Listen to Pornography and Erectile Dysfunction – Part 1 through the podcast player above.
Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast
Today’s episode of the Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast is about pornography’s impact on erectile dysfunction. This is part 1 of a 2 part series on erectile dysfunction and pornography. You can also listen to Pornography and Erectile Dysfunction – Part 2.
The Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast is dedicated to educating and empowering men to address erectile dysfunction, improve confidence, and enhance the satisfaction in their relationships. This podcast is hosted by certified sex therapist, Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST.
Transcript of Episode 11 – Pornography and Erectile Dysfunction – Part 1
On this episode of the “Erectile Dysfunction Radio Podcast,” we’re going to be talking about pornography use and erectile dysfunction. One of the most controversial topics with regard to psychogenic ED is whether porn viewing, watching pornography can cause or exacerbate erectile dysfunction.
There’s a lot of research out there. I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but I’ll put it pretty simply: the results are all over the place.
The conclusions range from pornography being one of the top drivers, one of the primary causes for erectile dysfunction, certainly in younger men, to other research, projects, articles concluding that not only does pornography not cause erectile dysfunction, but it may, in fact, help prevent it. It may, in fact, create more excitement and actually facilitate erections.
It’s hard to make a blanket statement about the impact of porn, in general, and certainly about the impact of porn on erections.
For some men, there probably is no measurable impact. For other men, it may be a significant contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. I think it’s a bit presumptive to assume that porn use has no impact and it’s conclusively not a part of your ED. Everything and anything can have an impact.
If a single negative experience can impact your erections, it should follow that porn use can have an impact as well. Some articles and some people talk about porn-induced erectile dysfunction as if it is a unique and separate diagnosis. It’s something that I don’t subscribe to. And I want to share with you why.
Psychogenic erectile dysfunction means originating in the brain. Your brain is not simple and it’s not singular. It’s complex. Your brain helps you process information, including pornography through the broader context of your beliefs, your environment, and your relationships.
No two people are the same. No two men think and experience life in the same way. Maybe it isn’t the porn, but the meaning behind it. Maybe it’s connected to earlier experiences that you have in life.
Porn is not a drug and should not be elevated to a position of singular causality of erectile dysfunction. I think it confuses men more than it helps. I would encourage you to stop asking if porn is causing your erectile dysfunction. I would encourage you to ask, how could this be helping or hurting your erection process?
A complex process requires complex solutions. And I would encourage you to not put all of your eggs into the porn basket.
Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a number of men who are convinced that they have porn-induced erectile dysfunction, were not successful with porn fasting, meaning with completely removing pornography viewing from their daily activities.
These men feel resigned, that the content that they have viewed, even if it was more than six months ago, has permanently ruined their erections. So I want to emphasize this, the anxiety associated with the belief that a man’s erections are permanently impaired or ruined is probably more impactful than any particular content that he has seen.
I want to be careful and emphasize that I’m not denying the impact or potential impact of pornography. It can be a factor, but it is likely only a factor. I’ve mentioned this before and I’m going to mention it again.
We like to boil things down to simple to understand singular causality approaches. It’s easier. It provides a facade that a problem can be simply resolved. At times, this may be true. But I think that generally, this is limiting, and precludes a broader understanding, and more comprehensive approaches to addressing your ED.
To highlight some of the complexity when we’re talking about pornography and erectile dysfunction, I want to mention some different scenarios that can be present with pornography viewing and erectile dysfunction, and show you just how different they are.
The first situation is a man cannot achieve an erection at all. This is occurring after a history of pronounced porn use.
Another situation is a man can achieve an erection, but only while viewing pornography.
Third situation, a man can achieve an erection on his own with or without pornography, but he struggles to maintain an erection with a partner.
Fourth situation, a man can achieve an erection with a partner, but needs pornography prior to or during that engagement.
And the fifth scenario is a man can achieve an erection whether he’s on his own or with his partner, but he strongly prefers and enjoys the added stimulation of pornography. So as you can tell, I just listed five basic situations that can all be connected to pornography, and the pornography can lead to very different manifestations of erectile dysfunction.
Let’s also not forget that each of the five situations that I just mentioned are also subject to the variations of whether a man is struggling to gain or maintain an erection or whether he can do both of those but is rather struggling with rigidity or a lack of firmness in his erection.
Because each of those situations can be ED, that will quickly bring us up to 15 different manifestations that we listed without getting into anything more complex.
If pornography simply induces an erection problem, we might be looking for a single simple expression of how pornography impacts a particular area of the erection process, maybe gaining, maybe maintaining, instead of clumping all of these different categories of erections as being caused by ED.
I think it’s also important to talk about some of the differences between casual and compulsive use of pornography. So is there a difference? In all likelihood, I think there is. For most people, some use of pornography is not likely to be a sole factor, the sole driver or the singular cause of a sexual dysfunction.
A lot of the concerns around the impact of pornography, around the expectations that pornography may create, are already part of our culture. They’re part of the television we watch, they’re part of the media we consume, they’re part of what we read. I don’t see why porn should bear the brunt of responsibility for that.
It’s also important to note that the vast majority of studies on the impact of pornography on erections are analyzing compulsive or heavy pornography use.
What exactly compulsive and heavy use mean are subject to disagreement. They probably can be viewed on a spectrum. I think it’s fair to assume that with increased use of pornography, there’s increased potential that pornography is playing a role in your erection process.
The more you use it, the more likely it is to have a primary role in causing ED. Again, I want you to look at this as a factor, not as a singular cause.
As we are concluding part 1 of this 2-part podcast on pornography and erectile dysfunction, I want to encourage you to see the complexity in pornography, the complexity in the erection process, not to get fixated on finding the singular cause, but to be reflective of the erection process, how complex it is, how 100 men can view the same content with 100 different outcomes.
In the next episode, we will tackle more of the details of the possible causes of ED that stem from porn use, discuss a little bit more about the content of porn, and talk about the impact that pornography seems to have on men, and their relationships, and partnered sex.
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