NoFap Flatline: Is It A Permanent Side Effect of Going Porn-free?

So you’ve successfully avoided porn for weeks and now you’re starting to feel different. While not having the urge to start watching again does seem good, you’re becoming increasingly worried about the NoFap flatline.

There really is such a thing. Many of those trying to recover from porn addiction eventually suffer from low sex drive, notice a decrease in their penile size, and even develop depression several weeks into their recovery. 

Some consider it a withdrawal phase, and this is a common point during which guys relapse. They end up watching porn again to see whether they’re still capable of getting a hard-on.

There have been many debates surrounding the concept though, especially since some men go through it while others don’t. Well, regardless of your chances, it’s best to fully understand the flatline to avoid a relapse.

​Knowing the Symptoms

Men who are approaching the flatline (and the ones who’ve already reached it) tend to exhibit several of these symptoms. If you notice any of these firsthand, don’t worry about it and simply push through with your recovery:

  • Depression
  • ​Low Sex Drive
  • ​Episodes of Brain Fog
  • ​No Attraction to Women
  • ​Often Tired and Sleepy
  • ​Social Anxiety and Withdrawal

While these symptoms can cause panic among the uninformed, they merely represent the body’s typical response to the sudden drop of dopamine. Rest assured that with time, your body will recover and return to normal.

Man in bed couch at home late at night using mobile phone in low light watching online porn

The Science Behind the Issue

Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that regulates pleasure responses in the brain. Porn addiction delivers a high dopamine reaction because of all the sexual stimulation and orgasms involved. 

This can lead to the state when you feel the need to watch more and more internet porn just to feel that high. You continue despite knowing that it’s already become unhealthy or even outright harmful.  

Abrupt withdrawal from porn and masturbation not only lowers your pleasure hormone’s levels but also causes a surge of stress. This activates such hormones as the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and norepinephrine. 

​Stress alone can lead to social withdrawal and anxiety, but it also serves as a trigger for the release of dynorphin—which is similar to the brain’s feel-good chemicals (aka the endorphins), though it acts in an unpleasant way.

​Instead of giving you a feeling of euphoria, dynorphin puts you in a depressed state. Also, while it can help in relieving pain, it’s known to stimulate the body’s pain receptors in certain circumstances.

As you can surely imagine, stress hormones and dynorphin severely affect libido. The body feels threatened and so, it won’t be focusing on non-essential processes, such as maintaining healthy testosterone levels.

​People trying to recover from other forms of addiction also go through these phases. Although you definitely won’t feel good as you face withdrawal symptoms and the flatline itself, you shouldn’t forget about your goal.

So, What Lies Ahead?

The flatline may seem like something you’d want to avoid, but the benefits of NoFap clearly outweigh the challenge. Beating porn addiction means you’ll get to enjoy these rewards in the long term:

  •  Improved Mental Clarity

    If you’ve been feeling confused, forgetful, and unfocused as of late, you’re basically experiencing the side effects of being neurologically dependent on porn. Once you’ve overcome your addiction, you’ll regain full mental clarity.
  •  Freedom From Sexual Anxiety

    Porn brings unrealistic standards, and with that, it isn’t surprising why it’s often associated with sexual anxiety. By staying off pornographic material, you’ll eventually feel confident with your performance in bed.
  •  Focusing on What’s Real

    Many of those addicted to porn soon realize how distant they’ve become with their partners. Once you’ve conquered the bad habit, you’ll fully appreciate real sex once more and improve your connection with her.

​About the Period of Time

Your noble quest to end your addiction could take months or even years, and the flatline itself may last for a week or more. To give you a better idea, here’s a list of factors that tend to prolong the process:

  • Severity

    If you’ve been watching too many porn videos and fapping excessively for such a long time, your body might have a harder time returning to its normal state given how dopamine-dependent it has become.
  • Vices

    If you’re someone who smokes and drinks a lot, recovery might be a lengthy process for you. Chemicals from tobacco and liquor can block the very nutrients that help fight withdrawal symptoms.
  • Diet

    By following a healthy diet, you get to nourish your nervous system as well as prevent hormonal imbalance. And so, if your hormone levels aren’t within the proper ranges, your dopamine receptors are likely to go haywire. 
  • Exposure

    Early porn addiction can alter the brain structure and how it releases dopamine. So, if you have been addicted for so long and you’ve only decided to do something about it recently, you’re likely to have a harder time setting yourself free.
  • Material

    If you’re among the few who mainly prefer print pornography, you might have it easier than those who went with videos. As revealed in studies, videos have a more powerful effect on dopamine than print.

Man watching 3d virtual pornographic content

​Learning About the Reboot

​So you pushed through with your decision to quit and you finally feel its arrival—you’re losing interest in anything sexual and your member seems to be shrinking. The NoFap flatline has finally manifested itself.

Again, this isn’t permanent and there’s no need to worry about your manliness staying that way. What you need to do is fight the urge to relapse, raise your dopamine, and distract yourself.

​Soon enough, you’ll manage to reboot—the stage after the flatline, during which your horniness gets a significant yet natural boost. You’ll finally start having wet dreams and thinking about busting a nut.

​To shorten the wait until you start rebooting, just follow these tips:

  • Don’t Make Excuses

    If you believe visiting your favorite porn site without any intention to fap isn’t a bad thing, you should really rethink your plans on abstaining. Mere exposure will affect your dopamine, which is enough to prolong the flatline.
  • Pleasure From Food

    We’re not telling you to load up with junk food—improve your dopamine levels naturally by eating organic bananas, apples, yogurt, and nuts. Eating protein-rich food also helps, given that dopamine is made from amino acids.
  • Exercise Regularly

    Exercise releases hormones that keep you energized and happy throughout the day, protecting you from your urges and from depression. You won’t need porn to fulfill that feeling.
  • Find New Things to Do

    Dopamine rises when you do new stuff because it triggers an excited response over something so novel. Train your brain to stop fixating on thoughts to fap and find new hobbies to do or groups to socialize with.
  • ​Start Supplementing

    Dopamine supplements will give you a much-needed boost when you’re trying to get through a flatline. A natural dopamine booster helps in keeping you energetic and optimistic.

​Don’t Be Afraid of Flatlines

Flatlines are often part of the withdrawal process. While they’ll definitely make things more challenging, you should view them as a sign of progress. After all, the process wouldn’t manifest itself if you'd been still dependent on porn.

Just give your body time to recuperate, and try to focus on being healthier and more productive. Remember, with every NoFap flatline you encounter, a reboot isn’t far behind.

Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

Ivan Kokhno (Editor)

Ivan is a medical doctor that has five years experience in researching and writing health-related content, SaaS companies, startups, motivation and self-growth resources. He also speak five languages. Therefore, he is able to research any topic five times better than the average writer.

3 thoughts on “NoFap Flatline: Is It A Permanent Side Effect of Going Porn-free?

  1. I used 2masterbet and now I have taken like 4weeks with out and my girl friend wants to have sex because we have been far 4m each other MI 2 I do want to have sex but am afraid I may fall 2 perform my man duties any advice please

    • Do you have a track record of failing before? If you abstained for 4 weeks you should be pretty horny at this point 😛 If not then I would investigate potential hormonal issues. Tongkat Ali might be a good idea.

  2. Im still in a dreaded flatline its oct 2022,frequent urination,pee is bubbling,lower back pain ,weight gain,lethargic,spent hundreds on supplemnts,no job on ssi disabilty ,tried nero star tms and deep tms therpy,xmas vast approching ,new yrs could care less,weight gain ,which is a withdrawl.My brain i think is pert.Broken ,probably have to force myself to go to dads for xmas.Just turned 50,wanna go on trip next yr.See my crush .16nyrs younger then me,seriously why im i flatline

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