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ED and pornography.

ED & Pornography

There is an increasing body of thought that believe pornography can be a contributory factor to Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and more and more we find young men coming forward  to us with ED problems they wish to overcome.

Pornography isn’t new and has existed in in many forms for 1000’s of years. Examples of pornography have been discovered on precious papyrus during excavations of Pyramids in Egypt. 

But today we are faced with a totally new age of pornography. An age where pornography of any type and fantasy is seconds away at the touch of a button on a phone or tablet. So, it is now easy for boys just reaching puberty to access pornography, meaning for many of them their first exploration into sex doesn’t start with peering at a top shelf magazine, a fumbled kiss or holding a hand, but with hard core pornography.

Opinion is divided whether pornography contributes to ED but increasingly our clinical experience suggests there is a growing link – indeed there is now a whole area of research looking at Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED). But it is not just ED and the ability to have satisfactory penetrative sex, but also a wider range of psychological and partner issues.

A recent study of over 3,000 men of different ages, established that there was a correlation between the amount of pornography watched and an increasing incidence of ED. Moreover, very worryingly this showed that an increasing percentage of young men in their late teens and early 20’s complainied about the onset of ED.

Our experience indicates that there are a number of reasons for this. One is a desensitisation to sexual stimulus and an increased need for ever more erotic stimulus. Stimulus starts with the senses, sight, touch, or smell, but especially sight. In the past a female in a low cut top may have triggered an erection in a young heterosexual male, his eyes telling him to become sexually aroused. But nowadays, the mystique is gone, there are no surprises for a young male.

As a result, we see an increase in porn addiction, where males can watch hours of porn and become experts in self pleasure, rather than a mutual pleasure enjoyed between two partners.

Porn addiction leads to problems in the bedroom – for both partners and increased expectations that cannot be fulfilled. In fact, a new term has emerged in this digital age…of ‘Partnered sex’. Put simply, pornography has made expectations higher, and self-esteem lower. 

For young males their manhood is intricately linked to their masculinity. In the past, they would have envied the alpha males at school who attracted the attention of the pretty girls, but today, their mental competition are the male porn actors, with their fit bodies and oversized manhood.

For a man the expectations of themselves are higher and when they can’t get aroused with their partner, because the bar for stimulation has been set so much higher, a vicious circle sets in and problems with getting and sustaining erections start becoming more frequent.

Similarly, their partners cannot compete with porn actresses, who have been filmed in erotic lighting, effortlessly performing sexual aerobics with seemingly perfect sexual bodies.

So just like people who drink too much alcohol, smoke to many cigarettes or live on a bad diet that can lead to health problems, men who watch too much porn and are experiencing erectile dysfunction need to do something about it.

Whilst there is no set medical protocol with do’s and don’ts these are some of the things we advise our clients:

  • Firstly, set yourself a target – stop watching porn for 90-days. If you struggle with this, it
     is an indication of how addicted you are. If you are older, remember it is only in the last decade or so that you have been able to watch porn and you lived a fulfilling life before this.
  • To help with this, download porn blocking software for your computer. If not the temptation, may be too great to slip back into viewing.
  • If you struggle make a list of the reasons why you shouldn’t be watching porn and how much of your life it is taking up. Increasing your chances of ED and problems with sexual intercourse with your partner, are right up there on the list.

If your struggle is too great, consider contacting a sex therapist to help with porn addiction.