Dopamine • Our culture, offers countless opportunities to over-stimulate ourselves with dopamine: alcohol, compulsive shopping, recreational drugs, junk food, and so on. Indeed, we do not even have to leave our computers.
Adrenaline (excitement) • Adrenaline is present during times of high stimulation and risk taking. For Christians, it appears that this could be considered the “forbidden fruit” phenomenon and it holds true when it comes to pornography and other objects of sexual addiction.
Oxytocin (connection) • Oxytocin (attachment hormone) • selfless desire to nurture and be close • reduces cravings • calms you down
Oxytocin (connection) • How do we produce it? • Caring touch, especially stroking, is one way. Another is selfless giving—or nurturing another—as a parent would a child. Singing, pursuing our hobbies, gazing into our spouses eyes. Neurochemicals and behavior tend to be circular. That is, a change in behavior induces changes in neurochemistry, and vice versa.
OXYTOCIN • Culturally speaking, one could argue that the pursuit of attachment has focused more on stimulating dopamine production (i.e. sex as the means of “attaching”) rather than taking the oxytocin pathway (emotional and non-sexual touching as means of attachment). • In the limbic system, or emotional center of the brain, oxytocin levels can begin to rise at orgasm and increase to four times their normal state.While this experience is not uniform, the benefits of such an experience include a stronger physical connection in the relationship and more emotional responsiveness between partners.
Prefrontal cortex problems • Adapted from Siegel (2007) • Body regulation • Attenuated communication • Affective regulation/emotional balance • Response flexibility • Empathy • Insight/self-awareness • Fear modulation/extinction • Intuition • Morality
Prefrontal Cortex Problems • Short attention span • Impulsivity • Procrastination • Disorganization • Poor judgment • Lack of empathy and insight
What it is Psychologically A pathological compensation for lack of connection Metaphoric Connection
The Role of Sexual Fantasy • Sexual fantasies commonly include elements of responsiveness, approval, acceptance, and desirability? • These are common characteristics of human connection • Pornography abusers can use these images to meet core needs for connection
Connection • Much of the draw is the enthusiasm in which their imaginary sexual partner responds to them. • When something goes wrong in forming connections, we can compensate through fantasy. • Fantasies are ways of artificially creating connections when we are unable to or our partners continually disappoint. • 95% of sexual addicts are unable to relationally sooth. (Leedes, 1999) • Fantasies can generate beliefs about worthiness, responsiveness, and affirmation.
Hungry touch vs. Selfless touch Touching is the most powerful way to establish a human relationship. Touching contains more than physical touch; it also includes emotional and spiritual touch. Hungry touch is about grabbing and wanting something Selfless touch brings comfort Hungry touch does not bring about mutual giving and receiving Selfless touch brings about tender Acts of communication