Chapter Six: The Road to Excess (2008)
Have a look at "The Road to Excess," Chapter Six from from our book Cupid's Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships. It deals with porn recovery. Here's the chapter summary, and a link to PDF of the entire chapter.
- Our environment has dramatically changed, but our reward circuitry and mammalian brain have lagged behind. The capacity to binge on food and sex evolved when sugary foods and sexual opportunities were scarce.
- Now we face an array of supernormal stimuli, which tamper with our reward circuitry, leading to withdrawal symptoms, cravings for more stimulation, and, sometimes, more permanent brain changes.
- Low dopamine is behind withdrawal symptoms, but it spikes when we see a cue we associate with relief. Intense cravings, and often compulsions, can result. They make the return to equilibrium very challenging.
- We have lost many of the rewards of close companionship that our ancestors enjoyed, which makes us more susceptible to overindulging, addictions, and compulsions.