Porn and sexual dysfunction
Real-life women don't often look like porn stars. Is pornography setting men up with unrealistic expectations? Photo: iStock

We previously explored whether or not masturbation can cause erectile dysfunction, but is there such a thing as porn-induced ED?

 

Two recent surveys presented at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting explored the potential link between porn and sexual dysfunction in both men and women.

 

The first study looked at a sample of women aged 20-40. Less than 40 percent reported using pornography, and 25 percent of those said they only used porn once a week or less. Researchers concluded that there does not seem to be a correlation between porn and sexual dysfunction in women.

 

Men considered to be addicted to pornography or who prefer masturbation over having sex with a consenting adult are more prone to suffering from erectile dysfunction, according to the second survey.

 

Researchers spoke to 312 men between the ages of 20 and 40 at a San Diego urology clinic and found that 3.4 percent of men preferred flying solo with co-pilot porn to a horizontal tango with a partner.

 

Of the men who used porn, 25 percent reported using visual aids less than once a week, a similar number reported masturbating to porn once or twice a week or three to five times a week. The percentage dropped significantly for men who reported using pornography six or more times per week to masturbate.

"Tolerance could explain the sexual dysfunction, and can explain our finding that associated preferences for pornography over partnered sex with statistically significantly higher sexual dysfunction in men," Dr. Matthew Christman, staff urologist at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, told the Chicago Tribune.

But Christman added that porn addiction isn’t the only piece of the puzzle.

Unrealistic expectations are another piece.

Men, particularly young men who are relatvely inexperienced and who are used to the visuals of porn, are accustomed to becoming aroused by big breasts, bleached buttholes and women who will do anything in the bedroom (or kitchen or park or wherever the scriptwriter set the scene).

"Visual stimulation will often increase sexual arousal in both men and women, but when the majority of their time is spent viewing and masturbating to pornography, it is likely they will become less interested in real-world sexual encounters," said Dr. Joseph Alukal, director of male reproductive health at New York University and a moderator who presented the findings.

Skin flicks or another medium of delightfully dirty delivery, when used in moderation, can be a positive part of a healthy sex life. If you are having trouble performing and are concerned that your reliance on porn is becoming a problem, Alkukal said to talk to your doctor about “underlying issues leading to the sexual dysfunction prior to suggesting treatment options.”

"Sex is half in your body and half in your head, and it may not be a physical component driving the behavior, but a psychological one,” he added.

Alukal told the Chicago Tribune that when unable to re-create the sexual feats seen in pornography, men (and women) experience “a great deal of anxiety.”

Anxiety, as well as other factors like blood pressure or obesity, can mess with your mojo.

“Plenty of men in their 20s and 30s who have true organic issues – it’s not all in their heads,” Dr. Seth Cohen, a urological surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center, told us in a previous interview. “We can help them, and we can fix them.”