Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is a common condition can be caused by psychological as well as physiological factors. For a number of decades, academics have studied the psychological impact of pornography, but in recent years, the effect of porn on sexual performance (i.e. porn induced ED) has divided opinion in the clinical world.

Easy & convenient

No appointments or wait time

Free Consultation

Our partner doctors will assess your medical history

Confidential Service

Private payment and discreet packaging

Prescription Medications

Dispensed same day by UK registered pharmacies

Available Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Viagra 50mg
4.6/5 - 147 Reviews

Viagra

  • Effective for up to 4 hours
  • Works in 30-60 minutes
  • 1st treatment on the market
sildenafil
4.5/5 - 207 Reviews

Sildenafil

  • Lasts for 4 hours
  • Works within 30-60 minutes
  • Same ingredient as Viagra
4.6/5 - 150 Reviews

Cialis

  • 36 hour effectiveness
  • Works in 20-30 minutes
  • Known as the weekend pill
Load More Treatments
Treatment To Your Door In 3 Easy Steps
Complete Your Medical Form
Choose Your Treatment
Free Next Day Delivery

Defining Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can also be called impotence and ED. It is a physical problem associated with the inability to get or maintain an erection that can stem from psychological issues as its root cause, such as excessive porn.

If you watch porn and you find it's affecting your ability to have sex, to get aroused or maintain an erection then it's too much porn. Levels vary with individuals on what is classified as too much, making it difficult to pinpoint as the issue. However, there are a couple of signs to look out for.

How much porn is too much?

  • If you have increased how much you watch, this could be a good indication.
  • If you're seeking out harder porn, increasingly more graphic images, and violence.
  • If you're not aroused by sex in real life and only porn.
  • If viewing porn interferes with your life (socialising, skipping work or being late every day due to lack of sleep).

How does porn cause erectile dysfunction?

There are a number of reasons as to why porn can be linked to impotence. The availability of free porn thanks to the internet, the difference between porn sex and real sex, intimacy issues, and desensitisation can all be an issue.

Porn Availability

The internet has made every type of porn and fetish easily available online compared to the soft-core Playboy magazines that were popular a decade or so ago. Today's pornography is much more graphic and more deviant material is readily available to view for free. Therefore, this type of porn can potentially desensitise a man to sex and gradually he will become less and less excited by sexual encounters.

You may have found sex education in school to be unsatisfactory and turned towards porn to give yourself more understanding about sex.

Real life vs Porn

Expectations can be skewed and raised through watching porn. This can lead to disappointment, anger and an inability to have sex. You may also need to watch porn in the background whilst having sex. It's also worth noting that, like actors, it is a porn star's job to look good. They may have plastic surgery, flattering camera angles and other tricks of the trade including faking orgasms.

Whilst you may develop a liking for porn stars, it can also lead to feelings of insecurity particularly in regards to male size issues. Male porn stars are more than well-endowed, some have implants and others cut connective tissues to make their penis more bendable.

Intimacy Issues

This can develop later on whilst in a relationship, when you're dating or from a young age. Porn can be seen as an easy option rather than getting intimate with your partner. You might have begun watching porn from a young age and find it difficult to translate your intimacy into a real situation. You might be unhappy in your relationship, or had previous bad relationship where porn has become or became a safe option.

Desensitisation

Sexual excitement and orgasms release dopamine - a chemical devoted to pleasure. Frequent exposure to dopamine means the brain becomes less sensitive to it. This results in sex that won't produce enough dopamine for sexual arousal in-person.

These changes result in the need for more graphic images to achieve the same level of pleasure as a man as when you were younger. This leads to 'more, more, more' that isn't sustainable, nor healthy.

Symptoms of porn induced ED

If you are currently dealing with porn induced ED you should look out for the following symptoms:

Porn Induced ED Symptoms
Can't maintain an erection in real-life sexual situations Delays with ejaculation
More graphic porn is required for arousal Maintaining erections becomes more difficult
Ordinary sex isn't as fulfilling ED medication is required to perform sex
Feelings of frustration, embarrassment or anxiety Unable to achieve an erection when watching porn (long-term)

Studies about porn and erectile dysfunction

Italian Society of Andrology And Sexual Medicine study

One study delved into the effects of porn on sexual performance using a survey of 28,000 Italian men in 2011. The Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine found that many of the men were addicted to porn at an early age. This led to so-called "sexual anorexia", i.e. a lack of interest in genuine sexual relations by the time the men had reached their mid-twenties. Too much porn caused a gradual loss of libido, and the notion that sex is totally divorced from real life relations, the experts said.

Carlo Foresta, head of the Society, stated that "It starts with lower reactions to porn sites, then there is a general drop in libido and in the end it becomes impossible to get an erection". He followed this up by saying "With proper assistance recovery is possible within a few months".

This theory suggests that porn can lead to unrealistic expectations that may increase a person's tolerance to sex in reality.

Whilst this is an understandable theory, some medical professionals believe that it subverts the whole intention of porn. Dr Ursula Ofman, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist at NYU Langone Medical School, has said that, "Pornography is inspiring and sexually motivating". This statement would contradict the results of the study carried out by the Italian Society of Andrology And Sexual Medicine. This contradiction has been further explored in a recent study, as mentioned below.

The Journal Of Sexual Medicine study

According to a recent research study, which was published in The Journal Of Sexual Medicine in 2015, it was found that more hours spent viewing pornographic stimuli was "unrelated to erectile functioning with a partner, and was related to a stronger desire for sex with a partner." 280 straight male volunteers participated in the study, which took into account how often they view sex films, what their relationship status was and whether they had experienced erection problems. They found no link between increased viewing of pornographic material and ED.

Nevertheless, men who are heavily reliant on porn to reach orgasm may feel that their relationship is being affected. This may indirectly cause problems in the bedroom. If you feel that you are experiencing porn related ED and that it is affecting your relationship, it may be a good idea to abstain from masturbation in order to reinvigorate that psychical touch rather than simply clicking on a mouse.

How to treat porn induced erectile dysfunction

Due to the fact that porn is extremely easy to access, it can be very difficult to avoid it. However, there are a few methods that can be followed to prevent or treat porn induced ED:

  • Stop watching porn – as simple as this is it's imperative when attempting to restore sexual performance.
  • Reduce time spent watching porn - going cold turkey can be tricky so work at reducing the amonut you watch.
  • Change what you watch - as well as reducing, aim to watch less graphic porn.
  • Avoid masturbation – reserved for real-life sexual encounters.
  • Distract yourself - spend more time with family and friends, start a new hobby, get hooked on a new TV show. Something to distract yourself and refocus your energy.
  • Share if you feel comfortable - if you are in a relationship, share your feelings with them. It's likely they may have noticed and are more than willing to help.
  • Counselling – this can help with getting to the root causes if you are consuming too much porn. Effective forms of counselling can include psychosexual therapy Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
  • Prescription medication – modern medical technologies mean impotence is not inevitable. Erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra, Cialis and Levitra can all effectively restore a healthy erection during sex. These drugs are tried and tested, and have been used successfully by millions of men worldwide. More information about the various impotence treatments available can be found here at HealthExpress.

Addiction to porn is reversible. Experts say if you stop watching porn, your dopamine levels return to normal within 3 months.

Porn and sexual dysfunction in women

It is possible for women to become addicted to pornography as well. A recent video by Oghosa Ovienrioba, a 22-year-old law graduate, gained thousands of hits on YouTube. Many of the comments indicate other women are suffering from porn addiction too.

What can happen as a result?

  • Self esteem - body anxiety issues in women, including worries about genital size and shape, can surface. Leaving aside the body aspects of porn, we see porn stars playing out scenes that some women may not be comfortable with. This creates a problem when they feel pressured into doing it because that's what sex 'is'. This is particularly true for the younger generation.
  • Delayed orgasm - excess viewing of porn can lead women needing more stimulation that they'd ordinarily get from sex.
  • Inability to orgasm - when the level of stimulation needed for an orgasm can't be reached, it's a problem. The feel-good hormones we get from orgasms are addictive.
  • Porn addiction and lack of interest - sometimes frequent porn use has led to so much masturbation that the interest just isn't there, or your partner can't do it as well as you can in front of your laptop. With addicts masturbating up to six times a day, they are bound to become adept.
  • Changes in libido - experts believe that internet porn is making us vulnerable to sex addiction. Although this is mostly aimed at men, women are at risk too. Some statistics say that up to 1/3 of porn site visitors are women.
  • Research indicates that women are affected by porn in the same way as men are. It leads to changes in appetites, attitudes, and practices. If you are having issues with porn do have a chat with your GP, or look online for support.

Masturbation is a natural occurrence we should embrace, however, with the link to pornography, excessive masturbating can also be linked to erectile dysfunction.

One of the key problems with masturbation and its link of pornography is that it feels considerably different to sex, and the stereotypical porn we're used to watching is also acting; something of which we seem to forget.

Self-pleasuring means there is no one else to consider, the sensations are specifically good for you, and you can race to the finish. Sex is different. It's shared, and a lot of masturbation can alter how your brain and penis react to real-life sex with a partner.

It's also worth mentioning that masturbation does not strengthen the penis; in fact it may cause weakness in the structural muscles that support it during sex. Also, because your penis isn't being properly exercised it can cause a feeling of numbness or weakness in the penis during sexual intercourse.

Masturbation, pornography and ED

When people frequently masturbate to porn it can cause a problem because subtle brain chemical changes lead to porn addiction. Sexual arousal releases dopamine - the human pleasure hormone. Excessive dopamine means the brain becomes desensitised and this can lead to a need for more extreme porn to reach previous levels of excitement. Essentially, too much porn can cause a man's brain to become confused during intimate sex with a partner.

Sex with a partner may not provide the stimulation needed for erections after excessive porn, which can potentially cause erectile dysfunction or possibly premature ejaculation. Men can become intimidated by a male porn star's prowess and assume that's standard sex. His penis size, the amount of time sex lasts, and acts a woman performs on screen are porn, not sex. The two can become mixed up and create performance anxiety.

Assumptions during sex

If a man has been frequently masturbating and then loses his erection during sex, he might assume solo fun caused it. It's more likely that anxiety over masturbation has caused an erection problem, which of course leads to anxiety the next time and so on.

It should be noted that relying on masturbation as an escape from stress too often can lead to it becoming an addiction. Masturbating can help to make a particularly bad day a little better, but it's important to remember that moderation is key.

There are pros to masturbation...

This doesn't mean to say masturbation should be reduced to lower the risk of erectile dysfunction; masturbation can be a cause but only in excess. For normal use, masturbation helps nerve endings, blood vessels, and tissues functioning. This is important for men who are aging as getting older can reduce some sexual functions. It helps to ensure that the penis is in perfect working condition prior to sexual intercourse.

Relieves stress and sexual tension

If your stress levels are high masturbation can offer some relief. This is because masturbating ensures that you are only focusing one thing. This is explained further by Judith Golden, a registered sex therapist from Toronto who states; 'As we think about sex in any form, dopamine, a chemical released by the brain that gives us a sense of pleasure, is released.' She follows this up by saying 'As we engage in sexual activity, another chemical, endorphins, is released. Endorphins give us a sense of well-being.'

For the vast majority of men, masturbation is a healthy thing. I'm usually more concerned about a guy who's stopped masturbating, which can be a sign of anxiety or health problems, than a guy who's doing it regularly. Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex therapist and author of She Comes First.

Proof of erection

For men concerned about erectile dysfunction, masturbation can be a useful tool because it's positive proof of achieving and maintaining an erection. If it's physically possible to do it alone, it's possible with a partner. Lack of erections can often be down to performance anxiety but masturbation is proof you can do it once you've sorted that out.

Premature ejaculation

Practice makes perfect - there are masturbation techniques to help you slow down ejaculation, such as reaching a point of orgasm and retreating. This kind of masturbation is practical therapy and can improve your sex life.

Release of prostate fluids

There are some studies that show a build-up of seminal fluid can lead to prostate problems in men such as organ-hardening and cancer. Masturbation releases these fluids, which can help to improve your chances of avoiding these health concerns.

There are pros to porn...

If excessive porn does cause erectile dysfunction, it can lead to people assuming PORN IS BAD. It's the old saying that everything is good in moderation. Porn can support a healthy sex life. It's fun, gives you ideas and we all do it, but just like maxing out your credit card or eating so much you feel nauseous, overconsumption leads to regret. Manage your levels!

Dr Hilary Jones Independent Medical Adviser

Still not sure? Take our free consultation to find the right treatment for you.

Start Free Consultation