Erectile dysfunction among young men is at an all-time high. Research conducted by the Naval Medical Center in San Diego recently concluded that young men who prefer porn over sexual encounters (and there are many, unbelievably) are unable to perform when the opportunity arises. “We are seeing a younger demographic of men, 18 to 35, that are experiencing erectile dysfunction; that’s pretty young for a male to experience,” sex therapist Dr. Morgan Francis told media. “Over time, a person can become overstimulated and overstimulation causes the brain chemicals to change, specifically the neurotransmitter dopamine,” she explained.
Research shows more than one in four men watch porn once a week or less, followed by 21 percent who watch as many as five times per week. Five percent confessed to watching porn up to whopping 10 times a day.
On it’s face, porn’s prevelance over intercourse is easy to explain: it’s convenient, it caters to every fetish, it doesn’t judge or discriminate, there’s no pressure and it allows the viewer to be perfectly selfish. That’s essentially every quality Tinder and online dating lacks. But overindulgence is becoming a serious problem for human relationships. “If overly identified with, men’s standards for women’s responses warp and they are not as able to become aroused in actual intimate situations,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk, author of Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life and Adam & Eve’s resident sexpert tells Playboy. “Therefore, the cycle becomes perpetuated by refusing to seek live intimacy because it feels too vulnerable. Pornographic stimulation is just easier at that point.”
This is not the first time that porn use has been linked porn to ED, but what’s surprising is the growth in the number of young men who are being reportedly affected. In 2014, a U.S. Armed Forces survey revealed cases of erectile dysfunction had more than doubled in troops from the previous decade, which lined up with the rise of internet streaming. On average, roughly one in four men suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction; these cases worsen with porn consumption. For example, dysfunction was rarest among respondents who prefer intercourse over pornography (22 percent) and highest in men who prefer porn over intercourse (79 percent). There was no link between porn and sexual dysfunction in women.
Millennials have had remarkably easy access to unlimited amounts of porn since adolescence, something previous generations never experienced in their teens and twenties. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research found by sheer quantity, porn consumption has been on the rise for decades. Gen X enjoyed porn more than baby boomers and millennials enjoy porn more than Gen X. By these projections then, Gen Z could very well never shut the damn stuff off; indeed, they’re already less sexual than previous generations.
Adult film star Kayden Kross (Warning: Her Twitter is very NSFW) compares porn watching to fast food addictions. “The burden that comes with that is an increased responsibility to self-regulate,” she says. “If you can’t enjoy a little fast food without falling into a habit of only consuming fast food, then you need to step back and adjust. Same with porn consumption. It is meant to be entertainment, not sustenance. If you’re not handling it in reasonable doses then step back and recalibrate. It’s not rocket science.”
Dr. Kat says “reprogramming” is the solution. To begin, stop looking at porn and don’t masturbate for at least one month; intercourse with a partner, however, is fine. “Learn to use fantasy and sensation as your arousal,” she says. “Try varying techniques and learn to see your partner’s body and its beauty. After all, being able to respond to more stimulus give you and your partner more options.” When you do crank the shank, use the memories you have with your partner as fodder and allow several days between sessions. “Do not go back to porn,” Dr. Kat says, “otherwise, it might nullify your re-programming and you’ll have to start all over again.”