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The Science Behind Pornography Addiction: VIDEO


The ASAP Science guys fill you in on how it rewires your brain, why some of you keep going back, how it's affecting your reality, and what you can do about it.


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  1. Damn that dopamine...posting this has just improved the lives of countless gay men and their relationships.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Feb 20, 2013 12:56:35 PM

  2. This explains why every guy I know under 30 wants someone to pee on them...

    Posted by: David in NYC | Feb 20, 2013 12:57:42 PM

  3. So can I legitimately say I'm a dopamine addict? It sounds so much more sympathetic.

    Posted by: dms | Feb 20, 2013 1:33:01 PM

  4. Hey David in NYC, send them my way! LOL.

    Anyway, this can also work without porn, but just a very vivid fantacy life. I have had and still fight that problem. Especially as I reach my 20th anniversary, and we are just not as hot as we used to be, outside stimuli, (porn or fantacy) can really start to take over. This great video gives me another reason to fight a bit more in this regard...

    Posted by: Mikey DallasM | Feb 20, 2013 1:34:56 PM

  5. Porn is good.

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 20, 2013 1:48:09 PM

  6. Ha! @MikeyDallasm. I wasn't complaining. I'm 28 - just commenting that if me and my peers had access to hardcore jpegs and AOL chatrooms at age 12. I can't IMAGINE what endless xtube and torrents are doing to the evolution of the libidos of current kids.

    Posted by: David in NYC | Feb 20, 2013 2:00:15 PM

  7. I'm really glad to see this post. At least in my experience and from hearing my friends' stories, it's completely true that porn creates a pretty bad cycle. It can ruin otherwise healthy relationships by making real life sex away from fantasy contexts, with guys who don't have porn star bodies or porn star c**ks, seem boring and not stimulating enough. My partner and I both had to fight through this. It involved less visits to the sex shop, less watching porn together or apart, and more stuff like camping trips and cuddling and making out and foreplay. It took many, many months, but it was worth it.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 20, 2013 2:02:59 PM

  8. oh lord, Towle has joined the anti-porn crusade. There has always been an anti-sex streak in goodie two shoes gay activists, and now we see the true story.

    Posted by: niles | Feb 20, 2013 2:05:31 PM

  9. Anti-porn and anti-sex are obviously not even close to being the same thing. We can't live without sex. We can easily live without porn.

    All I want is bareback porn to be outlawed.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Feb 20, 2013 2:11:40 PM

  10. My therapist told me about this, but it's nice to see it in a succinct and comprehensible video. Thanks for posting. Here's to happier and healthier sex lives for all of us.

    Posted by: Lars | Feb 20, 2013 2:17:14 PM

  11. Does that mean that porn, by indirectly causing more dopamine to be released in the brain, would help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 20, 2013 2:38:44 PM

  12. I have viewed a lot of porn in my life, from one end of the spectrum to the other. But, too many gay and straight men argue against porn's deleterious effects without ever really consciously examining or acknowledging it. Why? What are you so afraid of?

    Posted by: Marc C | Feb 20, 2013 2:39:30 PM

  13. What about those of us that live far removed from the urban centers of homosexuality? Some of us live in the desert that is known as small town Texas. Home of Blue Bell ice cream and run over armadillos. So what are we supposed to do? In my life at least, gay porn has been an education as much as titillation.

    Posted by: Ben Nevis | Feb 20, 2013 2:43:14 PM

  14. You can enjoy porn without being addicted to it, guys. Calm down.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Feb 20, 2013 2:44:38 PM

  15. Well, real sex is actually kind of boring. That's just the way it is.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 20, 2013 3:05:33 PM

  16. I've never been a big porn addict, but I do cop to sex-induced dopamine addiction. Perhaps some of my sex life IS influenced by the same sort of stuff found in some porn ... but when I'm not satisfied with less of that influence is my sex life - is it because of the porn I didn't watch, or because of the actual porn-style sex I really had?

    In any event, I like dopamine as much as the next fella, but I'm glad I've never had much of an addictive personality. It would be so weird to feel out of control and to do things despite being aware of the lousy consequences. How is that even human?

    Posted by: Zlick | Feb 20, 2013 3:29:06 PM

  17. What about erotic literature? I suppose anything you do to create dopamine outside of a real relationship would be a bad thing? In an addictive sense?

    Posted by: ryan | Feb 20, 2013 3:29:54 PM

  18. A ridiculous post and a ridiculous video. There is no clinical evidence -- after 40 years of looking -- for pornography addiction or it's sibling, sex addiction.

    There are compulsive people, depressed people, or people who repeatedly make poor choices. Sex and porn frequently factor there.

    But porn, but sex, is not something like heroin that causes a biological change that can kill the body one way or another.

    Cute, but wrong, video.

    Posted by: Steven | Feb 20, 2013 3:49:53 PM

  19. Sounds like food addiction. I have a friend who can't go more than six hours or so without craving more food. Six hours! Sometimes I find him eating when he has work to do. It's like he can't stop. He eats literally every day, usually more than once. And it only escalates. He says when he first started eating he was perfectly satisfied with only milk. Then after a while it had to be apple sauce or strained carrots. Now those are "bland." Now every meal is pepperoni pizza or a BLT or ribeye with white truffle aioli or organic chicken and shallots in a wine reduction AND beet salad with arugula and toasted pecans and goat cheese AND artisan farm-to-market bread and on and on. What's wrong with strained carrots?

    It's really starting to affect our friendship. He'll be like, "Hey! Bro! Wanna get some lunch?" Seriously?? One time I invited him on a road trip to New Orleans. He asked if we could stop and get something to eat. Really?? I just drove straight through. Boy did he turn into a d!ck.

    That dopamine cycle is bad news and turns people into immoral, arugula-eating perverts.

    Posted by: JJ | Feb 20, 2013 3:54:08 PM

  20. I know people who obviously have a serious problem with porn.

    To me, it's boring, and people who are obsessed with it are boring.

    Whatever, do what you want, I find creative, intelligent people more fun to hang with.

    And those are not people who's lives revolve around living someone else's ideals and fantasies.

    The time you spend on porn you could be spending doing something that makes you a better, more interesting, and more fulfilled person.

    Posted by: Buckie | Feb 20, 2013 5:23:07 PM

  21. This probably depends on the individual- to much porn like almost anything becomes boring after a while.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 20, 2013 5:28:39 PM

  22. I was largely sex-free for my 20s. When I started actually getting dates when I was 28, after my first time with a guy in years, I said "Yep. Porn desensitized me."

    --First, I was far more willing to do "riskier" things. Eat an ass? Swallow cum? Hell yeah, that's the best stuff!
    --A blowjob, even a great one, felt worse than what I was used to -- a firm grip.
    --I still got hard at the drop of a hat, but it was virtually impossible for someone else to get me off.

    That day I flashed back to the first time I got some "good" porn in my mid 20s - a 4-way orgy. I came 6 times that day. I dug it up not too long ago for just the second time, and I only got off once. There was no turning back, apparently.

    Posted by: Billy | Feb 20, 2013 5:40:02 PM

  23. Lastly, if you scroll through the comment section at waybig or queerty or sites that aggregate porn, you'll find that the majority of the commenters that know their porn are instantly bored with an actor by the time they've seen them 5 times or more. Their standards are also otherwise impossibly high.

    Posted by: Billy | Feb 20, 2013 5:41:14 PM

  24. "Usually when people understand the connection, and how it's affecting their relationships, they can stop"

    I.e. it's not an addiction.

    He also says 'the same neuroplasticity allows you to unlearn the habit.' So this really has nothing to do with addiction at all. It's just about how your brain works. So then why is the scary term "addiction" being thrown around?

    Most "addictionology" is psuedo-science, often with a conservative social agenda. E.g., ex-gays call being gay an addiction. Interesting to note, in that connection, the throwaway line in here that "we engage in sex in order to create future life."

    Posted by: Hank | Feb 20, 2013 6:11:24 PM

  25. Humans can be addicted to ANYTHING. Have not you guys seen the odd addictions on Taboo? (NatGeo Channel). Literally anything our imaginations can come up with can turn into an addiction.

    It's not the thing that's addicting, necessarily (arguments for various narcotics inserted here, which are chemically addicting as well as mentally) but it's mainly the personality of each individual that is or is not at risk for addiction.

    That's why some people can drink two drinks and others have to drink the entire bottle and then some and can't stop. Some can quit smoking easier than others. Some can't quit eating. Some can't quit gambling. And then there's porn. Whatever the addiction is, it's the individual who has the problem, not the actual substance, object or action.

    Addiction is addiction, and that includes porn. You either have an addiction-prone psyche or you don't.

    And yes, bareback porn should be stopped, it engenders risky behavior that's already killed far too many people.

    Posted by: johnny | Feb 20, 2013 6:42:49 PM

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