No PMO Recovery Timeline – How Do I Know If I'm Addicted To PMO?
First let me start by saying. I'm not an expert in neurobiology. There is very little research to go after when it comes to PMO recovery and in this blog post It's just me taking my own experiences into account as well as speculating around the little data and research we have so far.
There are some posts out there on the internet claiming that it takes 14 days for the dopamine receptors to grow back after one ejaculation…
…this, however, is so wrong in, many ways!
Here's the deal…
Related post: PMO addiction symptoms
Nerve cells shrinks a bit…
There is a study suggesting that some small parts of the dopamine squirting nerve cells shrink a bit after an orgasm and that they need about 14-28 days to fully restore, according to the late great Gary Wilson. But I honestly do not know how accurate that is as I haven't seen it myself.
On the other hand, I have no reason whatsoever to doubt Gary as I have the deepest respect for him and his work.
And also, don't confuse that with the dopamine receptors.
The receptors are small “slots” that dopamine itself binds to.
The dopamine receptors take much longer to recover, but on the other hand, the dopamine receptors do not downregulate after ejaculating in a normal way…
Dopamine receptors do not downregulate after an orgasm. It is if you are fapping to today's super stimulating adult websites that your dopamine receptors suffer. This is especially true if you become addicted to porn, then you can expect to have to wait a long time before those receptors grow back…I will get into more detail about this a bit further down in the article.
Now, then we have something called androgen receptors as well…
Androgen receptors need 15 days to grow back…
A study made on rats showed that after the rats had been ejaculating to exhaustion, they needed 15 days before their androgen receptors grew back.
The androgen receptors are what testosterone binds to, and with less of those receptors, testosterone will not be able to do its job as effectively. Again, this study was made on rats, so we can not necessarily assume ejaculation affects people the exact same way, although it might….
…in fact, it is highly likely.
However, note that the study said that the androgen receptors suffered only after sexual exhaustion. So even if the same androgen receptors downregulation would apply to us humans, it would probably not happen after just one or two ejaculations per week.
How many ejaculations per day / per week would we need in order for it to happen to us then?
Well, so far, no one knows.
To sum it up, we could say that it is fair to assume that androgen receptor downregualtion also happens in us humans, but probably not with moderate ejaculation frequencies, e.g. just a few times a week.
Keep in mind, though, that this is just me speculating and I don't really have anything to back it up with.
Does it take 90 days for dopamine receptors to grow back after you quit PMO?
In one study where they got monkeys addicted to cocaine, they wanted to see how quickly their brains would recover.
90 days after they stopped giving them cocaine, 60% of the monkeys had regrown their receptors fully, but 40% of them had not.
Again, this is an animal study, so we can't really draw any big conclusions from it. Besides, that was cocaine, and not porn. Although the upregulation of dopamine receptors may perhaps take about the same amount of time, no matter what was causing the downregulation in the first place.
This is something that needs to be studied more…
…especially porn's impact on the brain!
To get a more detailed answer for you, let's look at the average…
I know you came here for an answer and while it's true that everyone's reboot looks different I have made a couple of videos where I try to give as an exact answer as possible. These timelines are created from an average of all the data I have collected during my 8 years of looking into PMO rebooting and everything related to it.
Again, these are just averages so you have to know that your results may vary greatly.
NOTE: Another thing to note is that the PMO recovery time looks a lot different depending on whether or not you have developed addiction related brain changes from all the years of fapping to adult sites.
- The first video is the average no PMO timeline for those who have developed little to no brain changes.
- The second video is the average timeline for those who HAVE developed brain changes.
No PMO Timeline (For Those With Little To No Brain Changes)
Summary of video…
- 10 minutes after last time: – Dopamine levels drop and prolactin levels increases.
- Day 1: – Often pretty high motivation and mood, mostly because of excitement for what's to come. And still no cravings.
- Days 2-4: – Cravings increase and mood drops. Day 3 is typically the worst day.
- Days 5-6: – A slight drop in cravings along with a slight reduction in brain fog.
- Day 7: – Testosterone levels spikes, temporarily, with 147.5%
- Day 8: – The testosterone levels start to come back down again (the testosterone levels do unfortunately not continue to stay that high.)
- Days: 9-14: – Many people start experiencing a big increase in confidence along with increased energy levels.
- Days: 15: – Androgen receptors have grown denser, making you better at utilizing whatever testosterone you make.
- Days: 16-21: – Many guys experience their social anxiety levels starting to decrease right around here.
- Days: 21-30: – Guys start seeing increased attention from the opposite sex. (No one really knows why this works)
- Days: 30-40: – Now you have probably reached another level of increased concentration and sharper thinking.
- Days: 40-50: – Creativity increases. Many NoFappers find new hobbies right around here.
- Days 50-70: – You feel more grounded in yourself. A stronger sense of “core masculinity” that you self esteem rests on.
- Days 70-90: – Small things in life now give you much more pleasure.
- Day 90: – It feels like you have a different life now.
No PMO Timeline Part 2 (For Those With Brain Changes)
Summary of video…
- Day 1: – No withdrawals yet. That in combination with the vision of a new and better life you could have makes day 1 feel pretty good.
- Day 3: – Your already low dopamine levels starts to drop even further, making you feel even worse than before you quit.
- Day 4: – The stress center in your brain becomes hyperactive. Anxiety and insomnia is common.
- Day 5: – The dopamine continues to drop and in combination with the hyperactive stress center, this period feels really bad. Irritability, brain fog, lack of motivation are some common symptoms here.
- Day 7: – The temporary testosterone spike that happens on day 7 are not noticeable for all guys, simply because the withdrawals are so strong here they tend to override the positive hormonal effects.
- Days 8-9: – As the testosterone levels come back down, every “feel good hormone” is now suppressed. This is often the worst time of rebooting. Stay strong!
- Day 10: – The flatline hits! Probably as a result from all the above.
- Day 11: – The sensitized porn pathways in your brain becomes even stronger. This means higher risk of relapse when presented with a trigger.
- Day 14: – About two weeks in your cravings will very slowly start to drop. (But only if you are not presented with triggers)
- Day: 15: – “Addiction transfer”. Your brain is getting tired of the low dopamine and desperately tries to find some other source. This is why it's common for guys to go for junk food, alcohol, cigarettes or anything else that spike dopamine right round here and thus a risk of developing another addiction becomes apparent.
- Day 16: – The flatline is very deep and many guys stop getting morning wood. Keep in mind that the flatline can come and go several times during your reboot, though.
- Day 30: – The prefrontal cortex is slowly starting to become stronger. This is the part of your brain that is responsible for self control.
- Day 40: – Finally the sensitized pathways start weakening. However, this is a long process that can take months to years.
- Day 50: – The dopamine in your reward system is now, slowly, starting to raise. It will continue to do so for the coming weeks until it reaches normal healthy levels.
- Day 60: – Some guys start to see a return of morning wood right around here. This is a good sign of recovery and a sign that healing is taking place.
- Day 90: – The dopamine receptors are now fully restored in around 60% of guys (this is if we can go by results on animal studies)
- Day 150: – About 90% of guys are now fully recovered, with high energy levels, massive drive and motivation and a healthy libido. The last 10% of the guys belong in the unfortunate “long term rebooters” group and need to continue a bit longer. (See the article NoFap how to get libido back)
So How Do I Know If I Have Developed Brain Changes?
(How To Tell In Which Video You Belong)
Now if you watched the two videos, which I highly recommend you do, the next obvious questions becomes…
“How do I know in what group I belong?”
“Is my situation closer to video #1 or video #2 ?”
Here's how to tell if you have developed addiction related brain change to adult sites…
There is something called “The four C's” that we can use to assess if an addiction has taken place.
These four C's are true for any addiction, from drugs, to behavioral addictions, but before we look into those, let's take a loot at a few symptoms that are especially common when it comes to porn addiction.
Porn addiction symptoms…
You have almost certainly developed some for of brain changes if you have noticed several of these…
- Less libido for real life girls (or guys, if you play on that team).
- Delayed ejaculation or difficulty climaxing with a real life partner.
- Real sex is no longer as interesting, but your porn use is still as high or higher than ever.
- Escalation and porn tolerance, leading into morphing sexual tastes, often to the point of watching stuff that no longer matches your sexuality, just to get that same “buzz”.
- Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, even if you are otherwise young and healthy.
Any of those sound familiar to you?
If so, it is highly likely that you have developed at least some form of addiction related brain changes and thus you belong in Video #2
To make it even more clear, let's now take a look at “the four C's”
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The 4 C's To asses addiction…
The fours C's are…
- Continued use despite negative consequences
Craving: Are you having cravings when you try to go for some time without porn? If so, you can tick the box here.
Control: Do you feel that you have lost control over your porn use? E.g. you are trying to set limits for yourself, but you always end up braking your own promises. Perhaps you have repeatedly tried to go for 90 days without porn, but you always end up relapsing. If so, you can tick the box here as well.
Compulsion: Compulsion to use. For an alcoholic this can mean that he for examples intends to drink only 3 bears, but he almost never stops at 3 and often continues as long as there is alcohol, or until he get's completely wasted. For a porn user this could mean that the guy keeps chasing the new and next video clip, trying to find the perfect one to finish on, often for hours at an end.
Continued use despite negative consequences: This is when you know that what you are doing is hurting you, but you still keep doing it. You know that what you are doing is having negative consequences for your life, and perhaps even for the people around you, but you still find yourself using…again and again. If so, tick this box as well.
Combine the 4 C's with the porn addiction symptoms….
Now, combine the four C's with porn addiction symptoms that I shared a few paragraphs earlier an you should have a very good idea in what category you belong.
If you recognize a few of the porn addiction symptoms and the four C's also rings true for you, it's pretty much a dead giveaway that you have developed addiction related brain changes.
Check out the porn blocker & accountability software CovenantEyes below
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Addiction Is Not An “On / Off” Thing!
If you find yourself in the “addiction category”, it's important to understand that not all addiction related brain changes are extremely deep. In other words, some guys may be more severely affected while others may have brain changes that are not that deeply ingrained….
…so it's a spectrum, and not an “on/off” thing.
This is also one reason why rebooting looks different for everyone, as the more severe cases take longer to recover. That, along with hundreds of other factors, such as lifestyle, if other addictions are involved, diet, exercise, general mental health, age etc. play a big part in how long it takes to recover.
So, again, I want to point out that the two videos are just an average. Your results may vary…
…and they may even vary greatly!
Speaking of the length of the reboot, now some of you are probably wondering if there is anything we can do to speed up the healing process?
How To Speed Up The PMO Reboot
There are a few things that may potentially help speed up your pmo reboot.
Now, there are no specific studies made on how to speed up your porn recovery specifically, but there are other brain studies in general that, when taking into account, could indeed mean that the things I'm about to share could potentially help speed up your recovery.
In order to not make this article too long, I will not share those tips here, but I have made another article about that, and if interested, you can find that article here >> NoFap – How to recover faster.
No PMO Recovery Timeline
Ok, there you have it. I hope you found this article informative.
The main takeaway is that the NoFap timeline really depends on if you have developed addiction related brain changes, and if so, how severe they are or if you haven't developed brain changes at all.
Even if there are no real brain changes to speak of, NoFap is still worth doing as it will still provide pretty impressive benefits for most guys…
…and, if you have developed brain changes, which most men have, well…then there's even bigger reasons for doing NoFap / a PMO reboot, as you really want to return you brain to normal functioning again.
I tried to make the post as informative and helpful as possible, to answer any potential questions you might have, but if you feel you need to learn more, please check out the other articles here on my website as well, as they will teach you a whole lot more about PMO rebooting.
You can also check out my YouTube channel as I talk A LOT about NoFap, PMO rebooting and other similar thing over there. Just search for “Project Stronger Self” on YouTube and you'll find it there.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you think you might be addicted, and you are struggling to quit, you can click here to go to my contact page to discover what kind of help I’m currently offering.
P.P.S. Here are some other articles you may find interesting…
- Is no PMO really worth it?
- How to tell if you're really addicted?
- AlphaViril for more libido and testosterone – My review
- Does fapping make you weaker?
Have all the distractions the modern world offers made your dopamine system underperform?
Discover if you have your dopamine system on your side or not…
— Dopamine Fasting Secrets (@pmodopaminefast) March 16, 2023