Porn and the Threat to Virility (TIME cover story)

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Noah Church is a 26-year-old part-time wildland firefighter in Portland, Ore. When he was 9, he found naked pictures on the Internet. He learned how to download explicit videos. When he was 15, streaming videos arrived, and he watched those. Often. Several times a day, doing that which people often do while watching that genre by themselves.

After a while, he says, those videos did not arouse him as much, so he moved on to different configurations, sometimes involving just women, sometimes one woman and several guys, sometimes even an unwilling woman. “I could find anything I imagined and a lot of stuff I couldn’t imagine,” he says. After the appeal of those waned, he moved on to the next level, more intense, often more violent.

In his senior year of high school, he had an opportunity to have actual sex, with a real partner. He was attracted to her and she to him, as demonstrated by the fact that she was naked in her bedroom in front of him. But his body didn’t seem to be interested. “There was a disconnect between what I wanted in my mind and how my body reacted,” he says. He simply couldn’t get the necessary hydraulics going.

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