Porn FAQs

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Porn addiction questions Welcome to our FAQ page. If you have a question, ask it below. (After registering, click on "Add new comment.") The answers are based on years of hard-won wisdom shared by recovering users, whose comments are sometimes included along with relevant research. Most questions have multiple links.

If you want to understand the underlying mechanisms and brain changes behind porn addiction and related symptoms watch Your Brain On Porn Series and Adolescent Brain Meets Highspeed Internet Porn. 

For more details on the science, read Start here for an overview of key concepts and follow the links, or visit the Articles section.


Sexual Problems

Rebooting Basics (see rebooting)

Rebooting Challenges

Rebooting With a Partner:

Internet Porn Addiction:

Masturbation, Ejaculation, Prostate:

Odds & Ends:



 

Comments

Cool. One question: do we know how many addicted men have been able to achieve lasting sobriety from porn addiction?

There are no adequate studies on Internet porn use, let alone addiction or recovery. (Some studies we think are useful are here: http://yourbrainonporn.com/sex-addiction)
Addiction to Internet porn is not recognized by most psycotherapists or sex researchers. For the moment, the phenomenon is way ahead of health-care provider training.

I know recovery means never looking at, or masturbating to, internet porn again. How long without either does the brain need to rewire and recover? I think I've seen both six weeks and two months as estimates on the website. Would about six weeks to two months be a good estimate? Or is there a more precise timeline? This question isn't that important, because it'll take as long as it takes, but I'm just starting recovery and would like to know what to expect, because even six weeks from now seems like an eternity.

ace8

it basically depends on the person. I think it's been said, that older men who have looked at the hi speed porn recover faster because that grew up on either no porn, or just VHS & a magazine each month. The younger you were when you started, combined with how long it's been done, is what contributes to the severity of withdrawal & how long it will take to reboot.

Hi I've given up porn because I realised it was having a detrimental effect on my sexual performance - I can only orgasm by myself watching porn.

I have not watched porn for 7 days now, and don't intend to watch any in the future. However I have just started dating a great girl, who understands that I have a problem with porn and performance. Can I still have sex with her, despite my inability to orgasm with her? Do you think this will impede my recovery?

Check out this link - http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-with-a-partner

On our other website ( http://www.reuniting.info/tracker ) we talk a lot about another way to make love. It's called Karezza. It involves gentle intercourse, without orgasm. It may not be what you have in mind, but its the best approach for someone going through a reboot.

This link describes it - "Another Way to Make Love"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/another-way-to-make-love

This link talks about bonding behaviors - "The Lazy Way to Stay in Love"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/the-lazy-way-to-stay-in-love

Whatever you do - do NOT try to force an erection or orgasm with fantasy, as that is overriding your brain saying no.

I read that often sexual addiction is inherited - I know my father, who is in his mid-80's (yup, still going strong!) has this problem, and feels ashamed so never talks about it. But my mother told me.
I have also got this problem, but I don't know if how inevitable it was. I certainly can't blame him.
What I am worried about is my 6-y-o son. Is he very likely to suffer from this when he gets older? Is there anything I can do to help?
I plan for him to grow up in a house where there isn't any porn lying around, and where he can talk freely about such issues in a supportive environment if needed.
I doubt there is much else I can do, but I'm just raising the topic because I'm concerned...

Give me a link if you have one.

Anyhow, the answer is a big no. Technically, only "single gene disorders" are purely heritable, in that under the right circumstances the gene is used (expressed) and you get a very specific disorder, such as muscular dystrophy or hemophilia.

Most diseases and all behaviors result from the interaction of multiple genes and the environment. When it comes to addiction one can inherit certain genes that increase the risk of becoming an addict. However, the activation of the genes is dependent on environment such as parents, peers, diet, schooling, psychological trauma, on & on.

Even if the genes are highly active, or other genes deactivated, it may not lead to a specific behavior. When you read that there's a gene for smoking, or for addiction, or for being gay, it's simply not so.

The best example is Internet porn. Hardly anyone in my generation became addicted to porn. Guys never discussed it, and I've been in a lot of locker rooms and bars in my life. We talked about real women, or who was the hottest Charlies Angel. We all know what's happening in 2011, nearly every young guy is masturbating to porn, and millions are addicted. Our genes have not changed in one generation, but our environment sure has.

....better stop blaming my dad!

Interesting that you mentioned guys discussing things, I think discussion is something that can really help. One of the characteristics of porn addiction seems to be that it is a solitary, even secretive affair. When I met my wife, and we talked about porn, it came as such a relief that I could talk to her about it - like a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

I think it was a book called "Out of the Shadows", by Patrick Carnes, where I read (a long time ago) that it was inherited. But I have read it in other places too.

Anyway, thanks for your comments, as usual they make perfect sense!

was coined before the Internet existed. I strongly oppose placing Internet porn addiction into the catch all category of sex addiction. Although porn existed before the Internet, sex addiction was used to described addiction to having lots of casual sex with actual people, as in Tiger Woods. I suspect this form of out of control behavior is relatively rare when compared to internet porn use. The vast majority of men that arrive at our two sites would never become "sex addicts". For them it's Interent porn, and nothing else. In fact, most state they would prefer a loving, monogamous relationship, over the revolving door of a hookup scene.
This link describes how Internet porn is different from porn of the past
http://yourbrainonporn.com/how-is-internet-porn-different-from-porn-of-t...

When I was a young man I was introduced to Porn at an early age, I’d say between 11-12 years old. Since then I have watched porn and have masturbated continuously. I started watching porn on my own when I was around 19 years old, since than I haven’t stopped now I am 27. I had my first sexual encounter when I was 16 years old. It was the best feeling that I ever had. My past relationship ended when I was 17 and for four years I was abstinent. During those years I watched porn like a mad man, I masturbated 3-6 times a day, I guess to deal with the loneliness and all the other problems that were going on in my life at the time. Nearing the end of my fourth year I met the love of my life whom I am now married too. We have been together for 5 years now 3 of those years of which we have been married. During those years I noticed that I didn’t enjoy sex no where near as much as I did when I was a teenager, it took my much longer to ejaculate, though my wife did like that I secretly wasn’t receiving the amount of pleasure that I was looking for. The problem also is that even though I am married and having sex I still masturbated 3-6 times a day, only just recently I started masturbating 1-3 because I realize that there is a major problem. I have no problems at all getting an erection when it comes to sex, the problem I do have is that when I am inside of my wife, it doesn’t feel sensual to me as it use too when I was a teenager it almost feels like nothing. Now I’m trying to get my life together because my thoughts have been going to other women in order to get the same pleasure response that I had those years ago. I realize that that is the wrong thing to do because it would not solve the problem. What I wanted to know is how long does anyone think it would take a guy like me to recover from this and what are the best stops that I should take to feeling the true pleasures of a real woman again? (How long would it take me to reboot my brain?)

Thank you

What you are experiencing is very typical - lack of pleasure due to a numbed pleasure response. Although you don't (yet) have ED, the first FAQ - Is my erectile dysfunction (ED) related to my porn use? - will apply to you. Read everything there, especially all the recovery stories.

Here are more stories (rebooting accounts)
http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts

The stories will guide you to how long, and what to expect. Two months of complete abstinence gets most guys over the hump, but it doesn't mean you are home free.

Most guys give up all porn, (and, for a time) masturbation, and orgasm, so if you continue to have orgasm with your wife it may take longer. We don't know. But keep in mind that this is not a race to a finish line. This is a choice to give up all porn. If you stay away from all porn and all fantasy, you will heal.

The key is to commit to letting go of porn, and doing what's necessary to accomplish that goal. This is an addiction, so explore the - tools for change - tab above to learn how to overcome this addiction.

Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.
Good luck

the first two video series in the right-hand margins, be sure to watch them. Then you'll know a lot more about what's happening and why.

All the best!

Hi!
First all the thanks for the informations from this site. I do have one question which answer I couldn't find.
Im 24 years old and I have been overmasturbating on porn every day for years. With overmasturbating I really mean excessively. The last 3 years I noticed one thing I can't understand. When I masturbate and ejaculate on porn I can't fall asleep. I ''feel'' being without feelings, hard to focus the next day, I do feel something is happening in my brain, like the part of my brain is swelling and tense. I feel like a robot. I tried being without PMO 1 week and it really felt good at first but later I got one stressful situation that caused me to come back to my bad habit. It was like I forgot I'm rehabilitation from PMO.
So my question is what is happening in my brain so I can't fall asleep after masturbating on porn? I had many nights I didn't sleep at all.
I would really like to understand this so I will have more facts and reasons to abstain from PMO for unlimited period.
Thank you for answering!

Don't know why it would cause insomnia. Maybe it's the porn, and not the masturbation, that is the trouble maker. Have you escalated into some weird porn? Maybe your body (brain) is trying to tell you something.

I suggest to keep on keeping on with the reboot process. If you relapse, just start again. You may be pleasantly surprised in the end.

You're right it's the porn. When i masturbated on the girl i see in my mind (imaginatiion) it was everything okey... when masturbating i was very excited and after that i was tired, satisfied from hoornines and felt asleep, but when i masturbate on porn it's like my dopamine level never shuts down and keeps me excited the whole night. It¨s amaizing and quite unbelievable that brain can differ that thing in it's outcome, i mean absolutely amaizing. I decided to abstinate from PMO for a month and after that never look at porn again.I will also find a girlfriend. I remember after actually having sex it was the same outcome as masturbating on my imagination (more amaizing with actual sex ofcourse) ;) I will also replace my response on stressfull informations with running instead of masturbating on porn. I will try my best.
Thanks for asnwering!

this article interesting. Maybe your brain knows there are more "mates" to fertilize online, so it doesn't let you rest. "Porn, Novelty and the Coolidge Effect‏" http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201108/porn-no...

hey everyone,

I am new here, I discovered this site after I developed HOCD, now my problems is that, I use to watch pornography alot when I was younger, maybe 10 or 11, I dont know if it is an addiction, but I sure did watch alot of it, it started from mild porn, maybe pictures and stuff then it progressed to actual videos, then to lesbian porn (which I really enjoyed for quite a while), then on and on...at first when I discovered pornography, it was quite stimulating, I had pornographic thoughts in my mind 24/7. But it seems that I would tire out alot of this stuff, and search for novelty, such as lesbian porn, or porn of women being penetrated by machines (sorry to be graphic), I even gave beastiality porn a try (which I feel ashamed to say, was actually stimulating), by that time lesbian porn seemed soooo boring, nvm pictures. The novelty came when I accidentally discovered tranny porn, then.....sigh....cringe...gay porn. That was when my HOCD kicked in...I thoughtt I must be a homosexual. But then again it didnt make sense, because I have always liked girls, especially blonde girls and I still do, and I dont like dudes, it doesnt make any sense. Because I dont like men. And I still dont, no matter what HOCD tries to tell me.

Now I find it hard to be turned on just by pictures, I tried rebooting for three days, after day three I was imagining mild porn thoughts in my head, and I THOUGHT I was getting turned on by them, so I guess I got confident, and I searched up mild porn pictures, and tried to MB to them, I guess I had erectile dysfunction, and I found it so hard to climax...but if it was 7 or 8 years ago, I would have no problem, it would take less than a half a minute. I wanted to MB so bad during the first two days which were hell, I took at least 4 cold showers a day just to keep the urges to watch porn and MB down, I felt like there was so much sexual energy inside me needing to be released, because I use to MB about 2 to 3 times a day. By day three it was better, and that was when I tried MB'ing to mild core pornography....sigh...I lost so much confidence, should I give it a little longer? or Should I go back to more extreme pornography? Am I beyond repair? I want a girlfriend pretty bad, but I dont want to have sex with her and have erectile dysfunction or fail to climax....that would really drive HOCD overboard. I want to be myself again, like 7 years ago, when I can MB to things that werent so disgusting (I always thought alot of the porn was disgusting, especially to imagine when not MB'ing).

Btw, before I discovered this site, I thought this had to something to do with my pornography use. Everything you wrote has confirmed my suspicions.

-Thanks
TheGeneral

No you are not beyond repair.
Your pattern of escalation is quite typical. Your brain is just looking for more stimulation, that's all. If you have been reading the rebooting accounts, you know 3 days is nothing. If you haven’t read them follow this link -
http://yourbrainonporn.com/rebooting-accounts

If you haven't seen the HOCD material go here and follow all the links - http://yourbrainonporn.com/ask-us-iam-attracted-to-gay-transsexual

For Porn and ED see this question -
http://yourbrainonporn.com/erectile-dysfunction-question

Most guys relapse. Just start again.

Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

I have had this for so long, I remember browsing HOCD sites, and I felt so bad, because I thought I was the only person who would get turned on by these things. I am working on rebooting, its so hard to stop the urges to MB. I take cold showers to kill that feeling. I want a girlfriend, but I dont want to be impotent, that would suck pretty bad..now I understand why these things happen, I feel like I can actually beat HOCD too. Because before, ppl kept on telling me that I must be somwhat homosexual, and it really saddened me, because I felt I was going to have an identity crisis. But now I understand it was all do to the porn I watched before, with your rebooting method, I hope to get my game together again. I am determined to quit MB forever. Because I want to save that energy for truly intimate moments that matter, not stupid time spent MBing. I want my sex drive back, I have close to zero sex drive. I use to get excited at the idea of sex, but not anymore...

It really is as it means your brain was altered by porn use. Just as a drug addict goes through a flat-lined period without their drug, so do many men who quit porn. I suggest reading this -
"HELP!!! I quit porn, but my potency and libido are decreasing." http://yourbrainonporn.com/i-quit-porn-but-my-potency-and-libido-are-dec...

I'll state the obvious - people are ignorant of porn's effects on users. Men have beat HOCD. It's not easy. But you can do it.

Be aware that a large survey found that many straight men use transsexual and gay porn. I bet they did not start there.

yeah, I never found this stuff to be anything until I got bored of everything else, before that, I found it to be really disgusting, and to be honest, I still kind of do, just not as much as before, I really did lose my sex drive, it use to be, I would be so excited at thinking about sex with a girl, but now, nothing. I also agree with your statement on how anxiety can have a profound on porn users, it is sometimes your brain registers anxiety as something else. I hate having HOCD, I know I like girls and not guys, I know that. But I have a question: my friend also often uses pornography, He doesnt have any of my problems? Why is that so?

So you are saying that -
1) his porn use has not escalated into more hardcore stuff;
2) that he could quit porn tomorrow and not miss it;
3) that porn use has not affected the way he views sex or women;
4) and that he has a fulfilling sexual life and good relationships with women.
If that's the case, great.

However, it may not always be so great for him. What we do, think, and expose ourselves to always affects us. Many men happily use porn for years, then they start to notice problems. The problems did not magically appeared, they were due to cumulative changes.

The differences between porn users depends upon genetic and emotional vulnerabilties, length or use, age, upbringing, and how early one starts porn, just to name a few.

hey thanks, I was wondering why our brains are so addicted to shock, for me now, it cant just be sex, it has to have a certain shock value to it. I have to be shocked or get anxiety to have a response or I get ED. Now I think I am moving on from the two type of porn that is causing me distress and HOCD. I find it to be less shocking (and less arousing) then before, and yet I dont think I found something else to move on to. So I guess here it is a good time to reboot, just turn off the computer and do something else. I am getting ED, because I have gotten over the above mentioned two type of porno, and nothing turns me on. Which I am happy with, because I could live with ED and stuff, just not with HOCD. And also, I am completely sure I do not like men. I just dont, I have had a trillion crushes on girls and not once on men.

That's the answer.

Maybe you have heard of adrenaline junkie, There's no such thing. The brain has only a few basic responses, and one is fear based, which increases dopamine and another brain chemical norepinepherine. Both activate the reward circuitry. Once you have numbed your reward circuitry with excessive porn use, you turn to shock and fear/anxiety producing stimuli u to try to get your jollies. Roller coasters and parachuting are "fun" partly because they activate the reward circuitry, by causing fear.

so basically it feels like the anxiety is activating something in your brain that makes you feel like you like the stuff? Despite it causing you anxiety and shock at the same time? While "normal" pornography does not do the same, or use to do the same job of, releasing dopamine, but I have just tired out the reward circutry? So basically if I manage to reboot, will I still find the shocking and anxiety causing stuff to still be arousing? or Will I go back to finding it disgusting? Anyways, I dont know how to thank you for your help, you have literally saved my life, before I discovered this site, I seriously thought I was turning gay....my HOCD was so strong at that time, I was contemplating taking a dive off the nearest high rise. Because I felt so depressed at that time, I knew I loved girls and I cant love another dude, but why do I have ED? While needing stuff like the above mentioned pornography to shock me into arousal? But now I understand why I am suffering, I have gotten so much better, I am looking for girlfriend, while rebooting at the same time. I feel like I am so relieved that I understand why it is what it is. I never told my therapist my pornography addiction, I was too ashamed...and she never really understood me. I dont ever want to watch pornography again, it nearly cost my life. And I dont want to go back to it. Once again, I want to sincerely thank you. I am much better, and to understand why something works the way it works, is reassurance beyond anything else.

Rebooting will adjust your reward circuitry, so that you will not require extreme stimulation to get aroused. It's the same principal for everyone, which means all the advice and FAQ's also apply to you. Some guys end up addicted to a different set of cartoons - beastiality, feet, rape porn, you name it. Don't take any of the cartoons seriously, they are not you. If Internet porn did not exist, you would have never developed HOCD.

well, I had another relapse, but Ive decided on a new approach, rather then rebooting right now and here, I will tire out these stupid new acquired tastes, in order to treat my HOCD. Once I have tired it out, I will start a new reboot, because I find it tough to reboot and deal with OCD at the same time. Because I need to deal with this first before I can deal with ED. Is this the right way? I know it kind of sounds counter-intuitive...but I hope it will help me.

Going deeper into any addiction will only make recovery harder. No one got better from any addiction by doing more of the same.

Have you watched - YOUR BRAIN ON PORN VIDEO SERIES- to your right?
Or have you read Doidge on Pornography and Neuroplasticity? http://yourbrainonporn.com/doidge-on-pornography-and-neuroplasticity

I suggest you do. You will see that this will not "tire out". You will only strengthen your anxiety neural pathways, and further desensitize your brain.

Realize that this will not be easy, and you will probably relapse, and the only way out is by stopping....and stopping agian.....and stopping again..and again.

Also know that addict brains look for any excuse to resume their addiction. You need to strengthen your higher rational brain, not your addicted limbic brain. What you choose, determines which one get stronger.

I am really happy i found this site. I was under the impression that i was suffering from ED, but always wondered why i am able to get it on when viewing porn but not during real encounters. finally i stumbled on this site and found that so much of this relates to me, so i have started my reboot from today, hope it works.

Glad you found us. good luck with the rebooting process. Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

Thanks mate. But after starting my reboot, i find that i cant control myself from touching and feeling myself. My hands keep touching my genitals n feeling them. Is this ok? or should i stop touching aswell?

This is somewhat common and counterproductive. The more you fiddle the more you maintain the tension that something might "happen" in your primitive brain.

Two subconcious reasons keep you fiddling:
1) Your dopamine is low, and you want to raise it by stimulating yourself
2) You are checking your equipment to see if the ED is improving.

Every guy who has recovered says to leave it alone.

Hello everyone....I found this website while looking for ways to explain some of my recent sexual struggles and after reading some accounts and details, I think I have found the solution. I have been masturbating since the 7th grade, around when I was 12 or 13. I usually masturbated once a day but as time went on I found some of my dad's pornography videos and started watching every chance I got. Man I can still remember some of my favorite scenes. And that was so long ago. As I got older I started to increase my masturbating frequency and watching porn online. Sometimes I would watch porn and masturbate 4 times a day! Sometimes I just masturbated 2 or 3 times a day. I had a girlfriend all thoughout high school and we never really had a problem sexually except sometimes I couldnt get off from oral. I never really worried about that though. When I started college, I was in a new relationship and in the begining we had a great sex life. And then one day, all of a sudden, I lost my erection while having sex. I was only 22(24 now) and I could not explain it. I never had any physical problems or anxiety problems when it came to sex. So I tried everything. Pills, kegels, even went to my doctor. Nothing worked. And when I continued to not get strong erections and started ejaculating pre-maturely, I started to worry alot, which of course didn't help. I now have to have my girlfriend give me oral to get a strong enough erection. When we kiss I can get an erection, but when I go to penetrate it often disappears and she has to give me oral. And when I do get in, I go in like 2 minutes. It's so frusturating and annoying. Luckily I have a very caring and loving girlfriend:). So to say the least I am happy I came across this site! It seems to be what is causing me these problems. I have not masturbated to porn since Saturday and I know I have a long way to go but I am going to do it! Also, I kind of realized something was wrong when I didn't get morning woods or spontaneous erections, regular porn did not arouse me (sometimes my erection would go down while watching and masturbating to it) and I didn't get turned on by my girlfriend as easily. I also lost a lot of motivation and became lazy, which was not me at all. So I just wanted to make sure that these problems I'm having are caused by excessive masturbation and porn. Thanks for all of the support and look forward to regaining my regular sexual function!

It's highly likely that your problems are associted with porn use. The scenario you describe is typical. Some men have both ED and "premature ejaculation", as you seem to be describing. Not sure why that combination occurs.

Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

So I have a question...even though my problems are mostly from masturbation and porn, I feel that anxiety played some role because of past experiences when I first began having problems...will rebooting from P and M help to ease the anxiety too? If I'm recovered I shouldn't have a problem right?

Anxiety often arises from poor performance caused by porn induced ED. The original cause was porn, but now you have anxiety mixed in due to the "failures". Going slow with a new partner helps, as does a full reboot. Below are 2 rebototing accounts that may help.

Age 19 – Lots of anxiety (ED) - http://yourbrainonporn.com/age-19-lots-of-anxiety-ed

Mid-30s, Long-Term Performance Anxiety (ED) - http://yourbrainonporn.com/mid-30s-long-term-performance-anxiety

Hi Gary, just wanted to check in. I have pretty much kicked the porn and masturbation habit completely. I no longer feel the strong urges as much as I use to. They are still there, of course, but not nearly as strong. I also do not have a problem getting an erection anymore with my girlfreind. Simple kissing does it now. But I'm still having premature ejaculation issues. It's embarassing. Sometimes she'll stroke me while we are kissing and I'll go. I want to have sex but it's hard to calm myself down. Is it because of my regained normal sensitivity and not having sex in awhile, or something else? Is there anything I can do?

you have regained sensitivity, so this is to be expected. As you start to to have regular sex and ejaculations, it may calm down, and you will find a happy medium.

Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

Before I start writing I have to thank you for making me realize that I have addiction, now I have real power to never watch porn again.
I am now one week free off PMO and I have no doubt that I will break free.
I have couple of questions,
I really like to watch movies, tv shows and going to cinema, do I have to stay away from those things in this recovery process and how big danger it is to see sex scene on tv or cinema? I decided deep in my self that porn will never be part of my life again and I am not afraid that accidentally looking at something explicit on tv would make me watch porn but I'm courious if that could slow the process of recovery or make me go backwards( I hope not).

Once again thank you for everything, this website helped me a lot and GOD bless you all.

Ps. sorry for my bad english(I'm from Croatia)...

This addiction cannot be viewed as an all-or-none addiction, such as substance abuse. You will see sexy pictures, or an R-rated sex scene, or porn pop up, or....you name it. Such media will not slow down your progress, because porn addiction has desensitized your brain to "normal stimuli".

The key is to avoid triggers that activate cravings to use porn. Only you can decide what those are.

Hello, thank you for the answer on my last question.
However I was reading some stories on the internet about recovery porn addicts and one thing stuck in my mind.
My question is, when I get recovered( 3 months without PMO), and when things get back to normal, will I be able to have everyday sex, orgasm, ejaculation?
Because some ppl say that orgasm-ejaculation gets you back to watching porn.
I am 23, almost 24 years old, watching porn since...not sure 15,16 maybe.
My recovery is really going to be a full process since I lost every sexual feelings for women, I was completely controled by porn.
And in this 8 days free from PMO I feel so great, that knowing what porn was doing to me and knowing that I realized that watching it is no longer an option.
But this thing about relapsing after starting to having real sex (ejaculation-orgasm) somehow I don't understand it.
I tought that reboot and reset happens and being free of porn is enough to have a good and healthy life...
Thank you for all, I learned a lot on this site, and I will continue reading really interesting stories and articles!!

Yes indeed, too much sexual stimulation or orgasm can create cravings for even more orgasms. We call this the 'chaser effect' and this article explains it - "Do You Need a Chaser After Sex?"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/do-you-need-a-chaser-after-sex

This phenomenon is based on two concepts.

The first is that porn addiction sensitizes the brain - which means makes it more sensitive to cues. Activating cues or triggers (which masturbation or sex can do) increases cravings. Explained here. - "Why are cravings (a rush) still triggered after rebooting?"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/why-am-i-still-noticing-a-dopamine-rush-after...

The second concept is not one you will find elsewhere. It's that orgasm has a neurochemical cycle that is longer than most people realize. This cycle can trigger cravings. This is a rather long article explaining it all. Orgasms are not "bad". They simply have neurochemical repercussions which include a desire to raise our dopamine with stimulation. It's largely subconscious.

"Your Brain on Sex" - http://www.reuniting.info/science/sex_in_the_brain

You and every other porn addict will need to find a balance, and avoid porn at all costs.

Hey guys! I am an addict, currently at about the 20th day of no P and 7th day of no M or O. I am already noticing benefits, of course mixed with crappy withdrawal symptoms. I am inspired by those who have successfully rebooted and am excited to undergo this process. The only question I have is what happens to the prostate, testes and the mechanisms for producing orgasms and sperm after long periods of non-use. What about the don't use it you lose it idea? I know guys who have gone through 60+ days of reboot have managed to have great sex, but are they still potent for procreation? I assume the answer is yes but I would like to hear it from an expert or at least someone who has some authority on the issue. Thanks! P.S. So glad I found this site I am confident that my life will change for the best!!

XPornHead30

First, know that I am pretty much the only person answering posts on this site. Not much action occurs on this site. Check out the support tab for forums - it's helps to blog or talk to others who are going through this.

The answers to your questions are on this page - FAQ's - just above.
The simple answer is all will work just fine, in fact much better, after a rest, because your brain which controls sexual functions will be in much better shape. You can read the following links:

Don't I need to ejaculate frequently for prostate health? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/dont-i-need-to-ejaculate-frequently-for-prost...

Are there any guidelines for healthy masturbation? - http://yourbrainonporn.com/are-there-any-guidelines-for-healthy-masturba...

WEIRD Masturbation Habits - http://yourbrainonporn.com/weird-masturbation-habits

Congratulations on your progress so far.

Thanks! I'll check these out!

XPornHead30

Hello Gary,
First of all, thank you for the website. I think if anyone I would be at least one of many characterized by "dedicated". I've read almost every article. You provide brilliant insights.

I have two questions that has been bothering me for quite some time.

1) Any sort of dopamine stimulation results in a decrease of dopamine receptors (the brain's attempt to maintain homeostasis), also as per
http://www.utexas.edu/research/asrec/dopamine.html, the brain develops tolerance.

I ask, does small dopamine stimulation result in tolerance? Let's say I take a walk in nature--which I love doing--since that stimulates dopaminergenic neurons, will that result in a decrease of my dopamine receptors? (Even though I acknowledge that this stimulation is far less than pornography, fatty foods, or something we evolved to crave.)

If this is the case, would living in seclusion without any sort of pleasure at all, even small pleasure like taking a walk in nature, or general contentedness/happiness facilitate an increase of dopamine receptors?

See, my interpretation of this set of phenomena is the following:

Following 1) any sort of dopamine inducing "want" (remember, dopamine deals with salience and wanting), 2) the number of dopamine receptors decreases.

Consequently, do small pleasures, i.e. and a general sense of well being apply to this?

A. Let's say that I maintain a positive attitude towards life in general for some timespan. Will this, due to what discussed above cause a decrease in the dopamine receptors?

B. We'll now consider the opposite. If I maintain a negative attitude towards life in general, and not expose myself to any pleasure, and live with a depressed attitude, will this cause an increase in dopamine receptors? This is paradoxical, but I want to maximize my creativity ( a function of dopamine itself ).

This is definitely a narrow-minded way of viewing it and probably an oversimplification, but using the models you have provided on tolerance, this seems like at least a semi-reasonable conclusion. This manifests in making the whole thing seem really futile.

Creativity is characterized by low latent inhibition (you can wikipedia this), and high dopamine levels in general. Consequently, I want to maximize the dopamine receptor density to achieve this creativity, correct?

Also, an interesting thing I didn't understand:
Why does exercise cause increased dopamine receptor density (D2 in particular)? I read many publications on this, and it seems to have been replicated at least a few times. Exercise causes "highs" and consequently wouldn't the body low the amount of D2 in order to compensate for this? Why does exercise raise the amount of dopamine receptors, but pornography lowers the amount?

This is especially relevant to me, as I want to maximize my creativity (I am an incoming freshman student at Harvard this year) and maximize my learning potential. Dopamine plays a critical role in this, and I want to maximize its efficacy as well.

Here is the second question:
2) Have there been any studies or publications illustrating that people who go through this "rebooting" fully recover their dopamine sensitivity? Again this is a very anxiety inducing point for me, as I want to maximize my creativity.

Let's say dopamine receptor density is characterized by "x" in normal, healthy, creative individuals. Let's say that porn-addicts have a dopamine receptor density of "y", where x>y. After abstaining for some timespan, does y ever reach x?

I read the article about the brain being "permanently altered" by pornography, but does the brain recover fully (at least in terms of dopamine receptor density relevant to learning and creativity)?

I know the brain is very resilient and will likely compensate for this. There are people with hemispherectomy conducted (a removal of half the brain) and many of them are able to live normal, meaningful lives.

Will the resiliency of the brain allow for the regain of these dopamine receptors so critical for learning and creativity?

Thank you very very much for responding to my verbose questions... they have been bothering me terribly.

Yours truly,
FleurDeLis

Let's keep the 2 dopamine responses separate - habituation and desensitization.
Habituation is a decline in dopamine "spikes" in response to a stimulus, such as drinking water, eating, or looking at the same porn picture.
This is a normal response, for example, with hunger. When one is hungry, dopamine rises in anticipation of taking that first bite of a burger. As lunch continues, dopamine declines and we become habituated (satiety). This normal process, which measures the salience or value of stimuli, is quite different from the pathological change characterized by addiction. Habituation happens thousands of times a day, desensitization occurs after chronic, usually long-term, exposure.

Desensitization is a drop in dopamine (D2) receptors and a drop in baseline dopamine, at the very least. It is a chronic condition that takes time AND overstimulation to develop. Overstimulation would be any dopamine elevating chemical, or extreme version of a natural reward.

The examples of nature, listening to music, eating, etc. are habituation. No problem at all. (I should do a FAQ on this).
Our newest article examines the differences - http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-then-and-now-welcome-to-brain-training

No research on maintaining an attitude affecting dopamine receptors. I'll venture to say that attitudes don't lead to addiction-like changes in the brain. However, such positive or negative thoughts may lead to deeply ingrained repetitive thought patterns that have their correlates in deeply ingrained neural pathways. Remember, nerves that fire together, wire together.

Positive thoughts activate the reward circuit, and negative ones depress it, so the result is lower or higher baseline dopamine. It's one reason our moods can fluctuate. People going through withdrawal have all sorts of neurotransmitter abnormalities including low dopamine, which affects mood.

I'm sure it is far more complex than this, as negative and positive thought patterns affect the stress systems of the brain and body, which over time can lead to lower dopamine levels, lower cortisol, and many other abnormalities.

I don't know anything about low latent inhibition, other than what I just read. I wouldn't put too much credence into this, as many creative people throughout history have had low dopamine signalling - as indicated by depression and addiction. Low dopamine in the reward circuit may not necessarily reflect low dopamine in other brain regions, associated with cognition. So relax.

Exercise:
I don't understand either. Nor does anyone else. More finely tuned technology will be needed to isolate smaller circuits within the reward circuit. Although all addictions activate the reward circuit, sub-populations of neurons, and other neurotransmitters are involved in each reward or aversion. It may have to do with other circuits such as stress being altered, affecting the reward circuit D2 levels. It's also known that exercise increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which affects the reward circuitry.

Second question is easier: No studies at all.

Here is a study showing brain recovery in alcoholics (so your brain can recover):
"Recovery of brain glucose metabolism in detoxified alcoholics"
http://yourbrainonporn.com/recovery-of-brain-glucose-metabolism-in-detox...

As to fully recovering - that depends how you define it. I suspect most porn addicts will have sensitized porn pathways that can be reactivated if they are not careful. Addicts need to avoid using. It's that simple.

However sensitization is not desensitization, and desensitization may have little or nothing to do with creativity. I think you are trying to connect too many dots.

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