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Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction: Is It Really A Thing?

Is porn causing you to have erectile dysfunction? Find out here if the connection between porn induced ED is real.

Mark Goldberg
Mark is a LCMFT & CST certified sex therapist and founder of the Erectile Dysfunction Podcast and ErectionIQ.com

by Mark Goldberg 7 min read

Ever watched a little too much porn, and then had a hard time getting it up? Relax, you're not the only man who has faced a similar situation.

The fact is, young men and old men alike can be drawn to pornography, and there is nothing wrong with your mental health if you're one of them.

But, can you watch so much porn that it actually hurts your sex life?

Even more important, is porn-induced erectile dysfunction actually a thing?

Quick FAQs

While the jury is still out on this one. The general consensus is that watching porn does not cause erectile dysfunction.

It can create an unrealistic expectation of sex with your partner.

No, some research suggest that it can actually help men prepare for real world sex with their partner.

We're going to take a look at the medically reviewed studies, the myths, and the facts, so you will know if your sex life is at risk because you enjoy the occasional bout of internet porn consumption.

What Is Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction?

Illustration of porn coming out of laptop to answer if porn induced ed is real

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to either get a full erection or keep a full erection once you have one in order to enjoy sexual activity or please a partner.

Porn-induced ED, by speculation, is ED caused by watching pornography.

This controversial theory is something used to explain men having sexual problems related to porn. 

The problem is said to happen to men who watch pornography so much that when they try to attempt sexual activity with a partner, they can't get or keep an erection.

In reality, whether or not porn could be linked to ED at all is highly questionable, and a topic that has been debated by researchers.

Erectile dysfunction is a much more complex issue that often occurs as a result of both mental health and physical health components.

Therefore, the idea that excessive pornography could directly cause ED is relatively questionable.

Is Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction Real?

While you will hear a lot of speculation about porn-induced erectile dysfunction, a lot of experts say this is more of a notion than a fact.

illustration suggestion a study that shows porn induced Ed is not real

Researchers in a  sexual medicine study found no direct link between erectile function and watching too much pornography.

What the study found was:

  • Men who viewed more pornography often had stronger levels of sexual arousal
  • Prior research into porn-induced ED was egregious and missing data
  • Only men who could be deemed as more conservative and in a monogamous relationship had problems with erectile dysfunction and porn

When the research findings are considered collectively, it points toward the fact that it may not be porn at all that contributes to issues with erectile dysfunction.

Instead, the following may be to blame:

  • a man's personal ideas around viewing porn
  • feeling ashamed of watching porn
  • being off-put by real-world sex
  • partnered sex may be to blame

It's not at all uncommon for some men to have certain religious, moral, or personal qualms or beliefs about porn or even masturbating while watching porn.

Those that do have those beliefs are likely to have psychological distress associated with the guilt they feel during sexual encounters because of prior porn-viewing or masturbating.

How Does Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction Work?

 Illustration of man with nothing but porn on his mind to answer if porn induced ed is real

The theory of porn-induced erectile dysfunction states that watching porn makes it hard for a male to get hard during normal, sexual situations.

To get a better idea of what the proposed condition is, let's take a look at some of the myths versus actual facts on porn and male sexual dysfunction.

Myths

1. Porn sexually desensitizes men

Man holding tablet with legs sticking out the sides to answer the myths about porn induced ED

An online article published in 2016 stated that progressive pornography viewing is related to the progressive need for more stimulation just to achieve erections.

In other words, this article basically stated that men with a porn habit would continually need more stimulation, which would lead to an inability to become aroused with typical real-life sexual encounters.

The problem with this particular article is it was primarily penned by a founder of an anti-porn organization.

Studies done since have found only a weak correlation between porn use and the ability to get aroused or maintain an erection.

What does hold true is it can take longer for men who watch a lot of porn to reach an orgasm during sex.

Understandably so if porn-watching also involves masturbation. Needing a physical recovery after ejaculation is just how the male body works.

2. More porn consumption means fewer erections

man researching if too much porn causes less erections

This myth stems from some of those same unwarranted claims already mentioned but does not necessarily hold a lot of merits.

Now, that's not to say that if you're hitting up internet porn sites frequently, masturbating, and having orgasms regularly that you won't have a hard time being ready for sex because you will.

This is not indicative that porn causes ED; you will always have a recovery period after an orgasm to contend with regardless of how you reached an aroused state and climaxed.

If you are watching so much porno that it's interfering with sex with your partner, the simple solution is to back off and watch less porn for a while.

3. Young men are more likely to have porn-induced erectile dysfunction

ED is more prominent among older men (four times as likely for men in their 60s versus in their 40s).

 Erectile dysfunction is more common in older men

However, younger men are increasingly getting medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment for ED.

With porn being more readily accessible due to the internet, there has been an allusion that the increased level of pornography use is causing more cases of ED among younger males.

But the actual cause of heightened instances of ED among the younger male population may be linked to far more than just easy access to internet pornography.

For example, more men are speaking up when they have issues with ED.

There are treatments out there known to work, some of which are available just by prescription.

So, guys, in general, are more likely to open up about issues regardless of how young or old they may be.

Facts

1. Porn is rarely likely to be the only factor behind ED

50 percent of men with coronary artery disease have erectile dysfunction

ED is complicated. From a medical standpoint, it's incredibly rare for difficulty with erections to have just one singular cause.

In fact, one study found that 50% of men with known coronary artery disease had significant ED.

ED, just as it is with most levels of sexual dysfunction, can have so many underlying factors that make it hard to get hard, such as:

  • Prescription drug use
  • Smoking or alcohol consumption
  • Neurogenic diseases
  • Low testosterone
  • Stress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems
  • Circulatory or cardiovascular problems

The idea that porn use alone, even excessively, would be the singular cause of ED is pretty unlikely.

2. Pornography may actually help men prepare for sexual activity

Research has shown that men who spent time watching porn were actually more responsive to their partner sexually in a laboratory setting.

In fact, some men who have ED may even use porn to help encourage an erection if they are struggling otherwise.

Not to mention, porn-watching with a partner can bring about a new level of excitement for the encounter and support the sexual health of the relationship.

3. The proposed link between "porn addiction" and ED has been highly lucrative in some respects

Happy man profiting from porn induced ed industry

This particular fact should serve as a bit of a warning to watch what you believe when info comes from sources that have something to gain.

Even though there is little scientific, reviewed research, the proposed link between ED and pornography has been used incessantly to push sketchy products and agendas from anti-pornography groups like Fight the New Drug and Your Brain on Porn.

4. Pornography can generate unrealistic expectations of sex

Man looking at getting unrealistic expectations

Even though erectile dysfunction caused by pornography may be mostly myth, heavy porn use may not be without repercussions.

Internet pornography serves up fantasies with just a click.

You can skip from scene to scene, action to action, to get instantaneous mental fantasy fulfillment and arousal-inducing stimulation.

Real-life sexual experiences are not the same.

For some men, excessive porn use can make real sex pale in comparison.

There is no flipping from scene to scene to experience the most arousing parts of the encounter.

Some guys find it difficult to maintain an erection during real-world sex because of this.

Plus, most guys will not talk to their sexual partners about what they want during sex, but they can get that psychological stimulation from sex acted out online or otherwise.

It can become an easy habit to fulfill those wants and desires privately instead of risking judgment by having a talk with their significant other.

On another note, a lot of porn can also mean a greater likelihood of playing the comparison game and then dealing with sexual performance anxiety.

A man may feel inadequate during sex simply because what he's doing, what he looks like, or even how his partner response doesn't measure up to what he consistently sees in acted-out scenes.

Let's Talk Takeaways

Man happy after researching porn induced ED

The debate may be heated about whether or not porn can cause sexual health problems, but most researchers claim you don't necessarily have a lot to worry about with watching some porno on occasion, or even on a regular basis.

You're probably not going to have long-term dysfunction when it comes to sex just because you watch pornography, and ED is unlikely.

This is the case no matter your age.

Naturally, pornography is not the real world.

Sexual situations in real life are not going to be the same.

And, excessive pornography may skew your perceptions and expectations enough to even cause a bit of anxiety.

If you believe your body could use a little extra support in the sex department, then Promescent has you covered, try adding VitaFLUX to your daily regimen.

It’s probably also a good idea to pay a little more attention to your physical and emotional health as well.

And remember, a little creativity and a few tools can make real-world sex with your partners just as exciting.

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Mark Goldberg
Mark Goldberg

Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST, is a certified sex therapist and founder of the Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast and ErectionIQ.com. These resources educate and empower men to overcome sexual dysfunction, improve confidence, and enhance satisfaction in their relationships. Mark provides therapy to help people better understand and express their feelings, address depression and anxiety, and improve their relationships. Through his practice, the Center for Intimacy, Connection, and Change, Mark is passionate about helping couples deal with these issues so they can live their best lives and make the changes they want.


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