Those who condemn pornography claim that in men of all ages, especially young men, tertiary films increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. For example, the anti-pornography website YourBrainOnPorn said: “There is a correlation between the consumption of pornography and erectile dysfunction, which indicates that there is a causal relationship between the two.”
In fact, YourBrainOnPorn was wrong. Professional research shows that there is no causal relationship between pornography itself and erectile dysfunction.
1. Research on claims that pornography causes erectile dysfunction
This is a 2016 report from the U.S. military condemning pornography for causing an “unprecedented increase” in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in U.S. soldiers. The researchers determined this claim based on a quick literature review and three case studies of young soldiers watching pornography and reporting that they had erectile dysfunction.
From such a small sample, it is impossible to draw scientifically valid conclusions. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is as high as 33% in some current studies. They condemned the existence of pornography, which led to the increase in prevalence, without considering other possible factors. The following four factors may also lead to increased prevalence:
1. Viagra and the emergence of some erectile drugs
Pornography was widely spread on the Internet in the late 1990s. At the same time, in 1998, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved the sale of Viagra. Erectile drugs have changed the term for erectile problems from the stigmatized “impotence” to less derogatory erectile dysfunction. Due to Viagra and other erectile medications, medical and media discussions on erectile dysfunction have increased dramatically. Since the 1990s, whether they watch pornography or not, men of all ages are more willing to admit that they have erectile difficulties. It is likely that this kind of open discussion on erectile dysfunction has made more men willing to report their erectile dysfunction, rather than pornography that has led to an increase in the prevalence of erectile dysfunction.
2. Guarantee of erection
In fact, erectile medication was originally developed for men over 50. But today, most men who use them tend to be younger, mostly young people use them. Young people use these drugs not because they have erectile dysfunction, but because they can ensure their erections, so that they do not have to worry about the “persistent” problems during sex. Many men, including young and middle-aged men, tell their doctors that they sometimes have erection difficulties and worry about it. Even if men do not have clinical erectile dysfunction, most doctors will quickly prescribe erectile medications. With the increase in erectile medication prescriptions for men under the age of 50, it has created the illusion that erectile dysfunction is becoming more and more common among young men.
3. The emotional stress of soldiers
There are two main reasons for erectile dysfunction: cardiovascular disease and severe emotional stress. Both trigger a physiological reaction that narrows the arteries that allow blood to enter the penis. The less blood enters, the easier it is to cause erectile dysfunction. Although young adult soldiers rarely have cardiovascular disease, some people still suffer from this disease. Cardiovascular disease is usually related to smoking and obesity, both of which are related to erectile dysfunction. In addition, many young soldiers may suffer casualties at any time because they have experienced wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. So they are faced with day-to-day fear and heavy pressure. This kind of pressure can cause erectile dysfunction, but military researchers have never mentioned this.
4. How soldiers respond to pressure
Soldiers who are in war or worried about being sent to the battlefield often respond to fear by smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking anti-anxiety drugs. Alcohol is the most powerful erection killer in the world, and anti-anxiety drugs can also cause sexual problems. But military researchers ignored this. All they saw was porn.
2. Authoritative research shows that pornography is not related to erectile dysfunction
This is a 2019 study by Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. They analyzed the relationship between viewing pornography and the risk of erectile dysfunction from a fairly representative sample (consisting of 877 American men between the ages of 18 and 60). They used a standardized effective scale to investigate men’s erectile abilities and assessed their morality and religious beliefs.
Although some men who watched porn reported their erectile dysfunction, in general, there was no connection between the two. The researchers found: There is no evidence that pure use of pornography can lead to changes in erectile function. Sexually active men also consume pornography, but they show very strong erectile function.
1. Religion-stress connection
In the Bowling Green study, a small number of men reported watching pornography and erectile dysfunction more frequently. They have one thing in common. They all hold the most fundamental and conservative views about sex and believe that viewing pornography is wrong, immoral or sinful.
Therefore, it does not seem that pornography itself causes erectile dysfunction. The real reason may be the substantial pain that some young people feel when masturbating with pornography. They believe that both pornography and masturbation are tickets to hell. This pain releases the stress hormone cortisol, narrows the penile arteries and reduces blood flow to the penis, which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
When sex therapists assure these men that almost all men will masturbate through porn, and that this behavior is completely normal and not harmful to themselves, erectile dysfunction patients under stress usually relax. Their penile blood flow returned to normal and their erectile function was restored, even while watching pornography.
2. Pornography, erectile dysfunction and male refractory period
Gentlemen, whether you are having sex or masturbating, whether you watch porn or not, after orgasm or ejaculation, you will experience what sex experts call the “refractory period” and you will not be able to get an erection again for a period of time. The duration of the refractory period increases with age. Teen boys may only need a few minutes to get an erection again. However, as men age, the refractory period will extend to several hours, while men over 60 years old sometimes extend to 12 hours or even longer. This phenomenon is neither caused by masturbation nor pornography, but is a physiological phenomenon of the sexual response cycle.
So in fact, porn is not killing your erection. The problem arises when you want to get an erection before your refractory period ends. I gave them a suggestion: After masturbating to orgasm, perform masturbation every hour and observe how long it takes to get an erection again. From this, you can infer how long your refractory period lasts. Don’t expect to get an erection again until you have passed your refractory period. Men need to repeat this test every few years. Because the duration of the refractory period increases with age, it is important to re-adjust your expectations for the time it takes to get an erection again.
In summary, there are two reasons for erectile dysfunction that seems to be related to pornography:
1. Moral or religious beliefs: Pornography is condemned or sinful. This belief causes a physiological stress response, reducing blood flow into the penis, which can lead to erectile problems.
2. I don’t understand the refractory period that accompanies orgasm: When an erection is not physically allowed, try to get an erection again, and think that I have erectile dysfunction after failure.