Erectile dysfunction

Updated 21 July 2017

How watching porn can cause erectile dysfunction

An international study found that the percentage of men below 40 who suffer erectile dysfunction has skyrocketed in the last 15 years, from between 2% and 5% to 30%.

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Many young men who should be in their sexual prime are suffering erectile dysfunction as a result of watching pornography from an early age.

Prolonged exposure to porn, via the ease of technology, creates a demand for more extreme and “novelty” material in order to maintain arousal, to the point where sexual experiences with partners are no longer arousing.

Real sex 'disappointing'

One international study in Behavioural Sciences, a medical journal, said the percentage of men below 40 who suffer erectile dysfunction has skyrocketed in the last 15 years, from between 2% and 5% to 30%.

The study was conducted by a team of US uroligists, neuroscientists and psychiatrists who analysed extensive neuroscientific research.

It said for those suffering with Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED), real sex registers as “disappointing” in comparison with porn, and there is great difficulty maintaining an erection.

Sheryl Rahme, addiction specialist at Changes Rehab Centre, said porn addiction mirrors addiction to drugs.

“With porn-induced erectile dysfunction… the urge to masturbate is not true libido – they are addicted to porn. They are addicted to seeking a fix and a temporary high.

“Porn can become your greatest need. If they have been using porn regularly to ‘get high,’ withdrawal can be as filled with agitation, depression and sleeplessness, as detoxing from alcohol, cocaine and other hard drugs.”

Cape Town-based Standing Together to Oppose Pornography (Stop) director, Clive Human, told Weekend Witness that those they were treating were “getting younger and younger”.

Effort and willpower

“We have kids in grade seven and early high school with compulsive masturbation. I do talks at schools and there’s an anonymous box for issues and questions and that’s how we get notified to many of the problems.”

He said Stop recommend no porn, masturbation or sex as an intervention strategy.

“They got erectile disfunction after a diet of porn and a person is just not as exciting. It takes about three months, sometimes six, to rewire the brain and for the damage to be repaired but that takes effort and willpower.”

He said a lot of the time young children look at porn out of curiosity, but abuse, loneliness and low self-esteem were other factors.

“Intervention can mean telling parents to restrict [children’s] access to phones or using adult content blocks.”

Human said teaching children about porn addiction should be part of the school syllabus.

Boys need to be warned

Board member of The Advice Desk for the Abused at UKZN, Dr Lubna Nadvi, said pornographic images can lead to sexual violence, especially toward women.

“The desire to obtain sexual gratification can often extend to beyond just viewing an image to actually wanting to carry out sexual acts against vulnerable persons without their consent.”

Nadvi said there needed to be an education campaign that warned young people, especially boys, that porn can lead to behaviours that perpetuate gender-based violence.

Researcher at the Wits City Institute specialising in gender and violence, Lisa Vetten, said porn could give young men a skewed view of what women wanted sexually.

She added: “If they are using porn to avoid dealing with actual women, that is a problem. They may lack the ability to be intimate.”

Read more:

Porn and sex addiction: an expert's view

Your child watching porn?

9 to 5 pornography watcher

 

Ask the Expert

Erectile Dysfunction Expert

Dr Kenny du Toit is a urologist practicing in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He is also consultant at Tygerberg hospital, where he is a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, Colleges of Medicine South Africa and Société Internationale d’Urologie. Board registered with both the HPCSA (Health professions council of South Africa) and GMC (General medical council UK). He has a keen interest in oncology, kidney stones and erectile dysfunction.http://www.dutoiturology.co.za

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