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How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood

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Finding a needle in a haystack would be easier than finding an adolescent male who hasn’t seen online porn. Surveys indicate the average boy watches roughly two hours of porn every week with porn viewing becoming common by age 15.

The most popular porn site—PornHub—reported that the average Millennial porn session lasts 9 minutes, while the average age young people have sex for the first time is 17 years old. This means the average boy has had about 1,400 porn sessions prior to having real life sex. So why aren’t more people asking what kind of effects porn is having on these young viewers?

Almost all people can recall the first erotic image they saw; like a flashbulb memory it is forever emblazoned in our minds. There appears to be a special window of time when visual sexual interests form most readily: adolescence. When this critical period gets hijacked by watching copious amounts of online porn, it seems some men can suffer from what one Italian urology survey called “sexual anorexia,” or difficulty having sex with a real partner. Many of the young Italians in the 28,000-person survey started “excessive consumption” of porn sites as early as 14 years old and later, when in their mid-20s, they became inured to “even the most violent images.” Professor Carlo Foresta, head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS), explained that the problem worsens when young men’s sexuality develops independently from real life sexual relationships. First, he said, viewers become less responsive to porn sites, then their libido drops, and finally it becomes difficult to get an erection.

In a 2014 study, Dr. Foresta found that 16 percent of high school seniors who used online porn more than once a week reported abnormally low sexual desire, while none of those who didn’t use it reported abnormally low sexual desire. Studies published in the last 6 years report erectile dysfunction rates ranging from 27 to 33 percent, while rates for low libido (hypo-sexuality) ranged from 16 to 37 percent. The lower ranges are taken from studies involving teens and men 25 and under, while the higher ranges are from studies involving men 40 and under (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Traditionally, ED rates have been negligible in young men, usually around 2 to 3 percent.

In fact, in the first comprehensive study of male sexual behavior in the US, which was conducted by Alfred Kinsey in 1948 and published in the book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, just 1 percent of men under 30 years old and 3 percent of men between 30 and 45 years old, reported impotence. What variable has changed in this time that could possible explain a 1000 percent increase in youthful ED? Unlimited access to high speed, streaming Internet porn.

Not surprisingly, a number of recent studies have found relationships between online porn use in young men and ED, anorgamsia, low sexual desire, delayed ejaculation and lower brain activation to sexual images (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Many of the young men who participated in the 20,000-person survey conducted by myself (Phil) and my co-author Nikita Coulombe for our book, Man Interrupted, said that porn distorted their idea of a healthy sexual relationship, and that “the script” of porn was always playing in the back of their minds when they were with a real partner.

Other male survey participants claimed they were able to watch porn occasionally and not suffer significant side effects. But they were the minority. It was clear that plenty of young men out there, including teens and pre-teens with highly plastic brains, find they are compulsively using online porn with their porn tastes slipping out of sync with their real-life sexuality.

Porn on the brain

In Man Interrupted, we dub the need for novel online stimulation arousal addiction. Unlike alcohol or drug addiction, where someone wants more of the same alcohol or drug, a person who exhibits addictive behavior with arousing activities such as porn craves material that is constantly changing. Simply put, it is like saying, “give me the same but different.” I (Gary) ascribe this phenomenon in my book, Your Brain on Porn, to the human brain’s natural propensity to find novelty arousing, corresponding with spurts of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with activation of the brain’s reward system. Its presence helps initiate feelings of wanting, desire, even cravings. Experiences such as eating, taking drugs, and having sex release dopamine into two main brain regions: the striatum and the frontal cortex.

However, as a person slips into addiction, more lasting changes take place. This very specific constellation of brain changes manifests as the signs, symptoms and behaviors we recognize as addiction. Neutral stimuli and events that are associated with an addictive substance or its process, such as gambling or drug-taking sequences, can also become conditioned to generate further arousal and add to the body’s chemical response. This is known as sensitization, which is at the core of all addictions. For a recovered alcoholic a sensitized cue could be walking by his favorite bar, which elicits an overwhelming desire to drink. Cues for a porn addict might be turning on the computer, seeing a sexy pop-up, or simply being alone.

In porn addiction, these deeply etched Pavlovian memories cause events to become cues for diving back into a behavior. These cues trigger intense, hard to ignore cravings for porn use. In the last few years 15 studies have reported sensitization in porn users (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). Critics of porn addiction posit that excessive porn use simply reflects a high libido, often referencing a single 2013 EEG study. It actually reported greater cue-reactivity to porn correlating with less desire for sex with a partner. In short, those with more brain activation and cravings for porn would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with a real person. This is most assuredly not an indication of high sexual desire. Various recent studies refute the “sex/porn addiction = high libido” hypothesis (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

If an image or scene is no longer stimulating enough for today’s porn users they will look for variety, surprise factor in the content, more hard-core and stranger material, anything they haven’t seen in order to attain a sexual climax. One result is that some brains on porn are being “digitally rewired” in a totally new way to demand change, excitement, and constant stimulation. Each dose of dopamine is a brain-training experience. It communicates, “This experience is important to our survival, and should be remembered.”

Less stimulating pursuits, on the other hand, may be forgotten. The subtle and not so subtle effects of excessive online porn use can negatively impact any part of a person’s life that are analog, static, involve planning, delaying gratification, and long-term goal setting. With porn there is a “cognitive absorption” effect where the complete involvement in porn excites cognitive, sensory and imaginative curiosity to the point where a boy loses track of time and other demands on attention, such as homework and socializing, become inferior. Using the excitation transfer model and sexual behavior sequence of psychologists Dolf Zillmann and Donn Byrne, respectively, Belgian researchers have recently suggested that the high states of arousal achieved in porn stimulated impulsive and “restless” behavior that may impair actions that require long periods of constant focus.

Sensitization is also behind sexual conditioning

At the same time, everything associated with a young man’s porn/masturbation session is imprinted upon his neural circuits, such as a voyeur’s perspective, clicking from video to video, constant novelty, switching to new porn genres, and searching for the perfect scene to finish. Though the impact of chronic overstimulation on the brain and behavior varies from individual to individual, it is worth examining the potential physiological, mental, and emotional effects of watching too much of porn, because few people consider how it may be affecting their brains and their ability to become aroused in real-life sexual encounters.

Initially online porn had to be downloaded prior to watching. That took a long time and variety was limited. At the end of 2006, however, streaming porn that no longer had to be downloaded started showing up in every genre imaginable. Using these sites, users now effortlessly click from scene to scene and genre to genre to boost their arousal. Sites allow viewers to control their dopamine drip with a click of mouse. The change means the user can—and many do—condition their arousal patterns to on-going, escalating, and ever changing novelty. Today’s porn users can also learn to associate their sexual response with shock, surprise or anxiety—all of which increase dopamine and sexual arousal. Thus users are conditioning their sexual arousal template to everything associated with their porn use, not just “watching a lot.” Their brains then expect these things during sexual arousal. Yet none of these attributes of online porn match sex with a real person, who cannot compete with the buffet provided by porn no matter how attractive they are. When arousal expectations are unmet, dopamine drops, and so do erections and orgasms during intercourse.

In relationships, it’s not uncommon for young men to find themselves aroused at first because of a partner’s newness, yet after several months of being intimate with the same person, find that partner no longer turns them on. Not suspecting the true cause of their problems, many young men are baffled when they experience lack of desire for real partners, unreliable erections when using condoms, or difficulty climaxing or sustaining erections with partners. After all, they may have no problem climaxing while viewing porn. People we’ve spoken with who demonstrated signs of arousal addiction often feel very anxious in social situations in general, have less motivation to set and complete goals, feel out of control, and even discussed suicide.

Guys themselves are not only starting to talk about how porn has personally affected them, but, more importantly, about the benefits when they stop using it, such as clearer thinking and better memory, more motivation, increased charisma, deeper relationships, and better real life sex.

New brain research supports the porn addiction model

Researchers have finally begun to investigate the effects of online porn on heavy users’ brains in order to figure out what’s going on. A number of these studies have uncovered evidence of brain alterations and behaviors that are also seen in other kinds of addicts. In the first-ever brain-scan study of online porn users, conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, researchers found that the hours and years of porn use were correlated with decreased grey matter in regions of the brain associated with reward sensitivity, as well as reduced responsiveness to erotic still photos. Less grey matter in this region translates into a decline in dopamine signalling. The lead researcher, Simone Kühn, hypothesized that “regular consumption of pornography more or less wears out your reward system.” This can be thought of as desensitization or a numbed pleasure response.

This addiction-related brain change leaves the individual less sensitive to pleasure, and often manifests as the need for greater and greater stimulation to achieve the same buzz (tolerance). In the past year two more brain studies have reported desensitization in compulsive porn users (see 1, 2). While sensitization makes your brain hyper-reactive to anything associated with your porn addiction, desensitization numbs you to everyday pleasures. Over time, this dual-edged mechanism can have your reward circuitry buzzing at the hint of porn use, but less than enthused when presented with the real deal. If these two neuroplastic changes could speak, desensitization would be saying, “I can’t get no satisfaction” (low dopamine signaling), while sensitization would be saying, “Hey buddy, I got just what you need,” which happens to be the very thing that caused the desensitization. A numbed pleasure response (desensitization), combined with a deep brain pathway leading to cravings and short-term relief (sensitization), is what powers most addictions.

Another German study showed users’ problems correlated most closely with the numbers of tabs open and degree of arousal. This helps explain why some users become dependent on new, surprising, or more extreme, porn. They need more and more stimulation to become aroused, get an erection and reach climax. In further support of the hypothesis that online porn’s novelty contributes to its risk, a 2015 brain-scan study led by researchers at the University of Cambridge found that men who demonstrate compulsive sexual behavior require more novel sexual images than their peers because they habituate to what they are seeing faster than their peers do. Study spokesperson Valerie Voon said that “Our findings are particularly relevant in the context of online pornography” and “It’s not clear what triggers sex addiction in the first place and it is likely that some people are more pre-disposed to the addiction than others, but the seemingly endless supply of novel sexual images available online helps feed their addiction, making it more and more difficult to escape.”

A 2014 brain-scan study from the University of Cambridge by Voon and colleagues found that young porn addicts exhibit brain responses that are comparable to drug addicts. Their cravings for porn are disproportionate to their liking for it, compared with non-addicted controls. In the past year three more brain scan studies have found that heavy porn users had greater reward system activation (sensitization) than men who used less porn (see 1, 2, 3). Voon also reported that over 50 percent of the subjects (average age 25) had difficulty achieving erections with real partners, yet could achieve erections with porn. This could be interpreted as an overt physical sign of brain desensitization. Finally, Voon found that younger subjects had enhanced reward circuit activity when exposed to porn cues. Higher dopamine spikes and greater reward sensitivity are major factors in adolescents being more vulnerable to addiction and sexual conditioning. It may be no coincidence, then, that solo male porn users report altered sexual tastes, less satisfaction in their relationships and real-life intimacy and attachment problems.

Just prior to the arrival of porn tube sites, research published in 2005 indicated that young people who consume online porn were more likely to exhibit clinical symptoms of depression and lesser degrees of bonding with caregivers than those who consumed porn through other means, such as magazines. Online sexual activities were also already beginning to displace normal relationship development, learned courtship and romantic behaviors in college students. In the intervening decade, almost all porn users have shifted to online streaming porn. Understandably, researchers have focused increasingly on the effects of its use on aggression, risky sexual behavior, sexual attitudes, and so forth. This has left the adverse effects on users themselves under-researched.

Levels of narcissism are higher in online porn users, while excessive porn users also have reduced ability to monitor their own consumption. A longitudinal study showed that academic performance declines with porn use. Men who cut out porn often report improvements in mental clarity and ability to focus. Is this because online porn interferes with working memory during and after its use? In undergraduate college males, depression, anxiety, stress, and social functioning were significantly related to online porn use, and more viewing was related to greater problems. Also, the more young men use online porn and masturbate, the more shyness they reported. They were also more dissatisfied with their sexual performance and body image. Many users then do not engage in real life sexual activity, perhaps due to severe social anxiety.

In case you’re wondering which way causation runs, there is evidence that social anxiety, depression and compulsivity are related to how intensely arousing users find the material, rather than personality traits. In fact, some of the most common improvements mentioned by recovering users in the online forums are reduced social anxiety, improved concentration and memory and increased motivation and charisma after quitting online porn use. This highlights a significant deficiency with nearly every study trying to assess porn’s effect on the user: researchers don’t ask study participants to abstain from porn use. While recovery forums contain thousands of stories involving remission or improvement of myriad conditions and symptoms, only two studies had participants attempt to eliminate porn use. It was for only three weeks, yet both studies reported significant differences between abstainers and controls. In a 2015 study where participants reduced or eliminated porn use for three weeks, researchers found that reducing porn viewing significantly improved participants ability to delay gratification in pursuit of more valuable future rewards. The second study, employing a similar three-week procedure, found that subjects who continued using pornography reported lower levels of relationship commitment. In a third “case study” a compulsive porn user, whose tastes had escalated to extreme hardcore pornography, sought help for low sexual desire during sex. Eight months after stopping all pornography the patient reported experiencing successful orgasm and ejaculation and finally enjoying good sexual relations.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Ultimately, more research needs to be conducted in order to provide clarity on both the causes of porn addiction and the stages of recovery. To porn users, we’re not saying there’s something wrong with wanting to look at images of naked hotties. And static photos pose less risk than videos. High-speed, streaming Internet porn is simply more than some brains can handle. Healthy young men should not have any trouble getting or maintaining a full erection and then masturbating to orgasm regardless of whether they are watching porn or not. (Just a note, if you have a strong erection and can orgasm while masturbating without porn, but have trouble with a real-life partner, your sexual dysfunctions could be anxiety-related.) Viagra or Cialis may, or may not, help, but they won’t solve the underlying problem in instances of porn-induced sexual dysfunctions. Such drugs only dilate the blood vessels to sustain an erection. You still need genuine desire to initiate one. Without arousal, nothing can happen.

So, if you watch porn, ask yourself how much of what you’re attracted to has been influenced by porn. Young men today are forming their sexual attitudes and arousal templates around having access to dozens of sexual partners in a single masturbatory session—in other words, having more partners in less than 10 minutes than our ancestors would have had in an entire lifetime. Watching porn that is out of sync with your sexuality doesn’t necessarily mean your sexuality is changing; it may mean your response to pleasure has become numbed. Sometimes you just have to hit the “reset” button and stop using porn completely for a few months. In fact, even if you’re not struggling, you might experiment with a break from porn, just to see if there are any hidden powers you never knew you had. END

About the authors

Philip Zimbardo is internationally recognized as the “voice and face of contemporary psychology” through his widely viewed PBS-TV series, Discovering Psychology, and his classic research, The Stanford Prison Experiment. Noted for his personal and professional efforts to actually “give psychology away to the public,” Zimbardo has also been a social-political activist, challenging the Government’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq, as well as the American Correctional System. Zimbardo has been President of the American Psychological Association (2002), President of the Western Psychological Association (twice), Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), and now Chair of the Western Psychological Foundation.

Gary Wilson is the author of Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction, presenter of the popular TEDx talk “The Great Porn Experiment” and host of the website “Your Brain On Porn,” which was created for those seeking to understand and reverse compulsive porn. He taught anatomy and physiology for years and has long been interested in the neurochemistry of addiction, mating and bonding.

Nikita Coulombe is a writer and artist who co-authored Man Interrupted with social psychologist Philip Zimbardo. She also assisted Warren Farrell with his upcoming book, The Boy Crisis. Passionate about understanding human nature, she co-founded the sex ed blog, BetterSexEd.org.

54 Comments

  1. Mike Sutton says:

    I wonder whether the “screenagers” phenomenon – porn, gaming, movie watching and social media is responsible for the 20 year “unexplainable” drop in high volume crime in the western industrialised world yet (as a forgone conclusion) responsible for the rise in high tech (cybercrime/netcrime) crime? The “Crime Substitution Hypothesis”: http://sheu.org.uk/x/eh334mg.pdf

  2. eScience says:

    The problem is not with porn but with real life sex being unable to satisfy mans cravings for excitement, novelty and dominance.

    Women brought up under religious doctrines for example are highly susceptible to prudish behavior. Giving rise to the search for other mediums of satisfaction for men.

    This is more of a problem with conservatism on one hand while artificial beautification of women in media on the other. This may lead men to lose their sexual confidence and therefore the ability to have meaningful sex with real life women.

    • aScience says:

      Re-reread the article. Your opinion needs hard data & research. Porn has negative effects on humans & relationships. The article is talking causation. That’s a big step up from correlation. The stats in this article seem to indicate that porn use is widespread. That suggests conservative religious values are not as influential as you credit them for being in our society. Or at least they’re not the values people actually live by.

    • Ethan says:

      The problem is “not with porn”? I don’t know what you mean… obviously people react to outside stimuli, whether it be harsh light, solitary confinement, or a rigorous liberal education. I’d never say the problem is “only porn to the exclusion of all else,” but I’d hope you’d agree that outside stimuli influences how a person behaves. If that stimulus can be shown to directly effectuate a “bad” outcome, said stimulus is a problem (within the parameters of the example). It’s a simple logical tautology. If however, you don’t think porn affects people at all then your position of it not being a problem is consistent. Which is it?

    • Leo says:

      You are very right – religious restrictions on sexual behavior is at the very core of the problem. However, hard core feminism also does not help too much. So under certain circumstancaes, a video on a screen may be better than building up frustration.

  3. Longfellow says:

    Rape and violent sexual assault is down over 50% in the last 25 years in the US. Is this because men view porn online and masturbate at home and don’t go out and act out their sexual aggression as much now as compared to 25 years ago? So has porn been a good thing for women? Less sexual crime perpetrated against them. Maybe women should be thankful for porn.

    And what is a man suppose to do if he wants sex 3 times a week and his wife wants sex once a month? Married women who want sex once a month should be thankful for porn. For sure, they don’t want a husband forcing sex on them 3 times a week. Let’s get real people.

    • S says:

      Shame on you for comparing rape to sex.

      Rape is a crime of violent domination, not one of horniness.

      Masturbating to rape scenes, however, is another problem altogether.

    • Logster2 says:

      The claim that rape rates are down appears to be a myth. Check out this paper – “How to Lie with Rape Statistics: America’s Hidden Rape Crisis” (2014) – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2404424##

      Excerpt:
      “Correcting the data to remove police undercounting by imputing data from highly correlated murder rates, the study conservatively estimates that 796,213 to 1,145,309 complaints of forcible vaginal rapes of female victims nationwide disappeared from the official records from 1995 to 2012. Further, the corrected data reveal that the study period includes fifteen to eighteen of the highest rates of rape since tracking of the data began in 1930. Instead of experiencing the widely reported “great decline” in rape, America is in the midst of a hidden rape crisis.”

    • Brother says:

      1) healthy marriages work out good areas of compromise in the bedroom. Couples can have sexx more often than they original thought and less often.
      2) those stats are bogus and your cause and effect assumption proves you know nothing about academic integrity.
      3) 12 year old girls are having sex at alarming rates because boys are exposed to Porn at such a young age. http://Www.fightthenewdrug.org
      4)this article is bang on

  4. Valkyrie Ziege says:

    ; Referencing your recent article on ‘Porn’ : You left out the facts that since 1945, everyone, including infants, and young children, are forced to look at photos, motion-picture footage, television-shows, and museum displays, of naked, dead, decaying bodies, and some live naked, diseased people, from various prison, forced-labour, and over-flow camps, from World War II, which are extremely damaging to the emotional psyche, or, if the person protests against such invasions of their emotional well-being, risk being labeled a ‘Holocaust Denier’/’Anti-Semitic’.

    You, also, neglected to admit the ‘Porn’ of centuries of sexual imagery, including rape, incest, also the various artist renderings of various scenes, in various religious texts, as well as the centuries of sexual abuse, usually of children, at the hands of various religions.

    Blaming ‘Porn’ is an easy target, to get people, and institutions, to hand over funding, and buy redundant books from, pop-culture authors looking to stay ‘relevant’.

    • Luke says:

      The research is staring at you in the face, yet you refuse to acknowledge it. Stubbornnes and refusing to open ones mind adapt their preexisting schemas. That’s what’s wrong with our society today.

  5. Esceptico says:

    Studies on “addiction” are fascinating because the authors always seem to present the subject as horrible. I have spoken to “addiction experts” to get a precise definition, and the answer depends upon the subject. If alcohol, then anyone who drinks more than the expert is addicted. If wealth, then anyone richer than the expert is rich. I suspect this study on porn actually concludes anyone who watches more porn than the expert is addicted. To me, this porn “study” reeks errors.

  6. a moron says:

    ” eScience says:
    April 13, 2016 at 1:22 am

    The problem is not with porn but with real life sex being unable to satisfy mans cravings for excitement, novelty and dominance. ”

    Rather than attributing the problem to sexual prudes I’d suggest it’s due to the feminine liberalizaion. Females don’t want to be prudish and submissive as most psychologically healthy men would prefer. eScience’s hypothesis is interesting but ultimately unfalsifiable (like most social science and medical studies) because of the number of variables making the problem unmanageable complex.

  7. Marc Schneider says:

    The thesis seems logical to me and the complaints about it seem more to stem from a “I like porn and I’m not going to give it up” attitude. It’s clear the authors are not condemning porn from a moral perspective but suggesting that, for young people, it can present problems with sexuality with real people. None of the comments here seem to really address the science (which I’m certainly not competent to do).

    One of the issues which one comment does address is the notion that even non-pornographic images of women in the media present a feminine ideal that is unrealistic, at least for normal people. No one actually looks like models in ads, TV, or movies. So, it seems logical to me that someone who has that as the standard might have problems having sex with an actual woman that does not look like that.

    Also, it just strikes me that the all-encompassing sexualization of the culture has to have some effect on males’ ability to have sex. It’s like working in an ice cream shop; no matter how much you like ice cream, eventually, you will get tired of it. Porn is obviously one manifestation of this phenomenon but the culture is suffused with sexual images, even if not pornographic.

    As for the notion that watching images of concentration camps somehow contributes to sexual addiction, really? Are you saying you get aroused by seeing naked, skeletal bodies? And, gee, it sure is funny that you mention 1945; I wonder why?

    • Pat says:

      I find it interesting that these studies seen to focus on young males and leave out the older generation of men in their 40s-70s. Myself being older struggle with this addiction on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes to the point of missing appointments and other tasks. Yes I am married, have been for over 25 years. My wife is not unattractive however she does not like sex with me. Maybe I am the wrong person or what ever but the lack of internment contact has driven a wedge between us that makes me want to become a monk.

  8. Dave says:

    This article is strictly about boys/men. I’d be interested in whether there are any studies of what happens to girls/women who watch a lot of porn.

  9. Dad to 2 boys says:

    As a parent to a tween and a young boy, I’m extremely worried about their access to porn and believe that the lack of regulation on the internet is a huge failure of our society. Men may defend porn for themselves, but how do you defend it for children who can’t control their urges and behavior. I’m really glad for these studies and this article and hope that this can lead to removing free, uncensored porn from the internet. Thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Or you could regulate there Internet use yourself? Lolol

      • Teacher who works with youth says:

        The correct word is “their”….your response is rather rude…..parenting is complex and even if a parent regulates their children’s internet usage, it is difficult in today’s society to explain to a tween and a young boy the importance of allowing themselves to delightfully fall in love and then develop a healthy sexual relationship. The media around youth today distorts healthy lifestyles and exhorts purposeful mind-bending imagery as this is how money is made. The human mind is neurologically susceptible, which is one of the major points of this article. Please don’t respond with LOL’s….not necessary…this is to be taken seriously. How do you define a healthy relationship between partners? What makes a relationship or marriage last? I guarantee you that after 36 years, it is more than just sex.

      • Dr. Latero Sidethink Hp.D says:

        Or you could regulate there Internet use yourself? Lolol

        Speling two

    • Dr. Latero Sidethink Hp.D says:

      We used to believe and act on the following Principle

      “Any deliberate consent to the pleasure obtained in any sexual arousal whatever is a MORTAL SIN.”

      Clearly this needs careful guidance from persons of great charisma.

      The word “deliberate” certainly needs semantic clarification.

      It is open to discussion as to whether the libertinism of the last 50 years is better .

      • Dr. Latero Sidethink Hp.D says:

        This applies only to sex outside a Valid Marriage .
        During Marriage there must be no means applied to prevent conception

    • Beth K says:

      The answer to a parent concerned about the easy access to porn on the Internet is simple – monitor and supervise your children’s use of the Internet. There is no substitute for parental guidance. This isn’t new: Kids have always found access to porn.

      Nannyware won’t do it. It’s too simple to get around.

      Put the computer in an area used by the family, not in the kids’ bedroom. Porn is not the only danger kids may encounter online.

    • Polo says:

      I believe that if you are concerned about your own boys watching porn then you yourself should take ownership of doing something about it with censorship filters. It a parent’s responsibility,not a countries responsibility.

    • Leo says:

      … and all other content that challange your convictions & contventions as well? Why blame it on “protecting children” if it is just a wish for censorship?

  10. Pete says:

    The author asks what variable has changed since the 40’s that would explain a 1000 % increase in youthful ED. While I do not dispute the negative role of porn, I would also suggest that overall health, diets, and exercise levels have suffered tremendously since then. I’d like to see a study that separates fit young men from the physically unfit. Being out of shape certainly contributes to poor sexual performance at any age. Research must correct for this factor.

    • Ginny says:

      I had two ex bfs in my life that where very addicted to porn (did not know until months in to relationship). Both were in very good shape and healthly, however huge ED problems. One of them had to watch something to get aroused. The other had to watch it at least once a day. One of them took a 4 month porn challenge, and the sex (and other things) got way better. He eventually went back to the habit, and things sucked again. Guys, its really your loss, including your ladies (or gents).

      Of course there will be various variables to counter act this article, but there is increasing evidence that porn is remarkably shaping young minds and ruining relationships and marriages alike due to the over use and spending of limited resources on video content.

      From a females perspective, I tired to analyze this “Addiction” since I too thought of it as some sort of fallacy. I started looking at porn, once a day for an average of 15mins a day. I documented my results. I was surprised to find that I started to crave it. I wanted to see more of it, and sex was no longer good or satisfying. Its hard to break and its hard to stop wanting it.

      I can see both sides, but due to the availability and accessibility, there needs to be some control, since self control is almost out of the picture.

  11. Crystal Gonzales says:

    Is this True for addicts of narcotics ? When the drugs and sex go hand and hand together ? Could male or female suffer from the same symptoms of sexual dysfunction that comes from being addicted to porn ?

  12. a recovering addict says:

    Disclaimer: I’ll speak for myself as a recovering addict and what I think. I understand people are different and have different views, but I’ll just state what I believe works for me, even though I’m still working on it.

    Some of the stats of this article may be interesting but much of it is true. Because of my addiction I’ve suffered bad grades, a postponed graduation, and another graduation threat (different degree). You lose time with your career, money, and people. Even more, I screwed myself over financially looking for sites and prostitutes (never went through it though, because “the porn is cheaper and I want different porn”; not kidding!) I’m nearly homeless.

    Because the chemicals in our brain are natural the stimulation and enjoyment is more potent than drugs and alcohol. You just can’t let go.

    I’ve screwed myself such that I’ve hurt and lost trust of my family and friends that know of my addiction. As well colleagues and classmates don’t trust me as much because of the isolation and attitude change. I’ve burned bridges and can’t recover them.

    So the stats are real: porn basically screws your brain over and affects everything. Get help: professional, groups, religion, whatever. I’ve done all of these and although my sobriety is better I still need work.

    You want a real life? Get off porn. That’s my two cents. Don’t hate if you object or don’t agree that wholly.

    • Andy says:

      Ummm… so how are you (or anyone else studied for “porn addiction”) different from people who like sex, can’t get it enough, and no impulse control? I hate to talk bad about Zimbardo, but this research doesn’t pass a skeptical bar very well.

  13. Ben says:

    Is it porn that trashes their perception of healthy sexuality? Or is it the profound de-feminization of women? When women dress and act like men, which is off-target? Fantasy product that presents them as objects of sexual desire, in sexually stimulating plumage, in an ultimately female counterpart to the male? Or the makeup-free harridian in pants who lectures them on a wholly false notion that equality extends to sexual roles?

    There’s a problem, all right, but it isn’t porn. Porn is popular specifically because of the problem.

    • Helen says:

      The question of dress is a complex one. There have been cultures, and times in our culture, when the men dressed exotically and sexually while the women were drabber. In the past it was also a matter of class, where poor people, men and women dressed drably and not all that differently apart from pants v. long skirts. There were sumptuary laws, that prevented lower classes from wearing some fabrics or colours. As well, covering up women was thought to enhance their attractiveness, by tantalising the imagination about what was under all those wrappings.

      Nor is it so simple that a woman dressing in ‘men’s clothing’ is going to be a women’s lib harridan. Elegant ‘men’s’ style suits can be quite sexy on a woman. And you should see me in my purple steel-cap boots and matching shirt under the classy golden high vis safety waistcoat. Yes, even work-gear has been feminised. (I like the idea of clothing as a marker of availability or interest. If I’m wearing men’s / work clothes I’m at work, don’t hassle me. If I’m dressed up / feminine, OK.)

      However I am puzzled by the reveal-all repetitious nature of porn. Doesn’t it get really boring? Wouldn’t you rather be tantalised by hidden secrets? Or is it just like the flickering lights on the poker machines – hypnotic and addictive without any substance?

  14. Ahmed says:

    I agree with most of the stuff here. I am 28 years old and I do feel that I have suffered from this problem over the years. Frequent viewing of porn and masturbation really desensitise a person physically and mentally aswell. The ever changing and increasing need for the buzz is not attainable in normal real life sexual relations because when you have seen too much and jerked off to too much high quality and highly varied porn your libido just can’t get the same high from a single woman. You get used to your own hand and privacy. But I believe it can be cured to some extent by cutting of from porn and masturbation. I just wish that I was born in 1970s or before to have escaped this epidemic of porn. A boy really needs to grow up to 20s without getting into the disease of porn and masturbation if they want to achive and save their full sexual capabilities for future life. To enjoy the real sexual relations. I am worried about my 15 year old brother.

  15. Traruh Synred says:

    What variable has changed in this time that could possible explain a 1000 percent increase in youthful ED? Unlimited access to high speed

    First 3% or 1% can’t increase by a factor of 1000. 100% is the highest possible ED rate.

    Sencond, Lot’s of other things changed beyond access to the internet (which incidentally is not ‘Unlimited’). We now are bombarded by comericials for Viagra and Cialis [a], so the stigma of admitting to ED has been reduced. This could account for the increased Reporting all by itself. Note you don’t have evidence of what actually ED rates were!

    Third, there was plenty of paper porn when I was a kid and the Sears catalog. I, of course, never looked at hit.

    This article is B*S* in the technical sense.

    [a] And why do those Cialias couples have separate tubs anyway?

    • Gary Wilson says:

      Re: Traruh Synred

      ‘1,000% increase’ doesn’t mean by a factor of 1,000 (or 1000 times X). Studies in the last 5 years have reported ED rates between 24-33% for men under 40. Historically, ED rates for men under 40 have been 2-3%. Here’s our full article about this – http://yourbrainonporn.com/research-confirms-sharp-rise-youthful-ed
      It contains the citations supporting this claim.

      As for the suggestion that the introduction of Viagra has increased erectile dysfunction rates, there are glaring flaws in its reasoning:

      1) The ED rates cited refer only to peer-reviewed studies (usually anonymous) on population wide rates of sexual dysfunction. To put it another way, the ‘Viagra hypothesis’ is claiming that in every single study published between 1948 and 2010, in countries all over the world, the young male participants consistently lied about their erectile functioning. Then, all of a sudden, in 2010 all the young men (and only the young men) began to tell the truth about their ED problems.

      2) The ED rates skyrocket for men under 40, but not for men over 50. Why weren’t all men lying earlier?

      3) In this same time period there was a concomitant increase in low sexual desire (and evidence of increases in difficulty orgasming too). The largest US study from 1992 reported 5% of men under 40 had low sexual desire.

      – A 2014 Canadian study reported low sexual desire in 24% of 16-21 year olds!

      – A 2014 survey of Croatian men 40 and under reported low sexual desire rates of 37%.

      – As for abnormally low desire, a 2015 study on Italian high school seniors (18-19) found that 16% of those who use porn more than once per week reported abnormally low sexual desire. Non-porn users reported 0% low sexual desire (as one would expect in 18-year olds).

      4) These days, ED rates are often higher for young men than for older men (who obviously used less internet porn growing up). The 2014 Canadian study reported that 53.5% of males aged 16-21 have symptoms indicative of a sexual problem. Erectile dysfunction was the most common (27%), followed by low sexual desire (24%), and problems with orgasm (11%).

      All this and lot more can be found in the above article.

  16. Oneshot Hatemail says:

    your research might make some sense…IF it were conducted so as to rule out porn watching ‘excess’ as a function of PRIOR desensitization!
    And TWO SECONDS of actual search on google would have given you an idea just how worthless this anti-porn-crusader source is.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201307/your-brain-porn-its-not-addictive

  17. Rube says:

    Booooooring. Wow JP and Francois… you mean you were actually able to get past the first three pages? I’m impressed. Sorry, but my eyes glazed over .. I’d rather be water-boarded. The sophomoric, pseudo-scientific psychobabble is pretty suffocating.

    Hey, love chocolate? Everybody loves chocolate. Right? My (Rube) recent study, confirmed by many “recent studies”, conducted by ten different doctoral students at five universities no one gives a hoot about, confirms that if you love chocolate and eat twenty chocolate cupcakes a day, you will stop bothering to bake your own cake, or even boxed cakes, and just devolve into promiscuously gorging on the mass-produced supermarket variety and, before you know it, abracadabra, chocolate will cease to satisfy the more you glut. The experience of my esteemed colleague (Boob) has found the same to be true of garlic.

    This is proven true in almost every coco-pervert’s real life experience and thoroughly documented in my new unreadable, sublimely boring, utterly incredulous, doctoral thesis, not-to-be-found in fine bookstores anywhere but now published, for the first time ever, as an online book “Real Life Adventures of an Unpublishable, and Unemployable, Cocoa-Freak Grad Student.” I couldn’t find a real publisher so click here sucker and help me put a dent in my student loans — most of which I squandered gorging on Safeway chocolate muffins. http://www.amazon.com/Believing-Bullshit-Sucked-Intellectual-Black/dp/1616144114 And post hoc ergo propter hoc to you too.

  18. ck says:

    real men does not watching port.
    port corrups the brain that’s why we have so many rapist out there and child molesters.
    I don’t need to watch port for the need to perform with my partner.
    I don’t need to fantasise when having sex. nothing healthy in that.

  19. Msjk says:

    I’ll join that group that has nerve to admit being affected by porn viewing. I am old enough to have started viewing porn on paper than moving to the “downloading phase”. I feel (un) lucky that by the time that streaming became available i was a bit older and not did not feel posessed enough that it was able to take control over my life.

    From experience, I feel sad for the youth today when porn is so reliably available that it must actually be difficult to turn away,

    After reading the responces i feel that those who find fault with the study are probably in denial as exhibited by the anger in their posting.

    *** I really would like to know what effect regular porn viewing has on my girls/women? *** Could someone please answer?

    Due to the difficulty of obtaining porn in the past I can’t imagine few, if any, girls/women being affected in the past as opposed to now when access is so abundant and available.

  20. Rook137 says:

    The DMS-5 doesn’t list “porn addiction” as a disorder. Probably because psychiatrists can’t agree on constitutes porn addicition. Same thing with so-called sex addiction.

  21. John C says:

    The notion of protecting children from web porn is (at this point anyway) unrealistic. Virtually every child I know already knows how to navigate Youtube on a phone or tablet, hunting down those Peppa Pig and Shaun the Sheep videos. Inside the house you can exhibit some control but outside all it takes is one boy with a phone to poison a kids initial exposure to sex. I watch porn but very little that’s American produced. In American porn sex is often presented as a kind of brutal physical encounter, even when it’s not a rape scene. Instead we as adults have to explain to children that what they see online bares no relation to real sex between consenting adults which should be gentle and above all fun. I’m not saying that young people won’t sort it out eventually by themselves but I think as adults we can help put some perspective on it. Come to think of it the schools should include porn as part of sex education. I’m sure that proposal would go down well in the south.

  22. August says:

    Sooooo, Ted Bundy was right in his assertions to the opportunistic minister who recorded Ted’s, pre execution, rantings on porn??

  23. Bryan says:

    Suggestion for further research:

    It would be interesting to know if there is any correlation between young males addicted to internet porn, and young males (trolls) who post abusive comments to women online.

    These comments were addressed to journalist Caroline Criado-Perez on Twitter, and the association with abusive porn is obvious:

    If your friends survived rape they weren’t raped properly.
    HIDE YO KIDS I BE RAPING ALL UP IN HERE
    Stop breathing

    Two interesting possibilities for research suggest themselves:
    1. Trolling is as addictive as porn.
    2. The de-sensitizing of the male-female relationship in porn addiction could contribute to the misogyny of trolls: both are internet-based behaviours, conducted anonymously, both deal with women as tokens on the screen, not perceived as real by the abuser, both degrade real life relationships with women.

  24. Zach says:

    I can honestly say this article and everything in it is true. I have struggled with porn addiction ever since my teens. If I could go back in time and never look at porn, I would.

  25. Tea says:

    Mny husband it’s 25 and watches porn. I get sex maybe once every 2 weeks. Thanks for this article. Art least I know it isn’t me. ..

  26. Man Cozbi says:

    Why is there no mention of testosterone in this excellent article. Apart from other problems does not porn masturbation deplete testosterone? I would have thought that testosterone is an essential part of the whole topic. Is there any research on porn and testosterone?

    • Gary Wilson says:

      YBOP has an extensive 3-part faq addressing this often asked question – http://yourbrainonporn.com/whats-the-connection-between-orgasm-and-testosterone-levels

      The preponderance of human and animal research points to neither abstinence nor ejaculation having any significant long-term effects on blood testosterone levels – other than a spike around day 7 of abstinence.

      That said, there’s been no study examining the effects of porn addiction on hormone levels. It is not unreasonable to assume that stress hormones are altered by brain changes associated with porn addiction (i.e. in the hypothalamus). One study has, in fact, found altered stress response in sex/porn addicts: “HPA axis dysregulation in men with hypersexual disorder (2015)”.

      I often caution readers (especially r/nofap) to not conflate the effects of ejaculation with the effects of a severe porn addiction.

  27. SnowLeopard says:

    “Less stimulating pursuits, on the other hand, may be forgotten. The subtle and not so subtle effects of excessive online porn use can negatively impact any part of a person’s life that are analog, static, involve planning, delaying gratification, and long-term goal setting. With porn there is a “cognitive absorption” effect where the complete involvement in porn excites cognitive, sensory and imaginative curiosity to the point where a boy loses track of time and other demands on attention, such as homework and socializing, become inferior. Using the excitation transfer model and sexual behavior sequence of psychologists Dolf Zillmann and Donn Byrne, respectively, Belgian researchers have recently suggested that the high states of arousal achieved in porn stimulated impulsive and “restless” behavior that may impair actions that require long periods of constant focus. ”

    I suspect that there may be a reverse causation here; instead of heavy porn use causing ADHD-like behaviors, I suspect that people with ADHD may often seek porn as a way of alleviating their brain’s low dopamine levels.

  28. Cockyau says:

    To all the man who are against the article: Porn is your refugee, it provides you a place to escape from your pain or acquiring pleasure, and it’s painful to accept the fact that it is just an euphoria; you are paying unreasonably high price for it. Let’s talk no science; we don’t need a scientist to tell us how miserable it is because we are feeling it ourselves. Even there are researches and data about the adversity of porn usage I doubt it could be successfully published or widely promoted; some country’s economy will be suffered severely imagine porn industry is one of their biggest income generator. Nowadays, people still get their money cheated by putting their heads into Ponzi schemes; the get rich quick euphoria just kick in and works its miracle on human’s brain, we will deny everything to believe our euphoria is true; the fact is, it’s not. And blaming on women for it is just another denial people make. Old Chinese always blame on woman for failing to give birth to a male offspring; but it’s actually the man’s sperm dictates the gender of the baby. I’m a man talking here, where’s your love towards woman?

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