Last updated:

August 30, 2022

6

 min read

What is porn-induced ED and how can you manage it?

Struggling from erectile dysfunction? Worried if it is caused by watching too much porn? Talk to our experts today for addressing all your sexual health concerns!

Reviewed by
Ekata
Written by
Malvika Rathi
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pornography when consumed in appropriate amounts can spice up one’s sex life! But like any other thing, consuming too much can have lethal effects. Porn-induced ED essentially refers to the inability of a penis owner to get or sustain an erection during sexual activity as a consequence of frequent exposure to pornography. 

Erectile dysfunction (ED) has several reasons, including heart diseases, hypertension, and high cholesterol. But for many penis owners, ED is actually a psychological problem, not a physical one.

People who had uncomfortable sexual experiences as teenagers might struggle with erectile dysfunction as adults. Mental health concerns such as depression, generalised anxiety, performance anxiety, and chronic stress can also trigger ED. Other than that, porn is one of the potential factors which might cause ED, especially in younger individuals. 

Can porn really cause ED?

Although watching pornography is not wrong, it can cause very real sexual issues - such as reduced libido and unhealthy expectations from sex - especially when watching porn becomes a habit. 

The advent of widespread internet access has made porn freely and instantly available to people around the world. Now, anyone can watch porn privately at any time, thanks to smartphones and free porn websites. The wide array of sexual content on such sites has changed the perception of sex in people's minds, making the stimulation one derives from pornographic content a little excessive and unrealistic.

What causes porn-induced ED?

The reasons behind porn-incuded ED can be either psychological or physical.

Psychological causes:

  1. Setting unrealistic expectations 

First things first, porn and real-life sex are very different. Mainstream porn depicts actors with hypersexualised and dramatic performances. If such an idea forms the basis of someone's primary sexual exposure, they might end up having irrational expectations about what sex constitutes. Real-life sex involves real people and allows a certain level of awkwardness and trial-and-error. If a person's expectations surrounding sex exclude these, they might not feel aroused enough to maintain an erection.

  1. Adjustment in the brain’s arousal path

Regular exposure to hardcore porn changes how your brain perceives pleasure. To reach the same degree of sexual pleasure, the brain's normal neural reaction to sexual stimuli is reduced, necessitating more frequent and intense stimulation. Due to this, the brain (as well as the penis) may no longer adequately respond to real-world sexual stimulation. 

However, you should keep in mind that these changes are reversible. 

  1. Performance anxiety 

The men you see in porn typically have physiques and penises that aren't representative of the majority of men. Still, it is natural and obvious to compare yourself with the actors. However, just as things on social media are not real, the same applies to porn. Any comparison will simply lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction for both you and your partner(s). Accepting your anatomy wholly is the first step to treating sexual disorders. 

Physical causes:

For a while after orgasm, it is difficult for a penis owner to get an erection. This is known as the refractory period. If someone frequently masturbates to pornography, they might have longer refractory periods, making it harder for them to maintain an erection during sex. 

How can you manage ED?

You can be experiencing ED due to an underlying medical condition. The first step is to get yourself evaluated by a medical expert to rule out any medical cause. Next, you have to assess if porn is a reason behind ED so that you can take the necessary steps to reverse it. Some of these steps are: 

Try to understand your condition 

Here are a few questions that will help you grasp the situation better: 

  • What is going haywire in my sexual life? Is it the cause of erection, pleasure, or arousal that is bothering me? 
  • Are my problems of a medical origin? 
  • How often do I watch porn? What kind of porn am I consuming? Do I need to consume a particular type of porn to turn myself on?
  • When I'm in a real-life sexual setting, do I feel adequately aroused? 
  • Morally, what do I think about porn? Am I embarrassed or ashamed of watching it?

Since ED can be tricky to navigate for both you and your partner, having open communication channels can be very helpful. Your partner plays a vital role in being your support system through your treatment as well. 

Take a sabbatical from porn

If you believe that you are having weak erections because of porn, it is highly recommended to take a break from porn and try masturbating without it. This does not mean that you can never watch porn again. But taking a break can give your system a fresh start. 

Consider going to therapy

If you are struggling to manage porn-induced ED, don’t worry! Seeking therapy for ED can help you understand and balance your relationship with porn, deal with any unhelpful attitudes towards sex, and develop a healthy relationship with your sexuality. 

Worried about finding a good therapist? We have you covered! Book a session with our team of non-judgemental experts today. 

Need help?

The stigma around sexual dysfunction can make the process more strenuous but venting out in a non-judgemental space can work wonders! Additionally, knowing you are not alone can also give you comfort. Our discord community is the perfect safe space for you to share and learn from others' experiences. Join our community using the link below!