Porn Can Cause E.D.?

Porn can cause E.D.

Porn can cause E.D.

One day I mentioned in class that, strangely, porn can cause E.D.

A male student said he’d thought it was the opposite, that porn cured E.D.

Oddly, both could be true.

In a New York Magazine piece entitled He’s Just Not That Into Anyone Davy Rothbart, 36, admitted faking orgasm. (Apparently it’s easier for men to fake it if they use a condom. Or they can claim they had a small one.)

Rothbart eliminated various possibilities. Antidepressants weren’t causing his E.D. And he got plenty of exercise. It didn’t matter which woman he was with, or what kind of condom he used, or whether he’d had alcohol, or how much.

But after learning that men were increasingly suffering from delayed ejaculation, and increasingly faking it, he began wondering if a “tsunami of porn” accompanied by over-masturbation were the culprits, as suggested by sexuality counselor, Ian Kerner.

Rothbart began interviewing others with the problem.

One man was always hard as nails with porn, but not with his lady. Another said,

I used to race home to have sex with my wife. Now I leave work a half-hour early so I can get home before she does and masturbate to porn.

Another had no problem getting aroused by his wife but,

In order to come, I’ve got to resort to playing scenes in my head that I’ve seen while viewing porn. Something is lost there. I’m no longer with my wife; I’m inside my own head.

And so the real women in their lives fade away as a computer takes over.

Rothbart explains,

For a lot of guys, switching gears from porn’s fireworks and whiz-bangs to the comparatively mundane calm of ordinary sex is like leaving halfway through an Imax 3-D movie to check out a flipbook.

Typically when a man has sex a combination of dopamine and oxytocin are released with orgasm, creating an emotional attachment to his partner. But increasingly, men are bonding with porn. Their brains are being rewired.

A cure is available: step away from the computer. Rothbart went without for awhile and no longer had to fake it.

Pamela Paul found the same phenomenon when she interviewed men about their pornography habits for her book, Pornified. Those who over-imbibed found it increasingly difficult to get it up with real women but gained relief when they decreased their porn consumption.

The problem isn’t porn so much as overexposure. Are you overexposed? Well, if you’ve experienced E.D. with real women but not with a computer screen, it’s likely.

Read Rothbart’s complete essay here: New York Magazine

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on February 15, 2016, in feminism, men, pornography, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. There is a “movement” about guys trying to stop watching porn. They all are saying about how positively they changed after they stopped watching porn. It’s on the Internet as “no porn”.
    There is also a site “your brain on porn” which explains that porn creates an addiction that of course is very harmful

  2. I can’t help feeling that this research misses a point. One of the attractions and dangers of not just porn but erotica generally is the way it allows people to explore sexual fantasy in safety and privacy – and such is the wealth of sexual fantasy available to us online, the disconnect between people’s fantasies and real life sex can be very wide.

    • Well whether or not there is anything helpful about porn, there can be too much of a good thing, and that seems to be the case for some men. A couple of male students have talked about this in surveys when I wasn’t even asking about the issue. They just brought it up as something that was harming them, so that they had given it up. One of them specifically said that he wouldn’t recommend that all guys stop using porn but just said that it had become a problem for him.

      And I did end with these lines:

      The problem isn’t porn so much as overexposure. Are you overexposed? Well, if you’ve experienced E.D. with real women but not with a computer screen, it’s likely.

      • I wasn’t disagreeing with that. I was trying to say that “watching porn” is merely one aspect of it. Pornographic films are an easy target, in part because they’re so accessible (i.e., they engage the senses of sound and sight immediately, unlike a book which has to be actively read), and in part because there are (generally speaking) real live people being filmed having sex and that raises huge questions of hygiene and consent.

        Reading erotica can be just as addictive, and reading may not impact the senses directly but it does put you inside the characters’ heads. And the possibilities are endless. Fantasies that cannot be filmed – at least not without a special effects budget to rival Star Wars, and perhaps not very effectively even then – can be written and read for free.

        In days of old, a glimpse of stocking was looked upon as simply shocking… how erotic it was just to be naked with someone else! Now we have grown so accustomed to nudity, and to so much more. In seeking ever bigger thrills, the erotica landscape can lead us so far from what is truly precious.

        And it isn’t just men that read erotica. But unless you have the relevant physiology, E.D. won’t be an issue.

      • Yeah, I know that women are more likely than men to read erotic fiction. It may be harder to tell if there is a negative affect with women because sexual dysfunction is so common, and we live in such a sexually repressed culture for women, that nearly half of women have some sort of sexual dysfunction, Whether they read this or not. I have heard guys complain about things like Disney movies and Twilight giving women unrealistic expectations about romance, Though.

        But I think you have a really important point about needing bigger and bigger thrills for a similar impact. Like how early on nudity — or even a glimpse of stocking — is really exciting and then you get to it and you need more… And more…

        I wonder if that’s part of the appeal of emotional connection. If you’re really emotionally connected to your partner, thrills are what’s important. So much of the appeal is the sense of merging emotionally and physically.

        Daniel Berger, and some of the sexologists he’s spoken to, would disagree, But he’s not really talking about the transcendent. He’s talking about everyday sex. Having sex with the person you see every day on a mundane level. But some couples seem to move into a deeper level of connection that they experience as deeply connecting and perhaps even transcendent, And that can last — and even increase — over the years. John Gottman seems to have found evidence of this. I’m trying to learn more about this.

  3. Watching porn often becomes an addiction for men and, they suffer from these things. It’s hard to step away from the computer. But, if one genuinely wants a cure, he should have that much determination…

  4. An excellent post, indeed.

    I have never been a guy who was into porn, or strip clubs, etc. No that I am so self righteous. Just stuff I find personally repugnant.

    When you awaken and the first thing you do is view hundreds of naked females and their private parts, there is a serious problem..it is like my deceased uncle who would get up in the morning and literally gulp a glass (as in 12 ounces, if not more) of gin to start his day. He would consume an entire fifth each day.

    In my view what porn and these other things to do men is it makes them see women in a purely sexual manner. it goes well beyond sexual gratification. The only “use value” attached to a woman is sex. They become bitches, hoes, side pieces, etc.

    What is ever more troubling is the substantially greater use of pornography by women today. What will the impact on these women be? Will it be similar to men? Men and women are becoming increasingly de-sensitized to one another as human beings. We have become fetishes for one another in a very strong sexual manner.

    My girlfriend and I were watching an episode of the ID channel last evening. There was a story about a 19 year old upper middle class young woman (in CA) who was forced into sex trafficking. She was in it for a full year. The pimp was a brutal monster who treated this young woman and other women much like slaves were treated. Another woman was the lure. She given only probation. While the pimp was given a mere two years in prison. Absurd.

    Porn, sex trafficking,……etc. I think they all lead to nothing good. it just baffles me as to why so many young women are starting to glorify being porn actresses.

    Thanks for this piece.

  5. over-masturbation ”

    I think this is more to it than over consumption of porn, though the two can be tied together.

    what kind of condom he used, or whether he’d had alcohol, or how much.”

    the condom thing can be it too. What about men who can be hard with porn or by themselves, but when with a woman and putting on a condom, they get soft. They are hard before, but the process of opening the package and putting on the condom, and then it’s soft and condoms number the sensation for a man too during sex as well as alcohol.

    But like the top quote, I think over masturbation is more due to it. You talk about porn addiction, sex addiction, but can’t a man be addicted to..well masturbating? I mean people are addicted to drugs because of the “high” and good feeling. It seems logical that guys could be addicted to the good feeling of pleasure from orgasm from jerking off, especially if they are “bored”, going through a dry spell, etc. I think what pushes this issue is the sexualization of women’s bodies in america and the game where men have to initiate and approach so many men not having regular sex or having long dry spells and you pair that with women’s bodies sexalized everywhere, plus testosterone and a high sex drive that men or most men have.

    So you put that all together and you have men with a high powered libido engine, it’s a surprise most men aren’t walking around with hard ons all day, because of what it’s like being a man and how lust fueled a man can be or horny or thoughts of sex going on in a man’s head throuhg the day. You add that up and he needs a release or many releases depending on how horny he is or sex starved he is, though many guys still like porn even if they are getting laid or have gfs. I think a lot of guys just like to jerk off and many like to do it a decent amount of time. I don’t understand guy’s in relationships doing that, but I understand men watching porn who don’t have girl friends and not with anyone and which can be a problem. Because they get accustomed to porn or solo time, that when they are finally with a woman, they might feel performance anxiety, they might have trained their body to get hard from their hand, so not being able to jerk and have it be hard on it’s own can be a problem and more often, have desensitized their dicks from the multiple rubbings and many days. So now it takes something as vigourous or more vigorous to get them off. But it’s not exactly porn, but often the combination of society with what I explained with how women are sexualized, but women are passive so many horny, but not sexually active men doing that…

    A high motor but unrequited love and lust from women so going that route. I’m sure many guys don’t want to go that route and have a problem with a woman, but that can be tough for a man to not have a release if he’s not “getting any” and go cold turkey when he doesn’t have faith of getting a date or sex in the near future. I think guys go to porn because it’s visual and quicker and easier. But a man can have the same ed problem if jerking off too much not from porn but from his “spank bank” ha. I hard this term from guy code. It’s basically fantasy land and a man’s own mind and either thinking of sex with a previous girl, gf or simply a hot female celebrity or that hot girl in the gym with the nice ass and tight pants that made a flirty smile at him….So he’s jerking off and getting off to such vivid mental thoughts.

    • Well, some guys have tried everything else and nothing seems to affect them, other than an overabundance of porn. Which isn’t to say that porn is going to affect all guys in this way.

      • Over abundance of porn means over masturbation, which leads to possible ed. To me it’s a what came first the chicken or the egg thing. I think men’s libido’s, maybe men not getting laid, or wanting a lot of sex or kinky stuff + sexualizing women’s bodies leads men to be horny, sex obsessed which leads to porn consumption or some men over consumption. Because of the huge desire for a “release” of their pent up sexual tension, frustration, desire and porn is that perfect visual medium, plus it makes it quicker for a man to get off. So I think what it is, is men wanting to jerk off and jerk off a lot because of said things, which porn is that vehicle for horny men, which well, most guy’s are, just some have more of an addictive gene and more obsessed than others.

        I think it would effect these guys if they over masturbated, but it was from say the “spank bank” instead. Because their mind can create a visual arousal too like porn in their head and get used to that, and then the physical aspect and trainign themselves for solo play and desensitize their penis as a result.

      • Well, it seems that Internet porn has more fireworks than real life, And that men seem to be bonding with their computers instead of actual women. Regardless of chicken and egg, When men who have been having problems stop watching porn, There problem goes away.

  6. I wonder if this provides a sort of safety in that there is not need to perform/connect/show up with another person. I don’t mean that as a judgment against men. I think women have their own devices for that as well and society in general seems to be moving more towards virtual connection- porn strikes me as one of these ways.

    • Actually, some research suggests that some guys actually prefer porn to real sex– Although most guys want the real thing. But yeah, some men don’t want to have to perform, connect, show up for another person. You’re right!

      Women are much more socialized to be relationship-oriented, And they’re much less socialized for visual eroticism. I haven’t seen any research on how much women might do this too.

  7. I would tend to agree. If you get used to Porn, you might not be good in the bed, unless you think about Porn while doing the act!

  8. “What a bizarre concept?” I thought when I saw the title and then became fascinated by the idea that people would get so into porn that they could not function in a normal life…very sad if it is true, and makes for the scary realization of how ‘out-of-touch’ people can get with reality. Too much of a good thing is never any good 🙂

  9. you do realize “porn” is kind of a general term too. You said porn causes this, which it can, but it leads me to believe it’s more from men over masturbating and getting turned on visually to something. It doesn’t have to be porn as in sex, but something a man finds a turn on or sexual right? So a man doesn’t have to look up porn, and perhaps see women running with cleavage and their boobs bouncing and get off to that. A woman sucking a popsicle could turn a man on and be his “porn”, because he associated something sexual to his liking to it. We can’t discount fetishes men have where things can be arousing to them, which might not fall in porn catergory as far as it sex.

  10. Pornography is definitely a difficult aspect of our media to dissect, tangled in issues of how the fantasies of it are incorporated into relationships; consent, sexual assault, and STDs. I agree with many points you make, it’s not the porn itself, but it’s also the overexposure. The question of how much is too much is, indeed, a hot topic, for everyone’s sexual appetites are different (a fact we often seem to forget). I believe pornography can benefit a lot of people, allowing them to explore their bodies, figure out what they like and dislike and how far their comfort zones reach. But, just like alcohol or video games, it can become an addiction. You bring up E.D. in men and how the rich fantasies of pornography could lead to poorer sexual relations between you and your real-life partner, but don’t forget women are also affected by E.D. I find today that I hear a lot more about E.D. than about any women’s sexual dysfunctions and injustices. Is this because sexual dysfunction in women is somewhat of a norm in our society? Women, in general, are more sexually repressed than men are in today’s society, leading to trouble in the bedroom: with reaching orgasm, with insecurities due to standards set by pornographic films, with putting too much pressure on themselves to reach multi-orgasmic status, and others.
    Either way, communication is key between both partners in the relationship, especially sexually. Individually, educating yourself about your partner’s body and taking note of how you process pornography and other sexual images in the media can only help you better understand yourself (and maybe in the long run, your relationship).

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