Your Brain on Porn

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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.


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 33 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 210+ 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 12 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

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

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Age 24 - Dating a woman I appreciate immensely, clearer skin, less anxiety, feeling emotions at last

I've been doing nofap since mid 2016. My first try was 17 days. Now im at 92. I decided to follow this journey since I felt I couldn't get close to women or avoid objectifying them. I either idolized a girl or ignored her. Very unhealthy. 40 days into my streak I met a very nice artsy girl that i've been dating since and appreciate immensely. Women have an empathy, a calmness, a kindness about them that can go unnoticed way too easily.

Age 22 - I want new friends with a better, healthier, outlook on life and women

So these last 80 days have totally changed my views and thinking with women. Along with a more spiritual life of meditation/yoga I'm living from such a happy and loving place now. A lot of that has to do with Nofap too. I don't see women as just a sexual box to stick my dick into anymore. If one is to approach me I no longer just stare with an open empty mouth going "durrrrr". I am witty, spontaneous, humorous , and have this child like careless free attitude about me and am much more open.

The Dual Control Model - The Role Of Sexual Inhibition & Excitation In Sexual Arousal And Behavior (2007)

COMMENTS: A recent re-discovery. The first paper to report porn-induced ED and porn-induced low libido. In an experiment employing video porn, 50% of the young men couldn't become aroused or achieve erections with porn (average age was 29). The shocked researchers discovered that the men's erectile dysfunction was "related to high levels of exposure to and experience with sexually explicit materials." The limp men had spent a whole of lot of time in bars and bathhouses where porn was "omnipresent," and continuously playing. The men explained that "high exposure to erotica seemed to have resulted in a lower responsivity to "vanilla sex" erotica and an increased need for novelty and variation.

Picked up two jobs, Expanded my hobbies, Connect with people on a deeper level, Make others laugh pretty easily, Bonding with my family a lot more.

 On October 1st I told myself that I would quit and I found the perseverance to stay strong to this very day. In the last 5 months the following things have happened.

  • I lost over 22 pounds, and dropped 6% Bodyfat. Girls definitely notice this and I habitually diet now, workout regularly and eat clean. It's not rocket science.
  • Picked up two jobs and have broke a plateau where I thought I was the king of everything and thought I knew everything there is to know lol.. just the beginning.