My Brain on Porn (life story + personal observations + few important questions)

Submitted by back2life on
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Hello, I'm 24, male, bought the book - was amazed, found the forum - was amazed, I have this need to share everything I know to someone who will understand me.

Porn affected my life pretty significantly and painfully.
I haven't watch porn since two years but my brain is still affected, it's still not normal. Everything is changed.
I know what's the biggest problem? The way I percieve life is affected by porn, my thought patterns regarding women and sex are not the way they are supposed to be, what I feel during sex is not what I'm supposed to feel, and I can surely blame porn for that.
I started with porn when I was 12, stopped it when became 22 years old.
Huh, I had one night that I masturbated 11 times for the period of 7 hours. I also had one day, Ill never forgot, my brain got completely desensitized, I mean, I don't know what happened to me but I couldn't feel a thing, literally, notthing, as if I was emotionless, like a robot, this is the worst a human can experience, just like my brain was frozen and I was staring like a zombie, not a single impulse, not a single sign of life, not a feeling, not an emotion, nothing :( I guess it was a pretty tough state, then I got a girlfriend and my brain was able to fix itself for around 6 months so I could feel at mediocre level.

Anyway, because porn is all I had, with my first girlfriend I was never ever able to experience normal sex, as I remember now porn had a huge rule in this. Let me explain you - when I had sex, I viewed myself like in a porn movie, like it wasn't me, I mean I saw everything, I can see what I'm doing but as if the body parts are not mine, my brain accepted the sex as porn and viewed it the way it viewed porn, it was as if I was looking from a 3rd person perspective, this was most of my sexual life, and the sex itself , it wasn't really so satisfying, it was more like a drug, like I need to do it, because I have this need and I'm nervous, after I take my dosage I'm fine. I lacked intimacy, I couldnt be intimate, when I hugged my girl didn't feel a thing, I wanted to have sex the way they are having it in the porn , I wanted my girl to do the same things. Yes! I guess this is what a porn is doing to a 12 year old brain watching porn 5 times a week for the next 11 years?
Of course we broke with my girlfriend, that's quite understable, because porn affected not only the sex life, porn affected my enire life, my emotions on everyday basis, my everything, my interaction with people, I couldn't even think clearly :(
Some of the porn effects - when was out of my home, I didn't feel any pleasure of life, of everyday life, of normal activies, whenever I saw a girl, I started imagining porn scenes with her and I viewed women only and only as a sexual objects and nothing else, some object that I need to satisfy my sexual needs. I couldn't normally talk with girls, I couldn't even look them in the eyes! My social behaviour was so darn awkawrd like a crazy sociopath raper or something :( I guess I didn't develop many of the functions that a normal social communication requires, I lacked a lot, and no wonder, I spend most of my lfie at home, I didn't have the need to go out, I didn't feel any pleasure, why would I do it? I ever experienced how normal sex should be, I never experined how normal communication between a man and a woman should be, I never experienced intimacy :( How do you teach the brain to do these when your 20 ? you should've learned all of this when you are young, when your brain is softer and more capable of learning those basic things. How do you teach a 70 year old man to create a web page? You don't. So next years I lived in suffering, I started work so I started developing my social skills there and have normal communication with people. I found a new girlfriend.
I'm 24 now, I'm almost fixed, I communicate with people normally, almost feel normal during sexual act, have a lot of intimacy moments, cuddling, tender kissing and I feel pleasure and fine.

Some interesting facts : I still remember the first porn movie that I saw, the image is deeply rooted in my brain. Sometimes when I masturbate a lot of porn movies and images that I saw before just come up, it's a like a huge f****g library !!! And my brain activates again on porn regime, so I just have to force myself to think about my girlfriend or some real life experience that I had, otherwise I'l activated some old neural networks that would really affect me.

Now something that happened before 2 weeks, I can't believe this. You know I didn't watch porn for two years, it was a hard recovery time, even the thought of it made me shiver. So when browsing I accidentally saw a PORN PICTURE, I was just observing my brain, GOD!!!!!!!!!!!
I was like a f****g RAT!!!!!! Got so focused, my brain wanted to REMEMBER THIS PICTURE FOREVER, I absolutely didn't see anything else in the room and didn't think about anything else except this PICTURE. I got so much excited, I could feel the adrenaline, dopamine , serotonin or whatever rushing my brain, a huge dose of it, my heart started beating faster, I closed the picture. I couldn't believe after 2 year, it still has me ??!! It's for a lifetime!!!!! There is no ex addict!!!! Even after 10 years if I watch a movie , everything will be back.
So do you know what happened, the experience of the picture probably turned on the old porn neural networks so 3 days after that I was very nervous, I had flashbacks of this picture, I also started to socially behave the way I did when I watch porn. I felt pain in my brain for those 3 days after that. I wanted PORN! !!!!! So one picture? a 3 day effect? Impressive huh? It's not a MOVIE, it's a STATIC PICTURE!!!!! I didn't even masturbate for it, it was just SEEING IT. 3 days for just SEEING it. I'm sure if I did masturbate on it, it would've taken me at least a week or more to get back to normal.
God, I can't believe how strong is this for me. I guess other addicts are not like that, I guess it's only me who's the super ultra duper sexually sensitive :( 1 pic =3 days of strange behaviour and flashbacks and nervousness and anxiety. Imagine what will happen if I watch a movie and masturbate on it? Hah, at least a month....

Few things I discovered :
The way my brain functions when watching porn is not the same as when I'm having sex.
Problem with porn is on psychological level is that I'm watching two other persons having sex. I read somewhere that my mirror neurons are activated. It's just different. It's not good when you're used to watching other people having sex and getting excited from this.
Fruther more, the sexual pleasure is different, I get over aroused, it's like narcotic, I feel it's not a genuine sex feeling, I can almost feel how different parts of my brain are activated when watching porn and when having sex. I'm sure my brain makes huges different between porn and sex. There are some processes happening in there that make huge difference. After porn I want more of it. After sex I feel satisfied. After porn I feel satisfed for couple of minutes, then a bit nervous then I want more and the feeling of satisfaction is nothing like satisfaction from real sex, it's odd, it's more like an exhaustment than a pleasure and I'm getting hyperactive. When having sex, everything is calm, I have this bliss like feeling, after sex, I feel somehow complete, no anxiety, I don't want more, I just want to hug my girlfriend, I feel a lot of pleasure from this. So when watching porn my brain activates neural network - Other people having sex, you get excited from seeing a male penis penetrating a vagina. You get excited from watching them, you get excited from seening a zoomed detailed of penetration, you get excited from the fluids, from the details that are zoomed. This is what netowrk is created, and this network affects everything in your brain and how you make sex after that.

Real sex builds this neural network - You have a live human being next to you, a body, real body, you get excited from the close breathing, you get excited from the tender touching, you get excited not from zoomed details, you don't have to watch your penis penetrating to get excited, you get excited from the harmony, from the conncetion you are making. In general when having sex a very very different networks are build, including many psychological things.
So which network do you prefer to have? Let me tell you that when I watched porn with my first girlfriend , to get excited, I wanted to focus on her vagina or some details or on her mouth (during bj) or just on SOME DETAILS , I couldn't feel or see anyhting else, I need a porn like experience to reach orgasm. Now in real sex, I don't need these details, I get excited on a different deeper level from a lot other factors, nothing like porn.

Here I have one question - If anybody knows, what chemically happens in the brain and what areas are activated during : masturbation on porn, masturbation without porn and during real Sex, I'll be very grateful, this will be very useful information.

Another question- why does my brain takes porn as a super stimuli? What is the reason for that? It must have some explanation? Why the reason my brain to go crazy when I see two people having sex on a monitor? Why doesn't it happen if I see two people having sex in real life or when I have sex? I don't understand this? I guess that when I have real body in front of me my brain accepts this information in a different way, activating different parts than watching porn. I mean on first look, porn is nothing special right? Why it must have such a profound effect on me? May be the process of seeing other people having sex is influencing in a very negative way? May be your brain knows it's not real in a way? There has to be something, some combination of factors....I mean..why? After I masturbate I don't want more, after I watch porn I want more? Why? After I have sex I don't want more, after I watch porn I want more, why? Usually the real stimuli should be the strongest, the real women, this is the most real? But it seems, I get only pleasure and nothing wrong can go with real life, why does a porn movie is such a stimulus, how does it compare to real life? What is the difference between real sex and porn for the brain, except that porn is not real? There has to be something else? Some factors that make me want more, why would it be a super stimulus? I'm sure that if I see two people having sex in real life, it won't be a super stimulus for me and I wouldn't more want, but with porn is different, I'm even sure if I see porn live, I mean people doing porn and I'm actually there, it won't have such an effect on me than to watch it on a monitor?! Or I'm wrong? I'm confused.

Also, do you think that there is an ex addict or it's for a lifetime, if after 15 years a watch a porn movie, the process will be reinforced, starting slowly and the after 2-3 movies, back to addiction at full power? I really wonder what will happen if a man that had great life starts porn at age 35 ?! What will happen? I guess he won't be so much addicted and the porn is not going to be able to change his brain so much?

Some extras that porn brought to my brain :
Anxiety for around 8 years, OCD on sexual thoughts. OCD about my partner's sexual life and wanting to know what she had done with her partners in huge details every single moment. Imagning my girlfriend with her past boyfriends, having sex, doing stuff (I guess my brain just wants to see two other people having sex, doesn't it? Where did this come from, two other people having sex?) but in real life, it's a killer. Isn't that sick? It is, and I can bet my head on this, If it wasn't porn I wouldn't have these issues! Also, seeing porn scenes everywhere, if a guy talked to my gf, I would imagine how he f***s her and the entire porn scene, if a guy touched my GF, like a normal social touch on the shoulders or a friend's hug, I would get extremely jealous! I would start thinking how he feels sexual pleasure from this touch and how he wants her. I would also be extremely jelaous about my gf's past and that she had sex with other guys. This is caused by HUGE INSECURITIES formed by my porn life. I had so so so many insecurities that I can't even count them. MY self image was absolutelly rotten! This is just some of the extras, I won't list them all and what I had to go through to make some really stable personality.

I wonder how porn affects differents types of people, we all have different brains. If I had to put myself into a category or describe myself, I would say I'm super over ultra sensitive and very very sexual may be that's why porn affected me so much. I have friends who watch porn, but it seems they are not so addicted, they are not changed?! I don't get it, I mean there are people who clearly watch it 4 times a week and are still fine, they have girlfriends, have sex regulary, feel satisfed, absolutely normal? I guess it's because of their brains, they are just different and not so sensitive to such stimuli. Do you have any ideas regarding this? Why some people are able to resist so much porn, why porn doesn't change them, or it does but it's not so noticable and a slow process?

I just really hate the porn industry, they should sue them and close them forever, if me and the guys here are not enough of a proof what is enough?!? They f***g ruined my life. And no, I wasn't responsible for that, how is a 12 year old KID responsible for wanting more sex and pleasure?!?! HOW!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so mad !! :( And I don't know if I'm special or not, or if only my brain was affected in such a disastrous way, but I'm sure, other people should experience similar affects.

That's about it, thanks to whoever managed to read the whole post, any comments,opinion are welcomed and highly appreciated!

I managed to read it :-)

and I think you should start a blog and post this there (See I'm also thinking about how I could incorporate your post (or much of it) into a blog post for "Psychology Today," one of the places I blog. I think lots of men would find it enlightening.

It's very impressive that you've made so much progress on your own. Frankly, you sound like a very insightful, intelligent, *normal* man, whose brain just got thrown out of whack by too many hyperstimulating sexual cues. Some brains are simply more sensitive to dopamine dysregulation, while other brains take longer to show major symptoms. In any case, in the long run you'll be glad that you got an earlier start than your friends on restoring your brain to normal sensitivity.

Did you check out the porn wiki articles? See "Your Brain on Porn." It's pretty clear that it's the reward circuitry of the brain that is at work in porn addiction.

It's also normal for a simple cue (like that one sexy picture) to trigger all the old pathways in the brain. You may always be somewhat "sensitized" (reactive) to them, although several years after quitting porn, one man here reported that (finally) he had no urge to click on a porn link when one popped up unexpectedly...and that this was a first for him. Smile So there's hope.

I appreciated your other post, too. One of our visitors suggests that a faster way through the "reboot" of the brain may be total abstinence for a couple of months. See what you think:

My thought is that whatever you train your brain to associate with intense arousal becomes arousing, so it makes sense that watching others have sex would be a turn on. That said, it's exciting that your normal sexuality is returning as you distance yourself from intense overstimulation. That's what others here are finding, too. It's as if your brain's innate wiring is still there, and when you stop the extreme stimulation (whether through porn or porn-fantasy), and your brain returns to its natural sensitivity, your underlying tastes and lovemaking tendencies resurface. Fascinating. I'm very happy for you.

Great to have you here!

Amazing post

I can definitely related to most of the things you say.

I love this site. None of the porn addiction sites deal with the brain and plasticity as much as this one.

In my case the thing that bothers me the most is the lack of arousal I get from real women. I'm 25 , but when I was 19-20 years old I remember getting super strong erections just by kissing other girls. That's gone now and I miss it SO MUCH.

I remember getting embarrassed by the fact that every time I kissed a girl I had a very strong erection. I wish those days would come back.

It's VERY FRUSTRATING to have a very hot woman in underwear beside me and not being able to get it up unless she grabs my dick and start sucking it.

I also believe that porn has a HUGE effect on overall happiness and mood. What you say about not wanting to go out I believe is strongly related to porn. Porn addicts like ourselves lose the ability to get pleasure from the little things in life, like interacting with other people or going out for a walk.

Thank you very much for your post.

~ The Underdog

Hey Under,

How 'bout a report on how you're doing? Sounds like you went into retrograde a bit. Anything you care to share? You were really going strong there for a bit. Smile

What helps most? What doesn't?

Doing good

I'm doing good. My overall happiness has increased a lot.

I occasionally fall back into porn. I believe the reason is that I stopped visiting this site so I stopped motivating myself.

Last time I went 15 days without orgasm. I'm going for a month now. Currently on day 2.

I will be incorporating a lot of exercise this time and see if it helps with the urges and fantasies.

Regarding what works and what doesn't, most of the things I learned I already posted them on the 100 day challenge thread.


"Real sex builds this neural

"Real sex builds this neural network - You have a live human being next to you, a body, real body, you get excited from the close breathing, you get excited from the tender touching, you get excited not from zoomed details, you don't have to watch your penis penetrating to get excited, you get excited from the harmony, from the connection you are making. In general when having sex a very very different networks are build, including many psychological things."

You are so right about this and I feel very sure you can get this back! Once you find a special someone, go easy on yourself and don't expect things to be perfect immediately.

And when you find someone who is willing to experience karezza with you, you will find that your thoughts about traditional sex (and I'm not talking about "porn sex," but just regular sex that most people have!) will seem very dull and uninspiring. It truly becomes a spiritual experience and I hope that doesn't sound contrived, but I don't know any other way to put it.

And to Underdog, your wonderful erections *will* come back, I promise. My lover will be 52 next week and he has been known to get an erection from just having his hand on my hip as we walk down the street--but he wasn't like that when we first started seeing each other. The bonding takes time and the karezza really does sensitize you to each other and you will experience that again! (if more men of a certain age would try it, they might find there is no need for certain prescription drugs)

Good luck to you both!


Just to share

Hah, just to share something interesting that happened this night. My pesky whittle bwain!
I was very sexually excited before i went to sleep but didn't do anything. So what did my pesky whittle bwain do? It served itself so it can get what it wants :(
The dream was incredibly VIVID it was like 95% reality!!!! So detailed! I dream that I turn on the PC, go to the net, at the same time I feel the anxiety, I feel the BIG NO, no no no I shouldn't do this, what will happen, NOOOOO but somehow I was sedated so I couldn't make decisions, I just clicked there with the thought, oh come on , just for 2 seconds, just this time, I need it, I clicked there and started watching porn. The porn was brutally detailed and vivid. IT WAS REAL, I really really really literally felt the pleasure chemicals I'm releasing ( IN REAL LIFE), I felt relief and pleasure, it was like a erototoxin BUZZ that happened for real. I woke up. I was like - What the....pesky WHITTLE BWAIN! I didn't want that!!!!!! When I was awake I could still feel the pleasure and it was such as If I watched real porn....fortunately enough there is some difference, when I woke up in the morning there were no side effects, I mean it was fine.
Just wanted to share that :)

That's an interesting

That's an interesting thought. If you see porn vividly in your dreams, I wonder how different it is to viewing porn in real life? It still stimulates your pleasure centres and although, as you say, there weren't any side effects, it still has the effect as if you really did view it, only that it wasn't on a computer, just in your brain (but extremely vivid). It's just a different medium. If it had somehow also resulted in an orgasm (nocturnal emission in this case) wouldn't that be almost the same? You could still end up feeling depressed afterwards.

Wouldn't something like this set you (or anyone) back?

Well I guess

Well I guess that viewing it on your brain no matter how vivid is not comparable to real porn, I mean the real stimuli is much more intense. Plus I didn't masturbate on my vivid images, that helped in not experiencing any side effects. It was just like a nice buzz. Very dangerous buzz if you are not careful enough. I guess that if I somehow got an orgasm, side effects would have been present.

I want to add something

Yesterday, I had sex, some porn networks got activated a bit with overall low activity but enough for me to be able to observe it very closely.
I wanted to actually see how others have sex, I didn't want to participate but just to watch, I wanted to see the face of the woman just the way it is shown on cameras while watching porn, I wanted to see her facial expression during everything, I really really wanted to be just there to watch live porn with all the little details, I wanted to see the same details that usually the camera zooms on during porn. Just to be the observer. And I got really excited about that. Porn has boosted up my voyeurism to a very high level, to a level where I would prefer watching instead of having sex. It makes perfect sense to me. Ten years masturbation of watching how others have sex, there's nothing strange about it...
Has anyone else noticed such a thing or is only my voyeurism so boosted by the porn?

I'm confused

You had sex with a real partner, but you felt like you were seeing things as if through a camera, rather than being fully present in the experience? Or were you trying to communicate something else that I didn't understand?

I think I understand...

When I have a problem getting aroused, I switch to fantasy. But not always fantasy about porn...but more of imagining that I was a cameraman watching us have sex. Is this what you mean?

jman1601, yes, something

jman1601, yes, something like that, but I just imagine watching other people, not US, but other people. I'm getting excited from this. I can even imagine my girlfriend with another man and get excited from this, that's sick.
I had sex with a real partner and after the sex, I started imagining these and getting turn on by it, and it's not necessary to be as if it's through a camera, I just want to be present there and to observe...


that after orgasm, your brain can often feel like it wants more stimulation than ever. This is part of the addictive cycle.

Is your partner open to trying a gentler approach to sex without the emphasis on orgasm (so you avoid triggering that need for a chaser)? Did you see this man's experience?

It seems that daily, non-goal-oriented affection is very helpful in restoring the brain to balance. Once you're back in balance, a whole host of unwanted phenomena may disappear.

*big hug*