Defeat Lust & Pornography man sitting on rock in woods
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. Hal

    Hello everyone. I must say this page is THE most helpful thing to my porn addiction. I’ve never had anyone to share my story with, but knowing that there are people here who read and understand me, I’m feeling so excited and hopeful. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m around people who know what I’m really going through. I shall start my journey by sharing my story with you:
    I’ve had fetish desires since I was 7. I had no understanding of sexual desire, but I liked women tied up or wearing spandex. After puberty, I realized what I was feeling was sexual. At first I thought I was crazy, but unfortunately I ran across internet porn in high school and realized that my fetishes are shared by so many around the world. one thing led to another and i began sinking deeper and deeper into the world of porn. I consider myself a religious person, at least that’s what I want to be. I remember that the first time I masturbated (the ejaculation was unintentional) I cried through the night and apologized to the Lord. But with every occurrence it became more and more normal. I got married when i was 24, partly because i hoped to find a real sexual life and save myself from porn. But I was wrong. My wife is lovely, but nothing seemed to have replaced the joy of porn and masturbation. I told my wife about the problem and she seemed ok with it, though later i found out she was only pretending to be fine in order to keep me happy. I repeatedly promised her to quit but failed. This is my current situation: I’m 32, still happily married, and have a cute little daughter. About a year ago (perhaps when I felt the responsibility of being a father) my desire for porn decreased significantly, but so did my desire for sex. Since then, I’ve had many issues with porn and masturbation (though I’ve kept it from my wife, because she believes I’m cured) sometimes out of despair for losing my libido. I’ve tried to rationalize looking at porn by tell myself that it can help me get aroused to have sex with my wife. Today i truly questioned that opinion and searched the web to learn how helpful it can be, and that’s how I found this page. Thank you for making me realize that porn does nothing but harm. I feel terrible. I know that my wife (she’s 26) craves for sex a lot more often than she admits, and it kills me that I keep disappointing the love of my life. I’d do anything for her. We HAVE had sex about once a month recently, and it has been enjoyable for me once the foreplay began, but last time something happened that terrified me. Though I was completely aroused and foreplay was well performed and i was totally ready for the final stage, I would not ejaculate no matter how long I tried, and in the end, I managed only by closing my eyes and picturing some of my favorite scenes of porn. I’m desperate to find a solution. Can putting porn aside and persevering really help me become the way I was? I shall stay connected with this place. After the Lord’s help, this seems like my best chance.
    Thank you for taking time reading my story. Please advise me on methods of staying up to date with this website and the people.

    • Ndazi

      Thank you for sharing ….I’m encouraged to share my story too….I’ve always imagined myself having sex since I was kid which gave me the curiosity to watch sex related activities ……I started watching the porn movies then when I turned 16 I met one guy and who I broke my virginity to we started having regular sex and he like porn too then I got myself pregnant and agreed with him to have an abortion and it was successful but since then I’ve lived with this guilt ….so I went back to God and I stopped porn and masturbation and any sex related activity until I went to college where I slept with one guy since then I went back to watching porn I could watch and masturbate but after that start feeling bad then would stay for day or weeks without doing so then go back ….I’m still struggling and hope God will heal me completely

  2. edward Crowley

    praise God for all who share their struggle – im a first time reader – the LORD directed me to your website

  3. TODD bedusek@ gmail.com

    I’m on 40 m grams of paxil, I wondering if that slows
    progress down

  4. Louie

    I just read a story of someone very similar to me. I’m 26. I was exposed to pornographic images on the playground in the 3rd grade. I have had other addictions that I’m getting help with. My Higher Power works through perfect strangers like you all. He’s taught me that the therapeutic value of one addict helping another is without parallel. Websites like this help me to understand I’m not alone in this fight. I’ve signed up for emails and I’ve been reading them instead masturbating and looking at porn. I keep praying for God to take my will and my life and He’s guided me to programs of honesty, willingness and support groups. 12 Step programs have helped me to with alcoholism and drug addiction and I’ve reached out to my local SA group and I’ll be attending my first meeting this Saturday. Whatever you do don’t stop tryings to quit even when you slip because recovery is possible but you’re chances are slim when trying to do it alone. This can such a shameful subject its hard to share so find a group who’s knows the struggle. God bless all who share the struggle.

  5. Theodore

    I must say, there have been days when reading these stories you all have shared have kept me from using porn. So I must thank all who have shared. You have helped me far more then you will ever know. Ive never had the courage to share my own story but I will now in hopes that it will help someone else.
    Im 26 years old & ive struggled with sex addiction since I was exposed to it in the 2nd grade. For me this is just part of my reality, I imagine for others to hear such a thing is sad even horrifying. I suppose im fortunate, ive always had a strong, sometimes seemingly ridiculous libido, Ive only had 1 performance issues with a real partner. I grew up in the church but didn’t truly believed at the time, plus the issue of sex or porn never came up so it wasn’t as if I realized that what I was doing was so detrimental to me. Although deep down I think a part of me always knew it was wrong since ive always kept it well hidden. So as most young men do after high school I left it all behind as just foolishness for old people with too many regrets in their lives. But thankfully years later in college my life got to a low point & I started to realize that God is real & that I needed him. Since then God has help me with every addiction ive picked up through my life. Starting at the smallest I can truly say that through each victory I have gained strength. But now im fighting against the worst one, the first one to grip me in its clutches even before I could understand anything in the world or what I was doing. The fights been going on since 2011, at times I feel the Lords presence giving me strength to resist. Unfortunately sometimes I fall, but I thank God for every minute, every hour, every day of resistance. Although ive been able to get rid of my other addictions with only God at my side, im not certain ill be able to do the same with this one. Recently I meet a woman online, & im getting ready to meet her a month or so from now. I dont know if she is the one ill settle down with & marry, but I know if this becomes serious it will be heart breaking when I tell her everything, but I at least want to give her hope when I tell her how long ive been sober. & later in life if I do marry I dont want my wife to have to go through some of the things ive read about. Maybe im just being paranoid or over thinking all this, but I still pray for complete freedom from this.

    • So glad to hear how the Lord has worked in your life, in spite of any past trauma. The Lord is good.

  6. roystom

    I have a problem where I cant get aroused by porn at all no matter what type I look at. My brain doesn’t seem to like it. But in real life I got aroused by woman and have no problem there, but what when women aren’t around?

    • What do you mean by “women aren’t around”? Do you date any women?

  7. geoff risley

    can you please define what you mean by pornography

    • Based one the etymology of the word itself and the history of its use, I would say pornography consists of printed or visual materials containing explicit displays of sexual organs or sexual activity—whether real or simulated—using this medium to remove these images and acts from the intimacy of the partners in order to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic sensations. I’m not sure if that is the author’s working definition, but it is mine.

  8. LG

    very useful stories and information. bless you guys.

  9. LG

    GREAT STUFF. LET’S KEEP SUPPORTING EACHOTHER. Thanks for sharing your stories friends, we are all encouraged.

  10. Joel Jerry

    Sincerely this article has really help me alot, to understand the negative effects of porn to my life, both physically and spiritually. Remain bless

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Defeat Lust & Pornography

Editor's Picks

A thoughtful man looking at a computer screen.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

Am I Addicted to Porn? 12 Signs of Porn Addiction

Despite decades of research, porn addiction remains a questionable diagnosis in the…

7 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Close-up portrait of male student with head on knees sitting by wall in college

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Sin Owned Me

I have long struggled with lust, first giving in to pornography as…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A young boy praying in a Catholic church.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Was an Altar Boy Addicted to Porn

Since I was young, I’ve battled with a deeply personal struggle: pornography…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A young man embracing his wife.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Overcame My Fear of Abandonment

My struggles have been with pornography, masturbation, fanaticizing, objectifying, and lying. It…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Young man taking a break while hiking.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Imperfect Journey

My journey to overcome and avoid the temptation of pornography has been…

3 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Close-up on the hands of a group of people learning to trust one another.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

How to Trust People

After helping people overcome pornography for more than two decades, one thing…

7 minute read

Read Post

Related in Defeat Lust & Pornography

A thoughtful man looking at a computer screen.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

Am I Addicted to Porn? 12 Signs of Porn Addiction

Despite decades of research, porn addiction remains a questionable diagnosis in the…

Despite decades of research, porn addiction remains a questionable diagnosis in the medical community. But there’s no question that thousands of people struggle unsuccessfully to quit pornography. If you’re concerned that you may be addicted…

7 minute read

0 comments

Close-up portrait of male student with head on knees sitting by wall in college

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Sin Owned Me

I have long struggled with lust, first giving in to pornography as…

I have long struggled with lust, first giving in to pornography as a 6th grader. As I approach my junior year of college, I see the destruction that my addiction has caused and the further…

4 minute read

0 comments

A young boy praying in a Catholic church.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Was an Altar Boy Addicted to Porn

Since I was young, I’ve battled with a deeply personal struggle: pornography…

Since I was young, I’ve battled with a deeply personal struggle: pornography and masturbation. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this addiction took hold of me, but that first encounter remains etched in my memory.…

4 minute read

0 comments

A young man embracing his wife.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

I Overcame My Fear of Abandonment

My struggles have been with pornography, masturbation, fanaticizing, objectifying, and lying. It…

My struggles have been with pornography, masturbation, fanaticizing, objectifying, and lying. It started after dealing with intense feelings of loneliness following my graduation from college and first job in ministry. I was spending a lot…

3 minute read

0 comments

Young man taking a break while hiking.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

My Imperfect Journey

My journey to overcome and avoid the temptation of pornography has been…

My journey to overcome and avoid the temptation of pornography has been a long and difficult one. It started at the age of 8. Some of my friends came over to my house one day…

3 minute read

0 comments

Close-up on the hands of a group of people learning to trust one another.

Defeat Lust & Pornography

How to Trust People

After helping people overcome pornography for more than two decades, one thing…

After helping people overcome pornography for more than two decades, one thing has become clear: Defeating porn requires trustworthy relationships. Pornography develops a powerful grip on people that can’t be overcome in isolation. We need…

7 minute read

0 comments