Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (2014)

Anatomy & physiology teacher Gary Wilson explains the physiology of erections, how overstimulation via today's Internet porn can create erectile dysfunction (even in young men), and how others have recovered. For more information see Is my erectile dysfunction (ED) related to my porn use?


Supporting materials for this presentation

Studies mentioned in presentation

Expert testimony - Porn-Induced ED in the Media: Primarily Experts

Science sections containing multiple studies

Animal studies on sexual conditioning

DeltaFosB & sensitization articles

Adolescent brain vulnerabilities

Desentization articles

Internet porn is different

Addiction experts proclaim sexual behavior addiction exists

Porn-Induced ED Recovery Stories

Several studies have found relationships between porn use in young men and ED, anorgamsia, low sexual desire, delayed ejaculation and lower brain activation to sexual images.

1) "Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals with and without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours (2014)" - This fMRI study by Cambridge University found sensitization in porn addicts which mirrored sensitization in drug addicts. It also found that porn addicts fit the accepted addiction model of wanting "it" more, but not liking "it" more. The researchers also reported that 60% of subjects (average age: 25) had difficulty achieving erections/arousal with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn. From the study:

"CSB subjects reported that as a result of excessive use of sexually explicit materials..... experienced diminished libido or erectile function specifically in physical relationships with women (although not in relationship to the sexually explicit material)"

"Compared to healthy volunteers, CSB subjects had greater subjective sexual desire or wanting to explicit cues and had greater liking scores to erotic cues, thus demonstrating a dissociation between wanting and liking. CSB subjects also had greater impairments of sexual arousal and erectile difficulties in intimate relationships but not with sexually explicit materials highlighting that the enhanced desire scores were specific to the explicit cues and not generalized heightened sexual desire."

2) "Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption: The Brain on Porn (2014)"

A Max Planck study which found 3 significant addiction-related brain changes correlating with the amount of porn consumed. It also found that the more porn consumed correlated with less reward circuit activity in response to brief exposure (.530 second) to vanilla porn. Again, lead author Simone Kühn remarked on the uncharacteristic sluggish response to sexual stimuli seen in heavy porn users-

"That could mean that regular consumption of pornography more or less wears out your reward system."

Simone Kühn continued:

"We assume that subjects with a high porn consumption need increasing stimulation to receive the same amount of reward. That would fit perfectly the hypothesis that their reward systems need growing stimulation."

3) "Modulation of Late Positive Potentials by Sexual Images in Problem Users and Controls Inconsistent with "Porn Addiction" (2015)" - An EEG study comparing the subjects from an earlier study by the same research lab to an actual control group. The results: Compared to controls, porn addicts had less response to one-second exposure to photos of vanilla porn. The lead author, Nicole Prause, claims these results debunk porn addiction. However, these findings align perfectly with Kühn & Gallinat (2014), which found that more porn use correlated with less brain activation in response to pictures of vanilla porn. In other words, "porn addicts" appear to be desensitized and to need greater stimulation than non-addicts to become aroused. Three peer-reviewed papers agree with this analysis of the study.

4) "Adolescents and web porn: a new era of sexuality (2015)" - An Italian study analyzed the effects of Internet porn on high school students, co-authored by urology professor Carlo Foresta, president of the Italian Society of Reproductive Pathophysiology. The most interesting finding is that 16% of those who consume porn more than once a week report abnormally low sexual desire compared with 0% in non-consumers (and 6% for those who consume less than once a week).

5) "Patient Characteristics by Type of Hypersexuality Referral: A Quantitative Chart Review of 115 Consecutive Male Cases (2015)" - Study on men (average age 41.5) with hypersexuality disorders, such as paraphilias and chronic masturbation or adultery. 27 were classified as "avoidant masturbators," meaning they masturbated (typically with porn use) one or more hours per day or more than 7 hours per week. 71% reported sexual functioning problems, with 33% reporting delayed ejaculation.  What sexual dysfunction do 38% of the remaining men have? The study doesn't say, and the authors have publicly dismissed requests for ED rates. The two other primary choices for male 'sexual dysfunction' are ED and low libido.

6) Erectile Dysfunction, Boredom, and Hypersexuality among Coupled Men from Two European Countries (2015) - Survey reported a strong correlation between erectile dysfunction and measures of hypersexuality. The study omitted correlation data between erectile functioning and pornography use.

7) Altered Appetitive Conditioning and Neural Connectivity in Subjects With Compulsive Sexual Behavior (2016) - "Compulsive Sexual Behaviors" (CSB) means the men were porn addicts, because CSB subjects averaged nearly 20 hours of porn use per week. The controls averaged 29 minutes per week. Interestingly, 3 of the 20 CSB subjects suffered from "orgasmic-erection disorder," while none of the control subjects reported sexual problems.

8) (not peer-reviewed) Here's a popular article about an extensive analysis of comments and questions posted on MedHelp concerning erectile dysfunction. What's shocking is that 58% of the men asking for help were 24 or younger. Many suspected that internet porn could be involved in their dysfunction, as described in the results from the study -

EXCERPT: The most common phrase is “erectile dysfunction” – which is mentioned more than three times as often as any other phrase – followed by “internet porn,” “performance anxiety,” and “watching porn.” Clearly, porn is a frequently discussed subject: “I have been viewing internet pornography frequently (4 to 5 times a week) for the past 6 years,” one man writes. “I am in my mid-20s and have had a problem getting and maintaining an erection with sexual partners since my late teens when I first started looking at internet porn.”

9) Sexual Desire, not Hypersexuality, is Related to Neurophysiological Responses Elicited by Sexual Images (2013) - This EEG study was touted in the media as evidence against the existence of porn addiction. Not so. In line with the Cambridge studies, this EEG study reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlated with less desire for partnered sex. Neither finding matched the headlines. Three peer-reviewed papers expose the truth: 1, 2, 3. Read much more.


What Viewers Say

It can be a relief to understand the causes of porn addiction-related ED

  • I found these videos the other day and found them to be very interesting. I actually read the brain book mentioned in the videos, and it's great as well. Everything adds up. Personal testament: I quit porn a few months ago. Since then haven't cheated or looked at porn. I've seen a few images by accident (i.e. opening a link with naked girls), but didn't watch any vids intentionally. Two weeks after I quit, I had sex with a girl for the second time (note: second time with her, not in my life) and I was able to maintain erection, ejaculate with a condom on (unheard of for me!) and then go for seconds 20 minutes later!
  • Excellent ! Thank you very much for uploading this video. This is exactly what I was searching for. Almost all my previous searches about porn addiction ended up in sites explaining it on the basis of religious faith.This explains about the addiction and the ways to get out of it on pure scientific and rational basis. Once again thank you very much. Hoping that more such good initiatives come from you in future.
  • It helps a lot to watch supporting material because, believe me, there is a lot out there that says porn isn't the problem at all. When I get The Urge, I come on here to read an article or video you posted. By the end of it the urge is gone. I'm going on almost two weeks now with no porn watching. I've masturbated maybe twice in those two weeks, but tried to think of real life situations. I've noticed small changes already like having morning erections again and random erections when I see a pretty girl. I seriously didn't have those for almost 2 years during the worst times.
  • I've seen Gary's slide show and really like it. Clients have been benefiting from it too! --Wendy Maltz, LCSW DST (sex therapist and author)
  • Your work is invaluable. --Mark Chamberlain, PhD (sex therapist and author)
  • Thanks for the simple rational reasons. No crazy religious insanity. This helped me greatly.
  • This is a truly educational piece of work, which flies in the face of conventional reasons for erectile dysfunction! Doctors should prescribe this series to all those who complain of ED. It really could save relationships, marriages and morality, too!
  • I have come to realize that porn addiction affects your brain physiologically, I can't explain it because I'm not a psychologist, biologist, or even graduated. But this guy can! This video series really, really, REALLY explained a lot of things with regards to porn and the brain and he completely covers nearly every topic. ... This series has convinced me that my porn days are over.
  • Since my last (failed) sexual encounter a few weeks ago, I've been tearing myself up wondering why I was having ED, questioning my sexuality, my health, and even wondering if I could ever be intimate with another human again. My physician gave me a prescription to Levitra, but I knew in my heart this was just treating a symptom and not the problem. And now reading your site, I realize the drug probably wouldn't have helped either. I guess I knew on some level that porn & masturbation were causing a problem, but I never connected it all together. When I read your material, I was immediately excited to run home and throw out my porn collection and scrub my computer. So far, it has been the easiest thing I've ever done. I AM SO RELIEVED TO HAVE FOUND AN ANSWER. So I just wanted to let you know that your website has helped change my life. I know I have a way to go, but I can see a better future already!
  • I watched your videos again, and I always seem to pick up something I didn't hear before. It's really condensed with information.
  • I want to thank you for the great videos on this subject. I'm trying my best to keep away from the gross heavy porn and not masturbate as I've noticed a profound difference.
  • It's been a week since I stopped. I made the choice to abstain from porn and masturbation. I had no choice to do this because I firmly (ironic choice of words) believe that my porn addiction caused ED. I am 19, had every test a urologist or primary care physician had in their arsenal, workout 5 days a week, eat a veggie-centric (though not vegetarian) diet, and I take pretty damn good care of my privates. I confirmed this [truth] not through conventional medical professionals, they either don't want to acknowledge or don't know that it is a serious problem, but through this amazing resource, physically, I have been getting some serious morning wood, which is kind of refreshing to know that it is still working, but I have yet to control and command erections like in my high school years. According to testimonials full recovery ... is highly variable depending on exposure, chemistry, etc. But for anyone else feeling like this is really wearing you down, eating at your confidence: I know how you feel, and you are not alone. Mentally, it has been a rough week. ...So yes, I am getting better, but my goodness it is tough. And yes, I can't overemphasize how much's videos have brought a peace of mind to know what has happened physiologically.
  • I watched this video series with rapt attention. Gary did a wonderful job with it. A great teacher and a pretty good entertainer :). You all are so good at what you do. The straight information without judgement. That is a rarity. I'm so thankful I discovered your articles and site. Thanks once more.
  • Had a serious porn addiction and when I started noticing ED when sleeping with women, I started getting really worried (I'm in my early 20's). I looked it up and found this website, watched all the videos, that documentary included and after only 2 weeks I can safely say that it has changed my life. I feel more confident than ever, women are more attracted to me, I'm seeing great improvement in the bedroom. Every day it gets better and I'm noticing how ridiculous I was being by being so attached to porn.
    I never thought of myself as someone with an addictive personality because I eat well, almost no junk food, I never got hooked on any drug or anything but it's fascinating to me that I never -ever- considered my usage of porn as addictive. Watch this documentary, it'll bring positive change in your life and if not yours, at least the ones around you. I've shared this with close friends and we're all doing the 'challenge', it's amazing the amount of positivity it brings.
  • I watched the "Your Brain on Porn" and the "Erectile Dysfunction and Porn" video series, and I was very impressed by how science-based the videos are, and like any good scientific explanation, I got to the end of the series thinking "Duh! That's obvious" even though I had never even considered the hypothesis before. This problem is something that really needs to be studied properly and made common knowledge. You're not going to talk most guys out of porn with any of the arguments I've ever heard, but impotency is something that guys will do just about anything to avoid. Again, thank you very much for the info.

Gabe Deem of Reboot Nation Interviewed! (on recovery from PIED and unhealthy porn use)

Noah B.E. Church Interview, Author of WACK: Addicted to Internet Porn