Health

5 Ways Internet Porn Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Pornhub.com—the most popular platform out there, claimed that last year alone, it had 81 million viewers per day. That equates to 28.5 billion a year. A recent study out of the University of Montreal tried to find a man, any man, in his 20s that didn’t watch internet porn and failed miserably. Guys aren’t alone, either—according to Porn Hub’s latest figures, 32% of all searches were porn for women.

There are healthy uses for porn, of course. Couples can use it to spice up their love life. The occasional jaunt for one’s own personal erotic pleasure isn’t thought to be dangerous, according to psychologists. In fact, it can help one flesh out their fantasies and desires, which can help them better understand themselves and communicate their interests to their partner. The trouble is, just like anything else, internet porn can become an overwhelming preoccupation.

Is Porn-induced Erectile Dysfunction an Actual Condition?

There’s an ongoing debate in the urological and psychiatric communities about whether or not porn-induced erectile dysfunction (ED) is real. While two 2015 studies found no connection between porn viewing and the inability for men to perform sexually, three others have found just the opposite. One Italian study reported that young men who chronically masturbate to porn suffer from a form of “sexual anorexia.”

Urologists agree that the vast majority of ED cases are physical in nature. These include the onset of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, COPD, as a side effect of certain medications, an endocrine problem, obesity, or illicit drug or alcohol abuse. 50% of men age 40 and above experience ED. The chances of developing it increase as one gets older. It’s pretty rare for men in their 20s and 30s, however. This is the most common age group though to experience pornography-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED).

Approximately 80-85% of cases are physical in nature. That leaves 15-20% cases with psychological roots. These usually surround feelings of anxiety (particularly performance anxiety), shame, frustration, guilt, or depression. The issue is complex since those who are seemingly addicted to internet porn usually suffer from one of these conditions. Obsessive porn consumption then exacerbates or perhaps is a manifestation of the deeper issue. Anecdotally, there are plenty of cases recorded in articles, forums, and in the annals of psychological and urological journals. It may just be that this is a complex issue with many factors involved that haven’t been completely untangled.

So what type of man is experiencing it? PIED sufferers are usually under age 40 and obsessed with internet porn. For them, chronic masturbation coupled with watching porn keeps them from being able to experience fulfilling sex with a partner. There’s probably a certain level of self-conditioning involved and knowing this may be the key to reversing it.

Here are 5 Ways Internet Porn Can Lead to ED:

  1. It goes against your ideology. There’s some evidence that those who come from a very conservative background may secretly enjoy certain types of positions, situations, or experiences that they’ve been taught are taboo. Although you may enjoy these as a naughty pleasure no one’s supposed to know about, when the idea of actually performing it with your partner is on the table, those feelings of shame obstruct your ability to perform.
  2. You end up masturbating too much and ruining the sensation. Masturbation doesn’t stimulate the penis in the same exact way that intercourse does. As such, you might condition yourself to a certain kind of physical stimulation in order to reach orgasm. Once conditioned this way, you may find it difficult to reach climax with a partner through actual intercourse.
  3. Porn gives men unrealistic expectations. Porn actresses are great and all, but they don’t equate to real women in quite a number of ways. A physical difference may be one of them. Most porn actresses are portrayed as having perfect bodies (though the tricks used to make us think so is another matter). Besides that, it takes a lot more effort, vis-à-vis foreplay, to get a real woman in the mood. The instant gratification aspect of internet porn could undermine your interest in taking part in extended foreplay in order to prime a partner for a proper erotic episode.
  4. You may become conditioned to certain visual triggers. Most men and people, in general, have certain, particular interests that turn them on. A certain type of woman, sexual position, or even fetish may be what get your engine roaring. Internet porn allows you to focus only on particular interests and avoid more vanilla or staid situations. When it comes time to be with a partner without this particular interest involved, you may have difficulty rising to the occasion.
  5. Porn overload can affect the way your brain is wired. Sex feels good because it’s linked neurologically to the reward circuit in the brain. Just like delicious food, winning an award, and drugs and alcohol, an orgasm releases dopamine—the feel-good neurochemical. The idea is that a constant flood of dopamine through chronic masturbation may overload the system. The bottom line, dopamine receptors begin to shut down and it takes more and more to feel satisfied. In addition, your body may also have a limit on testosterone, which is required for sexual desire and an erection to occur.

So How Can you Overcome PIED?

Experts say quit using internet porn for 2-6 weeks. Over that same period, abstain from masturbation. Then, try reconnecting with your partner. Talk about your feelings, thoughts, fantasies, and experiences in a safe space. Build the mood, go slow, and make sure you and your partner positively reinforce one another throughout the experience. If you’re still having problems, talk to a doctor or psychologist. There may be another issue causing ED to occur.