Hypersexuality: what goes on in the brain of a sex addict?

Most mental health professionals agree in their explanation of sex addiction: it would not be a chemical or physiological dependenceAs with most drugs (cocaine, alcohol. Tobacco), but the cause lies in some kind of behavioral disorder.

What exactly happens to the brain of a sex addict?

To launch more data on the nature of the hypersexuality, The University of Cambridge has provided a new study. Brain scans were performed on nineteen men while watching scenes from pornographic films.

amazing data

Research has shown that the regions of the brain that are activated are the same reward centers which activate in the brain of drug addicts when they visualize the substance to which they are attached.

Some of the subjects studied were close to the profile of a sex addict. In fact, two of them had recently lost their jobs to consume pornography in the office, and four of the other subjects claimed that consuming pornography was their way of avoiding quitting prostitutes.

Ultimately, the sample was expressly selected so that the experimental subjects were, to some extent, obsessed with sex. More than a typical addiction, the researchers found it necessary to suggest that this type of sexual addiction is closer to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Brain scintigraphy

The group of researchers who conducted the study observed some changes in brain activity using images obtained from the brain scan. Thus, they were able to verify that a series of changes in the brain occur when experimental subjects watch porn.

Later, they compared the results displayed on the scanner with the results obtained in a sample group, with normal sexual behavior. The results and conclusions, published in PLoS One, report higher activation levels in ‘addicts’ in up to three specific brain regions: The cortex of the anterior cingulate, amygdala and ventral layer. These areas are exactly the same ones that experience an activation boom when addicts see drugs.

Is hypersexuality addictive?

One of the study coordinators, Valerie Moon, commented: “More studies will be needed to be able to argue that we are facing an addiction.” “We don’t know if any of these effects in the brain are caused by predispositions that help develop sexually addictive behaviors, or if it’s just an effect of pornography … it’s hard to say. and will have to continue research. “

For his part, Dr John Williams, director of the Welcome Trust Foundation’s Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health, adds that “compulsive behaviors, such as watching excessive pornography, betting sports or eating a lot, are on the rise. more common In our society The Cambridge University study puts us in a slightly better position to understand why some people tend to repeat certain sexual behaviors that they know are harmful to them.

“Whether it’s sex addiction, drug addiction or eating disorders, knowing when and how to intervene is essential for professionalsWilliams concludes.

Bibliographical references:

  • Ellis, A. and Sagarin, E. (1965). Nymphomania: study of women having excessive sex. London: Ortolan.
  • Kafka, MP (2001). Paraphilia-related disorders: a proposal for a unified classification of non-paraphilic hypersexuality disorders. Sexual addiction and compulsiveness.
  • Krafft-Ebing, R. von (1886/1965). Psychopathia sexualis: a forensic study (HE Wedeck, Trans.). New York: Putnam.
  • Uitti, RJ, Tanner, CM and Rajput, AH (1989). Hypersexuality with antiparkinsonic therapy. Clinical neuropharmacology.
  • Original study: http: //www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/brain-activity -…

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