Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction? What’s Going On?

There was an article in Time Magazine last month which got some people thinking, got some people angry, and got some people scared. This article sounded the alarm about what is happening to young men all over the country who say that watching too much porn had catastrophic effects on their sexual function, their libido, and their virility. It’s a concerning story. These young men were in trouble and while in their 20’s, their sex lives were collapsing. (If you’re struggling with ED, contact us.)

They could not find help anywhere, so they worked out a solution whereby they completely stopped all masturbation and porn while their body took time to “reboot”.  For some men, it took as long as a year to regain sexual function.  Their stories are heartbreaking. These young men have really suffered.

They are now trying to help other young men who are experiencing the same distress.

There is a condition called “Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction” (PIED) and there are also therapists who now specialize in “Porn Addiction”.   A short internet search will turn up a whole host of sites dedicated to the addictive aspects of porn.  It has now even become big business.

What’s going on?  The truth is, no one really knows for sure what is going on and there is a huge debate about what exactly is happening.  Experts on both sides of the issue become passionate (and at times irrational) in their belief about young men and pornography.  And, just like most noisy arguments, the truth can often get lost in the rhetoric.

The fact is, there have been very few scientific studies on this phenomenon. The experiences of these young men are very real and very painful, but the fact remains that their stories are still their stories; anecdotal evidence that something serious is occurring, but we don’t yet know quite what.

I would like to see a study where young men watch porn and don’t masturbate. What happens then? What if we taught men to masturbate in a very holistic approach, connected to their bodies? What is going on with these men and their comfort with intimacy? The list goes on and on about the various facets of this conversation. No one has yet done any studies with the various components separated into single variables.

I have my own suspicions about this whole topic. I do know that most men masturbate terribly. The masturbation habits most men use when watching porn is usually the worst. Lack of lubricant, disconnection from body and sensation, and making an orgasm the sole focus, can all lead to sexual difficulties down the road.  I don’t think it’s the porn as much as it is the masturbation habit.

I believe this issue points to a much larger problem. I firmly believe we have a population who has no idea how to even think about sex.  We have no perspective, no training, no authentic discussion, and no vocabulary. I have found most people have difficulty relating to their own body – let alone someone else’s! What we have is sexual illiteracy. We have not taught boys how to relate to, or think about, or connect to, their own bodies. No wonder this mindless masturbating to porn results in sexual issues; it is the final sexual separation between body and mind!

This is a complicated issue with complicated answers. We need accurate scientific studies to produce data which will be relevant. Until then, it is going to take discussion, not arguments, to make progress in this complex area of human sexuality.