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 100 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"

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Study: Does Compulsive Sexual Behavior Really Exist? Psychological, Relational, and Biological Correlates of Compulsive Masturbation in a Clinical Setting (2015)

researchersYBOP Comments: In this study, compulsive masturbators were younger than other subjects and had higher rates of erectile dysfunction. It goes without saying that compulsive masturbation in today's young men would be associated with internet porn use. Compulsive masturbation was associated with higher anxiety and depression, but with less phobic anxiety and obsessive compulsive symptoms. Study's Conclusion:

"Compulsive masturbation represents a clinically relevant cause of disability, given the high level of psychological distress reported by subjects with this condition, and the severe impact on quality of life in terms of interpersonal relationships."

Age 20 - Quit biting my nails, got a girlfriend, better mood

young guyNever in my life I thought I could do this, when I came across no fap I never had any intentions for it I just thought: Lets see how long I can last for. That's it.

Age 22 - PE and a little ED gone now like they never existed

happy guyI suffered some sort of PE and a little ED, All gone now, gone like they never even existed. I have healthier erections like I have never seen before, more control as well.

Age 25 - You will be the best version of yourself without porn

happy guyHi there, I've seen you around here. Just reading some post and wondering if it might be better to stop porn too. And everybody who makes a post here says it is. But why?

Age 26 - I feel like a totally different person. I was totally unaware of damage porn had inflicted

young coupleStarted my nofap right after Valentines Day. Quit porn and fapping cold turkey. The flatline was a crazy low in my life, no libido, no urges whatsoever for like several weeks, but I persevered.

ED is cured. Relations with my wife of many years have normalized & my porn obsession has ended

affectionate coupleI just wanted to post a 6 month follow up. Hopefully someone can find it encouraging. I firmly believe that nofap provides incredible improvements to many facets of life and hope that everyone else feels the same improvements I do.

90 days - Married: Sharing what has FINALLY gotten me to this point in my life

happy coupleI've been PMO free for more than 90 days. I don't post a lot on but I feel the need to share what has helped me along the way as I know you're all struggling right along with me...fighting the good fight.

Age 34 - NoFap got me to stop playing the victim card

happy guyI wasn’t planning on writing a 90-day report on various reasons: first of all, there’s already a lot of them and I wasn’t sure if I had something new to say. Furthermore, I was sort of cheating during my streak.

Mild addiction & PIED: I think I'm cured

guy at guyBefore I begin, FUCK PORN and I’m unexplainably happy that it’s out of my life. Here’s my story. I appreciate the read,  I tried to make this post a little humorous.

Age 23 - Unemployed, single, depressed, habitual fapper => NoFap N' Stuff => Job, ladies, grad school, willpower, etc.

launchDAY 1 I was unemployed out of college, living with my parents, single, and had a porn problem that was destroying my life. Brain fog made intelligible thought near impossible, and anxiety made social contact a terrifying obligation.


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