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Defeat Lust & Pornography 4 minute read

A Cure for Impotence: Stop Using Porn!

Last Updated: April 5, 2024

Ever notice all those “natural male enhancement” or “testosterone supplement” advertisements? They’re nearly everywhere, promising men “a better sex drive,” “improved vitality,” or to “…be the man you used to be.”

Directly and indirectly, they promise better sex.

Well, it got me thinking, why are so many more men suddenly unhappy with their sex lives and looking to products like these for help?

Are the natural effects of aging on sexual functioning and libido suddenly affecting millions more men at much younger ages? It’s hard to imagine human physiology making such a spontaneous and drastic shift.

Maybe it’s that men feel less stigmatized about erectile dysfunction or low libido and are asking for help? Drugs like Viagra helped lower the shame of sexual dysfunction. Maybe this could account for some increase in demand.

As an Internet porn and sex addiction counselor, I treat many men who struggle with issues of sexual dysfunction that’s related to their use of Internet porn. Could it be that a major influence on sexual dysfunction in men has been overlooked?

Internet Pornography Could be Causing More Problems than We Know

Frequent viewing of pornography, especially Internet pornography, over-stimulates and desensitizes the users brain to normally sexually arousing experiences. And if your brain isn’t turned on, then neither is your penis.

In other words, if you’re using a lot of Internet porn, then you’re likely to find sex with your real wife or partner to be less satisfying over time, and as you use more porn, you can expect to have serious problems with sexual dysfunction.

“Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction”

I call it “Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction,” and it’s a problem. Here’s what frequent Internet pornography users can look forward to:

  • More stimulation and more intensity is necessary to get aroused
  • Can’t keep an erection
  • Experience delayed ejaculation
  • Sexual intercourse becomes difficult
  • Drugs like Viagra lose their effectiveness, and …
  • Eventually, they can’t get an erection even with porn

Someone with these problems would be a great customer for supplements and drugs that offer a return to “…the man you used to be” with “improved energy and vitality” and a “better sex drive.”

They seem to offer a “magic pill” that could bring a return to sexual normalcy, but “magic pills” don’t exist for the brain part of this problem, and it’s the brain that turns you on – or not.

It’s the Brain, Not the Penis

“Natural male enhancements,” testosterone supplements, and Viagra-like drugs help primarily with “equipment” related problems. If your sexual problem has to do with the proper physical functioning of your penis, then these might help.

More often though, the problem is rooted in real structural changes to the Internet porn user’s brain, not his penis. Reversing the dysfunction is possible, but it requires stopping the behavior, and getting stopped and staying stopped isn’t as easy as you might think.

When it all goes well, the brain responds to sexual cues, anticipates a positive experience, and the brain floods with arousal. Signals from the brain direct the body to prepare for sex, and as long as there aren’t problems with the sex organ itself, the body responds. No problem.

Related: Does Science Support Porn-Induced ED?

Porn-induced sexual dysfunction begins with changes in the reward and pleasure systems of the brain that simply become overwhelmed by the high intensity arousal of Internet pornography. Our brains just weren’t made to handle Internet porn.

When these reward and pleasure systems of the brain aren’t functioning properly, then the body doesn’t receive enough of the right signals for sex and the result is sexual impotence.

To the brain, every pornography image or video is a new sexual opportunity, and since sexual novelty is instinctually preferred, the brain floods with the promised feel-good hit – for every image or video viewed. That’s a lot of sexual arousal!

Awash with Arousal

All those surges of arousal make for a powerful sexual experience, one that most people will repeat, and that many will repeat often. It’s a heavy load for the brain to carry. In fact it’s so heavy that the brain can’t handle it and begins to “cover its ears.”

The porn user’s brain adapts to these frequent floods of arousal by changing how it “hears” arousal. Much like you might cover your ears if someone screamed at you, the pleasure system of the brain covers its ears and desensitizes to the flood.

Desensitization

The porn user’s brain begins to require more arousal, more intensity, and more stimulation just to feel like it used to feel. Desensitization means that those normally sexually arousing experiences no longer show up on the sexual radar.

Worse still, healthy and intimate sex with a real spouse or partner simply can’t compete. With these changes, the brain requires too much of the feel-good stuff to get even a little aroused.

The only options left for the Internet porn user is to either “porno-fy” his reality (that is, add intensity to make real sex like porn sex) or stick with the crazy novelty of Internet porn. Both options lead to real problems in relationships.

The Final Reality

It’s no surprise then that Internet porn users escalate their use and chase the feeling that eludes them with normal sex with a real and monogamous partner.

Pretty soon the symptoms of porn-induced sexual dysfunction are front and center and the sellers of natural male enhancements, testosterone supplements, and Viagra-like drugs have another potential customer.

Why not try stopping the porn first?


Jeff Schultz, LPC, CSAT is a sex addiction counselor and founder of Sonoran Counseling Services in Phoenix, Arizona. Read more about Jeff’s work at the Sonoran Healing Center, LLC.

  1. katy

    I have a question. After a man becomes insensitive because of overuse of porn, does the addiction come full circle to where he no longer watches it because it then does not arouse him? My husband says he has ED and blames it on “getting old”, but his porn use has always hurt me. He says hes not doing it anymore. Should I believe him and would that be the reason because it doesn’t arouse him now? Of course we have no sex life either.

    • It is true a man can become desensitized to porn, especially if the porn he now has access to is not as unique, novel, or “hard” has what he saw before. Because addictions escalate, men can start to find “last week’s porn” not as arousing.

      Regarding ED, there may be a physical component for him, so I wouldn’t rule that out completely.

      As for you and your husband, he may or may not be watching porn still. Without more information, it would be impossible to say for sure.

  2. betty

    Can women also be addicted to porn and what are the effects with women,am a lady,sometimes I used to masturbate when I was single but now I have a boyfriend and I stopped masturbation,I can even get triple orgasms with my boyfriend,is masturbation also detrimental,I have a very high libido.

    • Yes, there can be similar effects for women as well.

    • Cassidy dingdong

      Betty,its really detrimental,its never a good habit to do..as a christian it removes our purity and chastity..when u become addicted to it it takes only the grace of God and your remorse against it for you to stop it,psychologically it has the same effects like that of men…porn on the other hand also has relation to masturbation,when u look at the impure content your body reacts and you have to masturbate to relief it..porn,like this page says,cause damage to our brain,its detrimental to our brian and as a christian we are not supposed to look at those impure things that makes us indulge in lust and sexual immorality..our body is God’s temple and it must remain Holy because our God is Holy..thank you

    • Mark

      Why are you having sex with your boyfriend?

  3. Jeaux Moer

    What a load of old hooey! Sexual Dysfunction has numerous causes, not only overuse of porn. That’s a myopic and somewhat parochial view. Keep this subject far away from the church pulpit, it has no place there.

    • I think that’s why he calls it “a major influence on sexual dysfunction,” not the only one.

  4. Denise

    I won’t to thank everyone for there personal information, it has helped me to realize that my husbands porn problem isn’t my problem & I’m not the one that caused it. I’m very thankful I can read and get help with things I need to do , I REALY won’t to work with my husband and his addiction and I pray I am able to as long as it isn’t going to become abusive and I am able to start feeling like the women I know I am and not the fearful, insecure person , I was lead to be leave. Thank you gyspysun

  5. Claudio

    Hi, I’m 19 years old and I think I have some erection issues :( I don’t get morning wood or seem to get any erections throughout the day anymore. However, I get them sometimes in the shower and when I’m going to sleep at night I can feel one coming sometimes but never during the day :/ I’m still a virgin but I eat very healthy and do lots of sports and exercise and get plenty of sleep. I masturbate only to porn. The last time I used my imagination was about 2 years a go :((( I masturbate about 7 times a week. Recently I read some stuff on the internet and I am currently 7 days without watching porn and masturbating? Is this the right thing to do? I’m going to try and go to weeks without Porn and masturbation but then after that start masturbating maybe 2 times a week maximum but to my imagination only? Is this a good idea? And how long before I can see good results ad get random hard erections again? Thank you :)

    • Claudio,

      Yes, it is a great idea. The fact is, your brain isn’t built for porn. Your sex drive simply can’t physically adapt to the way porn overloads your system. It has become very common today for young men like yourself to have erectile dysfunction from porn.

      You might like these articles:

      – “Neuroscience Speaks: How Using Porn Destroys Your Willpower

      – “Why Your Resolution to Quit Porn Will Fail Miserably” (written from a Christian perspective)

    • A brother in Christ

      Hey….You are young,and have a full life ahead of you. .How about pray for Jesus to help you not masturbate at all…that affects you also…

    • Mamie v Davis

      Strongly advise quitting. It is not fair to your future lover to feel like your not excited by her. You’ll be glad you quit.

  6. Jessica

    I found out my husband has been watching porn for like a couple months straight now, I confronted him about it and he says sorry and wont do it again. But sure enough I find it again in his phone. And lately he hasnt been able to have an erection or perform sex. He’s suggesting on trying some sexual supplements. Im just now finding out that porn can have be one of the reasons that my husband is having ED.

    • Your husband should definitely be made aware of the detrimental impact of porn on a man’s ability to get aroused. It is no coincidence that the rise of porn online coincides with the rise of ED medications.

    • I understand the issue you are facing I believe supplements will surely help to alleviate his ED issues. Try googling Baps Store and pickig a box of Plant Vigra or Black Ant Pills and I’m almost certain you both will be grateful.

  7. Bob Brown

    I am 67 year old minister, who is addicted to pornography for three years. Each time I say these words I feel God is helping overcome my problem. My wife has moved out for await until I get help. This addiction has effected my sex life with my wife. It has effected use of money. This addiction cause from the fear of failure. I was I thinking porno would help my sex life. What a lie.

    • Hi Bob,

      Yes, porn is full of lies. Have you been able to find help for your problem? Counseling? Accountability? Friends to support you?

    • John L

      I thought porn was going to ramp up my sex life too but instead I wound up with and addiction to struggle with and ed, knowledge about this problem is power and I do believe it can be overcome with faith.

  8. Judith

    Hi. I was also affected by porn addiction. I fell in love with one of my best friends of 6 years. Hopelessly, madly in love. I really felt that he was the man I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with. My brother advised me to ask him (or any other man for that matter) what his stance is on porn. He told me that it’s definitely an issue in his life and that he watches it about twice a month. It broke my heart. When a girl dreams about getting married to someone she loves, you never think in you wildest imagination that porn would be part on the picture, especially if both people are saved.. I hate porn and how it hurts men and women and relationships. It shatters your dreams and your trust in someone.

  9. Jan

    Also meant to say he dismissed us making love saying it didn’t count,as I was drunk.im at breaking point over this.

  10. Jan

    My husband has gradually got more&a more addicted to porn.he blames me saying I didn’t give him sex,but the truth is I stopped because of the porn.i hav very low self esteem,which he knows about.all this has done is make the issues with myself worst.im 60 yrs old and finding it hard coping everyday.the women are so gorgeous with perfect bodies.its devastating knowing he watches it.he says he is doing it to wind me up,as we havnt had sex for so long.recently I was so upset I drank much to much,we made love ,then over the course of a week I found on four different nights porn.this last episode has completely destroyed me.i seem to spend half my life crying

    • I understand

      My husband of 14 years has been a porn addict all his life. He’s almost 50. We are on therapist #3. He’s always been impotent, with every woman before me. He was 33 when we met. I didn’t know about the porn until much later, but it all made sense. The fight is, I invaded his privacy & that’s how I found out. Every fight, he says the same thing. But I would’ve found out when he left it up on the computer screen, several times, the postcards he got in the mail. The list of porn star names sitting on his desk. But I always hear it’s my fault for violating his privacy. He also says it’s not cheating, but it is. He compartamentalizes it, but it’s killing our marriage. He says it’s his body, his mind so I have no say. But if porn gives him an erection but I don’t, that’s bad for our marriage. If he never initiates sex with me, that’s a problem. If he only gets an orgasm once a YEAR with me, that’s awful. And every ED drug is not potent enough for a full erection. He lies, omits important details, keeps secrets and that’s awful for our marriage. He manipulates me by saying if I wasn’t abused as a child or if I had better self-esteem I would be OK with porn. But cheating is cheating. He masturbates every day, but doesn’t want sex with me. I never turn him down. I pray this new therapist helps, but he ALWAYS goes back to, I violated his privacy. He’s in such denial. He laminated his porn photos and keeps them in a weird filing system in a locked FIREPROOF safe. He spends hours editing photos and videos to make them suit his needs. He writes stories about it. I have no idea where the money goes. I too have cried for 14 years. I go to SANON which is a support group for people who have sex addicts in their lives. I HIGHLY recommend it, as it’s the only thing keeping me going. I also have a one on one therapist. He finally has his own therapist and goes to SA, which is for sex addicts. I think it’s starting to help. I even left him for a while. He even asked me for a divorce. Everything is a roller coaster. But I can’t live like this for the rest of my life. Other than the porn, we truly have a wonderful marriage, but how stupid is he to lose it all and choose porn over me. By the way, the women in my support group could be models, but their husbands still cheat. It doesn’t matter what you look like. Also, my husband looks at some really ugly women online, and that really hurts me. I’m better than that. I wish all of you struggling out there the best of luck. Please look into SANON sanon.org. For those living with the addicts, I’m fighting with you. You are worth so much more. Get help for yourself. And for those addicts, I commend you for getting help. Remember it’s not worth losing someone you love for something on a screen. You will regret it and be alone. Get help and hold onto for the REAL physical people in you life. Never give up.

    • Kay Bruner

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. And thanks for sharing those insights: it’s really up to him. His choices. It’s not about how you look or behave. And it’s NOT about you invading his privacy!!! I’m glad you can see those lies for what they are, and it’s great to hear that you’re finding good support at SANON. Blessings in your healing journey, Kay

    • Deborah

      I nearly had a full on nervous breakdown after I caught my husband. We’ve been together for 25 years and our sex life was amazing and wonderful. I thought I had it all. When he turned 68 he started slowing down and went to the dr who told him he had the onset of ED. He got severely depressed and I begged him to get a second opinion. He declined. As the months went on the viagra didn’t work… I became suspicious . I asked him several times if he was sleeping with someone else. Watching porn, didn’t love me anymore. All negative…. lied over and over he wasn’t into porn. I caught him one afternoon in our dining room just about to watch one of his films… I went insane and think I fainted. This was 3 years ago and lots of therapy. My self esteem tanked, I cried so much my eyes were shut and swollen and I don’t like how I look. I am in great shape for 67… people think I look like 45… but I can’t look at myself. I resent him for ruining our marriage and I think about how he just didn’t give a damn about me . He says he’s sorry but I don’t look at him the same way. I’m not sexually attracted to him any longer. It’s not the same and I’m
      Not the same woman anymore…I’m so sorry for any woman hurt like this. The pain is deep…

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