Pleasure and Pain: Power and the Arousal Neuropathway (Part II)

In part I, we reconsidered the arousal neuropathway as the addictive neuropathways have been on our minds of late. We established that the sexual activities that activate the arousal neuropathway, which is about excitement, pleasure, and intensity, can include the exertion of power over another person.

Pleasure and Pain: Power and the Arousal Neuropathway (Part I)

In the last post, we considered the four addiction neuropathways—arousal, satiation or numbing, fantasy, and deprivation. If you missed it, we talked about how addicts tend to self-select the substance or compulsive behavior of choice (there’s usually a primary addiction, even if there are others present) based on how they want to alter their feelings.

The Big Danger Christian Sex Addicts in Recovery Need to Watch Out For

Let me tell you a story about a man named Joe.

 

(Joe isn’t a real person. I made him up so I could tell you this entirely fictional story about him. But in a way, Joe is real enough, as you’ll see in a moment.)

 

Joe seems like a normal guy. He’s well-liked by his coworkers. He loves his wife and children. He hosts backyard barbecues in the summer on weekends for friends and family. His faith is important to him and he’s a respected leader in his church.

 

By all appearances, he’s an outstanding guy.

 

But Joe has a secret.

Why Your Sex Addiction Was Helpful

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? How could sex addiction ever be helpful?

 

By definition, sex addiction is a pattern of unhealthy sexual behaviors that are out of control and that create chaos in the addict’s life.

 

As the illness progress, the addict’s pursuit of mood-altering sexual experiences becomes central to his or her existence and life becomes more and more unmanageable.

 

Helpful? Hardly. But because it’s progressive, sex addiction doesn’t start this way. To understand how sex or porn addiction could be helpful, we have to look at the stories that addicts usually tell.

7 Signs You May Have a Problem with Porn Addiction

That we are sexual beings a basic fact of our humanity. Our survival depends on gratifying our sexual desires to perpetuate the species. So just as we need to satisfy our drives to eat and drink, we also experience sexual desires that long to be fulfilled. With the explosion of technology over the last twenty years and the birth of the Internet, it’s no surprise that we’ve found many ways of satisfying our sex drive online with pornography.

 

Many people use online pornography casually: they use porn infrequently and their interest isn’t sustained over time; they don’t feel guilt or shame as a result of their viewing porn; they seek out porn and cybersex activities occasionally for fun or curiosity; they find real intimacy and relationships more fulfilling than porn.

 

For many others, however, the story is quite different. So common is compulsive consumption of porn that “porn addiction” is now recognized as one form of sex addiction. To understand at-risk porn use, then, we need to take a quick glimpse at sex addiction.

Sex, God, and Our Longing for Intimacy (Part 2)

Just as spirituality is an expression of our desire to experience an authentic, meaningful relationship with God, sexuality is the expression of our innate desire to connect with others and to know and be known intimately and completely. Certainly, in our closest, most satisfying non-sexual relationships, in knowing the other we discover more fully who we are.

 

For instance, a woman supports a recently divorced friend by meeting her at a coffeeshop for lunch, and her friend tearfully tells her that she has always been a calm, steady presence in her life. A groom exchanges a silent look with his best man that communicates the depth of his appreciation and love after many long years of faithful friendship. In such relationships, we encounter ourselves while encountering the other in unexpected and sometimes challenging ways that solitary self-reflection does not afford. However, even in these relationships, we, to quote the apostle Paul, “know only in part” (1 Cor 13:12), and we long to know and be known fully.