I'm not an addict. What happens if I "reboot?"
Different types of brain changes may occur when you use Internet porn: psychological, conditioning and addiction related. All involve neuroplastic alterations in the structure of nerve cells and their connections. No clear line separates psychological or conditioning from addictive changes.
For example, is it conditioning, or a “numbed pleasure response” that has someone craving a particular fetish or genre of porn? Or is it both? This video presents the science behind adolescent sexual conditioning and Internet porn - Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn.This reddit thread addresses this same question - Who here doing NoFap isn't/wasn't an "addict?"
Subtle effects can show up even before one crosses the line into addiction. Two progressive changes to be on the lookout for are desensitization and sensitization. Desensitization is a “blunted pleasure response.” It manifests as escalation into more extreme material or more time spent watching porn. Sensitization involves formation of more compelling memory circuits for porn use. This manifests as cues (seeing a picture, stress, being alone) triggering the urge to use porn. The more sensitized your brain, the more automatic a behavior becomes.
This man decided to reboot early in the process, and shared his experience:
I am a 22 yr old male and have somewhat recently (33 days) started my no PMO. I wouldn't consider myself a serious addict, but i was watching porn and masturbating probably since fifteen. In college it was easier to do so, so I prob masturbated a little bit more, but not too much. I was content masturbating once a day, watching porn. However a few failed hookups occurred and I started to desperately search for answers. I found this site and yourbrainonporn.com and it all made sense.
I am a biology major and all the facts about neurotransmitters and dopamine levels really made me give this a try. I saw results in less than 2 weeks, and I found dropping porn was the easy part. You really just have to make a point in your head that you will never watch porn again. It really does get easy with time, but then again I was not heavily addicted. However I did and still do get urges to masturbate.
All this aside, I just felt better after a couple of weeks: more energy, I was more social, and just more vibrant. I can't thank the people here enough for sharing their information about rebooting with me. Since coming back to this semester of college, I have already had successful sex with 3 different girls and I've never felt more confident sexually. I've never gotten so hard in my life, and I never go limp during sex now. I will continue no PMO for the future for sure, but I feel like I have beat this thing, and because of this I have let up a little. I know for a fact I will never watch porn again.
Another guy's experience: Not addicted, but erections and attraction to GF much improved
Thread: Not completely an addict? [Here are some excerpts:]
I have been fapping for only 2 years and even at that I only fap once every day or two. What I see in this subreddit is that everyone seems to be someone that has been jerking off for years and years. My question is, will I even see any benefits? Since this has not really taken over my life or changed me in any big way, will I still get some of the benefits? I am pretty anxious and it is hard for me to talk to girls. My main reason for doing this is to get more confident, as that is what I heard most fapstronauts experience.
I didn't think i was all that addicted because i only pmo'd once every week or two. But eventually i realized, crap its been 8 years. I havent made it more that 2 weeks in 8 years. So i tried to stop. I couldnt. Every week or two is not that frequent but if one CAN'T make it past a week or two, sorry but he or she has a problem. This is the farthest ive made it in years (27 days) and it has been the biggest struggle in my life. Relapse after relapse. Month after month. Year after year. If i could go back and quit when i was only a couple years in and not that sure how bad it was i definitely would. Dont look back at this and wish you had gotten things under control when it was easy.
Yes, regret about the past is what haunts me most these days. So much opportunities lost...
You see people who have been jerking for years and years because it's hard to stop on your own. I's a poison, very subtle one, and you don't see it coming. You think you are perfectly fine until the very moment when you have the opportunity to talk to an amazing woman and you just sit there, brain overloaded with images of dicks and vaginas, you are sweating, your stomach is tied in a knot, and you realize you can't think of anything funny or engaging to say. The opportunity ends, she's gone to find normal people and you have no idea what just happened, why did your body betrayed you like that. So you go home and fap to feel better. It's a vicious cycle. Even people who somehow manage to find a spouse ruin their lives with excessive fapping. Masturbation is not your friend.
I don't think I'm severely addicted to porn either, but I've benefitted greatly from it. More energy, more motivation to get with real women. Try it out and see if you benefit, I'm sure you will.
No one knows what percentage of porn users - who were not prone to addiction - are having difficulties, but as of 2016, nearly 30% of men who use porn are reporting problems, or testing as having problems. (The first of those two studies also reported that half of porn users have escalated to material they once found "uninteresting" or "disgusting.") This suggests that men who would never have been prone to serious problems had streaming porn not arrived, are suffering from porn-related problems.