Brain Studies on Porn Users

Max Planck Institute logoRecent studies assessing brain structure & functioning of porn users:

  1. Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn (2014) - A German study which found 3 significant addiction-related brain changes that correlated with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that the more porn consumed the less activity in the reward circuit, indicating desensitization, and increasing the need for greater stimulation (tolerance).
  2. Cambridge University logoNeural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) - The first in a series of Cambridge University studies found the same brain activity as seen in drug addicts and alcoholics. It also found that porn addicts fit the accepted addiction model of wanting "it" more, but not liking "it" more. The researchers also reported that 60% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn.
  3. Enhanced Attentional Bias towards Sexually Explicit Cues in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014) - "Our findings of enhanced attentional bias... suggest possible overlaps with enhanced attentional bias observed in studies of drug cues in disorders of addictions."

These study results are consistent with 90 internet addiction brain studies, many of which also include internet porn use. In short, there's ample (and growing) peer-reviewed scientific support for the addiction model.

Start here for a brief overview of concepts & science

This article is a short synopsis of some key concepts. For the science behind it, please follow all the links and read this page. Some links go to our articles, which in turn link to studies. For a more in-depth understanding and further evidence see The Research Page. For specific content explore Porn FAQs.


What happens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a receptive female rat? First, you see a frenzy of copulation. Then, progressively, the male tires of that particular female. Even if she wants more, he has had enough. However, replace the original female with a fresh one, and the male immediately revives and gallantly struggles to fertilize her.

Gary's TEDx talk - "The Great Porn Experiment"

Captions also available for 한국의, Chinese, Português, Czech, Deutsch, Estonian, עברית, Hungarian, Italian, Polski, Serbian, Slovak. To see them, click on the 'YouTube' logo to watch on YOUTube. Then, when you get there, click on "CC" for captions (bottom right of screen). Ver YBOP series in Español. Make captions in your own language!

Age 28 - ED: I am healed after 13 months. Viagra was useful.

'Don't Give Up'I am healed after 13 months.  About me and my story you can learn from my blog :

Documentary on Porn's Effects - Preview clips

Meet Fritz (camera operator and editor) and Susanna (journalist), who are creating an independent, trigger-free, documentary called "REWIRED."  Check out their short trailers of a recovered user and the German scientist who did the first brain study on porn users. Stay informed by subscribing to their FaceBook page!


Age 40 - Married: 60 day report - hard mode, and I'm evolving at a fast rate

lionI'm 40, married to a smoking hot woman, we have two kids. For the last year my wife and I have been having serious marital issues. Sex was infrequent and fairly passionless. Two months ago I discovered she was having an online emotional/sexual affair with a facebook friend, and it sent my universe into a tail spin.

Top 4 Arguments for Porn Use: Are They Valid? (L. Hatch PhD)

guy with angel and devil wispering to himShould sex addicts ever use pornography? Sex addicts who have a variety of other sexually addictive behaviors,  often find excuses for thinking that their internet porn use is not really a problem and may even be a good thing.  Are they wrong?  Let’s look at some common lines of reasoning that addicts present and my validity score for each one. Read more

Age 20 - It has truly changed me for the better

young guy3 months ago i decided to do nofap & it truly has changed me for the better. Better clarity, thinking... social anxiety & anxiety in general has gone down tremendously.

Age 17 - Confidence up anxiety down

horizonFor the 5 months before starting NoFap, life was  a struggle.  I was fat, not really looking good, depressed, anxiety at its finest and confidence at its lowest.

'Your Brain on Porn' - Father's Network Scotland (book review)

FNS logoNICK THORPE examines emerging evidence of the havoc internet pornography can wreak in our brains, our relationships – and our children.

Age 17 - Mood swings, depression and anxiety gone - worth it!

Guy with 'Yes!' T-shirtToday is my 90th day of no fap and I couldn't feel better! Before no fap I would go through constant mood swings and bouts of depression/anxiety. After about the half way mark began noticing that my life was becoming so much better and that I had little fear when talking to people!

Age 20 - I can honestly say that I was a COMPLETELY different person a year ago

young guyIt was a year ago that I first joined this site. Little did I know how much my life would change in one year.


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