Monday, March 25, 2013
by Phillip L. Hansen
The following is an excerpt from the e-book Inspiration to Live By: Power and Freedom to Choose.
Sexual pleasure is one of the most intense human experiences. Physically speaking, when a man or woman reaches sexual excitement, nerve endings release a chemical into the brain called “opioid.” “Opioid” means opium-like and is a good description of the power of this chemical. Apart from a heroin-induced experience, nothing is more physically pleasurable than sex. This is a wonderful thing in a committed marriage relationship, because it helps to bond two people together and bring joy to living together and building a relationship.
There can be a downside to the pleasure of sex, however. If sexual experiences happen outside of marriage and are constantly repeated, a sex act can move from being a simple pleasure to an addiction. Instead of being bonded with a person, you become bonded to the act itself. If the sexual experiences are pornography, your flesh will instantly recall the images you viewed for “re-lusting” purposes. These images are stamped into your brain with the aid of hormones released during sexual arousal.
If sexual experiences happen repeatedly with members of the same sex, a homosexual addiction will result. Sex will no longer be a matter of choice and the will, but will become a “must have at any cost” obsession. Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Texas, and Harvard University, explains how sexual pleasures can overpower the will in Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth. “In very short order,” writes Satinover, “unregulated sexual tendencies become habits, then compulsions, and finally something barely distinguishable from addictions.”1
The process is not simply a theory. There are actual physical changes that take place in the brain. Satinover points to the neocortex area of the brain — where the human will resides — comprising neurons or brain cells connected to each other by synapses. These neurons are slowly connected or disconnected from other neurons over time, depending upon one’s experiences. As a result, one’s choices of behavior and actions, especially if repeated, actually become imbedded in tissue changes. Satinover notes: “Behaviors become increasingly strengthened through repetition. This strengthening physically alters the brain in a way that cannot be entirely undone, if at all; it is modified with great difficulty.”2
The dangers for young people who are unsure of their sexual identity are especially serious. One study of Minnesota teens found that as many as 10 percent of the teens were uncertain of their sexuality until their later years.3 If you take a teenager who is wrestling with their sexual identity and put this together with experiments in homosexual behavior, a teen may find himself eventually trapped in an addiction that is difficult to break. A 1990 study of homosexual men showed that 37 percent had been seduced into same-sex relationships at an early age.4 According to psychiatrist Charles Socarides:
Childhood sexual seductions are an obvious cause of homosexuality. When these seductions give pleasure and comfort, the same-sex sex can become addictive, especially when it overtakes someone caught up in a traumatic family situation. The sex — too quick and easy — can help relieve a person’s anxiety. Thus, it becomes a kind of habit. Like any habit, smoking for instance, it is acquired by repeated acts. And, like smoking, it is a habit that can be hard to kick. That’s the way it is with addictions that give great pleasure.5
The earlier a person becomes involved in addictive sexual behavior, the more hardened the brain patterns become that reinforce the behavior. The result: an addiction that is difficult to overcome.
1Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), p. 142.
2Ibid., p. 136.
3Gary Remafedi and others, “Demography of Sexual Orientation in Adolescents,” Pediatrics 89 (1992): 714-721.
4Charles W. Socarides, Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far (Phoenix: Adam Margrave Books, 1995), p. 19.