Porn induced erectile dysfunction: does it exist?

What is porn induced erectile dysfunction (PIED)?

Is it true that looking at, or watching pornography can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men? The debate, involving different studies and personal accounts from men, rages on. Some experts say that when a man no longer gets aroused by real-life sexual interactions, porn is to blame. Other experts don’t agree. The conclusion you come to may depend on which studies you look at, which articles you read, and of course, if you have a lingam and have watched porn – your own experience.

There are some causes of erectile dysfunction in men that are generally agreed upon. These include physical causes, such as cardiovascular disorders, neurological damage and spinal cord injuries. Acknowledged psychological causes include stress, not getting on well with your partner and performance anxiety. It is also known that certain prescription medications, for example for high blood pressure or anti-depressants, can interfere with erectile function.

What is the evidence for PIED?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the studies which have been done on this subject.

A 2014 study performed at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany found that with higher levels of porn use, the respondents’ responsiveness to erotic photographs decreased. A more recent study included a sample of 350 respondents and looked at sexual compulsions. A 26.7% correlation with compulsive pornography use and sexual dysfunction was found, although not all of it was erectile dysfunction. It is fair to say that these studies are inconclusive, being either small scale or only partially relevant to the matter in question.

The Your Brain On Porn study also looks at evidence that there are higher numbers of young men today with erectile dysfunction, and quotes a number of studies which link porn watching with sexual dysfunction. Some say that these, too, are inconclusive. Reasons for this include the existence of other factors which are contributing to these results, and not necessarily because of porn. For example, it may be that more young men are feeling comfortable to get help, or taking medications such as Viagra recreationally.

In fact, some studies have found that in the instances of low or high use of pornography there was no impact on erectile function – although the rates were higher in those men with a moderate use of pornography.

There are no studies which can be found on Pubmed Central, the major research database for medical literature which link pornography and erectile dysfunction. However, that is also not to say that no such link exists.

How porn may be causing ED: anecdotal evidence

The Your Brain On Porn study provides anecdotal evidence in support of porn induced erectile dysfunction from numerous men who have written in to share their experiences. This is also supported by some other internet forums and therapists who work with sexual dysfunction. Many men say that they can easily get and maintain an erection whilst watching porn, but not when they are with their partners. This may be because the brain may learn to become aroused through visual imagery, rather than by being present in the moment.

Other men say that they need to think about porn whilst making love with their partners, otherwise they lose their erections. This may be because perceptions and expectations of sex can become altered and unrealistic, and can lead to reliance on porn to become aroused. Of course, this is not true for everyone, but does explain the possible link between watching porn and ED for others.

Some men who view porn may need to get more stimulation over time in order to become aroused. What was exciting once can become boring, requiring more graphic or more extreme images.

Self-pleasuring whilst watching pornography is common for many men, and over time can turn into a practice which becomes repetitive. Some of my clients share that they can feel empty during this practice, and that they feel that they have formed a habit which has made it more difficult for them to be present with their partners. The pattern of becoming more out of touch with the body is common with habitual porn use. It can lead to a decrease in the amount of pleasure that is felt in the lingam and whole body and can cause issues with the ability to ejaculate. In addition, it can lead to less comfortable emotions such as shame and a sense of lack of fulfilment or disinterest in the outside world to be experienced. People often turn to porn because of stress, boredom or isolation they feel, which can lead to an addiction cycle.

Are there any benefits of watching porn?

Because watching porn is often frowned upon, some men can feel guilty about this habit, and that can contribute to, or even cause ED. Once a man fails to get, or maintain, an erection, he may start to develop anxiety that it may happen again. If it does, this can snowball into serious performance anxiety, causing the very thing you are fearing. If you feel guilty about watching porn, it is a good idea to do what you can to let go of it. Many people benefit from watching porn – for example, those people who find it difficult to access the feeling of arousal can be helped to re-connect with it in the body. In some cases, watching porn can infuse new ideas and creativity within relationships. There are also different types of pornography. Currently, there are growing trends in so-called ethical porn, which celebrates diverse bodies, sexual identities of people. It often also portrays different attitudes to traditional porn.

What to do if you think you have PIED

Although there are no definitive answers as to an official link between porn and ED, if you feel that watching porn has contributed, or caused, erectile dysfunction in you, there are things you can do. Conventional treatments include taking medications such as Viagra, using penile implants and pumps, and even surgery. However, there are also many other, less invasive, ways to deal with the issue.

Lifestyle changes, such as an improved diet or more exercise, or talking and sharing about your problems with a therapist, can help.

Tantric therapy for PIED – connecting with the body

Joseph Kramer, a renowned teacher of erotic bodywork does not think that it is important what we are watching. Instead, he advises to focus on what we are feeling in our own body, including feelings of arousal. This way, we can bring the attention back to ourselves and have a choice of what we want to do with that arousal.

A tantric therapy session can help with ED, regardless of whether it has been caused by porn or other factors. Physical massage can help to remove blocks in the body, whilst mindfulness practices and the use of breath can bring other issues to the surface, so anything which is no longer wanted, such as shame or anxiety, can be let go of. Clients are taught relaxation techniques, and are helped to sensitise, re-awaken, and connect with their body. We look at ways of expanding the amount of pleasure which can be felt from within without the reliance on external stimuli. These include meditation and learning non-ejaculation techniques and moving energy around the body.

For more information, comments, or to book a session, please contact tatiana@gn.apc.org / 07778340823 or click here. I offer tantric therapy sessions in Teesside/ North Yorkshire and London.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317117.php

https://www.forhims.com/blog/porn-induced-erectile-dysfunction

https://www.brainblogger.com/2017/10/06/excessive-porn-consumption-can-cause-erectile-dysfunction-myth-or-truth/

https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/research/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-who-stray/201308/erectile-dysfunction-myth

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/viagra-at-20-no-longer-an-older-mans-drug#2

Orgasmic Yoga by Martha Tara Lee

Healers on the Edge “Porn addiction is real” by Corinne Diachuk

On YouTube watch: “Porn yoga, quick introduction by Joseph Kramer”