Is Porn Use Causing Erectile Dysfunction in Teens?

There’s not a lot of attention spent on erectile dysfunction in teens, however an increasing amount of younger men and teens find themselves struggling with this problem. The majority of causes for erectile dysfunction are age-related, but for teens and young men, erectile dysfunction may be psychological and is often porn-induced.

Is Porn Use Causing Erectile Dysfunction in Teens

Possible Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in Teens and Young Men

Age is typically the factor most associated with erectile dysfunction. A Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that erectile dysfunction affects approximately 40% of men at age 40. The rate increases to nearly 70% in men age 70 years.¹

Old age is obviously not the cause of erectile dysfunction in teens and young men. Other possible causes include:

  • Poor circulation
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Stress
  • Drug or alcohol issues
  • Performance anxiety
  • Pornography use

We aren’t doctors, so please consult with your health care provider. But if you’re a teen or young man who regularly watches porn and is experiencing ED, you may want to continue reading–the studies and stories of young men with erectile dysfunction show an increasing connection to pornography use.

An Increase of Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men

There has been an increase in erectile dysfunction in teens and young men in the last decade, and it correlates with the advent of the internet and streaming pornography. Let’s take a look at a few studies.

In 1999, a major cross-sectional study reported “trouble maintaining or achieving an erection” in 7% of men ages 18-29 in the United States. In 2002, a meta-analysis of 23 erectile dysfunction studies from Europe, the USA, Asia, and Australia reported consistent ED rates of 2% in men under 40 (except for the preceding study).

It is widely accepted that streaming pornography began in 2006. For reference, Pornhub, the largest pornographic website in terms of number of videos and viewers, launched in 2007. Now that “tube” sites are the norm (sites that allow users to upload content), a 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile functioning.

The Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behavior (GSSAB) administered a yes/no questionnaire about ED to 13,618 sexually active men in 29 countries in 2001-2002.² This first group was aged 40-80.

A decade later, in 2011, the same “sexual difficulties” (yes/no) questionnaire from the GSSAB was administered to 2,737 sexually active men in Croatia, Norway, and Portugal.³ This second group was 40 and under.

Based on the findings of prior studies, one would predict the older men would have far higher ED scores than the younger men, whose scores should have been negligible. Not so. In just a decade, things had changed radically. The 2001-2002 ED rates for men 40-80 were about 13% in Europe. By 2011, ED rates in young Europeans, 18-40, ranged from 14-28%.

Although none of the content is peer-reviewed, an analysis of questions asked on “MedHelp.org ED Forums” showed that nearly 60% of visitors who mentioned their age were younger than 25. “Porn” was the most prominent word used in the forum by these participants when describing their current erectile dysfunction situation.

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction: Is this responsible for the increase in ED?

The increasing amount of young men and teens experiencing erectile dysfunction brings up a very important question: why is this happening? The stats included above about the ED rates in relation to the advent of internet pornography lead us to believe a very curious correlation exists between the two.

Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, the clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School, says that many young men today suffer from what he calls porn-induced erectile dysfunctionBut what exactly is porn-induced erectile dysfunction?

Porn-induced ED (PIED, for short) occurs when an individual watches a lot of porn with an erection, but can’t maintain an erection during partnered sex. Some symptoms of PIED include:

  • Difficulty maintaining an erection when putting on a condom.
  • Losing an erection, the moment actual penetration occurs.
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner.
  • Decreasing penis sensitivity.
  • Needing to fantasize about your favorite porn to maintain erection during partnered sex.
  • Escalating to more extreme forms of pornography in order to maintain an erection during masturbation.
  • Depression, lack of libido, decrease in energy, overall lack of enthusiasm for daily tasks.

We’ve written extensively before about why porn-induced erectile dysfunction occurs, so I won’t expand fully here. But in short, internet pornography is a super-normal stimulus–bombarding the brain’s reward center with an amped up version of a normal stimulus. Today’s porn, available in virtually endless amounts, can goose the reward system beyond anything sex with a real person could provide. Through continual exposure, the brain can become conditioned to prefer pornography over sex with real people.

Not sure whether or not your erectile dysfunction is porn-induced? This video may help you determine if it’s PIED.

True Stories of Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction in Teens and Young Men

We’ve made the connection between the increasing amount of young men and teens struggling with erectile dysfunction and the advent of internet pornography. We’ve explained why PIED occurs, but sometimes we need to hear someone’s story before we really understand. Take a look at these true stories of young men impacted by porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

Noah Church Shares How Porn Impacted His Real World Relationship

Noah Church, from Addicted to Internet Porn, shared his experience with erectile dysfunction as a teen and how he connected it with pornography.

“I found myself as one of the first people to grow up in the age of the internet when it was common for homes to have a computer with internet access. Starting at around age nine or ten, I was using porn most every day, one or two times a day, sometimes more.

I started to escalate to types of pornographic content that really didn’t jive with my natural sexuality. They were extreme and shocking, but I found that as time went on, I needed those more extreme stimuli to get the same amount of arousal that I was getting before.

By the time I was 18 years old, I was with my first serious girlfriend, and we decided we loved each other and wanted to experience sex together. This was something I had been looking forward to all my life.

I was really attracted to her. But, when the time came [to have sex], she was naked in front of me, and I just didn’t have any physical response.

I was shocked–I thought of myself as a person with a high sex drive. I always thought about girls and was masturbating most every day, so I was really confused and shocked about what was going on in that moment. Thinking it might just be nerves because it was my first time, we tried many more times and it just never worked

I turned to Google for help, searching for phrases like “young man can’t get it up” or “erection problems,” and most sites indicated that it was either performance anxiety or some biological problem like blocked arteries. I pinned it on performance anxiety because I had no trouble getting an erection while looking at porn (which excluded the biological problem as an explanation).”

For Noah, this “want to have sex, but can’t have sex” cycle continued for over six years. He was confused. Girls were hot–that wasn’t the problem. He just couldn’t get aroused by real human women. This was devastating. You can listen to his whole story in a Facebook Live interview.

Alexander Rhodes Found It Increasingly Difficult to Maintain an Erection

Alexander Rhodes, founder of Nofap.com, shares how porn negatively impacted his life and the conclusions he’s come to. 

“So, I grew up among the first generation of people who went through puberty with the existence of high-speed internet porn. I was around eleven when I got exposed and that just opened up a whole new world for me. It was like, oh wow, you can find this stuff online. As a hormone-fueled adolescent boy, you’re going to be curious about seeing the naked human form. And I discovered it was online and did some internet searches, and it escalated from there to a point where–I know this story holds true for a lot of people–I got addicted to it.

And, as a result, I started to notice changes in my body. It was more difficult to get an erection. I found myself wanting more and more degrading things. Something was wrong.

And, as I dug into the issue, I started to uncover information about a connection between porn consumption and impacts on the body. One of the most obvious being porn-induced erectile dysfunction for men.

We need to look at the fact that there are thousands of people–this story isn’t just about me. The real story is behind the thousands of people who decided to remove one variable from their life, and that variable is porn, right?

To hear more from Alexander, check out his full interview with Covenant Eyes on Facebook Live.

Real Comments from Teens and Young Men in ED Forums

Our friends at Reboot Nation have tons of forums for people committed to kicking porn out of their lives. Here are a few comments that include some common stories of erectile dysfunction in teens.

  • “I’m 19 and have been watching p and o sense 11 or 12 and I got my first girlfriend 2 months ago while I was working at a camp […] I think I might be in a flatline because when I kissed her for the first time I was not aroused and I can only get semi hard when I’m with her. I had no idea what was wrong with me but after researching I think I’m in a flatline. Except I tried to test if i was and I got aroused and O[rgasmed] but it wasn’t fully hard. Which scares me cuz it made me think it’s not cureable because I had 0 sexual experience before this girl and I’ve been p [watching porn] and o[rgasming] sense I was 11 o12. I’m nervous I will never get my libido back!”
  • “I’m 17 years old and started PMOing [Porn Masturbation and Orgasm] at the age of about 12. Past couple years I’ve been doing it at least a couple times every day. Few months ago I had my first sexual encounter with a girl, we were were pationatly making out and I realized my penis had no response at all.”
  • “I started watching porn when I was 13 well most of the time it was (anime porn) there is still no problem in my penis until I turned 18 […] I tried to have sex with my GF, well it FAILED.”

I Think I Have Porn-Induced ED. What’s Next?

Maybe you’re wondering if your erectile dysfunction in caused by pornography use after learning about PIED and reading the stories above.

From here you have a couple of options. Both might be necessary.

1–Continue to educate yourself. Remember, we aren’t doctors, so please check with a medical professional before coming to any conclusions about your erectile dysfunction in order to eliminate a serious health issue.

2–Get on the fast-track to recovery, today. We’ve created a free ebook called RecoverED that explains more about why porn-induced erectile dysfunction happens and how you can start your recovery journey. Recovery is possible. Download RecoverED today. 

We hope these stories have helped you understand that you are not alone. In secret, dark places, issues like porn and masturbation almost always rule over us. It’s easy to lie to yourself and believe, “Hey, I’m in control. I can stop whenever I want,” but be honest–you’ve said that 1,000 times. Maybe you said it last night.

Let me say it again. You are not alone. These stories represent thousands and thousands of stories that we haven’t told. But, don’t stop with this blog post. There’s more. Your most important sex organ isn’t between your legs. It’s between your ears. And, it might need a reboot.


¹ Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, et al: “Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study.” J Urol, 1994;151:54–61.

² Nicolosi A., Laumann E.O., Glasser D.B., Moreira E.D., Paik A., Gingell C. Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Investigators’ Group “Sexual behavior and sexual dysfunctions after age 40: The global study of sexual attitudes and behaviors.” Urology. 2004;64:991–997. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2004.06.055.

³ Landripet I., Štulhofer A. “Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men?” J. Sex. Med. 2015;12:1136–1139. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12853.