A new study out of the University of California Los Angeles suggests porn addiction does not exist.
Researchers found that people who said they had trouble controlling their consumption of pornography did not show a typical addiction response to sexual images. With addiction, increased brain activity is expected in response to relevant stimuli—heroin in the case of a drug addict, for example. But the porn study’s participants showed decreased brain activity in response to pornography, according to the paper published in the scientific journal Biological Psychology.
The decreased brain activity could be a result of habituation to sexual images, but that’s a phenomenon not typically seen with addiction.
“This finding is important, because it shows a reversal of a part of the brain response that has been consistently documented in other substance addictions and gambling disorder,” said researcher Nicole Prause. This builds on a previous study conducted by the same researchers in which they found no connection between the extent of participants’ pornography problems and their brain responses to sexual images.