Men's Health

Can Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Can Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Introduction

Erectile dysfunction is a man’s inability to maintain an erection during sexual activities. It may occasionally happen or may become a chronic or permanent problem. Erectile dysfunction may be due to the following psychological and physical causes:

  • Poor health
  • Sexual performance anxiety
  • Depression
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According to research, watching too much porn may cause erectile dysfunction in men. Experts also say that regularly watching pornography tends to influence a man’s appetite for sex, which may lead to erection problems and a difficulty in achieving orgasm with an actual sexual partner. 

When people are addicted to porn, they tend to lose control over their own sexual behavior. In spite of various consequences, individuals who are addicted to porn view and use it impulsively. The consequences of porn addiction would include:

  • Finding it difficult to maintain social or intimate relationships.
  • Feeling depressed, ashamed, and prefers to be in isolation.
  • Fragmented relationships with their family, friends, and spouse.
  • Loss of productivity due to extended hours of watching pornography.
  • Loss of interest to other types of activities.
  • Often face difficulties or problems in school or work due to poor performance.
  • May deal with legal issues due to illegal use of porn.
  • At times, there can be financial issues as well.

In many cases, the use of pornography is also said to be combined with alcohol or drug abuse. Such individuals tend to face sexual problems, which can include erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and a difficulty in reaching an orgasm. Such individuals may lead a secretive and a very stressful life, which may also affect their physical, mental, or emotional health.

Symptoms

Both men and women can get addicted to pornography. However, there is a difference on the type of materials being viewed. Most men prefer to view purely sexualized imagery, whereas women tend to often look for eroticism along with at least some kind of emotional connection between partners. But the signs of pornography addiction are the same. They include:

  • More time spent on watching pornography.
  • Prefers to watch more intense or bizarre sexual content.
  • Unable to stop watching porn despite facing many negative consequences.
  • Lying and maintaining secrets.
  • Gets angry or irritated when confronted about porn use.

Causes 

In certain cases, pornography is not just about viewing for sexual enjoyment. It can also be a way to escape stress or other kinds of emotional issues or discomfort, which can include depression, lack of self-esteem, anxiety, mental or physical abuse, and any kind of negligence. Similar reasons also apply to alcoholism and drug addiction. Those who are addicted to porn would want to reduce their stress or anything that they are going through. 

Pornography can give them pleasurable moments since watching it can trigger a chemical response in the brain. The chemical involved in such response is called dopamine. However, other types of biochemicals are also said to be released. They include adrenaline, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. When pornography is continually used, the consistent triggering pleasure response can lead into porn addiction or abuse.

By watching pornography, it would make them feel high and would also prefer to stay in this state for a longer duration. Hence, they prefer not to reach an orgasm to sustain their sexual fantasies. The very moment the individual reaches an orgasm, the state of "high" ends and they are brought back to the real world.

Risks

The factors that can increase the risk of developing porn addiction would be the same as other forms of addiction. Most of the time, healthcare professionals who treat sex and porn addiction compare the risk factors of other types of addiction since not much research is conducted on this matter.

According to certain studies, porn addiction may be linked with genetics. The way a particular substance or activity is experienced by an individual is also said to be dependent on its genetic factors. Most mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are known to be dependent on people's genetic makeup. Such individuals would often tend to self-medicate by using addictive substances or by showing other behavior. However, genetics cannot be completely blamed.

Research has also shown that even environmental factors can trigger certain types of addiction. The risk of addiction would be increased if a child was early exposed to any kind of behavior or addictive substances. Such factors play an important role in developing or triggering any kind of addiction. 

Diagnosis

Pornography addiction is known to last for six months or even more, which can lead to major problems in life. However, in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, pornography addiction is not listed as a medical or mental disorder. Three main criteria are considered while diagnosing porn addiction:

  1. Takes 11 hours or more in a week to search and watch pornographic materials.
  2. Trying their best to control their porn use, but easily go back to their addiction.
  3. The consequences of porn addiction are the same as those addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling or compulsive spending.

Treatment 

One of the common approaches for the treatment of porn addiction and other forms of addiction would involve:

  • Counseling sessions, which may also include cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Alternative therapy, which may include equine therapy, art therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group session therapy
  • Social support groups

One of the main goals of these treatment methods is to separate the addiction from the person and fighting off the main problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy is said to be more focused on the individual's past. It tends to identify various factors that can lead to triggering emotional discomforts. 

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction has been increasingly observed in men who are sexually active and under 40 years of age due to porn addiction. One study has shown a correlation between porn addiction and erectile dysfunction. Pornography-induced erectile dysfunction has also been identified by researchers. People addicted to porn may often need unusual and extreme materials for arousal, which can result in lower responsivity. Due to porn addiction, an individual does not get easily aroused with their partner and may only become sexually active by only watching porn, which leads to erectile dysfunction.

Overload of Dopamine

The brain of an individual who is addicted to porn is often flooded with the chemical called dopamine. High dopamine levels are bad for the body. The brain tends to take away some dopamine receptors because of a chemical overload. However, the amount of dopamine that gets released by the brain is the same in response to porn. For this reason, people may often keep searching for more porn. In such instances, the activities that used to make them happy are no longer enough for them. To get the required sensation, they have to look at porn very often, which may lead to erectile dysfunction. Most men addicted to porn often find it difficult to maintain an erection in the absence of pornographic materials. 

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

Sometimes, porn may contain certain contents, which may not be possible in real-life sexual situations. Thus, an individual’s expectation of sexual activity is not met, which leads to a decrease in dopamine levels. Such individuals are not “in the mood” anymore. Men who experience erectile dysfunction in the presence of their partner but do not have any problems when watching porn are said to have a porn-induced erectile dysfunction. 

It was found out in a study that men who watched more porn and who had erectile dysfunction, achieved a normal erection after the removal of porn. If men started watching porn at a much younger age, then their chances of preferring pornography over their partner would greatly increase. 

There can be various health-related problems associated with PIED. When they are unable to perform with their partner due to certain health issues, they become depressed or get embarrassed, which leads them to watch porn even more.

Other Factors That Cause Erectile Dysfunction

The process of sexual arousal in males is complex since different parts are involved. The hormones, nerves, muscles, brain, emotions, and blood vessels all play a critical role. Physical, psychological, and emotional issues may also lead to erectile dysfunction. Few of the physical causes would include damage to the nerves, arteries, smooth muscles, and penile tissues.

Other associated conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction include:

Emotional issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction may include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of sexual failure
  • Depression

Other causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Drug abuse
  • Being overweight
  • Drug side effects

Health-Related Issues

For most men, erectile dysfunction can be quite embarrassing, so it usually takes them a long time to seek medical help. It is often thought that men with erectile dysfunction have certain mental disorders or underlying medical problems that cause their erectile dysfunction.

Other porn-induced problems may include:

  • Low Sexual Satisfaction or Sexual Dysfunction - It has been observed that in order to be aroused by a partner, some men may often have to use porn. Some of them may even develop negative feelings toward their partner.
  • Risky Behavior - Porn can cause a stimulating urge for alcohol and drug abuse, sex with multiple partners, and other kinds of risky behavior. Most people who have risky behaviors do not fear the consequences of their actions and often do not use protection.

However, there are still studies being conducted to better understand the link between porn and erectile dysfunction. With the help of research, it has been shown why this condition is being experienced by younger men than the elderly. Porn addiction should not be taken lightly since it is a serious matter. Treatment programs are currently available along with many support groups who are ready to offer their help and guidance. 

Porn addiction should not be taken lightly since it is a serious matter. Treatment programs are currently available along with many support groups who are ready to offer their help and guidance. 

Key Takeaways

  • According to research, watching too much porn may cause erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Experts also say that regularly watching pornography tends to influence a man’s appetite for sex, which may lead to erection problems and a difficulty in achieving orgasm with an actual sexual partner. 
  • The factors that can increase the risk of developing porn addiction would be the same as other forms of addiction.