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More Porn Linked to Worse Erectile Function, Dissatisfaction With ‘Normal’ Sex

A new study finds a link between the amount of pornography a man watches and worse erectile function.

Watching pornography is also associated with greater dissatisfaction with “normal” sex, with only 65% of men responding to a survey rating sex with a partner to be more stimulating than porn.

Pornography has been increasingly available via the internet since around 2007. This has led to a rapid increase in use, but there is little information on how increasing porn use might affect erectile function, according to researchers from Belgium, Denmark and the UK.

To study this, they posted an anonymous online questionnaire, which was advertised mainly to men in Belgium and Denmark through social media, posters and flyers.

According to the researchers, 3,267 men replied to the online questionnaire, answering 118 questions about masturbation, frequency of porn watching, and sexual activity with partners.

About 38% of the men who responded were between 16 and 25, 29% were between 26 and 35, 22.5% were between 36 and 45, and 10.4% were 45 and older.

About 28.4% of the survey respondents were single, 5.7% were in a new relationship of less than six months, 35.4% were in a longstanding relationship (longer than six months), 29.2% were engaged or married, and 1.3% were divorced or widowed.

An analysis of the data showed that these men spent an average of 70 minutes a week watching porn, with some saying they didn’t watch any at all, while at the other end of the spectrum, some were watching 1,575 minutes of porn a week — a whopping 26.25 hours. According to the researchers, 2.2% of the men watched more than seven hours a week.

A porn watching session lasted on average below 5 minutes for 7.5% of participants, between 5 to 10 minutes in 28%, between 10 to 15 minutes in 27.7%, between 15 and 30 minutes in 22.8%, 30 minutes to an hour in 10.7%, and more than a hour in 3.1%.

“We found that there was a big range of responses. In our sample, men watch quite a lot of porn, on average around 70 minutes per week, normally for between 5 and 15 minutes per time, with obviously some watching very little and some watching much, much more,” said Professor Gunter de Win of the University of Antwerp and University Hospital Antwerp in Belgium, head researchers.

The researchers also found that around 23% of men under 35 who responded to the survey had some level of erectile dysfunction when having sex with a partner.

“This figure was higher than we expected,” de Win said. “We found that there was a highly significant relationship between time spent watching porn and increasing difficulty with erectile function with a partner, as indicated by the erectile function and sexual health scores. People who watch more porn also scored high on porn addiction scales.”

He cautions that it’s important to “understand what this work means and doesn’t mean.”

“It is a questionnaire rather than a clinical trial, and it could be that the people who have responded are not completely representative of the whole male population,” he said. “However, the work was designed to unpick any relationship between porn and erectile dysfunction, and given the large sample size we can be pretty confident about the findings.”

The researchers also discovered that 90% of men fast-forward to watch the most arousing pornographic scenes.

“There’s no doubt that porn conditions the way we view sex,” de Win said. “In our survey only 65% of men felt that sex with a partner was more exciting than watching porn. In addition, 20% felt that they needed to watch more extreme porn to get the same level of arousal as previously. We believe that the erectile dysfunction problems associated with porn stem from this lack of arousal.”

The next step in the research is to identify the factors that lead to erectile dysfunction, he said. The researchers also plan to conduct a similar study on the effects of porn on women.

“In the meantime, we believe that doctors dealing with erectile dysfunction should also be asking about watching pornography,” he said.

The study was presented at the 2020 European Association of Urology virtual Congress.

Source: European Association of Urology

More Porn Linked to Worse Erectile Function, Dissatisfaction With ‘Normal’ Sex

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2020). More Porn Linked to Worse Erectile Function, Dissatisfaction With ‘Normal’ Sex. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/07/24/more-porn-linked-to-worse-erectile-function-dissatisfaction-with-normal-sex/158205.html
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Jul 2020 (Originally: 24 Jul 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Jul 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.