Mind-benders: When 'Natural' Is Risky – Part I
In science-speak, tasty sugary/fatty food and intense sexual stimulation are the two most potent 'natural reinforcers.' That is, these two perfectly natural attractions are likeliest to affect your brain somewhat like drugs (the term 'drug' includes substances like nicotine and alcohol). Specifically, they produce neurochemical events in the reward circuitry of the brain that are designed to bend your priorities.
This is what makes them risky – their power to reorder your priorities in ways that do not serve you, and that you would not choose if you were thinking clearly. To give an extreme example, in New York City, HIV cases in gay men under 30 have jumped 33% since 2001....
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