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.

Brain Studies on Porn Users

This page lists 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 39 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 studies reporting escalation or tolerance, and these 14 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature & commentaries:

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)

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)

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:

Analysis of "Perceived Effects of Pornography on the Couple Relationship: Initial Findings of Open-Ended, Participant-Informed, Bottom-Up Research" (2017)

COMMENTS: Is the intention behind this study to (attempt to) counter the many studies that show porn use has negative effects on relationships? The two main problems with this study are:

1) It does not contain a representative sample. Whereas most studies show that a tiny minority of females in long-term relationships use porn, in this study 95% of the women used porn on their own. And 83% of the women had used porn since the beginning of the relationship (in some cases for years). Those rates are higher than in college-aged men! In other words, the researchers appear to have skewed their sample to produce the results they were seeking.