This piece serves as a continuation of the post that precedes it entitled PIED-Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction: New Study Confirms a Correlation

Often starting as early as age 12, which is not uncommon and often elucidated in the timelines of many of my patients, excessive porn usage can hit hard and hit fast. In their early 20’s they wonder why real sex, real touch and all that is associated with the sexual experience, feels and functions in a way that is unexpected. The study found 23% of men under-35 who responded to the survey had some level of erectile dysfunction when having sex with a partner.

Short term solutions are not ideal, albeit for a select few. Injections and pills cannot band-aid this problem nor can it help those regain their sexual functioning.

We need to look at multiple factors. . .Why did these men turn to porn in the first place?

Curiosity is king in most instances and by virtue of the way it works (see my Good Men Project article) viewing porn is highly “addictive”. Yet like many process addictions in the addiction continuum, they continue in response to what is going on in households, homes, and lives. A desperate need to connect occurs in the backdrop of a dilapidated and dysfunctional family.

Once they turn, the addiction qualities hold them because it’s way better to turn away from pain and to pleasure then stay in the mud. Addictions are an attachment disorder. We reach for a pleasurable connection and like all addictions, the cycle takes on a life of its own, one that needs unpacking and rebooting as part of treatment.

The psychological consequences can be no less than devastating. I have had few enter on their own but most present in new relationships in which their functioning is fair to poor. By the time they begin, they are often desperate; desperate for a more normal way in which to be.

Through dialogue and a labeling and exploration of their experiences can men let go of the need to continue the addiction. With specific addiction-related treatments can they begin to manage the symptoms that plague them.  This is a multifaceted approach requiring not just management strategies (how can they stop the behavior) but bottom-up work and a deep dive into their experience.

What I offer . . .

This piece was repurposed from a recent newsletter.

Dr. Winter is available to help with Sex and Porn Addiction or Out of Control Sexual Behavior.