Brain Studies on Porn Users

Max Planck Institute logoRecent studies assessing brain structure & functioning of Internet 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 correlating with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that more porn use correlated with less reward circuit activation while viewing sexual photos. Researchers stated their findings indicated desensitization, and possibly tolerance, the need for greater stimulation.
  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) - The second Cambridge University study: "Our findings of enhanced attentional bias... suggest possible overlaps with enhanced attentional bias observed in studies of drug cues in disorders of addictions. These findings converge with recent findings of neural reactivity to sexually explicit cues in [porn addicts] in a network similar to that implicated in drug-cue-reactivity studies and provide support for incentive motivation theories of addiction underlying the aberrant response to sexual cues in [porn addicts]."

These study results are consistent with 110+ 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.

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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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Age 20 - I stopped living in my head

happy guyBenefits include morning sausage, normal thoughts not always sexual, and I feel rewarded from activities that are beneficial towards my health. Running feels fantastic and I want to run more! (this is a first for me).

ED cured after 9 months, anxiety way better now

happy coupleI was about to lose my virginity for the first time really early in this year. She started giving me head and I went down. We proceeded to try to have sex 4-5 times and every time it would go down after just a few second of penetration.

Don't underestimate how much good comes from quitting

graduationI don't wanna mince words, my story's been heard before, trying to reverse years of habits etc... anyhoo just finished the 90 day challenge. Here's my experience; perhaps it will help you.

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Trading Later Rewards for Current Pleasure: Pornography Consumption and Delay Discounting (2015)

Comments: This paper contains two longitudinal studies examining the effects of Internet porn on "delay discounting." Delay discounting happens when people choose ten dollars right now rather than 20 dollars in a week. It's the inability to delay immediate gratification for a more valuable reward in the future.

Age 19 - Q&A with 1000-day NoFap Jedi

young JediQ: What finally got you to say this was the last straw?

A: I was masturbating for 5+ hours every day and hadnt even realized it until I timed myself.

Q: 3 top tips?

Age 22 - How NoFap saved my life

guy with back packI want to tell you about myself before nofap, while doing the 100 days and how I feel now. I've already submitted this one but I forgot about the time zones, since most of you are American I feel like you deserve this.

5 Things To Avoid So You Don't Relapse!

Keep calm and don't relapseA relapse can be more difficult to deal with than quitting PMO in the first place. Generally, if you quit, it’s because you’ve made up your mind, you’ve got inspiration and motivation backing your choice. However, a relapse can sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re right back to the start.

Research confirms sharp rise in youthful ED

worried guy in bedroom with girl Young men today appear to be experiencing a sharp increase in ED (and other sexual dysfunctions) since the advent of streaming internet. All studies assessing young male sexuality since 2010 report historic levels of erectile dysfunction, and startling rates of a new scourge: low libido.

Study: Unusual masturbatory practice as an etiological factor in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in young men (2014)

J.Sexual.MedCOMMENTS: One of the 4 case studies in this article (reproduced below) reports on a man with porn-induced sexual problems (low libido, fetishes, anorgasmia). The sexual intervention called for a 6-week abstinence from porn and masturbation. After 8 months the man reported increased sexual desire, successful sex and orgasm, and enjoying "good sexual practices."

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