Sex therapist Dr. Carol Clark talks about dopamine and other brain chemistry and sex addiction.
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Brain Chemistry and Sex Addiction On behalf of tvlesson.com, I'm Dr. Carol Clark, a sex therapist with drcarolclark.com. Let’s talk about the brain chemistry of sex addiction. Addiction is about stimulation, plain and simple. Stimulation can come from drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, food and sex. What happens when our brains get stimulated is dopamine is the primary brain chemical that’s released. Some adrenalin and cofilins are also released. And these provide stimulation and pleasure to the brain. And when we become sexually addictive, we need more and more to get that stimulation. We want more and more stimulation to feel that pleasure. And what our brain does is it tries to maintain a balance. It tries to maintain homeostasis and so it begins shutting down dopamine receptors. That means as we do more and more to feel that heightened sense of pleasure, the brain responds by shutting down and we still feel the same sense of pleasure that we did when we weren’t experiencing as much stimulation. So as we do more and more behaviors, we release more and more dopamine and then we try to stop, then we no longer have the dopamine that we had before we were doing the addictive behaviors. And we experience depression and anxiety because we’re trying to get that pleasure back. And regular activities, normal activities that used to make us feel good no longer do. So having sex with a partner that you really love is just not exciting as all the sexual behaviors that you were doing when you were doing your addiction. So it’s going to take about six months to recover and get back that dopamine that the brain naturally releases. And that’s a little bit about brain chemistry in sex addiction. On behalf of tvlesson.com, this has been Dr. Carol Clark. Thank you for watching.