(Nofap No Morning Wood, written By David Jaynes)
Sometimes things have to get worse before they can
Ask any recovering drug addict about withdrawal
if you have any doubts about that.
It’s no different with a porn addiction.
Too much fapping to porn, especially the hardcore stuff, leads to a “dead stick” in your cockpit when you’re not actively using pornography.
Which can be scary to you and disappointing to your partner.
It can also do a number on your self esteem, leading to social withdrawal, anxiety and depression.
But if you all of a sudden decide to stop fapping, you can experience a period of “flatline” where you penis won’t respond to anything but porn. But you’re not using porn now…
So your formerly reliable morning wood abandons you entirely as you work your way through this recovery phase.
And let’s be honest with each other here. If you’re not even getting morning wood, your libido has left the building.
The bad news is, this is normal. If you’re trying to quit porn you should expect a period of this scary and embarrassing problem.
But if you stay the course and stay off the porn, you’ll find that life will come back to your penis and your personality, eventually.
Fortunately, there are several ways to make that life come back faster, which we’ll get to in a moment.
There hasn’t been a lot of research on the post-fap flatline, but here’s a breakdown of what most people think is going on.
Using too much porn leads your body to develop a tolerance to dopamine, a hormone responsible for most pleasurable sensations including arousal, sexual stimulation, and orgasm.
Porn delivers a more intense dopamine reaction than in-person arousal, so pretty soon you can only get aroused by porn.
If you quit using porn, that intense dopamine reaction isn’t available but your body still needs a lot of dopamine to get you aroused enough to get hard.
Look at it this way….
Flatline is a little bit like your refractory period. After you’ve ejaculated, your body takes some time to recover enough for round two.
After you’ve short-circuited your pathways to arousal, your body needs some time to get back to normal.
So a positive way to look at this is, you’re just going through a very long refractory period, but instead of taking minutes or hours to recover, you’re looking at days or weeks.
How long it takes to return to normal varies wildly, and is impacted by things ranging from genetics, to diet, to lifestyle choices (more on that in a bit).
But science has found one possible factor:
Younger men may have longer recovery times than older men (source).
Research has found that men old enough to still call it “jerking off” instead of “fapping” recover from flatline much faster than those in their 20s.
There are three prevailing ideas about why this might be:
There’s something about the physiology of older men that makes the dopamine-porn problem less long-lasting. Likely due to the info coming next….
Earlier exposure to pornography does cause changes to brain function and even structure, including arousal and hormonal responses like dopamine. If you’re young when you stop fapping, you were even younger when you started.
Older men started masturbating to Playboy, Penthouse, and the lingerie section of the Sears catalog. Younger men started with immediate access to hard-core video porn. The latter has a stronger impact on dopamine than the former.
This doesn’t mean that if you started fapping at age 13 and are flatlining the same year you became old enough to buy booze that you’re doomed. You can rebuild a normal erectile response just like anybody else.
But it will very likely take a bit longer.
It also doesn’t mean that if you’re 54 and developed a porn habit after a divorce that you can “quit any time you want.”
A shorter recovery time doesn’t mean no recovery time.
If you’ve ever broken something or otherwise had to get physical therapy, you know how painful recovery from anything can be.
But at least you also know that the pain is a path that leads to a more normal life.
This is also true of porn induced flatline.
Once you stop fapping, the process I described earlier kicks in. You enter the Withdrawal Phase of your porn and masturbation addiction.
The most noticeable and worrying part of this phase is the lack of wood. No morning wood. No evening wood. No wood at all. But those aren’t the only common effects of this phase.
Others Flatline Symtoms include:
These all come from a sudden lack of dopamine in your system after years of periodic flooding. It’s withdrawal, plain and simple, and experiencing them is a hopeful sign. It shows you’re on the road to recovery.
Next comes the Coasting Flatline Phase.
Here all those secondary symptoms start to disappear as your body misses the dopamine less and less. However, the main problem is still present.
Your body is no longer panicking because of lack of dopamine, but your tolerance is still there.
Your libido will be basically gone. No boners. No real attraction to girls. Often you won’t even get horny enough to want to masturbate.
Again, this can be worrisome but it’s a sign that you’re moving in the right direction. Stay the course.
The final stage is a normal, healthy libido and regular dopamine response. How long it takes to get here varies from person to person, and can take days, weeks or even months.
One last word to the wise: this isn’t a consistent upward slope of recovery. It’s more of a two steps forward, one step back situation. You will wake up after days of feeling fine and suddenly feel like you’re back in the withdrawal phase.
This is also normal. Stay. The. Course.
Like I said, people recover at different speeds and nobody can predict what your “baseline” time for recovery is going to be…but you can do things to recover faster, whatever you baseline is.
Here’s the best advice I’ve found on doing just that:
Avoid Downtime In Front Of Your Computer: Porn isn’t the only kind of screen time that can mess up your brain and hormone function, and it keeps you from being active and healthy. Also, the temptation to relapse and start the whole process over can become overwhelming.
Start A New Hobby: Use it to replace the time you used to spend fapping. It removes temptation and starts to train your brain to respond to other things.
Try New And Novel Things: Dopamine response is higher when you do new and novel things. It’s one of the reasons porn initially hurts libido. A relationship gives you the same partner day after day, while porn can switch partners minute by minute.
Trying new activities and experiences makes that physiological fact help instead of hurt.
Avoid Boredom At All Costs: Boredom can “numb” your dopamine response, slowing your recovery. Also, just like cheating on your diet, boredom leads to cravings, which is the last thing you need while recovering.
Avoid All Forms Of Dirty Dopamine.
You won’t cure your dopamine tolerance and addiction by fapping to memories of porn, or by replacing your porn with drugs. Stick to the “clean” dopamine responses from exercise, positive social interaction, and success in work and with family.
I’m not saying this is going to be easy. Nofap no morning wood issues are serious, common, and hard to recover from.
I’m just saying that if you’ve lost your libido from too much porn use, the only way out is to kick your habit.
That means no porn, and preferably no masturbation for a while
The road may be long or it may even be short if you’re lucky. And parts of it will definitely be unpleasant, no doubt about that..
But the destination is worth the work it takes to get your morning erections, your self confidence and your life back on track.