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.

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 24 studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 150+ 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 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

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

Captions also available for 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!

I used to be that weird boy who never spoke; my self confidence has skyrocketed

I found NoFap about 50 days ago as of May 24th 2016, and I was quickly sucked into all the stories and achievements of all its members, so I decided to partake.

  • The first few days were the hardest, I had a very strict fapping schedule that, if broken, would wreak psychological hell on me.
  • After day 5 the effects began to subside, although I will admit that I was horny 24/7 and still looking for any excuse to get off.

Age 28 - Sexual interaction with girlfriend far deeper, and sex drive much stronger

I have finally done it. 90 days. Here are my observations. First of all, the difference between this attempt and all my failed attempts was that I was very clear with myself about this one. I wrote it down on a piece of paper, I kept that paper in my wallet. Thus, whenever I would open my wallet. (At least once a day) I would see my commitment.

Sixteen months, girlfriend, dying urges for porn, good habits

Dear people of the world - This is the end of the road for me. There is nothing more to see here. Nofap is a great resource: the posts of motivation, the help against and failure, the way to recoup after a relapse. They are what got me through the first sixteen months of this thing.

More on Porn: Guard Your Manhood—A Response to Marty Klein, by Philip Zimbardo & Gary Wilson

Marty Klein wrote a reaction to our original post on how porn is shaping young men’s sexual response. Klein suggested that science doesn’t empirically support our assertion of  unprecedented rates of sexual dysfunctions in young men. In fact, all studies assessing young male sexuality since 2010 report historic levels of sexual dysfunctions and startling rates of low libido. Erectile dysfunction (ED) rates range from 27 to 33 percent, while rates for low libido (hypo-sexuality) range from 16 to 37 percent. The lower ranges are taken from  studies involving teens and men 25 years old and under, while the higher ranges are from studies involving men 40 years old and under. Read the entire article

Age 24 - Erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and performance anxiety cured in 1 month

I was with a girl for 2 years. I was never able to ejaculate when having sex with her! Not even once. A few times only with my hand (after she finished) and still, this would take a while. We broke up one year ago (not for this reason).