Does Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

0

In recent years, doctors have seen a sharp increase in the number of young men (under 40) suffering from erectile dysfunction. One theory is that the increased rate of ED among young men is caused by “porn addiction.”

The thinking goes like this: men who watch a lot of porn become conditioned to it. By comparison, sexual connections with a real partner seem much less arousing.

While this seems like a reasonable belief, it’s not clear if it’s true. Clinical research does not give a strong answer. Many studies1 2 show a correlation between watching porn and erectile dysfunction. But remember that correlation does not imply causation.

Some experts believe that men who are already suffering from erectile dysfunction watch more porn due to frustration after failed sexual encounters with their partners.  In other words,  ED promotes porn viewing, rather than the other way around.  There are several studies3 4 that support this idea.

Also note that many experts dispute the notion of porn addiction and sex addiction in general5.  In fact, “porn addiction” is not an accepted diagnosis in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-V), although it can fall under the general category of compulsive behaviors.

Summary

There is no conclusive evidence, one way or another, as to whether porn causes ED. If regular use of porn has become compulsive, or interferes with your life or relationships, it is a good idea to reduce your use of porn.

Men seeking to reduce their porn viewing can get help from counselors or coaches specializing in sex and intimacy issues.

Find a Counselor


References

  1. Park, Brian Y; Wilson, Gary; Berger, Jonathan; Christman, Matthew; Reina, Bryn; Bishop, Frank; Klam, Warren P; Doan, Andrew P; Lane, Scott D. “Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports.” Behavioral Science. Sep 2016; 6(3): 17.
    <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039517/>
  2. Berger, Jonathan; Doan, Andrew; Kehoe, John; Marshall, Michael; Klam, Warren; Crain, Donald; Christman, Matthew. “Survey of Sexual Function and Pornography.” The Journal of Urology, Vol. 197, Issue 4. April 2017. <https://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(17)34619-0/fulltext>
  3. Prause, Nicole; Pfaus, James. “Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction.” Sexual Medicine. Apr 2014. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269763975_Viewing_Sexual_Stimuli_Associated_with_Greater_Sexual_Responsiveness_Not_Erectile_Dysfunction>
  4. Ley, David ; Prause, Nicole; Finn, Peter. “The Emperor Has No Clothes: A Review of the ‘Pornography Addiction’ Model.” Current Sexual Health Reports. June 2014, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 94–105. <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11930-014-0016-8>
  5. Ley, David J.  The Myth of Sex Addiction. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.

Comments are closed.