Porn is a problem for young men. It is a problem for men of all ages. Excessive use has short and long-term effects on the sense of self and emotional and physical relationships, both in and out of the bedroom.

Here are some facts.

On July 12th, 2019, a Minnesota driver of a semi-truck crashed and killed a construction worker and left another injured; he was allegedly watching porn.  He was traveling beyond the speed limit.  Investigators found that 14 files had been manually deleted from Porn Hub just following the crash—with the 14th opened just 2 minutes before impact.

No surprise as we have some data on porn usage and viewing habits—big numbers.

Porn kills as it did in that accident. In greater numbers, it impacts the sexual functioning and the lives of men, both young and old.

I often say, having an orgasm requires the perfect storm. And although it is not necessarily always the end game in the physically intimate space of the relationship, it is always talked about.

That said, within the sexual response cycle, there are many places where ruptures can occur. I also often say that there are many pieces of the sexual pie, including individual, relational, physiological/physical and spiritual. Porn enters and impacts each one of these.

So, what do both the accident, porn, and the sexual response cycle do with you?

Men often present to urologists in private practice or at men’s health clinics explicitly designed to deal with this.  Asking about porn habits, at this point, should be commonplace with many symptoms that exit the waiting room and into the office. Today, it’s not sufficient to ask about nocturnal erections, medications, relational habits, and/or run some tests. Not that men want to talk about it. They don’t’. Yet we know now that the pills are inconsistent, often exacerbating an already low self-esteem.

That is where I come in, a sex therapist. These are dialogues that need to occur.

This is not new . . . the more porn, the more erectile dysfunction.

A large sample study out of Antwerp was just released at the European Association of Urology at their virtual conference. Its findings revealed something we have known about for a long time… that porn-induced erectile dysfunction is a common problem for male porn users.

Not new. In 2016 there was widespread coverage on the effect porn on the sexual functioning of men, particularly young men. Time did a cover story that year. Your Brain on Porn is chock full of information and stories from both professionals and laypeople. The study confirms what we have long observed and believed. That pornography use is directly related to sexual performance, namely the ability to get and maintain an erection.

In a piece I wrote for the Good Men Project that same year,  How Porn is Hijacking the Sex Lives of our Young Men, I noted that the highly addictive piece of porn is that the ability to control and manipulate screens according to the arousal level, something with which we have a bit less control over when we are engaging live: this is the addictive element. The European study found ” that 90% of men fast-forward to watch the most arousing pornographic scenes.”

“There’s no doubt that porn conditions the way we view sex; in our survey, only 65% of men felt that sex with a partner was more exciting than watching porn. In addition, 20% felt that they needed to watch more extreme porn to get the same level of arousal as previously.” (one of the primary indicators of an ‘addiction’ – requiring a greater amount of the substance to achieve the same effect.)

And the more watched, the greater the symptoms, with men reporting 5-15 minutes/episode with a total of 70 min/week. (I have heard much worse.) Watching porn is also associated with greater dissatisfaction with “normal” sex, with only 65% of respondents rating sex with a partner to be more stimulating than porn.”

And when virtually realty really takes hold, there may be no limit to already exists within the world of pornography. We will not only shelter in place but with Oculus Rift we can experience real sex in place as well. There will be no need for the reality we once knew.