Your Brain on Porn

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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. You can repeat this process with fresh females until he is completely wiped out.

This is called the Coolidge effect—the automatic response to novel mates. Interestingly, men ejaculate more motile sperm and they do it more quickly when they view a novel porn star. This powerful automatic response to erotic novelty is what started you down the road to getting hooked on internet porn.

Studies linking porn use or porn/sex addiction to sexual dysfunctions, lower brain activation to sexual stimuli, and lower sexual satisfaction

Reality Check - Regardless of what you may read in some journalistic accounts, multiple studies reveal a link between porn use and sexual performance problems, relationship and sexual dissatisfaction, and reduced brain activation to sexual stimuli.

Let's start with sexual dysfunctions. All studies assessing young male sexuality since 2010 report historic levels of sexual dysfunctions, and startling rates of a new scourge: low libido. Documented in this article.

Brain Studies on Porn Users

This page lists all the studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users. To date every study offers support for the porn addiction model. The results of these 26 studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 170+ Internet addiction brain studies, many of which also include internet porn use. All support the premise that internet porn use can cause addiction-related brain changes, as do 10 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

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

Captions also available for other languages, including 한국의, Chinese, Português, Czech, Deutsch, Estonian, עברית, Hungarian, Italian, Polski, Serbian, Slovak. Vietamese. 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 42 - went all the way with my wife without chemical support for the first time pretty much since we've met.

I've been PMO free for 46 days now. Can't believe what just happened: went all the way with my wife without chemical support for the first time pretty much since we've met. Completely out of the blue - this is a huge morale boost and I'm more than ever determined to stay clean for good. The prospect of being able to get rid of ED meds is amazing.

Way more motivated focused & energetic, More confident & able to hold eye contact, Tons more attention from women

I'll try and keep this short and sweet. Been doing no fap for a while now but had never been able to get past about 15 days or so. This summer I somehow managed to get past that wall and get to 60 days, then to 77. I was now just thinking back on the changes in my life since and while I can't draw a cause-effect relationship to nofap, I'm sure it is almost directly because of it. So here they are:

Age 50 - Not only am I waking up with hardons in the morning, when I do the nasty with the wife IT STAYS HARD

This is THE LONGEST I've ever gone in my life. Not only am I waking up with hardons in the morning, when I do the nasty with the wife IT STAYS HARD! Since she just got off birth control (she is weaning herself off - she's 52) -- we bang for a bit and then she finishes me off. AND IT STAYS HARD!!!!

70 Years Old, Finally Free of a 50+ Year Addiction to Porn!

I talk with Ross Smith, recovered porn addict who is now living the happiest time of his life and hopes to help others recover by sharing his experiences.

Visit for more from Noah.