A new Cambridge study found that when sex addicts watch pornography, their brains light up in the same way drug addicts’ brains do when they use drugs.

Brain researchers at Cambridge University looked at a group of male sex addicts and a separate group of males who were not sex addicts. They found that the brain patterns of the sex addict group while watching porn was very similar to drug addict brain patterns when they use drugs. That correlation was not found in the non-sex addict group, however.

“There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behavior and healthy volunteers,” said Cambridge researcher Dr. Valerie Voon. “These differences mirror those of drug addicts.”

Although it cannot be verified, it is estimated that about one in every 25 adults have compulsive sexual behavior and an obsession with sexual thoughts. There is no way of diagnosing sex addiction, but watching pornography habitually is an indicator of it.

In the study, 19 male sex addicts were shown pornography. In each of the males’ brains, it was found that the ventral striatum, dorsal anterior cingulate, and amygdala were all stimulated by the pornographic images.

Each one of those regions of the brain is activated when drug addicts use drugs, the researchers said. While the findings look they imply that porn is addictive, the researchers said that the evidence does not necessarily prove that.

“While these findings are interesting, it’s important to note, however, that they could not be used to diagnose the condition,” said Dr. Voon. “Nor does our research necessarily provide evidence that these individuals are addicted to porn — or that porn is inherently addictive.

“Much more research is required to understand this relationship between compulsive sexual behavior and drug addiction,” she concluded.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.