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Defeat Lust & Pornography 1 minute read

Does Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Last Updated: August 4, 2020

Back in 2013, GQ Magazine published an article called, “10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Watching Porn.” Yes, the same GQ that published its “100 Hottest Women of the 21st Century” feature in the same year they also told men why masturbating to lust-provoking images is not a good idea.

The very first reason given was that men who are hooked on porn find it difficult to get or maintain an erection during sex. Why does watching porn cause erectile dysfunction? Well, online porn viewing is, among other things, novelty-seeking behavior: constantly clicking, multiple tabs open, always looking for the next girl, the next sexual buzz. A real woman—no matter how she looks—is only one woman. A brain trained for constant sexual novelty won’t find her arousing.

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, who’s the clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School, says that many young men today suffer from what he calls porn-induced erectile dysfunction. These men are young, healthy men that can’t maintain an erection with the person that they’re with sexually. But they seem to be able to get an erection watching porn.

Related: Why Marital Sex Is Better Than Porn

The problem for these guys is not below the belt, but actually between the ears.

You see, real sex is about touching, being touched, pheromones, and really connecting with someone. Internet porn is about digital voyeurism, endless searching, clicking, and interacting with your hand.

If you train your brain for porn, that’s how you’ll best perform. So when you’re with a real woman, your pornofied brain isn’t sending enough of a signal below your belt to get aroused.

Do you think you have porn-induced erectile dysfunction? We’ve created an e-mail challenge to put you on your journey to recovery from PIED.

Start the RecoverED Challenge Today
  1. Cp

    I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years now. Yes I do think I have a problem watching porn, but my girlfriend only has sex with me once maybe twice a week if I’m lucky. Then when we do have sex she says get yourself ready or come on let’s hurry. We never have sex when I feel the urge. Only late at night before bed. I am very turned on by her, but she doesn’t seem the same. I’ve had to resort to porn and satisfying myself because she rarely even tries to act sexy and turn me on. Then she calls me disgusting for watching porn and masturbating, but she isn’t interested in sex. Am I wrong for this?

    • Chris McKenna

      Hi, CP – I wonder what would change if you didn’t view sex as a transaction? It sounds like you see it as some quota that needs to be filled. Something intended to satisfy your needs. Brother, it wasn’t created for that. What are HER needs? Sex is a gift to be offered. The habit of watching porn and masturbating because you don’t think you have sex enough is disrespectful and honestly, a horrible habit. It’s ruining her heart and your heart and mind (you’re teaching your brain to bond to pixels). Sex was intended to create oneness with a spouse, allow for mutual pleasure, and if the situation is right, fruitful in the way of children. It’s free and total. Offered to each other. Not some minimum requirement. It’s up to you as a man to treat her as a one-of-a-kind, unique, never-to-be-replicated amazing creation. To be loved and cherished. Otherwise, you should not be with her. But, treat her differently, and it will go well for you. I promise!

      Peace, Chris

    • Why doesn’t my husband ever want sex

    • Kay Bruner

      There can be any number of reasons. What does he say when you ask?

  2. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added
    I get four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are
    able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    • Chris McKenna

      Hi Nora – I’m sorry, I don’t know of anything on our side to do what you’ve asked. I can try to delete your original comment, if that’s OK.

      Chris

  3. Excellent article. I’m facing some of these issues as well..

  4. Nox Enola

    Not woman-blaming here, but I think a lot of you ladies commenting here need to learn how to stand up for yourselves and put your foot down when it comes to certain things. Some men just seem to lack the willpower to change a bad habit and they need to be shoved into the right direction. My boyfriend’s porn addiction was so bad that it almost ruined our sex life. We always have had great sex together, but he would only want it infrequently and would sometimes suffer from ED. I knew he was still watching porn all the time, and finally I confronted him about it and let him know that my feelings about it were not, as some men like to believe, related to jealousy about him viewing other women naked, but about my feeling like our sex life was taking a nose dive because of his excessive viewing of it. He said he understood and we agreed that it be ok for him to watch it once and awhile as long as it wasn’t a constant, daily thing.

    Well, even after that he was still doing it very often, and started getting sneaky about it, but since I am far more computer-adept than he is I was always able to find out. I truly never believed that he was diliberately trying to hurt me. He has always treated me wonderfully, he makes me feel sexy and loved and we rarely fight or argue. However, it seemed to me that he lacked the willpower to stop the constant porn watching on his own, so finally I just put my foot down and basically forbade him from bringing his phone in the bathroom. It caused probably the biggest fight we’ve ever had because he insists he just brings his phone in there because he likes to read on the toilet, but I was plenty aware that 9/10 times he was watching porn and jerking off. I caught him in the act a few times plus saw his browser history. But, my boyfriend is overall a sweet natured guy and so even though he was angry about my request, he stopped doing it for the most part. Our sex life has improve a hundred fold and he rarely has a problem getting an erection now. Once and awhile we even watch porn together if we are just feeling naughty that day. But it is in moderation to stop the addiction from returning.

    He still watches porn once or twice a month, but I let it go because he really did make an effort to cut back with some…persuasion…from me. Now, I want to make it clear here that I am not a control freak. I know it may sound that way because I basically told him he wasn’t allowed to bring his phone in the bathroom anymore, and put a porn blocker with a password he doesn’t know onto our shared computer. I don’t control every aspect of his life. He does what he wants and I do what I want, we have some shared hobbies and some individual hobbies and that’s ok. We are both geeky game-loving people who also enjoy partying in New Orleans. He talks to other girls sometimes while we are out and I don’t get jealous, I join the conversations and have a good time. He is a guy who gets along well with women and I am fine with that. I have many male friends and he doesn’t get jealous either, it’s just part of who we are.

    My point in all of this is, don’t be timid and sulky if your boyfriend or spouse has a habit that affects your relationship in a negative way. Stand up for yourself and demand change. If your man won’t change his habits willingly, then do things that actively prevent him from continuing to do it. The way I see it, asking a man to give up porn if it is badly affecting your sex life is no different from asking someone to give up alcohol or drug usage if it is affecting your relationship. And since porn can be a real addiction for some, some people need active intervention to stop the behavior. Any man who flatly refuses to stop watching porn or isn’t even willing to scale it back a good bit is not committed to the health of the relationship. Men like that aren’t worth your stress or your sorrow. Divorce or even a break up can be wretchedly painful, but sometimes it’s the best thing for your own sanity in the long term. Find a new partner that is willing to commit to you and isn’t going to hurt you for their own selfish wants.

    I hope this helps someone out there that may be in the same position I was once in. Ladies, we no longer live in a society where the man controls the relationship and can do whatever he wants without question. We are their equals and we are fully within our rights to demand change if it’s needed to save a marriage or relationship. Please be strong and don’t let your man walk all over you and treat you like garbage. You’re worth more than that.

  5. I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your website.
    It appears as if some of the text within your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?

    This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Thanks

  6. Step L

    It’s an epidemic Ithat I saw coming (no pun) years ago.

  7. Barb

    Reading everyone else’s comments makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know in my gut that my husband is doing many of these same things. If a man masturbates/watches porn frequently does he even really love his wife? Does he know what real love is? I can’t imagine looking at other men/desiring them and climaxing with my husband no where near me. I don’t understand it. I don’t care if men and woman are made differently. That is an excuse!! Every person has control over their own actions. Just because I really have an urge to buy myself jewelry all the time doesn’t mean that I should or that it’s ok.
    My husband and I dated on and off for a couple years before we got married. I knew he masturbated quite a bit before we got married and lived together but I assumed that would change once I was there next to him and available for whatever he desired every night. I was wrong. We have been married now less than a year and I am finding myself frustrated, very hurt and confused. I really enjoy sex with my husband. I love him with all my heart and I love to be close to him, I love the feeling and I crave/want it often. But there is nothing that turns me off more than knowing he would rather masturbate in secret, by himself while looking/desiring other women than to be with me. Especially because it’s not like I’m rejecting him or like he has to go long periods of time without sex therefore making masturbation justifiable. No, that’s not the case. I am there every day/night willing and ready when his mood strikes. Unfortunately his mood strikes or should I say strokes him very often but not to include me. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried pretending not to notice how often & how long he goes to the bathroom or leaves the house for a quick errand that always turns into an hour plus, I try not to look at his phone…. but after ignoring it for a few months while he handled himself regularly & left me unsatisfied I had to say something. I didn’t want to put him down or make it a big thing but because I’ve brought it to his attention on several occasions and nothing seems to change it is really becoming a big BIG deal to me. In fact its to the point where I think about it all the time. I am constantly internally questioning if he is doing it right now. It’s EXHAUSTING. It hurts my feelings and makes me feel bitter at him and makes me feel so undesirable. feeling undesired by my husband really belittles me and robs me of being the good wife that I know I am and can be. It also robs him of respect. I want to be proud and hold my head high regarding my husbands actions and his honor. It hurts me the most that he knows how I feel about it but yet he daily chooses it over having a real relationship that would be good/right plus keep us close knit in our everyday life. He says he believes that there is nothing wrong with it but I don’t believe that he really believes that. He just doesn’t want to stop. I think that masturbating all the time leads men to have less feeling during sex too. There have been a couple of times (like seriously maybe 2) he abstained a day and his penis was much harder when we were together. It was very nice those two times, lol. I’m now feeling like giving up. We are both 38, maybe I should just stop caring about sex. I don’t know what to do. I just know that sex during marriage should be a wonderful good regular thing special between two healthy married people but it’s not for us. It’s missing the guts of what makes it special. I have no power or control to fix it. He has to want it/work to change it for himself and me. So I guess I’m just stuck and have to wait for him to “get it”? Yet I’m the bad guy to him for making a big deal out of “nothing”. It’s so unfair!!!

    • Kay Bruner

      Hey Barb. Thanks for sharing. I think you said some really important things here!

      First of all, YES! Every person has control over their own choices!

      That is the absolute KEY to dealing with things like this.

      He does have a choice about how he behaves. Now, his brain chemistry may have been impacted, and he may have serious defense mechanisms in place, but he DOES have a choice.

      You also have choices. You can’t fix him, but you can always choose to be healthy for you.

      Here and here are a couple of articles on boundaries. You might also want to look at our free download, Hope After Porn, where several women tell their stories of recovery. Boundaries will always figure into real recovery, I think.

      Many, many women will end up meeting the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in porn-afflicted marriages. Evaluate how this is impacting you. You may have to make hard choices for your health and sanity. A counselor can help you process through your emotions, and help you think about boundaries. Groups are also a great source of support.

      If your husband decides to get into recovery, a CSAT therapist would be helpful to him, I’m sure.

      It is so unfair, and so painful. I’m so, so sorry.

      Peace to you, Kay

    • It is unfair, and totally selfish! You do deserve more than you are getting! The entire porn scene, leads to egoism. Marriage can’t be all about 1 person, its a sharing of yourself. I feel so warped even having to deal with my husband’s issue with this. Its deceitful, hurtful, emotionally degrading and spiritually damaging! Talk about toxic! I feel your pain, and i hope that you are stronger than me. I am so stuck right now, but someday I won’t be. Hang in there girl, find a way to take care of you. See a counselor, something.

    • Eliza

      Wow I can relate to your feeling oh so much. Thanks for sharing.

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