Your Brain on Porn

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This site is maintained by a group effort that includes men who have recovered from internet-porn related problems and a retired anatomy & physiology teacher. You can contact YBOP admins here, but you must first create an account. Please do not ask YBOP admins questions specific to your situation. YBOP does not diagnose or provide medical or sexual advice. See the Support Page and About This Site for help with your porn-related problems.

Quick FAQs:

1) Is this site religious?

  • Nope. The site's founder is an atheist (as were his parents and grandparents). For more see this 2016 interview of Gary Wilson by Noah B. Church.

2) Does anyone make money from YBOP?

3) What is the current state of the research on Internet porn addiction and porn's effects? 

4) Has Gary Wilson published in the peer-reviewed literature?

5) Are there any studies that falsify the porn addiction model?

6) Do doctors and therapists recognize and treat porn-induced sexual dysfunctions?

  • Yes. This page contains articles and videos with about 110 experts (urology professors, urologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists, MDs) who acknowledge and have successfully treated porn-induced ED and porn-induced loss of sexual desire.

7) Is YBOP for banning Internet porn?

  • Nope.

8) Why was YBOP created?

  • We created the site because we don’t like people suffering needlessly simply because they lack critical information for improving their circumstances themselves.

Relevant Research and Articles About the Studies

Below this long intro are many sub-sections containing relevant studies. First we have lists of studies that provide support for the claims made by YBOP. (See Questionable & Misleading Studies for highly publicized papers that are not what they claim to be.):

  1. This page lists 39 neuroscience-based studies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal) providing strong support for the addiction model.
  2. This list contains 14 recent literature reviews & commentaries by some of the top neuroscientists in the world, supporting the porn addiction model. (This dated paper was not a literature review and misrepresented most the papers it did cite.)
  3. 25 studies link porn use/sex addiction to sexual problems and lower arousal to sexual stimuli. The first 5 studies in the list demonstrate causation, as participants eliminated porn use and healed chronic sexual dysfunctions.
  4. Almost 60 studies link porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction.
  5. Over 20 studies reporting findings consistent with escalation of porn use (tolerance), habituation to porn, and even withdrawal symptoms
  6. 50 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health & poorer cognitive outcomes.
  7. Over 25 studies link porn use to "un-egalitarian attitudes" toward women and sexist views.
  8. At least 24 studies falsify the claim that sex & porn addicts "just have high sexual desire"
  9. The beta draft of the world's most widely used medical diagnostic manual, The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), contains a new diagnosis suitable for porn addiction: "Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder."
  10. How to recognize biased articles: They cite Prause et al. 2015 (falsely claiming it debunks porn addiction), while omitting over 3 dozen neurological studies supporting porn addiction.

Start here: Evolution has not prepared your brain for today's porn

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.

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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 & Sex Addicts

This page lists the studies assessing the brain structure and functioning of Internet porn users and sex/porn addicts (Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder).To date every study offers support for the porn addiction model (no studies falsify the porn addiction model). The results of these 39 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 270+ 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 studies reporting escalation or tolerance, and these 14 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature & commentaries:

Gary's TEDx talk - "The Great Porn Experiment" (2012)

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!

New edition of "Your Brain on Porn" book now out - in audio too!

The 2nd edition of Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction is now out. It's revised, a bit longer, and has more citations and up-to-date research. More (Audio version now available too.) Visit Amazon. Wilson's proceeds go to a registered charity endeavoring to raise awareness of internet porn's effects. Here's an excerpt:

Your Brain on Porn Book now available in Dutch!

Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson is now available in Dutch: HET PORNOBREIN

‘In het verleden zag ik mooie meisjes natuurlijk wel, maar ik voelde nooit het verlangen om iets met een meisje te hebben. Al mijn seksuele drang richtte ik op porno.’

Revisiting the Role of Impulsivity and Compulsivity in Problematic Sexual Behaviors (2018)

In this new paper, top researchers ask whether internet porn problems should be categorized differently from other problematic sexual behaviors based on study results. They also suggest that porn problems may be better categorized as "addictions" rather than "impulse control disorders," given the evidence supports both - but porn problems don't fit in well with the other "impulse control disorders," such as intermittent explosive disorder, pyromania, and kleptomania.

Porn is a mind numbing disconnection from life

After this 90 day journey i can see just how blind and deluded i was and just how destructive and damaging P and MO is. It numbs and detaches from reality and feeling, it is a mind numbing disconnection from life. I realise that the last 8 years that have been dedicated to P have robbed me of the beauty of life's true bountiful experiences. I met many wonderful girls that i failed to notice were wonderful girls (i only saw the sexiness or hotness in girls)