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Can Porn Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure, obesity, heart disease— to name a few. But what if you’re a healthy, younger man and you’re still having trouble below the belt? There’s a chance that porn may be affecting your ability to achieve a strong and long-lasting erection.

What is Porn Induced ED?

Although erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health condition that is primarily affected by older men, a 2013 study found that 1 in 4 men under 40 were affected by ED. The causes range from psychological to physiological factors such as smoking, drug use and porn.

Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction(PIED) occurs when a man finds it difficult to have sex with a real partner; this includes having trouble getting an erection or reaching an orgasm. However, he can easily become erect and masturbate to porn. As a result, PIED can cause a man to choose porn over their partner, causing a major strain in the relationship.

How Does it Happen?

 Here are three proposed factors that play into PIED:

1. Dopamine 

You know that feeling you get when you eat a delicious piece of cake, go on a rollercoaster or do something that you truly enjoy? That’s called dopamine, it is a pleasure hormone that is involved in the brain’ motivational system. When a man watches porn for the first time, his dopamine level is at its highest, leading him to watch more porn. He wants that feeling again.

However, the other times he watches and masturbates to porn, his dopamine level isn’t as high as the first, and he needs greater levels of excitement to get that level of excitement again. Now he might need to watch more intensified porn to get stimulated.

A man who watches a lot of porn is used to high levels of stimulation, having sex with a real person just doesn’t cut it anymore, which hinders his ability to get an erection and stay hard.

 2. Sexual Exhaustion

When a young man watches a lot of porn, he’s bound to get sexually exhausted. The more he masturbates to porn, the more time he needs to recover before he can erect again, which can lead to PIED. Also a man may feel content with porn and lose the desire to be with a physical partner.

 3. Unrealistic expectations 

Usually the actors in pornography pose unrealistic expectations when it comes to physical appearance or performance in the bedroom. Consistently watching porn can alter your expectations of how a man should look and act during sex. It also puts unrealistic expectations on the partner of men that are heavy into porn in how they should act or look during sex. This lack of fulfilling these unrealistic expectations can also lead to PIED.

Treatment

How PIED is treated for you depends on the individual cause. When linked to a dopamine or sexual exhaustion, cutting back on how much porn is watched is a great start. If you think it could be caused by unrealistic expectations, talk to your partner about your concerns and what you both expect from each other. Open and honest communication in sexual relationships can ease anxiety and improve performance overall. Also, seeing a sex therapist should be in the equation if it continues to be bothersome.

Whether you know for sure or are uncertain about the cause of your Erectile Dysfunction, it’s best to speak with a sexual medicine specialist to discover the best treatment option for you.

Here at the Centers for Sexual Medicine, we offer a variety of treatments for erectile dysfunction to help you overcome PIED.

Still have questions? Check out our blog for more information on erectile dysfunction and sexual health. Head to our site to find your nearest center and request a consultation to speak with a sexual medicine specialist.

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