Is porn a bigger challenge for religious people?

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Religious upbringing can make porn addiction more compellingIt can be. “Sin” is a surprisingly powerful aphrodisiac. The rational mind thinks that risk (a threat of punishment, for example) makes an activity less appealing, but the mammalian brain can actually register risk as more appealing. Risky things (like sky diving, for example) raise dopamine. This means fears of roasting in hell can too.

Not only that, dopamine goes even higher when a payoff is uncertain. So if someone goes through a passionate moral struggle (or any other powerful emotional buildup) before he climaxes, s/he is raising her/his dopamine.

The situation is actually similar to that of a flasher, who warms up with an intensely exciting pre-game ritual before he goes out to strut his stuff. Dopamine is all about anticipation. So a "guilt-ridden porn user" is actually raising his dopamine when he "wrestles with his soul." That can throw him into an altered state in which acting out is very compelling. It can also make the ultimate payoff (sexual satiation) more intense—and addictive (in part because it produces more of a low afterward).

The bottom line is that as long as there’s intense inner conflict, there's unlikely to be much progress in finding a healthy sexual balance. The struggle itself is just too stimulating/enticing. For this reason, support groups that emphasize religious guilt can make cravings worse.

If you are religious, it’s more efficient to ease your way past the orgasm reflex by realizing that overstimulation naturally leads to compulsion, and reboot. Also, do not threaten yourself, or beat up on yourself if you should have to start your reboot again. Be compassionate toward yourself, laugh if you can, and learn to work around whatever triggered you.

For more, see Does it help to view porn use as immoral? and The Right Masturbation Advice.