This post was updated on 16/08/2021.
If you’ve ever done the NoFap challenge for whatever reason, you would have wondered what the NoFap timeline for recovery is.
“How long before I become Kal-El?”
“How long before I become an Alpha male oozing of testosterone?”
When do I start walking down the street and girls would start giving me the looks and throwing their panties at my feet?
The answer is, NEVER EVER EVER.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but NoFap won’t make you superman.
What NoFap is, and what it isn’t
The benefits of NoFap are what an Eskimo would call the warm weather of Africa.
Because most PMO addicts have been hooked to this habit for a very long time, when they stop doing it, for a short time, they start noticing “serious” changes.
While these changes are profound, they are things that a “normal” person who isn’t a PMO addict would describe as natural and normal.
And just like the tale of the olds, these changes are either over-estimated or under-estimated.
In the case of NoFap, there’s been a huge over-estimation of what it is, and what it isn’t.
This has led to high expectations on the part of those that take up the challenge.
They are one or two weeks into the challenge and they start asking when they get to touch the sky.
Although the benefits of the NoFap challenge can be profound and life-changing, just like any other addiction, it’ll take time to re-calibrate your body, and senses back to “normal”.
“Normal” is good.
As a matter of fact, “Normal” is great.
“Normal” is nothing much. It’s just the way you are supposed to be as a baseline.
“Normal” is you not wasting hours fapping to porn. “Normal” is you not wasting your energy jerking off to porn and feeling tired all the time.
“Normal” is when your penis starts working normally.
Once you get to “Normal”, you can get to “more”.
But NoFap alone can’t take you to “more”. You have to put your NoFap on steroids and put in more effort with your time.
You can’t jump to “more” from “addict”. You have to get to “Normal” first.
So, a viable question to ask at this point is this;
how long will it take me to get back to normal?
NoFap Timeline: Similarities of PMO addiction Timeline with other addiction timelines
In the brain’s limbic system, basal ganglia, and striatum, there are neurons called D2 Dopamine receptors.
These receptors allow dopamine messages to be passed around in the brain.
These receptors allow you to feel the effects of Dopamine.
Any pleasure-giving activity you can think of—like eating, having sex, taking a walk, having an engaging conversation, completing a project, getting an A in school, are all meant to reward you when you do them.
Chemically, when one of these activities is done, the brain secretes dopamine, which is picked up by the dopamine receptors in the brain.
Dopamine is what keeps you motivated. It’s there to give you that “gotta get it” feeling.
With every new sexual mate you’re exposed to or new porn video you watch, there’s an accompanying surge of dopamine.
This surge in dopamine is followed by the secretion of delta FosB in the reward circuitry.
But because the brain can’t tell the difference between “porn sex” and real sex with a mate, it tends to binge on the ‘porn sex’.
Similar to drugs like cocaine, heroin, crack, this flood of dopamine rush gives you a form of high.
Because of Delta FosB, which is a chemical that’s secreted with overuse of a compulsive habit—which also binds itself with the gene and carves out a neural pathway in the brain, no porn and masturbation addict can be truly and completely cured.
The pathways carved out by FosB have been found to still be in the brain of an addict until the time of their death. Long after the trace of FosB has completely left the brain.
The pathways will still be there, but they would have become redundant (due to lack of use).
A porn and/or masturbation addict can do the NoFap challenge and have the pathways rebooted, but the day he thinks he is cured and tries to take a peep, it can be a slippery slope from there.
Just like Winston told John Wick, “you dip as much as a pinky back in this pond, you might find that something reaches out and grabs you”.
Although it sounds a bit dramatic, these words are true when it comes to recovery and addiction.
The Legit NoFap Timeline for recovery to expect
Honestly, to get back to “normal”—to reverse the negative effects that porn and masturbation addiction have had on your body, it’ll take some months, if not years.
Because the damage wasn’t done in just a few weeks.
Having this in mind, no one can pinpoint with certainty how long it will take for the effects of the addiction to reverse.
The standard gauge is the three-month hard mode. Some will need more than that, while some people might need less.
But if you’ve made it to the 90-day mark, that’s the time to do some serious evaluations.
It’s the time you’ll check maybe the symptoms you noticed before you started the NoFap challenge are still there, gone, or at the very least, subsided.
The factors that affect the NoFap Timeline
Your Level of addiction to PMO
All addicts are not the same.
Some people are more addicted to porn than they are to masturbation.
I have a friend that is just a masturbation addict.
Some watch porn two or three times a week. Some watch it two to three times daily.
Some have started on the addiction path for more than a decade while some are just starting.
The symptoms that are already manifesting in the addict’s life are also different from that of the other addict.
Some people have already developed Porn-induced ED while some haven’t yet.
Anatomical differences also play a key role in the level of addiction of people.
Some brains are more pre-disposed to PMO addiction.
Based on all these factors, I would categorize the level of addiction to PMO as;
The Hardcore addict
This is the guy that:
- watched porn and jerked off at least once a day,
- has been PMOing non-stop for more than two years,
- has already developed a form of Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction, and
- invests nothing less than 2 hours per porn and masturbation session.
The Mild addict
This is the guy that:
- watched porn and jerked off three times a week (at most),
- has been doing this for less than two years,
- is border-line on developing PIED, and
- invests nothing more than 2 hours per porn and masturbation session.
You can use this simple tool I created to test your level of addiction to PMO.
This factor is based on the whole “playboy magazine vs high-speed internet porn debacle”.
When several PMO addicts were polled, it was found that it was quicker for people who started watching porn on magazines to reboot than most of us that started watching porn on high-speed internet.
I would go out on a limb to assume that most of us started watching porn on high-speed internet. Those people that started porn on magazine pages are becoming unicorns.
Most of the people that started porn on magazine pages do not develop Porn-Induced ED and even if they do, abstaining for about three months does the trick.
This is not the case for those of us that started watching porn on high-speed internet.
The mode of NoFap that you’re doing will also have a huge effect on your NoFap recovery timeline.
The mode of NoFap that’s most popular is the Hard Mode (No porn No masturbation No orgasm mode).
Other modes include Easy mode (No porn mode), Normal mode (No porn No masturbation mode), and Monk mode (advanced hard mode).
Recovery time is fastest for Monk mode, followed by the hard mode, then the normal mode.
Activities you are doing to aid recovery on NoFap
This is another factor that’s often overlooked by a lot of people when it comes to healing from PMO wounds.
If you choose to put your NoFap on steroids by meditating, learning and playing musical instruments regularly, reading regularly, exercising regularly, eating healthy on NoFap, you’ll recover faster than the person that’s doing none of these things.
All these activities are dopamine receptor builders. Doing these things together with your NoFap is like taking a jet to your destination instead of a car.
You can learn how to have a faster NoFap recovery here!!
Reasons for NoFap; and the expectations of the fapstronaut
Let’s not forget about the person himself.
You’re also a factor that you need to consider when thinking about the NoFap timeline of recovery.
Why did you get into NoFap in the first place?
Have those symptoms reversed?
What are your expectations?
What are your needs?
Are you in it for the long haul or just to see what it feels like?
Someone wanting to correct an ED might have to be in it longer than someone wanting to build up testosterone for an athletic pursuit the following week.
NoFap Timeline for a PMO addict on 90-day NoFap hard mode
Day 1-7 (The honeymoon period of NoFap)
This period of NoFap is filled with excitement and energy.
You’ve just been exposed to what it’s like to not jerk off every day and waste your sperm again.
At this stage, it’s like you’ve just been exposed to a brand new world. And you just want to go on NoFap forever.
Benefits of NoFap you experience in this NoFap timeline include;
- Your energy levels are peaked on day 7 of NoFap.
- Your confidence level is increased because of this newfound energy
- Your sleep pattern is greatly improved
Day 8-14 (The withdrawal period of NoFap)
This NoFap timeline is when the honeymoon period is over and reality sets in.
This is the stage of NoFap where your brain realizes you’re trying to take porn away from it. So, it starts fighting you.
In an attempt to get you to go back to your PMO ways.
It’s at this stage that most NoFap beginners relapse because NoFap turns out to be the opposite of what they expected in the first place.
This NoFap timeline is characterized by the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Mild depression
- Mood swings and extreme anger at every little thing
- Cravings for porn is highest these days and can lead to a NoFap relapse
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Flatline starts for most people on the hard mode.
- Your Energy levels stall—it flatlines.
Day 15-30 (The 2nd phase of Withdrawal)
During this NoFap timeline, the withdrawal symptoms you experienced in the previous timeline continue.
The difference between this stage and the previous stage is that your ability to handle these withdrawal symptoms will increase.
Also, at this stage, crucial NoFap benefits resume and you start experiencing some new benefits that you haven’t before.
Some of the benefits (and withdrawals) you experience at this stage include:
- Prolactin level starts dropping
- Dopamine receptors and androgen receptors start building back up
- Cravings for porn are still there, but you’re getting better at controlling them
- Your energy levels increase considerably
- Flatline still present (for most people)
Day 30-60 (The Flatline period of NoFap)
During this period of NoFap, mental benefits (and challenges) increase considerably.
Because at this stage, your brain is starting to rejuvenate the dopamine receptors in your brain.
Deep-seated emotions that drove you to porn in the first place will start coming up to the surface.
And if you confront them (rather than distract yourself from them), you’ll come out of this NoFap timeline feeling like a million bucks.
People make the mistake of not dealing with these deep-seated emotions by distracting themselves with excessive video gaming, excessive social media, binge-eating, and other destructive habits.
And at the end of the whole NoFap challenge, they find themselves going back to watching porn.
Things you’ll notice in this NoFap timeline include:
- Flatline gets worse (for most people). This is due to the rebalancing of the dopamine pathway in the brain.
- But you should have it at the back of your mind that your dopamine receptors are almost rebalanced. So it’s just a matter of time for you to get out of the flatline funk.
- Memory improvement and ability to recall are noticeable here.
- Deep-seated emotions start coming to the surface.
- Energy level stabilizes.
- Sleep pattern is back to good and filled with vivid (lucid) dreams.
Day 60-90 (The recovery stage of NoFap)
This is the period that your body enters recovery mode.
All the wounds that PMO addiction has afflicted on your body will start healing.
These are the major benefits you start noticing in this NoFap timeline:
- Flatline begins to subside (in most cases).
- Erection starting to become rock hard (when they happen).
- PIED is starting to subside.
- Receptors in the brain are fully rejuvenated and balanced.
Beyond Day 90 (The happy days of NoFap)
It’s at this stage of NoFap that you start getting real NoFap benefits.
But you only get to this stage if you’ve done the work of:
- Staying true to your NoFap: No edging, no peeking, and no habit substitution with other dopamine-hijacking habits.
- Dealing with the emotions and circumstances that drove you to porn in the first place: this can be done by working on yourself and figuring out your purpose in life, and so on.
Please know that doing all the above doesn’t mean your reboot will be completed automatically.
Know that your body might need more than 90 days to recover.
But this is the best time to do a review of what you’ve gained from NoFap over the 90 days.
And a review of what’s left to be corrected by NoFap.
If there are still a few things left, just give it more time. Trust that your body will recover.
The benefits of getting to this NoFap timeline include:
- PIED is cured. (But if it isn’t yet, know that it will be cured. PIED is cured at a time that’s different for everybody).
- You are a new person who clearly knows what he wants with his life.
- You still won’t be superman!!
Hard Mode and Hardcore addict and NoFap on steroids (monk mode or doing things mentioned earlier)
Day 1-7: Filled with excitement and energy
Energy is peaked on day 7-8.
Sleep pattern is good.
Day 8-14: Craving for porn is controllable at this time
Flatline starts (for most people)
Day 15-30: Prolactin starts dropping
Dopamine and androgen receptors start building back up
Cravings are reduced drastically and are better handled
Energy level is increased considerably
Flatline still present (for most people)
Sleep pattern back to good
Day 30-60: Receptors are balanced
Memory improvement and ability to recall is noticeable here
Energy level continues to increase
More clarity on individuality
Sleep pattern is good and filled with vivid dreams
Receptors in the brain are fully rejuvenated and balanced.
Flatline begins to subside (in most cases)
Day 60-90: Erection starting to become rock hard (when they happen)
PIED is cured (in 95% of cases)
Benefits of Day 30-60 still lingers and continues to increase
Beyond Day 90: PIED is cured (for the remaining 5%)
You are a new person who clearly knows what he wants with his life
NB: If you are a mild PMO addict, expect the benefits in the above NoFap timeline in a faster manner.
This is a realistic timeline based on my personal experience and what I’ve gathered from other people’s experiences on the NoFap forums.
I want you to believe that I did it ALL. I did the hard mode, relapsed. I did the normal mode, easy mode, cold turkey, warm turkey, relapsed again. Meditation, hypnotism, and relapsed again.
Closing thoughts on NoFap recovery timeline
People ask this question of what NoFap recovery timeline looks like a lot. Mainly because they have a misguided notion on what the impact NoFap would be on their lives.
All those YouTube videos on “NoFap and attraction” have made people mystify the NoFap challenge.
Just like the coming of Deadpool 2 (I’m obviously obsessed with the movie. And this is what my brain could bring as a reference right now), expectations are just too damn high.
Manage your expectations
Why don’t you stop asking when?
If you are on NoFap or looking to start, one advice I could give you right here and now is to manage your expectations.
One of the tricks that your mind will play on you is the trick of expectation.
When you expect too much of something, you’ll FAIL to recognize the progress you’ve made.
Thoughts like “this isn’t working”, “this is a waste of time”, “this is not as advertised” will start popping into your head.
These thoughts are the beginning of a relapse.
If you do NoFap for the wrong reasons, you end up feeling disappointed. And you eventually relapse.
I started having success with NoFap when I knew two things:
The first thing was that the reason why I wanted to do NoFap was much more profound
I couldn’t afford to continue to waste two hours DAILY watching porn. And I couldn’t AFFORD to be feeling tired every day again.
The real world had come calling. I wasn’t getting any younger. I NEEDED those TWO HOURS and that ENERGY I’ve been wasting.
Wasn’t doing NoFap for the increase in testosterone, or the attraction from the female, or the colorfulness of this life.
To cut the long story short, I wasn’t EXPECTING NoFap to fix everything.
The second thing that I knew was……
That NoFap isn’t a challenge, it’s a way of life
Counting days on the calendar, checking if so so and so has happened to you, scouring forums for superpowers, these are all highways to a relapse.
This is supposed to be something you aim to do forever (Staying off porn at least).
Being addicted to porn is like an infected limb that’ll never get better. A limb you should aim to cut off permanently for a new and healthier one to grow. (This metaphor didn’t make sense to me but I hope it somehow does for you).
I wish you success in your NoFap journey.
STAY FAP-FREE, STAY BLESSED.
PS: You can learn more about willpower, concentration and focus, and the prefrontal cortex in this manual