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 arousal, and lower sexual & relationship 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. 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 lay article and in this literature review by the US Navy.

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 (no studies falsify the porn addiction model). The results of these 29 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 180+ 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 25 - Cured my PIED, better orgasms

I've held onto a regret for about 5 years and always wanted to do something about it. When I first started NoFap that little picture of the astronaut to the right had less than 10,000 beside it. It is amazing to see that it has grown 20 times that since then and obviously helped so many people. I've always wanted to tell my story of Porn, Masturbation and Orgasm and the effect that it has had on me and my life.

Age 27 - Stopped procrastinating, Longer attention span, More energy, Strong morning wood

I started nofap in December 2014. I went 6 months without any relapse before I choked my chicken. I immediately went back on nofap wagon only to keep falling from it in every 30-40 days. So, this is the second time I have achieved the streak of 90 days. Since the start, I must have had 12-14 relapses in total.

Age 48 - ED gone, virility returned, relationship better

3 Month report from a healthy middle aged (48) twice married guy with erectile dysfunction who remembers cutting out swimsuit ads from the newspaper and taping them up in the shower in 1985 (I know some of you whippersnappers have not had sex or been married or had to resort to using the underware section of the 30 LB Sears catalog for fapping material but maybe this will help you from making some of the same mistakes I did.)