Quitting porn comes with a range of benefits that can positively impact you not only physically, but mentally and socially as well. For some people, the biggest positive change they notice is in their sex life and finding their ED or other issues with sexual performance are vastly improved. For others, the biggest positive change is in their self-image and interpersonal relationships. However, there appears to be some common benefits that many men all experience. What are the benefits of quitting porn?

After extensive research and thousands of very similar anecdotal accounts of a reversal of many apparently porn-induced sexual dysfunctions, YourBrainOnPorn say they believe “a return to normal dopamine signaling helps explain why many guys report the same improvements as they unhook from excessive consumption of Internet porn”. (YBOP, Porn, Masturbation and Mojo: A Neuroscience Perspective)

Physical benefits of quitting porn

A return to normal libido and enjoying better and stronger erections seem to be the key physical benefits of quitting porn. Many men report feeling as though they have got their normal sex drive and functioning back. One reason for this could be because of the return to the proper regulation of dopamine and other neurochemicals that have been hijacked by the negative effects of porn.

Other physical benefits of stopping porn include:

  • More energy
  • Return to a normal libido
  • Lessening or elimination of issues such as Erectile Dysfunction and Premature Ejaculation
  • Improved sleep
  • Ability to enjoy real sex more fully

For many men, one of the main motivations for quitting porn comes from problems with ED, and if that’s the case for you, you may be wondering how and when you will recover from these issues. As we discussed in the previous question, many men have reported that during a reboot they initially experience what’s referred to as ‘flatlining’ – a loss of libido – but after a period of time not only does libido return, but also better and stronger erections.

Although your experience will be unique to you, a broad outline of the stages of recovery has been identified by urologist Dr T. Gapin:

Stage 1

A person experiences porn withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings for pornographic stimulation.

Stage 2

After one or two weeks of abstinence, there is a slight increase in libido and positive feelings of well-being.

Stage 3

There is a complete loss of interest in sex, libido declines, and there are no more erections, even in the morning upon waking up.

Stage 4

There is a return of morning erections, some return of libido, and a returning interest in sex. These are followed by days where there are no erections or interest.

Stage 5

There are now clear signs of recovery. There is a return of erections, an interest in sex with a partner, and an experience of pleasurable sex. (Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction)

The amount of time it takes for you to move through these stages could be down to a number of factors such as your age, general health and how long you have had an issue for, the type of material you have been watching (more extreme porn could take longer to recover from) and the type of masturbation technique you’ve been using.

In some cases there could be other, underlying reasons why you have been suffering from ED, so it’s wise to consult a medical professional for advice if a reboot doesn’t seem to be working after committing to it for over three months.

Mental and emotional benefits of quitting porn

As you have probably experienced, the effects of porn addiction aren’t just physical. There can be a range of symptoms that affect you mentally and emotionally as well. This can range from isolating yourself so you can spend more time watching porn, to increased anxiety, depression and guilt over your porn use.

Men who have successfully quit watching porn have reported a range of benefits from quiting porn in addition to improved physical symptoms. These can include:

  • More confidence and less social anxiety
  • Improved relationships – with friends, family and intimate partners. This can be a result of not feeling you have to hide your porn use any longer and instead rediscovering how it feels to connect to others once more.
  • Increased focus and willpower and a sense of achievement and empowerment, with a feeling of being back in control. This can have a positive knock-on effect on your life generally as you feel more motivated to spend time on activities that aren’t porn-related.
  • More time in your day and the sense of sex starting to become real to you once more. An increased ability to connect to the world around you rather than a screen.

One of the most interesting improvements that many men have noticed when they quit porn is experiencing more vibrant emotions. One reason for this could be that porn can induce hyperstimulation which leads to your brain adjusting to attempt to bring you back to homeostasis (balance and internal stability). This can lead to a numbing of all your responses, including emotional ones.

Once you begin to overcome the overstimulation that porn may induce, you may find that your ability to experience emotions such as happiness and enjoyment of things outside of porn increases. This can help boost your confidence and your desire to connect to your friends, family and intimate partners once more. Many men report feeling a new excitement for and appreciation of their lives in general and are amazed to rediscover emotional responses they might not have felt in years.

Of course, an increase in your ability to feel your real emotional responses to life, rather than numbness, means access to a spectrum of emotions. This can include emotions such as sadness or grief. However, this can be a positive thing as it gives you a chance to truly experience what’s important to you and if needs be process issues and build your resilience generally.

If you feel unnerved by your emotions seek out support and remember that feeling your emotions can lead to greater strength. The end result is often described as feeling more vibrancy in your life. One very effective way to help you both get through quitting porn and to process new emotions as you become less numb is to learn Mindfulness – a powerful tool which we will discuss shortly.

Masturbation research

For a few days, abstaining from ejaculating may raise testosterone and boost the quality of sperm. There's no research, though, to support the other arguments correlated by not masturbating. Most researchers believe that masturbation is part of natural sexual growth that is healthy and integral. ResearchTrusted Source indicates that masturbation by women in childhood and adolescence is correlated with a good self-image and later in life positive sexual encounters.

There had been many misconceptions as well as myths saying that masturbation is harmful to the health. However, according to Medical News Today, there are actually many health benefits that can be brought about by the act.

It generally is a personal choice for one if they masturbate or not. But numerous health studies cite that doing it has several positive side effects. Among them is the release or production of chemicals and hormones that bring about positive sensations, feelings, and emotions.

What about the negative effects of masturbating? In the mental aspect, they are predominantly associated with how someone feels about doing such act. For the most part, masturbation does not have physical implications on one's body.

What are the positive effects of masturbating?

It may sound unlikely, but the potential health benefits of sexually pleasuring one's self are numerous. For one thing, it induces the release of chemicals and hormones.

As many researches have well indicated, masturbation, along with other sexual activities that lead to sexual pleasure and orgasm induce the release of chemicals and hormones that are associated with the pleasure-reward center of the brain. They are:

  • Dopamine- also known as the "happy hormones" which is likewise an integral neurotransmitter that boosts motivation, reward-seeking, and movement.
  • Oxytocin- otherwise known as the "love hormone", and has salient behavioral and psychological benefits, such as the promotion of social, sexual and maternal behaviors that boost happiness. This is a hormone that supports positive social interaction, well-being, growth, as well as healing.
  • Serotonin- this neurotransmitter mediates the feelings and sensations of optimism, happiness, and satisfaction. Boosting your serotonin levels is linked to better mood.
  • Endorphins- as the "feel good" chemical, it reduces pain, and does it better than morphine. These are the chemicals that are released when you exercise, causing a pleasurable elation.
  • Prolactin - physiological responses that are associated with stress and emotional management, as well as reproduction are enhanced by this hormone.
  • Endocannabinoids- these neurotransmitters are linked to the reward sensations of eating, exercise, and social interaction. The processes of inflammation, pain, anxiety, addiction, depression, learning and memory, cardiovascular function and metabolism are also regulated by these.
  • Norepinephrine/noradrenaline- levels of happiness are increased by this stimulating neurotransmitter by boosting and regulating the transmission of dopamine.
  • Adrenaline- this hormone is responsible for reducing stress as it regulates the diameter of the blood vessels and the airway, heart rate, and metabolism.

As these hormones are released, the following health benefits are obtained:

Lower levels of stress and anxiety. This is due to the boosted production of oxytocin during sexual activities, that in turn reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. Relaxation is then promoted. Stress responses are, in the same way, regulated by prolactin.

Better quality of sleep. When masturbating, neurotransmitters and hormones the lower stress and blood pressure are released as relaxation is enhanced, and this results to improved quality of sleep.

A 2019 study that involved 778 adults garnered results data that sleep becomes favorable subsequent to inducing orgasm. Numerous of respondents conveyed that it was easier and quicker for them to fall asleep when they masturbate, and they are able to sleep soundly as well.

Decreased pain. Endorphins that are released during a sexual orgasm are the natural pain-killers of the body. The processes of pain and inflammation are regulated by endocannabinoids. These are the natural pain killers that help to alleviate pain during menstruation.

A study conducted in 2013 indicated that sexual activity can partially or completely relieve migraines, as well as some cluster headaches.

Boosted function of the immune system. The immune system is regulated due to increased levels of prolactin and endocannabinoids production triggered by masturbation. Stress levels are reduced because of the increased released of associated hormones and neurotransmitters during the activity.

Enhanced mood. Endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine- hormones that induce positive mood are increased when masturbating.

Better focus, and improved concentration. Sexual activities, including masturbation enhances focus and concentration because it increases the release of hormones and neurotransmitters associated with motivation, memory, and learning.

Enhanced self-esteem. Adrenaline levels are increased by masturbation, and there have been studies citing that higher levels of the hormone in the urine and saliva are associated with personal growth along with a better sense of purpose in life. Pleasuring one's self can likewise empower someone and improve their body image.

Better sexual function. In the human sexual response cycle, pertinent hormonal and neurotransmitter release boost the said cycle, and this ensues through the higher production of stimulating compounds.

Boosted cognition. The release of prolactin during masturbation results to a neuroprotective effect wherein neural damage due to stress is reduced. Dopamine produced when masturbating is done also brings about better cognition. A study in 2016 garnered data that sexual activity enhances recall and number sequencing among older males, while older females who are aged 50 to 89 experience better recall.

Regulated blood pressure. This is due to the release of endocannabinoids and oxytocin during sexual activity.

The negative effects of masturbation on the brain

Based on the information above, you can surmise that masturbating is beneficial. However, you should be wary because anything done excessively is likely to be harmful. When masturbation is overdone, it can lead to negative effects on the brain.

A mental or psychological consequence of the act can be guilt, especially because there are people who oppose to it due to moral or religious reasons. They may feel shameful about doing the act of pleasuring themself, and more so, even just by thinking about it.

When masturbation is done excessively, physical problems may occur, such as swelling genitals, irritated or broken skin, and cramps.

Individuals who have a history of abuse or are suffering from sexual dysfunction may also have difficulties in masturbating, and they may perceive it to be a negative experience. They may be embarrassed or distressed to engage in it.

What is masturbation addiction?

Sex addiction or masturbation addiction is currently not recognized as a mental health condition by the American Psychological Association. On the other hand, excessive masturbation is classified as a compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) by the majority of specialists. They categorize it as a sexual behavior that is out of control.

Neither is evidence enough to support that sex or porn addiction is a mental health condition, as stated by The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

What Are The Treatment and Prevention Measures For CSB?

Some people are predilected to engage in CSB due to certain conditions, such as:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Kleine-Levin syndrome
  • Pick's disease

CSB may be reduced for people suffering from these conditions by treating their underlying medical issue.

For some people, taking illicit drugs and some types of prescription medications increase their dopamine levels, and this, in turn, causes a stronger sex drive. Some of them are:

  • Medications for Parkinson's disease
  • Methampethamine
  • Cocaine

For these cases, the drug or medications may be stopped or altered so that an individual's sexual compulsions that include too much masturbation can be reduced.

Some people may look into various types of psychological therapy to help reduce their CSB. Going into such kind of therapy  would also help in managing the negative repercussions of the condition. These include:

  • couples therapy
  • group therapy
  • psychodynamic therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy

There are a number of researches that show that certain medications may alleviate CSB, and some of them are:

  • naltrexone
  • citalopram
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

A lot of support groups may be resorted to for help, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous wherein programs are implemented to help treat people with CSB.

Here are additional tips and techniques to help prevent or reduce excessive masturbation:

  • avoid watching porn
  • engage in regular exercise
  • look for help from a doctor, therapist, or other sexual health professional
  • keep yourself busy
  • have an active social life
  • nurture healthy relationships
  • understand the triggers of CSB, such as fear of intimacy, shame, or boredom

Is It Time To See A Doctor To Find Ways To Treat CSB?

Be keen about your situation. If masturbation becomes excessive to the point that it interferes with your daily life already, or hampers your psychological well-being. It may be time to seek for the help of a doctor or a therapist. Is your behavior getting in the way of your physical health? A sexual health professional may need to be consulted.

If negative emotions such as guilt or shame hinder your sexual functioning, relationship, or pleasure, it may be apt to look for professional help.

To wrap up on this section about masturbation, there are benefits of the act, mainly because it causes the production of hormones and neurotransmitters that in turn induces positive emotions and sensations, as well as physiological responses.

As a risk-free way of engaging in sexual activity, masturbation can help better ascertain their preferences and dislikes. Their well-being is boosted in terms of happiness, self-esteem, relaxation, and body image.

Then again, there may be instances when pleasuring oneself becomes too much, or if in particular ways intereferes with their daily life and relationships. It may negatively affect their physical health and sexual functioning. When these circumstances ensue, then seeking the help of a doctor or a therapist would be necessary.

In the same way, professional help ought to be sought if masturbating gives rise to pervasive or intense  negative feelings that include guilt, regret, shame, distress, or embarassment.

Why Quit Watching Porn?

Watching porn normally causes masturbation, and the above section discussed the pros and cons of masturbating as a risk-free sexual activity. But too much of anything is always detrimental, and the same goes for watching porn and masturbating.

Setting morality or religion aside, watching porn causes damaging side effects that may hinder your well-being and your ability to become successful.

The dangers of porn addiction are real, and just like most addictions, it can ruin lives. In fact, an online article by Success Feed states that porn addiction is the most insidious and dangerous of addictions facing people today. If you think that it is such a big claim to make, think again- and it is primarily for the reason that when it comes to watching porn, there is no limit to consumption.

Isn't it that with food, alcohol, or drugs, there is only so much you can consume? But when viewing porn, there is even no cost, so nothing can put a demarcation line as to when enough is enough.

Watching porn can become highly addictive because it triggers the same reward center pathways that are activated by cocaine, meth, and heroin.

But when you take measures to say "NO", and quit watching porn, you open a new dimension of wellness and well-being for yourself where you become more proactive in life, you feel sense of happiness and prevent depression, strengthen your willpower, and boost your motivation.

You'll start liking yourself and your body, and you'll learn to be more appreciative of other people. You are able to foster healthier relationships. Your social life will become more productive as you gain more confidence in yourself, and your sex life will become better.

There are countless benefits of quitting porn. If you just choose to go by the other way of loving and esteeming yourself, you would bolster and promote it, and not depreciate or tarnish it. The most important thing is to know your limits and abide by your better senses so that porn addiction does not overcome you.