Benefits of Quitting Porn: What to Expect

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What Happens When You Quit Porn?’ by AsapSCIENCE

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

AI Summaries of YouTube Videos to Save you Time

How does it work?
Pornhub had 115 million daily visits in 2019; most young adults view porn, causing physiological symptoms and changes in the brain’s reward system, but attempts to quit often fail due to anxiety, and it can hinder delaying rewards; after two weeks without porn, gratification delay improves, and concentration improves after 30 days, but gray matter changes may take up to three months to return to normal; quitting methods include mindfulness, meditation, and exploring alternative experiences; some studies on porn may be biased; porn use increased during the pandemic in countries with stay-at-home orders.

Key Insights

  • In 2019, Pornhub reported 115 million visits per day.
  • A survey found that 82% of women and 100% of men aged 15 to 29 viewed porn.
  • Porn consumption has increased rapidly in recent years due to easy access on phones.
  • Quitting porn can have physiological symptoms such as anxiety, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Problematic porn use can change the brain's gray matter and affect the ventral striatum, linked to wanting and dopamine.
  • People with problematic porn use may have higher traits of anxiety but find that porn doesn't actually alleviate their anxiety.
  • Porn affects the brain's reward system by being a super normal stimulus that elevates dopamine levels.
  • Most people go back to viewing porn within four to seven days of quitting, often due to anxiety.
  • Porn can make it harder to delay rewards in various aspects of life.
  • After two weeks of not watching porn, users may start to feel like they can delay gratification better.
  • After 30 days of not watching porn, concentration improves and thoughts become clearer.
  • Gray matter changes in the brain related to porn use can take up to three months to return to baseline.
  • Advice for quitting porn includes mindfulness, meditation, replacing porn with novel experiences, and exploring masturbation without porn.
  • Some studies on porn use can be rooted in homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia.
  • Porn use has increased during the pandemic, particularly in countries with stay-at-home orders.

Seedless Grapes: Are They GMOs?

Annexation of Puerto Rico: ‘Little Giants’ Trick Play Explained

Android Hacking Made Easy: AndroRAT Tutorial

Andrew Huberman’s Muscle Growth and Strength Workout Plan

AMG Lyrics – Peso Pluma

Alex Lora: Rising Passion

Transcript

In 2019, Pornhub reported 115 million visits per day. A new survey of people aged 15 to 29 found that 82% of women and 100% of men viewed porn. Due to easy access on phones, porn consumption has increased rapidly in recent years. It was only in the early 90s that people were just relying on static images in magazines. I mean, embarrassing. A new survey found that 82% of people failed when trying to quit pornography.

So today, we are going to explain exactly what happens to your brain and body when you try to quit porn.

On day one of quitting pornography, you likely won’t notice much. Within the first 24 hours, most men and women had overall good moods and were excited by the task. Trying to not look at porn, maybe they had some extra time to read a book, cook a new meal, stare at a wall.

It’s on day two of quitting porn when physiological symptoms started to appear. You may be asking, how much porn do you have to be watching to have physiological symptoms when trying to quit? And this is a nuanced question. Most academic studies on the neurophysiology of pornography use involve people who self-identify as having PPU, problematic porn use. This is not directly related to how much you consume but whether you feel porn is negatively affecting your life.

In 2011, 13% of men were viewing porn every day. Now, the number seems to be closer to 39%, but the change in self-diagnosed PPU patients hasn’t changed as drastically as you’d think. Right now, studies say around 6% of people admit that they have problematic porn use. Again, this is people self-identifying as having a problem with porn and then seeking out help. Either way, studying people with PPU is currently the only way that we can study how porn affects all of us.

On day two of quitting is when people with PPU reported increased anxiety, inability to sleep, inability to concentrate, and wanting porn more than three times per day. This is because problematic porn use does change your brain. It affects the noggin. Your brain has neuroplasticity, meaning it physically changes in response to your behavior. The change happens here in the gray matter of your brain, which physically changes due to porn use.

An example of how gray matter changes involves juggling. A group of 24 non-jugglers had their brains scanned. They were divided into two groups. One group practiced juggling for three months, the other didn’t. After three months, they had their brains scanned again, and the jugglers had significant changes in gray matter associated with processing and storage of complex visual motion.

Using fMRI brain scans of 28 men with PPU and 24 men without, it was found that there was a physical change in the ventral striatum of men with PPU. This is the part of the brain linked to wanting and involves dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter directly linked to our evolution and survival. It has a big impact on our behavior, and if you’ve been watching AsapSCIENCE for the past 10 years, we talk about it a lot. And it’s because it makes us crave the things we need to survive, like food, love, friendship, but also two things related to porn, which are novelty and sex.

Surfing porn, keeping a bunch of tabs open, figuring out the right one for you, keeps dopamine levels in your brain high for long periods of time. And this can physically change your ventral striatum, and it’s the reason why on the second day of quitting porn, you might actually physically struggle.

On day four to seven is when most people go back to viewing porn. A big reason for returning was anxiety. One study found that people with PPU exhibited higher traits of anxiety than controls, even though both groups didn’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. People with problematic porn use were using porn to alleviate their anxiety, but most people said it actually didn’t help.

Interestingly, a lot of the neurological studies found that people with problematic porn use want porn more, but don’t like it any more than control groups. This wanting is because porn affects your reward systems, your dopamine levels, by being a super-normal stimulus. A super-normal stimulus is a term coined by Nicholas Tittenberg. It’s something with exaggerated versions of normal stimuli that amplify the qualities that make it more compelling than the real thing.

Studies with birds show adding a fake, super-normal, vividly spotted plaster egg to a nest makes a mother rather sit on it than a real, more paled colored eggs. Or male jewel beetles will rather copulate with a beer bottle cap as the dimpled bottoms are more intriguing than a real bottle. That’s right, beetles are out here banging beer bottle caps.

For humans, a super-normal stimulus can be junk food. A soft drink is a lot more compelling than the equal calories of radishes or porn. Enhanced, novel sexual situations with easy access can be more compelling than real sex. And it’s for this reason that many people cannot last longer than four to seven days without watching porn.

A survey found that on day 14 of no porn is when watching porn starts to feel like an intense novel experience again. The effects that porn have on dopamine levels can make it harder to delay rewards in all aspects of your life. And on day 14 is also when the survey found that people could do challenging tasks for longer times and delay gratification better. Essentially watching porn on your phone is a quick fix. And I notice when I’m doing it a lot, I do have a harder time like sitting down and reading a book or working on work for long periods of time. So they say it takes two weeks to start to feel like you can delay gratification better after watching too much porn on your phone.

On day 30 is when you will notice a change in concentration and have clearer thoughts. One study had people abstained from junk food and another group abstained from porn. And found the people who abstained from porn were better at delaying gratification and had less brain fog than those who abstained from junk food.

After three months, if we go back to the jugglers, is when they noticed gray matter returned to baseline. They asked both groups, the ones that could not juggle and the ones that couldn’t, to stop practicing juggling for three months. And this is how long it took for gray matter to go back to “normal”. So after three months of no porn, you can expect gray matter changes in your brain in relation to the lack of porn use.

When it comes to advice for quitting anything, it’s really challenging to figure out what works for you. I personally think knowledge is power and just understanding what I’ve taught you could maybe help you at least realize the impacts that these things can have on you physically. Some studies suggest mindfulness and meditation to kind of slow down the stimulus that is life. Other studies recommend replacing porn use with other novel experiences, trying a new meal to cook, going and having a drink with a new friend, maybe try masturbating without porn. That might be interesting.

I also think it’s important to acknowledge that a lot of these studies are rooted in homophobia and transphobia and queerphobia. It’s very weird. These studies seem to start by saying you might have an issue if you’re looking at gay porn or lesbian porn or trans porn before even getting into any of the science, which is a red flag for me, I think. Why don’t you explain the science first before you start to explain what you think is non-normal porn use?

I just think it’s important that people know this because I think this information is important. Sexual health is important. We need to talk about it. Porn use is insane now because of the internet. We need to talk about it. And it’s just sad that it’s been co-opted by these misogynist, homophobic, and queerphobic people.

Also, according to Google Trends, porn use has increased in the pandemic, especially in countries where there were stay-at-home orders. So yes, I think now more than ever, it’s important for us to learn about problematic porn use and go forth in the world as sexually healthy animals.

This is an interesting video. Leave comments below about your relationships to porn. I’ll be responding to them, maybe being a little bit more truthful in the comments. Make sure you subscribe. Ask us any questions you wanna see us answer here on AsapSCIENCE, and we’ll see you next week for a new science video. Shhh.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘What Happens When You Quit Porn?’ by AsapSCIENCE