Can The Brain Really Heal From Porn Use? (Your Answer Here)

Can The Brain Really Heal From Porn Use?

The brain is a remarkable organ.

It is surprisingly adaptable, which can be both good and bad.

Bad, for example if you over consume a drug and the brain adapts, develops tolerance and other addiction related brain changes.

But good if you manage to overcome your addiction and stop using and now you want your brain to adapt to your healthy lifestyle again.

What about porn use…?

So, what if you have been heavily blasting your brain with super stimulating porn for the last years couple of years and you have been doing so to the point of developing addiction related brain changes…

…can the brain fully heal from porn?

Some parts of the brain heal better than other parts

Can the brain heal from porn use?

The short answer is, almost fully, yes.

The longer answer is, porn addiction causes several brain changes, and while most of those brain changes can be fully healed, some of them will never go away completely.

Now, before you freak out, you should know that the part that doesn’t fully heal does instead weaken and become dormant (fall asleep, so to speak).

The brain changes that happens if you become addicted

In order to get a full understanding of the physical brain changes that can develop when you become addicted to porn, please watch the two part video series below.

I made these videos a while back on my YouTube channel, Project Stronger Self.

They are interesting to watch, very informative and easy to understand.

Part 1

Part 2

The webinar I talk about in the end of part 2 can be found by clicking here.

I hope you found the video series informative.

A short summary of the videos…

The major 4 brain changes that are caused by all addictions are…

  1. Sensitization
  2. Desensitization
  3. Hypofrontality
  4. A malfunctioning stress center

The good news is that 3 of these brain changes can fully heal if you quit using porn (you have to quit relapsing too, of course).

Desensitization, which is basically a disrupted dopamine system (a numb pleasure response) can fully heal. And so can the malfunctioning stress system and the hypofrontality.

Hypofrontality – The brain change that will fully heal (perhaps beyond 100%)

In fact, there’s some interesting research pointing towards hypofrontality not only healing fully, but perhaps even healing beyond 100%.

So, how’s that even possible?

Well, think about it…

…hyporfrontality means “a less than normal functioning prefrontal cortex (PFC)”. The PFC is the part of your brain that is responsible for planning, self-control and pondering long term consequences.

Now, in order to overcome an addiction, what’s happening along the way?

That’s right, you will repeatedly have to master the art of saying “no” to your urges by not following them…

…again and again and again.

Well, each time you successfully do that you are strengthening your PFC a bit.

Each time you successfully manage to say no to a craving, it’s like you are doing  -not a rep for your biceps- but a rep for your PFC. And since overcoming an addiction isn’t easy, that means you’ll have to log in a whole lot of those “reps” before you’re finally there. In the end, this will leave you with a very strong “self-control muscle”.

Becoming stronger than if never been addicted in the first place?

So if there could be anything positive about an addiction, hat would be it. The fact that, if you manage to overcome your addiction, you could potentially end up with a stronger PFC than if you never had to battle an addiction in the first place.

Now, of course, all the negative consequences of an addiction far outweighs this “potential benefit”, so getting addicted is never ever worth it. That should be so obvious that I don’t even have to point it out, right?

Not to mention the fact that a lot of people never overcome their addictions. Instead they keep relapsing over and over again and are  suffering for life.


Discover >a good online course for quitting porn<


Sensitization – The super memory of porn that will never fully heal after your porn use

Sensitization is what gives you these powerful urges and cravings to use.

Sensitization is basically a super memory of pleasure (not to be confused with the word “desensitization”).

The scary thing here is that this brain change will probably never fully heal or go away. As you could see in the video series above, it will always be there, ingrained in your brain.

Now, before you freak out, you should know that those sensitized pathways do become weaker and the do eventually fall asleep, so to speak.

But since they are still there, deep inside the brain, they can easily be reactivated even years after a person stopped using his drug of choice.

The sleeping pathways can easily be reactivated again in the future…

This is why most sober alcoholics can never drink in moderation again, because even just one drink could potentially fire up those sensitized pathways. And when that happens it almost inevitable leads the person to start binge drinking again.

The same goes with porn. If you’re truly addicted to it, that is.

If you manage to stop fapping to porn then you will probably have to stay away from any form of porn use for the rest of your life…

…yes, this means staying away from pron, even in moderation.

If you start messing around with it again, those sensitized pathways will probably fire up like a Christmas tree, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the grips of binge watching porn again.

Desensitization – A brain change that will heal (just as long as you implement a healthy lifestyle)

Desensitization means a numb pleasure response.

You basically have less dopamine receptors for your dopamine molecules to “lock on to”. And if dopamine can’t lock onto anything, it can’t do its job properly.

This is probably the most devastating thing when it comes to an addiction. No matter if it’s caused by porn, alcohol or other drugs.

When your reward system is “numb”, everything in life will seem less fun and more grey.

Literally everything…

And when I say everything, I mean everything!

From spending time with friends to eating food, having sex, listening to music, going on a trip, working on your goals and everything in between.

Dopamine is the key driver of your motivation…

Another nasty thing about having a disrupted dopamine system is that dopamine is not just involved with how much you enjoy doing things, it is also involved with motivation and drive.

That’s right, with poor dopamine functioning you have very little motivation and drive to work on your goals, do choirs or pretty much anything.

It can even become difficult to find motivation to do things that you normally would find interesting…

…now that’s a bad place to be.

What has happened on a biological level is that; you’ve been keeping your dopamine levels very high, for long periods at a time (many fapping sessions to porn), so your brain started to protect itself from all the stimulation by knocking out some of those small dopamine D2 receptors.

Will the dopamine receptors grow back once you quit porn?

The good news is that if you manage to stop watching porn those tiny D2 receptors will eventually grow back and your dopamine system will heal.

However, this may perhaps only happen if you have at least a somewhat healthy lifestyle.


Discover >a good online course for quitting porn<


Blasting your reward system with other unhealthy things may prevent recovery…

If you keep blasting your reward system with other artificial dopamine spiking things you will probably prolong the recovery process and, in worst case, prevent the dopamine receptors from growing back altogether.

By “blasting your reward system” I mean things like for example…

  • Drinking a lot of alcohol…
  • Playing video games 8 hours a day…
  • Eating junk food almost on a daily basis…
  • Scrolling on social media all day long…
  • Smoking a lot of weed or vaping all day long…
  • Using other drugs…

Now, moderate use of super stimulating things, like junk food and video games, will probably not prevent recovery of your dopamine receptors. So don’t freak out and become all anal about your lifestyle here.

Just as long as you give up what you were addicted to (fapping to porn) and try to not go all crazy with all those super stimulating things, you’ll be fine.

This is especially true if you also engage in physical exercise…

…which leads me to the next subheading…

What if you were a super heavy porn user for years? Can the dopamine system still recover?

What if you’ve been really going hard with the porn, having 4-6 hour sessions many days per month, years on end?

Can the brain still heal after that kind of porn use?

Well, again, the sensitization part can not, but desensitization can still heal. I.e. yes, your dopamine system can still heal…

…especially if you engage in some for om physical exercise a few times a week.

Just as an example, take a look at the following finding in meth addicts…

A study on meth addicts and how they recovered their dopamine receptors (but only if exercised)…

To really get the most out of this study, first consider this…

  • Porn / sex increase your dopamine by about 200%
  • Methamphetamine increase dopamine by about 1300%

So, yeah, one can easily assume that meth addiction is pretty devastating for the poor dopamine receptors.

Despite this, a study on people who were addicted to meth sowed the following interesting thing…

They divided the meth addicts into two groups and had them stop using…

  • One group were to abstain and do physical exercise for 8 weeks
  • The other group were to abstain and get health education classes for 8 weeks (no physical exercise)

After the 8 weeks were over, the researchers could see a significant up-regulation of the dopamine receptors in the exercise group while hardly any dopamine receptor recovery in group that did not exercise.

After 8 weeks they saw…

  • A 13.89% increase in dopamine D2/D3 receptor density in the exercise group
  • A 3.13% increase in dopamine D2/D3 receptor density in the health class group

Pretty interesting, huh?

And these were heavy addicts too that had been using the drug at least 20 out of 30 days, according to their own estimations.


Get my FREE 90 day No PMO guide>by clicking here<


If heavy meth addicts can recover their dopamine system then, for sure, you as a heavy ex porn user can as well. Just as long as you don’t keep relapsing, of course.

Now, I don’t think the dopamine system was fully recovered after those 8 weeks, but who cares, they were still on their way to a healthy and recovered brain. But do take note of the differences between the exercise and the non-exercise group.

If you’re even the slightest worried about not fully recovering from your porn use, then the takeaway from this study should really be; do engage in some form of physical exercise on most days of the week!

How much exercise?

A lot of people are now going to cry out; but how much exercise should I do?

Well, there’s not much data on this, but in the study on the meth addicts they had the exercise group engage in 30 minutes of resistance training followed by 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. I.e 3 x 60 minutes of physical exercise per week.

  • Can you get the same results with less? …perhaps, but we do not know.
  • Can you get even better results with more? …perhaps, but we do not know.
  • Is cardio better than resistance training and would doing only cardio be best?…perhaps, but we do not know.

Again, there’s not much data on this, but just make a point of logging in some form of physical exercise for at least 3 hours per week, in total, and you should be good.

Less than that might still help, and more might be even more effective, up to a point. But keep in mind that you have to be able to do it long term as well. And if you do so much that you totally lose motivation, burn out or injure yourself then obviously you won’t be doing yourself any good at all.

So, be smart about it!

How long does it take for a brain to recover from pornography?

This depends on so many factors that it’s very difficult to give an easy answer.

14 days – is not enough…

However, when it comes to brain recovery from porn use it is safe to say that, in terms of the dopamine system, two weeks after quitting, most people are still far below baseline dopamine levels.

30 days in – many people experience positive changes…

After about one month in, many people start noticing how they feel better.

Right around here it’s very common that they start noticing less anxiety, less irritability and a significant increase in mood and life satisfaction.

If they’ve been struggling with withdrawals, most of the acute ones are gone. However, post acute withdrawal symptoms  (PAWS). can still linger for along time. Related post: No PMO Withdrawal symptoms.

90 days in – most people feel really good…

After about 90 days most people feel significantly better. But, again, it’s highly individual since we all have different brains…

…and different lifestyles as well.

So, keep that in mind, with all of the above time-frames.


Discover >a good online course for quitting porn<


Are there people who’s brains never fully recover from porn use?

There are some guys who struggle with, for example, anhedonia and porn induced ed (PIED) for years after quitting porn, not seeing any improvements at all.

This, however, is a very small minority, and I personally suspect that there are some coexisting issues going on here.

Like for example some mental problems e.g. depression, extreme worrying, severe social anxiety or some underling biological issues e.g. hormonal issues, that are somehow preventing them from full recovery.

If you happen to be one of those, then it’s very important that you look at your situation from a holistic point of view and that you are working closely with professionals while you at the same time continue to stay away from porn, of course.

Can the brain ever fully heal from porn use?
Conclusion…

Just as long as you manage to stay away from porn, it’s looking really good for your brain.

The brain is truly a remarkable machine and just as long as you stop doing stupid stuff and start taking good care of it it can heal from almost anything.

Now, if you keep relapsing a couple of times a month, then it’s a different matter, but that’s a subject for another blog post.

In the mean time, if you do need help with relapses, then you can read about a good online course for overcoming porn addiction….

…or, you can reach out to me personally through my contact page right here.

Thanks for reading!

-Scandinavian Bob-

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