THE BLOG
02/29/2012 06:00 pm ET | Updated Apr 30, 2012

Women and Porn: Why More Women Are Watching Than You'd Think

If pornography is the visual equivalent of junk food, then internet porn is the digital equivalent of crack cocaine. And it's not just men who are getting addicted.

Like cocaine, sexual images directly massage our brain's limbic system, releasing a "reward cascade" of brain transmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, norepinephrine and more. Like high-sugar, high-salt, high-fat foods, this supersaturation of everything you ever wanted and more serves only to deaden that very reward system. We need more dopamine, more oxytocin, more norepinephrine. Which leads us to crave more sugar, more salt, more fat, more porn. It's what those prescient geezers in Alcoholics Anonymous called "the phenomenon of craving," 75 years ago. One early female member called it a "tide of overwhelming necessity" and said that she "felt such a sense of panic that I really believed I would die if I didn't get that drink." You might want to cross out "drink" and write in "BBQ chicken pizza," or "cigarette" or "text message..." or "porn break."

We like to picture the compulsive internet porn user as a guy with two-day stubble, a video-monitor tan and pile of dirty Kleenex at his feet. Me? I'm the poor blameless victims of the porn addict's compulsions.

Cough cough (bullsh*t) cough.

The fact is, an estimated 40 percent of internet pornography is viewed by women and, in a 2006 study, 17 percenet of women surveyed self-identified as addicted to internet porn. Thirteen percent of women surveyed admitted to watching porn at the office, although I assume (hope) they postpone their happy endings until they have left their cubicles.

I also assume the numbers will increase as the availability, visual quality and novelty of the stimuli continue to increase.

Before you worry that we're raising a generation of sex fiends -- of either gender -- remind yourself that junk food has been around for a long time now and not everyone is fat. Sure, more Americans are fat than, say, in the Summer of Love, but not everyone is fat. A decade from now, when those XXX images are transmitted directly onto your eyeball by an internet-enabled contact lens, not everyone will spend the day zoning out on porn. But make no mistake: More of us will be, men and women alike.