Men's Health

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction Is Psychological

 Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction Is Psychological

Key Takeaways

  • Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a very common health problem that affects men.
  • There are various causes for erectile dysfunction to occur.
  • Psychological causes can also be the reason for impotence, rather than the physical ones in men. 

It has become a popular myth that watching too much of pornography can cause an erectile dysfunction in men. Many men, who are addicted to porn, are reported to have a porn-induced erectile dysfunction. There are many doctors and reports that explain that this disease is rather psychological in nature. In this article, we will take a detailed look at the facts and other aspects of erectile dysfunction.

To understand whether porn-induced erectile dysfunction is psychological or not, we will need to have a proper understanding of the condition itself. This way, we will know whether pornography has any influence in the psychological condition of the patient or not. To further understand it, we will compare the signs and symptoms of the general causes of ED and the porn-induced ED.

An Introduction to Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a very common health problem that affects middle-aged men (40-70 years old). This condition is characterized by the incapacity of developing or retaining a penile erection during sexual activities.

A penile erection is the result of the sexual arousal in men that is initiated when blood enters the spongy bodies of the penis and is retained in there for a certain amount of time, causing the penis to stand erect during a sexual activity.

Erectile dysfunction can be categorized as physiological and psychological. A physiological ED will slow when some changes occur in the physiological aspect of the person, which led to the ED in the first place. Whereas, in the case of psychological ED, the dysfunction is generally caused by psychological issues and there are no problems in the physiological health of the person.

What are the causes of erectile dysfunction?

There are various causes for an erectile dysfunction to occur, and they are different from porn-induced ED. Many of these reasons are psychological and physiological in nature. Some of the most valid and common causes of impotence are:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma from prostatectomy 
  • Insufficient hormones
  • Drug side effects
  • Aging
  • Kidney failure
  • Neurogenic conditions
  • Cavernosal disorder

Psychological causes can also be the reason for impotence rather than the physical ones in men. The reason for this type of erectile dysfunction is related to the following factors:

  • Masculinity
  • Mental disorder
  • Problems in relationships
  • Performance anxiety
  • Self-image
  • Stress

Aside from these factors, the way the person leads his life can also cause this condition as well. Some lifestyle choices such as obesity and smoking can cause this condition as it can narrow the arteries, preventing the regular flow of blood.

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:

  • Trouble inducing an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Problem in retaining a penile erection

You should immediately go to a doctor if you are experiencing such problems for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How can one understand that the person has an erectile dysfunction?

Generally, there are some specific tests regarding the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. The doctor will assess whether the person is suffering from an erectile dysfunction through asking questions relating to the various signs and symptoms and carrying out tests such as specific blood tests to successfully diagnose the condition.

Some tests that are carried out include:

1) Duplex ultrasound - This test is carried out for the evaluation of the blood flow, venous leak, signs of atherosclerosis, scarring, or calcification of tissues. For this test, a hormone-like stimulator known as prostaglandin is injected to induce the erection and then ultrasound is done to check for vascular dilation and also the blood pressure in the penis.

2) Penile nerve function tests - Bulbocavernosus reflex test is performed to determine whether there are enough nerve sensations in the penis or not.

3) Penile biothesiometry - In this test, electromagnetic vibration is used for the evaluation of the sensitivity and functioning of the nerves, glans penis, and the shaft.

4) Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) - An MRA test is carried out to understand whether there are any defects or damages present in the penile blood vessels.

Can porn really cause an erectile dysfunction and is it a psychological one?

Porn addiction is indeed toxic in nature and is a huge problem mainly for those of younger generation. In the 1970s, many studies were carried out and they showed that 1 percent of young males suffered from erectile dysfunction issues, which has steadily increased up to 30 percent over the years.

There have been various studies carried out concerning porn and erectile dysfunction. Although it has been identified as a cause, the debate still remains whether it is psychologically or physically-induced.

Men get unrealistic expectations of sex from their partners when they watch porn. Everything that is showed in porn is nothing but magnified to make it look attractive. Therefore, it involves psychological issues when men cannot induce an erection in real life with their partner, the way they do when they are watching porn.

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

When someone watches porn, it changes the way the brain would generally view and get the stimulus. In such case, the brain tries its best to keep the person happy and fulfilled by getting the most out of the situation. Every time the person is visually stimulated through watching porn, a hormone known as dopamine is released. This hormone is a "reward chemical" and to a certain extent, it can also act as one of the driving forces behind an addiction. In this case, porn addiction happens. Various studies have been carried out and it has been concluded that the effect of such chemical is more of a psychological issue rather than a physiological one.

To go into further details, porn videos feed the brain in which it will excite and will cause an arousal leading to a desensitized behavior of the person who views it. 

The overstimulation from watching porn causes changes to the brain of men, which makes them become less responsive to physical pleasures that are provided by women in real life. They instead become more hypersensitive to porn. Therefore, in real life, the lack of stimulation required for an arousal can cause impotence.

An erectile dysfunction that is caused by pornography can further raise the concerns of performance anxiety as well. A recent study that was carried out in Italy showed that an increased number of teenage boys who watch porn have a tendency to have sexual anorexia or the loss of appetite for romantic and sexual interactions.

Penile erection is triggered by the chemical dopamine. Addiction researchers have carried out various research and found out that when there are excessive levels of dopamine in the brain, it can actually be very paradoxical in nature. The brain will slowly see a reduction in its natural capability to properly respond to the dopamine signal that is sent to it. The reason is that, in real life, without porn videos, the brain cannot get the required amount of dopamine hits.

In the case of porn-induced erectile dysfunction, the problem is not the weak nerves, vessels, or the penis, but the desensitized dopamine system in the brain that resulted from watching porn in the first place.

The following are various symptoms of porn-induced ED:

  • A decrease in sensitivity during sexual activities.
  • A person is completely capable of achieving a penile erection with porn.
  • Less penile erection when engaging in real-life sexual activities.
  • A person requires a hardcore version of porn to achieve and maintain a penile erection.

Thus, we can classify porn-induced erectile dysfunction as a psychological one. The reason is that the person is completely capable of penile erection when watching porn videos, but not during real-life sexual activities. If it were not a psychological issue, then the person with porn-induced ED wouldn’t be capable of an erection when allowed to watch porn.

Are there any treatments available for ED, including the porn-induced one?

There are various types of treatments available that are used for treating erectile dysfunction in men, including the porn-induced one. Since porn-induced ED is psychological in nature, treatment can significantly differ from other types of ED.

Generally, different types of oral medications are prescribed to patients with erectile dysfunction. One example of such medication is phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor.

There are also topical creams available for treating ED. These creams are usually a combination of alprostadil and DDAIP, which is a permeation enhancer. This cream is approved for use in Canada as the first line of treatment for ED.

Medicines can also be injected into the penis to treat ED. They include:

  • Phentolamine
  • Papaverine
  • Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or alprostadil

There are also some available treatments for ED that do not require the use of medication and surgery. These treatments have no possible adverse reactions as well. They are a relatively new type of treatment. However, they are still not approved by the FDA yet.

Surgery is another way to treat ED. One of the most common surgical procedures for ED is where artificial rods are inserted into the penis.

We have learned that physiological ED treatments consist of various types of medication and surgery. However, in the case of a porn-induced ED, treatment is totally the opposite. The reason is that a porn-induced ED is more of a psychological issue rather than a physiological one. Hence, its treatment does not include any type of drug or surgery to cure the erectile dysfunction.

In a porn-induced erectile dysfunction, it is possible to treat it in various ways without medication or surgery. One successful method is to reboot the brain, which can be done by abstaining oneself from watching porn and masturbating at the current rate while carrying out such activity. Although abstaining from porn addiction can be quite difficult to stop all of a sudden, it is still possible to do so. The person can slowly lessen the frequency of watching porn and can check his progress. If this method is correctly done, the brain will start to slowly re-wire itself and go back to its previous function, which will then allow the person to carry out a normal penile erection during an actual sexual activity.

To conclude, it can be said that porn is indeed a serious problem that the society constantly faces. Moreover, it can certainly lead to a porn-induced erectile dysfunction. This type of ED is psychological in nature and does not affect men the same as physiological erectile dysfunction does such as old age or any underlying health condition as mentioned in the article. The reason is that a porn-induced ED can only affect the psychological aspect of the person by controlling the levels of dopamine in the brain.

As soon the individual gets out of the habit of watching porn with regular masturbation as well as abstaining from it, the brain will re-wire itself to function normally and the ED problem will be solved effectively. When a person is diagnosed with a porn-induced ED, the test results will not show any problem regarding the physiological aspect of the person, rather the person is completely capable of proper penile erection when watching porn but not during the actual sexual activity. It shows that a porn-induced ED is actually a psychological condition as a result of watching too much porn.