Your Brain on Porn

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Start here for a brief overview of concepts & science

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 30 neurological studies (and upcoming studies) are consistent with 180+ 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"

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!

Eliminate Chronic Internet Pornography Use to Reveal Its Effects (2016)

Author/s: DOI: 10.15805/addicta.2016.3.0107 Year: 2016 Vol: 3 Number: 2




There’s growing evidence that today’s streaming pornography videos are sui generis, with unique properties such as inexhaustible sexual novelty at a swipe, effortless escalation to more extreme material, and accessibility by youthful viewers, and that these unique properties are giving rise to severe symptoms in some consumers.

Age 21 - 1 year: I don't like to overreact but the benefits have made me a completely different person

A little background: I'm 21. The last time I watched P was January 15th, of 2016. WOW. Feels amazing to type that out. Especially because nobody else really knows except for me and the people of nofap. When I discovered this sub I meant to go ahead with it as a new years resolution but didn't get around to starting until the 15th. Thanks to people's posts of encouraging me that it's not too late. So I'm saying to you now, if you haven't started, it's not too late. Start today. Cold turkey is the way to do it.

Age 20 - PIED gone in 4 months

I was watching too much porn and feared having erectile dysfunction, which created a fear for meeting women. The amount of time, frequency and genres of porn got worse as time went on from age 14 to now (20). i had a sexual encounter with a girl my age where i realized i was victim to porn induced erectile dysfunction and some time later discovered nofap and figured the porn had to stop.

Age 49 - Delayed Ejaculation: I've climaxed on two occasions, the first time in a few years

By tapering way down, my DE has gotten a lot better. With one of my girlfriends, I've climaxed on two occasions, the first time in a few years. I'd be doing so more frequently, except this is pretty much a long distance relationship and we only get to see each other every month or two.