The use of pornography has soared with the Internet. And it’s not a coincidence that more young men are struggling with erectile dysfunction. Porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) is a genuine condition that the medical community is beginning to recognize. We discover how this little known, yet prevalent condition is affecting our young men today, and what can be done to fix it.

Porn-induced erectile dysfunction, is it real?

Porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) refers to the inability to get or sustain a full erection during sexual activity due to excessive porn use.

Medical professionals are starting to notice the influence porn can have on a men’s erection.

Enough for Gunter De Win, MD, of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and his team to survey 3267 men, asking them 118 questions about masturbation, frequency of pornography viewing, and sexual activity with partners.

Presenting his findings at the virtual 35th Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology (EAU), he shared that there was a correlation between increased time watching pornography versus erectile function.

Essentially, when porn consumption goes up, penises go down.

How does PIED happen?

“We believe that ED associated with pornography stems from the lack of arousal”, shared Dr De Win.

First of all, porn abuses our brain reward pathway, much like tobacco.

The arousal one gets from watching (and masturbating with) porn causes a dopamine spike. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone, and this reinforces our behavior to consume more porn.

Over time, our brain becomes numb. The same explicit content no longer gives the same satisfaction. We crave for more novel, erotic, and even hardcore materials to feel the same excitement.

And when you finally try to get some action in bed, your manhood doesn’t stay erected. Because your mind simply is desensitized to natural intimacy.

This so-called “porn addiction” creates a self-perpetuating vicious cycle, making it harder and harder to be turned on.

Dr De Win adds, “We found that 90% of men fast-forward to watch the most arousing pornographic scenes. There is no doubt that pornography conditions the way men view sex. Only 65% of men felt that sex with a partner was more exciting than viewing pornography. In addition, 20% felt they needed to watch more extreme pornography to derive the same level of arousal they experienced previously.”

You might be young, but porn can affect you still

The Internet enables anybody to access adult content effortlessly.

A local survey in Singapore found that 9 in every 10 teenage boys (aged 13 to 15) has either watched or read sexually explicit materials. Almost 50% of boys are exposed to porn before even taking their PSLE.

And covered in our previous article, more young Singaporeans are affected with erectile dysfunction (ED), some as young as 21 years old.

There are not many studies on exploring how early exposure to pornography may cause PIED. Still, we can safely deduce that porn has a part to play in our growing concerns for ED in young men.

Young or old, porn can affect the penis for all men

How do I know if I might have PIED?

For starters – If you are able to get and sustain a satisfactory erection with porn but having difficulty achieving the same with your partner, you might have PIED.

With your partner, if you experience a loss of libido for your partner or lack of motivation to connect intimately, that could be another sign.

If you are spending more time surfing pornographic content, or finding the need to watch more intense and explicit content – Then you are encroaching into addiction, which leads to PIED.

How does PIED affect my life?

PIED can have far-reaching impacts on almost every single aspect of your life.

The inability to perform in bed at a young age is often unexpected. Disappointment, both personally and from your partner, causes tension in the relationship.

Being unable to erect perpetuates stress, low self-esteem, anxiety. These negative emotions then leak into your daily life, and may even affect your career and health.

Since your psychological health can also worsen ED, it’s hard to get it back up when your morale and confidence is low.

I think I have PIED, how do to cure it?

Till this point, some of you might feel embarrassed of yourselves for watching porn. Do not be overly negative as we are all equally wired for fascination with sex as part of human evolution.

Treatment though, may be easier said than done – Stay away or cut down your consumption of pornography.

First, ask yourself calmly, why do you watch porn? Is it because you are stressful, anxious, or depressed? If you can deal with the root cause, you may be able to remove the impulse.

Next, you need to “reboot” your sexuality,

Try to abstain from porn. Leave pleasure only to sex. Or if you were to masturbate, do it without pornography.

This allows your brain to reset. Once rested, your mind will be able to correctly perceive stimulations.

Sustaining the erection and staying clean

Recovering from PIED, you will meet some ups and downs.

It is just like cutting away from vices like smoking and alcohol. You naturally have cravings now and then again. Even worse, you may even slide into withdrawal or rebounds.

Find a distraction

If you are busy, you wouldn’t have the time to indulge.

Simple exercise like running, or relaxing activities like playing a game or hobbies are a good way to divert your attention.

Even better if you do it with friends. They keep you engaged, and accountable for your actions.

Going outdoors is a good way to occupy your mind in a healthy way.

Make it inconvenient

Try creating barriers to make accessing pornography difficult.

Set internet filters or browser site blockers. Limit the use of computer or devices in public areas of your home.

You could go the extra mile and throw away that recovery password.

Find a community

Remember, you are not alone.

There are many awesome communities online in which young men who never met are rendering profound, non-judgmental support in their common journey–one of which is a reddit forum called NoFap (slang for “no masturbating”).

Counselling and Recovery programmes

If you find yourself struggling to stay away from porn, you might have have a porn addiction.

Centres like WeCare and Promises are Singapore-based service who have been helping people with all kinds of addiction, including porn and sex addiction.

There is nothing embarrassing about getting professional help, especially if its going to help you distance away from porn and reconnect with your body.

Understand that you are not alone

Recovering from PIED, but still can’t get an erection?

Due to the complex nature of ED, it could be more than just PIED causing the issue.

We had previously explored, overworking and lack of sleep can also contribute to ED.

As your body is recovering, some may consider getting ED medication to tide over this period.

Sire is a specialized men’s health clinic (backed by The Cloud Clinic) that provides home delivery for Singaporean men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. The service prides itself on convenience and discreetness. So you don’t have to worry about your partner suspecting a thing!

singapore home-based men's health clinic

Sire provides discreet customized packaging for men’s health in Singapore

In the end, knowing is half the battle won. So long as you are open to recovery, your erection will improve with time.

References:

  1. Park, Brian Y., et al. “Is Internet pornography causing sexual dysfunctions? A review with clinical reports.” Behavioural Sciences 6.3 (2016): 17.
  2. How can porn induce erectile dysfunction? Medical News Today. Updated July 30, 2018. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317117#how-does-it-happen
  3. Can porn induce erectile dysfunction? Healthline. Updated November 17, 2020. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/porn-induced-ed

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