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Porn and Erectile Dysfunction: Uncovering the Connection

a person walking down a path in the woods thinking about porn and erectile dysfunction

Did a Google search like “erectile dysfunction porn” just bring you here? If so, you may be wondering what’s going on with you in the bedroom. While porn consumption has been around for a long time, our society is just now beginning to grapple with the negative impact it can make on our bodies over time. And one of those implications for men in particular is the potential for erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact the relationship between porn and erectile dysfunction is one that needs to be discussed openly, as it may help men avoid the fallout of porn addiction in the first place. 

So what’s the connection between porn and erectile dysfunction? If you’re like a lot of guys out there, watching porn has become a regular rhythm of your life. According to the Institute for Family Studies, 57 percent of men ages 30 to 49 report having watched pornography in the past month, while 42 percent say they have watched it in the past week. 

Consequently, you might not experience any ED issues in the moment while watching porn. However, like other guys, you may have begun to notice that you struggle to maintain an erection when you’re trying to have sex with your partner. So what’s the deal? You could have what’s called porn induced ED. If you do, there is good news: it’s a reversible condition that doesn’t necessitate the doctor’s intervention. However, overcoming it does require effort and commitment on your part.

Understanding the Connection Between Porn and Erectile Dysfunction 

Does porn cause ED truly? The short answer is it can. Though it may not always be obvious, there a number of ways that habitual porn consumption can lead to erectile dysfunction:

The Diminishing Pleasure of Real Sex in Our Brains

In the 21st century, technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. However, we as humans are not. Prior to the advent of the internet, porn consumption was limited to magazines that weren’t always easy to find. That meant much of your sexual arousal came from real sexual encounters with another person. 

Nowadays however, porn access has become ubiquitous, and your brain on porn simply can’t keep up. Why? The brain can’t differentiate between arousal from porn and arousal from sex with a real-life person. In both experiences, the brain releases the same pleasure chemical, called dopamine. That means when you’re watching porn, your brain thinks you’re having sex. And if you watch porn over and over again, it’s like you’re having sex with multiple partners in succession to your brain, leading to the release of even more dopamine. 

This dopamine release reinforces your porn habits in your brain, causing you to seek out these experiences again and again. Over time, actual sex with one person is no longer as exciting as it used to be, and you get desensitized. After all, your brain would rather have the more intense stimulation from multiple porn videos like it’s used to getting.

The Desensitization of the Physical Experience

Actual sex is very much a physical experience that impacts your arousal. But when you’re watching porn, your physical sexual experience is usually controlled by your own masturbation. That means you’re able to vary the sensual intensity and grip during masturbation as you watch porn, but your partner’s genitals can’t recreate that exact same experience during real sex. This makes the physical senses experienced during sex with your partner no longer as stimulating or satisfying, impacting your performance in the bedroom. 

Porn’s Unrealistic Expectations

As we’re exploring the connection between porn and erectile dysfunction, it’s important to understand that porn is rooted in fantasy. It usually depicts exaggerated and unrealistic sexual scenarios that never play out in real life. Combine this with porn’s constant availability and endless variety of content, and your expectations for real-world sex can easily become distorted. After all, your partner is a real person with their own wants and desires, and they may not always be available or in the mood. As a result, when real, ordinary sex doesn’t meet the expectations you’re used to with porn, it no longer is exciting to you.

Porn Induced ED Symptoms

If you think you may have erectile dysfunction, how can you tell if it’s porn induced ED? After all, porn induced ED is different from typical ED, which often requires a medical diagnosis and treatment. Some telltale signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction caused by porn include:

  • Attaining orgasm with porn consumption but not with an actual human partner
  • Experiencing delayed ejaculation, which means you take so long to reach orgasm that your partner complains about it
  • Achieving an erection but needing porn or pornographic thoughts to climax
  • Preferring porn consumption over actual, real sex
  • Finding it easier to get an erection with porn than with your partner 

How Addiction Ties Porn and Erectile Dysfunction Together

The connection between erectile dysfunction and porn is often rooted in porn addiction. If you’re struggling with porn addiction, it means you compulsively watch porn and are unable to stop. More than likely you’re using porn as a coping mechanism for daily stressors or unresolved past trauma. This reinforced emotional dependence over time is often one of the main causes of porn addiction

Porn addiction isn’t something that happens overnight. But because porn is highly accessible these days, it’s easier than ever to become addicted to it. Some common signs of porn addiction include:

  • Spending excessive time seeking out and watching porn—even planning your day around it
  • Putting porn first before daily responsibilities and people you love 
  • Choosing porn over actual sex
  • Watching porn in risky situations, such as at work or in public
  • Missing out on personal obligations due to your porn consumption
  • Neglecting non-sexual activities to pursue porn
  • Struggling to get or maintain an erection with your partner

 

When you’re addicted to porn, you watch it all the time. This habitual porn consumption can lead to erectile dysfunction. But there is a way to overcome your porn induced ED, and it starts with addressing your porn addiction directly. 

Overcome Porn Addiction, Overcome Porn Induced ED

If you want to reverse the effects of your porn induced erectile dysfunction, you need to rein in your porn addiction. Some initial steps you can take include installing porn blocking software on your devices or enlisting a friend or companion to help you on your journey, especially if you struggle with porn withdrawal symptoms. There are even support groups and 12-step programs you can join. 

Yet the most critical step to overcoming your porn addiction is always seeking professional help. Partnering with a CSAT therapist or licensed counselor can help you address the underlying causes of your addiction and overcome your compulsive sexual behavior long-term. 

If you think you may have erectile dysfunction due to porn addiction, we can help at Integrative Life Center. By participating in our comprehensive porn addiction treatment program in Nashville, TN, you can break free from your emotional dependence on porn and begin to heal from its effects on your physical body—including any potential porn induced ED. To get started, take our porn addiction quiz as a first step or contact or team today to learn more about your treatment options. 

 

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