Understanding the “Anticipatory High”

Distraction and emotional escape, no matter how it is induced, is the goal with all addictions.

The high of sex/porn addiction comes from fantasy and anticipation, not from actual sex. For an analogy, consider a cocaine addict on payday. After receiving his check, he runs to the bank to exchange it for cash, then dashes off to his dealer’s house to buy drugs with money that he actually needs for food, rent, childcare, and the like. As he approaches the dealer’s house, his heart races, he’s sweating, and he is so obsessed and preoccupied with using that he doesn’t even notice the police car parked a block away. He is so completely focused on cocaine that the day-to-day world, with all of its problems and obligations, has temporarily receded. Is he not already high? He has escaped from his life, his decision-making is distorted, and he has lost touch with reality. It doesn’t matter that there are no actual drugs in his system, because his brain is pumping out dopamine and other pleasure-related neurochemicals as if there are. This is the exact same high that sex and porn addicts experience.

Just for Today
Pay attention to your desire to escape into sexual fantasy and behaviors.