical component which makes the comparison highly questionable. But the fact that the same brain regions have intense activity when watching porn versus when you are a drug addict highlights some important discovery in analyzing dependent behaviors.