Can Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction – the medical condition characterised by the inability to get an erection or sustain one long enough during activity of a sexual nature – is a complex issue that has a plethora of causes, which includes but is not limited to body images issues, relationships, psychological problems and physical health conditions. In short, erectile dysfunction does not have a single cause that can be easily and readily identified.

 

But where does porn fit into this? Can porn really cause erectile dysfunction? In today’s article, we’ll examine the evidence and explore this controversial topic.

 

Porn and Erectile Dysfunction: What Does The Science Say?

 

If you’re looking for a quick and easy answer to the above question, then I’ll state now that it’s a well and truly mixed bag. Some research supports the link between pornography and erectile dysfunction, whereas other research does not. If you’re after a little more detail, read on and see the extent of research into this contentious subject.

 

Now, more than ever, younger and younger men are seeking help for erectile dysfunction, which has been blamed mainly on the desensitising effects of pornography – particularly of the hardcore variety.

 

The scientific article that reached this conclusion examined reviews of previous research in addition to the case studies of thousands of men, and using this evidence found that that viewing porn may reduce men’s satisfaction with their bodies, which may in turn trigger anxiety during sexual activity. Therefore, it was surmised that those who watch porn might need to progressively increase stimulation to maintain mental and physical arousal as porn may, in fact, alter the way the human brain responds to arousal, thereby causing a man to feel less aroused during a sexual encounter with another person.

 

However, given that the lead author of said piece is also the founder of an organisation that campaigns against pornography, the supposed unbiased nature of the article can undoubtedly be called into question. If we look at further research, it appears that the link between pornography and ED is tenuous and that in most instances, there is likely to be other factors at play. Plus, given that an analysis of two, large cross-sectional studies found that those who watched “moderate” amounts of porn reported higher levels of erectile dysfunction (compared to those with “high” or “low” use), it begs the questions of whether or not porn actually induces desensitisation.

 

Is there any evidence that indicates a positive association between pornography and erectile dysfunction?

 

A deeper examination of the research into this subject does actually present us with evidence that may show porn (in relation to erectile dysfunction) in somewhat of a positive light.  For example, a study published in 2015 found that men who watched a greater amount of porn had higher levels of sexual responsiveness to their partner (in a lab setting). It was therefore concluded that viewing pornography may assist in priming both the body and brain for sexual activity, thus enhancing intercourse with a partner.

 

Most research into this area – be it examining either a positive or negative correlation between pornography and erectile dysfunction – is still in its preliminary stages; therefore, further research is required to fully establish what effects porn may have on both brain and body. In fact, an article published in the Current Sexual Health Reports journal, suggests that research into porn and ED seldom confronts the issue of pornography addiction or its purported role in erectile dysfunction, which may seem shocking given that supposed correlation between porn and ED has created, boosted and maintained an ever-growing industry.

 

The Link Between Pornography and Erectile Dysfunction: A Conclusion

 

Examination of the research carried out in this area of science leads us to two conclusions: firstly, that there is the evidence points in both directions, and secondly, that further research is required for a solid conclusion to be drawn. Therefore, at this point in time, it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty that viewing pornography will have a detrimental effect on your penis and its ability to function when you need it to. Pornography might cause issues, or it may not. What we can be certain of, however, is that staying physically and mentally healthy will help to keep your penis performing at its best.

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