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 31 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 200+ 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 10 recent neuroscience-based reviews of the literature:

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

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Age 14 - Confidence up, high on life

My name is ____ and I am 14 years old. I just relapsed on day 62. This was my best streak ever. There were some really good benefits man.

Productivity- I went out everyday playing basketball, skating or doing calisthenics. I also did my homework on time.

High on life - Everything was enjoyable from sitting in the class or talking to people to listening to music. I enjoyed every little bit of life

Age 20 - I radiate a masculine aura that attracts people

My life before NoFap I was a “normal” kid. But I remember being very insecure (more than the average boy) and i had trouble making friends. I was kind of fat and i was always smaller than the other boys around my age. My development as a child took a little while (Now I’m taller than most of them, but at the time, I remember that being difficult to me). I also had an older brother (good looking and very charismatic) with whom I was always comparing myself and feeling lesser.

Age 22 - Healthier skin, living life with a purpose

Checking in here guys. On 8th January 2014, I wanted to change. Little streaks here and there. Last summer saw me hit 31 days which was my p.b. but 3 years of trying has finally allowed me to see what 61 days looks like. Its good. Its actually incredible.