The “NoFap Flatline” – what it is and how to deal with it.

The “NoFap Flatline is a commonly-reported phenomenon that many of NoFap’s community members who are going through a reboot experience. Don’t worry; even though it might sound scary, the “NoFap flatline” won’t kill you. In this quick guide, we will discuss what the flatline is and how you can deal with it.

What is the flatline?

NoFap is a sexual health website and recovery platform. Most people are members of NoFap to recover from porn addiction, problematic porn use, and non-porn compulsive sexual behavior (such as excessive masturbation). However, anyone pursuing sexual self-improvement is welcome, and NoFap users have a wide variety of personal goals.

Whenever people go through the NoFap program, they often opt to abstain from porn use and masturbation temporarily. Abstaining from porn and even masturbation for some time is known as going through a reboot. A reboot generally lasts between 7-90 days, after which the person decides which sexual behaviors they want to reintroduce back into their lives. For recovering porn addicts, a reboot is intended to unhook them from porn and reconnect them with real partnered sex again.

During a reboot, people report going through a wide variety of positive and negative experiences. One of these rebooting “side effects” is known as the flatline, which is a period of decreased libido, sexual interest, arousal, and even mood. While many people search for information regarding the “NoFap flatline” online in relation to our program, the flatline isn’t exclusive to NoFap members but is something anyone recovering from porn addiction might experience.

What are the signs of a flatline?

While the following signs of a flatline should not be used for any medical diagnosis, NoFap users commonly report the following potential “symptoms” associated with the flatline:

Less sexual arousal throughout the day. You might have used to wake up with a morning wood but don’t anymore. Sometimes, people report experiencing zero sexual arousal whatsoever (thankfully, the flatline appears to be a temporary phenomenon). This lack of sexual arousal can occur in both people with penises and vaginas.

Less sexual interest. You might not be interested in sex with your partner and may even be less interested in masturbation. Your libido might feel like it is at an all-time low.

Decreased ability to become sexually aroused. You might struggle to obtain or maintain sexual arousal (unless if you’re using porn). This sometimes leads to distress in people who are especially concerned about erectile dysfunction. Don’t worry, your dick won’t fall off or shrivel up and disappear.

Feeling tired or sluggish. While this is a commonly-reported “withdrawal” effect of reducing or eliminating porn use for heavy porn users, many NoFap Fapstonauts report that their flatlines were accompanied with feeling less energetic throughout the day.

Feeling less motivated. You might feel less motivated to pursue recovery or less motivated to pursue things that you generally enjoy or don’t have trouble doing.

Low mood. You might feel like you experience less enjoyment from everyday activities. Sometimes, these negative feelings could contribute to further issues, such as anxiety, boredom, or sleeping issues. This shouldn’t be confused with depression. If you experience a significant depression episode, you might want to consider visiting a therapist in your area. If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, seek assistance immediately.

Traditionally, the flatline only referred to a lack of sexual arousal, but based on people’s anecdotal reports, the definition has grown to include the potential associated mood changes, as well. The flatline phenomenon that rebooters report has been documented in peer-reviewed academic literature. One popular recovery coach, Mark Queppet, referred to there being two types of flatlines: a sexual flatline (sexual dysfunction or decreased libido) and an emotional flatline (low mood or decreased motivation). Within the NoFap community, people in the flatline might experience one, several, or many of the above-listed signs of the flatline.

“After a few days of brain tantrums (cravings), I went into a flatline for weeks. Basically I felt totally indifferent about girls, sex, everything. A little voice from the porn beast nagged at me in the back of my mind, but mostly, I just didn’t care. And my penis was very lifeless and small. It was like somebody just pulled the plug on whatever machine provides my sex drive. No libido at all.”

When does a flatline occur?

There is a huge amount of misinformation floating around about NoFap, rebooting, and porn recovery. While preparing this article, we searched online and found some spammy-looking blogs and social media comments filled with pseudoscience about the flatline. Many of these blogs include “timelines” that tell people what to expect on particular days of their reboot.

The reality is that there isn’t currently any way to predict when a flatline will occur or whether one will occur at all. Flatlines can happen once, multiple times, many times, or not at all. Flatlines can happen in the first days of a reboot or months later. Roughly 25% of our surveyed users who were going through a reboot reported experiencing a flatline – and they appear to occur most often within the first months of recovery.

How long does the flatline last?

Everybody is different, and a wide variety of factors might influence how long a flatline lasts. While you can look at other people’s stories who have experienced flatline, no two reboots are the same. Your body and brain are unique, and so are your genetics and life experiences. Some people report flatlining for days, while others report flatlining for months. Based on what we’ve seen, it looks like people who used more porn and started using porn at younger ages might be more likely to experience a longer flatline.

Many people believe that how you react to a flatline could influence how long it lasts. If excessive porn use ultimately caused your flatline, using more porn in response to a flatline probably won’t help speed things up. While it may “reawaken” your libido for porn, you’ll only be delaying the recovery process to become fully aroused by porn-free solo or partnered sex again. Unfortunately, some people with severe porn-induced erectile dysfunction have reported not getting an erection until after months of abstaining from porn and masturbation.

“After 1 week, it felt as if my penis had no life. That it basically was dead. I was afraid as hell. But after two-three weeks, the morning erections started returning.”

Why does the flatline occur, and what is the science behind it?

The exact brain mechanisms behind the flatline aren’t yet known. The flatline is merely a phenomenon anecdotally reported by many heavy porn users who quit using porn – and we have yet to see any peer-reviewed academic research on it. Some people believe that the flatline could be considered a withdrawal effect of porn addicts quitting porn. However, the most common theory floating around the recovery community seems to be about conditioning. There are plenty of studies that support the idea that many porn addicts “wire” their brains to prefer pornography instead of people, and in the absence of porn, they don’t experience sexual arousal. After cutting out porn, it might take your brain some time to achieve porn-free sexual arousal. Regardless of what might be the exact cause of the flatline is less important than the solution to flatline – to keep on sticking to your recovery parameters, staying as porn-free as possible.

How do you deal with the flatline?

Remember that the flatline is common. About 25% of our surveyed users going through a reboot reported experiencing a flatline. NoFap has millions of followers, so you are in good company.

Remember that the flatline is temporary. Our website was created in 2011 and we have yet to hear of a “forever flatline.”

Remember that recovery is not a linear process. It might be super frustrating to overcome a flatline, only to experience another flatline in a few weeks. Your ability to become sexually aroused without the use of porn could vary throughout the recovery process. But the best way to deal with it is to keep moving forward – things should get better over time.

Learn to appreciate the flatline. Some people consider flatline to be a welcome relief compared to intense cravings that seem never to go away.

Don’t use porn to test your erection or sexual arousal. Some people get so concerned about flatlining that they’re worried their genitals don’t work anymore. However, if you are attempting to reverse porn-induced sexual dysfunction (such as erectile dysfunction), using more porn will only prolong the recovery process.

Take care of yourself. While you may not be able to control whether or not you have a flatline, you can put your brain and body in the best possible place to outlast it. Get enough sleep, exercise, eat well and work on reducing your stress levels.

Don’t hesitate to seek out additional support. Whether it is participating in the NoFap community more, enrolling in our accountability groups, or finding a porn addiction therapist in your area, connecting with others could be very beneficial. The flatline isn’t the only obstacle when it comes to reducing or quitting porn use, so you might as well set yourself up for success. If you are experiencing prolonged sexual dysfunction, you probably want to consult with a physician to rule out any potential physical causes.

Get re-bought-in to the recovery process. Think about your reasons for pursuing healthier sexual habits and the positive effects that the porn-free lifestyle could have on your life. Recovery is totally worth it. You’ll thank yourself later for your resilience now when you’re living a life free from problematic porn use and sexual compulsivity.

28 thoughts on “The “NoFap Flatline” – what it is and how to deal with it.”

  1. Im still in a flatline and im turning 50 in a few,weeks,ive tried multiply supplemnts,even deep tms therpy,my brain wont heal,on disabilty,r

  2. Yo! Todd,

    Jeeess! Man.. be cool. Maybe you need to like someone first. Or someone gotta like you. What’s tms therapy? I think I’m on a flatline. My computer hasn’t been doing it for me lately. But sometimes in the morning [the other day]..

  3. “This lack of sexual arousal can occur in both people with penises and vaginas.”

    You mean, MEN AND WOMEN? There are only 2 genders, you silly western liberal fools LOL

  4. “A reboot generally lasts between 7-90 days, after which the person decides which sexual behaviors they want to reintroduce back into their lives.“ lol what? Nah, you quit it forever. if you “reintroduce” it back into your life than all this is a waste of time and you will see no results. Sad that the people that run this site don’t know what they’re talking about and encourage people to relapse.

  5. So I was just hooking up with a girl and I was kind of getting there, she was giving me a handjob to try and help but it just wasn’t helping. I’m a grower so that was pretty embarrassing since my flaccid size has also been smaller recently. I started jacking off in 5th grade and i never went a week without it for 5 years. What’s the longest known flatline?

  6. Figured it out I started taking the Lions Mane mushroom to help with anxiety and help my nervous system. Turns out for some people it can give them this problem.

  7. Man! This is literally my life! I started watching porn since I was 10, I’m 16 now and couldn’t get aroused without porn. My libido would fluctuate dramatically and some days I’m going n a rock bottom zero while others I’m extremely aroused. On a better note, I’ve been abstaining for over a week now and I feel myself getting better. My penile length has increased and I can get aroused by fantasizing, something I couldn’t before.

  8. That’s wrong Tom. The point of reboot is to stop compulsive porn use. After 90 days you are considered “reborn” and if you choose to watch porn or not it will not be the same as if you were addicted. You could become addicted again but that’s dependent on the person.

  9. Ali,
    This is not helpful or supportive of your fellow NoFap community, or yourself. Furthermore, it is scientifically proven to be inaccurate. Perhaps during your flatline while you are fighting cravings, you can spend your time reading up on the subjects and expanding your mind. Best of luck on your reboot!

  10. After two week of flatline l watched porn and masturbate for testing my penis but after ejeculate my libido decrease even more okay l wont masturbate again but lm just wondering when the complete the process Whats gonna be happen to my sexual activity? can l able to sex with with my partner as much as l want and will libido decrease still be there and do l have to finish the process cause masturbating isnt the solution to bring my libido back

  11. Hello
    i start mastarbation at the age of 12
    Now iam 35 it was long time 23 yeas Iam traying to quit porn and mastarbatian for 6 months i can stop for a week or two weeks . Since a month i started to feel a flat line and decrease lipido and no erection at all . I feel hard feeling makes me back to porn and mastarbation in 5 september it wasnt feel enough pleasure nor extrem joyment as i used to . I back to the track i succeed to keep my self clean until now 19 september .. i cant get erection during the day but last night i feel it hard for aminute while sleeping i cauldn’t remeber adream but it is amassage that thier is hope at the end of the dark tunnel .

  12. NoFap is a non-political, secular, science-based website to help deal with porn addiction NoFap welcomes a diverse community of people of all different religious beliefs, political views, and demographic groups, including transgender and gender-nonbinary people. Porn addiction can impact people of all demographic groups.

    According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender (gender identity) is different than sex (biological sex), so by saying “a person with a penis” – it’s clear they’re talking about someone who is biologically male (even if their gender is female or nonbinary).

  13. noMercyForStupidity

    Haha lol. Saying this is like alcoholic or drug addict can take one shot after 90 days.
    If you’re addicted from Xyou simply do not use X. No matter if it’s 91 day or 2368 day.

  14. Praise be to God, I was able to overcome the difficulties after an addiction that lasted 14 years. I discovered pornography when I was young, and now, on day 87, I still feel some withdrawal symptoms, but they are mild, and I still suffer from sexual frigidity and lack of sensation in the penis.

  15. It is kind of weird for me. I am on Day 17 I think. I have no GF som I am on hard mode. I think i can already say something about me based on the last 17 days.
    I am not addicted to porn. Porn was always a tool for me to get quickly arroused, not that I would spend more time than neccesary of looking at it.
    However I like masturbating and it is bad for me. Why to look around for GF when i can have a look at the screen and get job done within few minutes?
    I think i have not been through flatline. I have morning woods and i am sometimes horny during the days.
    I have good days and bad days.
    Bad days are when i am pretty horny and brain send me pictures of hot chicks and scenes from porn from my old days.
    The biggest problem for me is, and this is quite unexpected, i thougt only problem was going to be being horny.
    The ultimate bad boss for me is LACK OF DOPAMINE. Oh my oh my.

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