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 peer-reviewed paper involving 7 US Navy doctors - Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports (2016)

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 37 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 260+ 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 13 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

Studies linking porn use to poorer mental-emotional health & poorer cognitive outcomes

Many individuals who cease using porn for an extended period of time report mental and cognitive benefits, such as improved concentration and focus, better grades, increased energy and motivation, social anxiety improved or gone, increased confidence, improved mood, depression reduced or gone, greater desire to be social, more intense or vibrant emotions, and increased desire to be in a loving relationship.

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

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Age 33 – Taking on challenges I want: PhD, job I want, piano recital, marathon

I always hated running. But then again, I was a masturbator. I was seeking cheap thrills. Now I'm thinking about hardships and discipline and how can I put more of the weight of the world on my back. The more responsibility the better.

Age 24 - PIED - I feel like a raging 17 yr old again. PIED fading, confidence and most of all, I was attracted to real women, not pixels.

So here I am, on reddit as usual and i decide to pay Nofap a little visit. Time has jumped, because i remember looking at my badge at day 48 and thinking...Fuck yeah over half way...and now I’m at day 70?!

It really is no joke, once you adopt the lifestyle, you really do kinda lose the need for this thread. But it is nice to pop in every now and then.

So I guess you’re wondering, hey, what are the benefits?

Age 24 - So much has changed since the beginning of my journey: List of benefits

So I am 24, started nofap a few months ago. Longest streak 58, and I am currently on day 34. So much has changed since the beginning of my journey:

  1. Never could hold eye contact with girls, (even if I did I would show immense fear and inferiority). Now I can look into a girl's eyes as long as I want.
  2. People talk to me in public: No one used to approach me in public, now I can't go a day without someone asking for directions, how the weather is, or just about anything. (You start to feel like you're famous or something)