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 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"

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!

Age 27 - PIED: First no-physical-touch 100% erection in recent memory!

Hey guys, this is taken from my journal, which can be seen here:

I'm pretty happy about it, and I think it qualifies for 'mini success story'! All about spreading the optimism and small successes.

Age 35 - I no longer view others sexually - unless it is my wife. Also took a huge step up in my career

I am 35 and this is not my first rodeo. My previous record was 30 days. I cannot believe that I have made it to 90. I guess what was different for me this time around was I had felt I had really hit bottom. I had hit it so many times before (or so I had thought), but it just struck me 90 days ago: how many times can I go back into this destructive spin cycle?

Calmer, Greater Concentration - I passed all the exams on the first try, More motivation to date girls, I have a few business ideas

First, sorry for my English (I come from a distant, eastern European country. I'm Polish) ;)

Here's what gave me the "NoFap Challenge":

Age 19 - I’m more focused, More energetic, I work harder & longer, My relationship with my gf has been on the up and up

I made a promise to myself and my girlfriend that I would do 3 moths no porn, no matter what, and I was hellbent on making that true. When there's a will there's a way. Always keep that in mind.

So the best aspects of this. I feel more focused than ever. I am more energetic, work harder, longer, and am learning things I always wanted to since I was a child. I feel in control of myself. My relationship with my gf has been on the up and up, and she is without one of the reasons why I was able to hold on for so long.