Are some cravings unrelated to dopamine?

Submitted by davidphd1866 on
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This is somewhat embarrassing, but I have finally worked up the nerve to ask...I searched the forum for answers but could find nothing specific:

If an otherwise normal male is both a chronic AND acute masturbator (deadened dopamine receptors, elevated prolactin levels, lowered testosterone levels) and suffers all of the symptoms associated with that, MIGHT some of his cravings be something other than a simple desire for a dopamine increase?

Could there be a "legitimate" craving by the body to replace testosterone if chronically and acutely depleted? I have read the post about bathroom sex, and there seems to be something else going on. Could the homosexual "urges" (whatever form that may take) for a normally heterosexual male be the brain's attempt at some sort of hormone replacement therapy?

Is there an endocrinologist in the house?

There's a lot to learn, but

as explained in my testosterone blog, I see no evidence of testosterone as a player in the effects of porn, masturbation, or other sexual behaviors. In fact, all evidence points to the reward circuitry and central to that - dopamine.

This doesn't mean that other neurotransmitters are not players, but their mechanisms would be to directly or indirectly affect the reward circuitry.

Cravings are the job of the reward circuit. The paradox is:
1) When our reward circuitry is undestimulated (low dopamine, low oxytocin, low dopamine receptors) we crave more stimulation to bring it back to "normal".
2) When the reward circuit is being over-stimulated we often want more stimulation. For example, smooching someone, we want further stimulation. Eating a Lays potato chip, we want more. After a nice meal, we want a glass of wine, a dessert, a cigarette.

So -
No, there is no craving to replace testosterone - since it has not declined due to sexual activity. TESTOSTERONE IS NOT USED UP.
The craving mechanism is same as in all addictive processes. The user needs more and more stimulation to get the same amount of reward circuit activity. If it's not new, or novel, then little or no dopamine is released to stimulate the circuit.This relates to everything, not just porn.