There is a silent epidemic going on that not a lot of people are aware of because those who are affected rarely talk about it publicly. There are more and more young guys, sometimes even younger than 18 years old, that experience erectile dysfunction, the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance.

Erectile dysfunction is usually associated with mature men that need to pop a pill of Viagra to regain their sexual abilities. I stumbled upon this fact after doing some research when I noticed that I suffered from erectile dysfunction as well. I never had a problem getting a strong erection, that was always pretty easy for me, the problem was keeping the erection during intercourse with a partner.

Since I was afraid to talk about this issue with anybody, I kept it to myself for years now. Because of my age and the fact that I hadn’t had a problem to keep an erection when masturbating to porn, I could eliminate a physical cause. I went on the internet, did some research and stumbled upon a totally new perspective on porn and got to know that the brain is actually the most underrated sex organ.

What a lot of guys, me including, suffer from is so called Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction. This is quite a new phenomenon and there is not a lot of research that has been done so far. It all started with the rise of the internet and it’s access to virtually unlimited amount of porn and really got out of control with the advent of high-speed internet and the ability to stream porn videos.

PORN DOESN’T DO HARM, OR DOES IT?

I started watching and masturbating to porn at the age of about 12 years with a 56k modem at that time. I took quite some time to download porn video, but it did the trick. Growing up as a homosexual adolescent boy on the country side, watching porn was a great way to explore my sexuality.

What happened next was that I became addicted and habitualized watching porn on a daily basis for a total of about 15 years. I never gave it much of a thought that it might actually affect me because everybody kept telling us, e.g. in sexual education in school and other resources for adolescent boys, that masturbation is natural and doesn’t do any harm no matter how frequent one enjoys it.

But it did harm me. What neurologically happens is that it becomes an addiction like any other addiction as well. Hyper-stimulation, and that’s exactly what high speed internet porn does, leads over time to desensitization of the brain which means just like with any drug addiction, you need more stimuli to keep the dopamine level high. And that’s what high-speed internet porn offers, all the time, everywhere and for free.

First you start to increase the frequency of (virtual) partners and scenarios but there are physical and mental limitations to this and soon you switch to more exotic depiction of pornography such as watching porn that makes use of  violence or other fetishes and/or sexual orientations that differ from your own. Although you might not really be into that at all, you need it to keep the dopamine level high to stay aroused. Especially the depiction of violence within porn has increased tremendously over the last decade and has somewhat become the norm as US diplomat and author Chris Hedges explores in his book “Empire of Illusion“, confirming this theory.

As soon as our brain is desensitized through hyper-stimulation, our brain simply can’t generate the dopamine level necessary to keep us excited when we have sex with only one person resulting in an erectile dysfunction. No wonder, how could one person compensate the variety of different (virtual) partners and constant changing scenarios that we can evoke and control with every click we make? For me, it was pretty standard to have a couple of tabs open at the same time constantly switching back and forth between different porn sites. Ultimately, I became addicted to the need of sexual novelty, also known as the Coolidge Effect, with which reality couldn’t keep up with.

Do get a better understanding of the science behind this phenomenon, I recommend watching the following TED Talk by Gary Wilson.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL THERE IS TO PORN

What’s more, when we watch porn, we become observers through the lack of interaction and the missing moment-to-moment sensations of touch, smell and taste. We condition ourselves to be no longer participants but voyeurs. This as well changes the brain making it harder for us to get or keep an erection during sexual intercourse with an actual human being made out of blood and flesh.

Additionally, through masturbation, we condition our brain to an habitualized style and rhythm of stimulation which makes it hard for a lot of guys to reach orgasm without bringing themselves to climax during intercourse with a partner.

Now, when was the last time you watched porn on the internet? Yesterday, I did a poll on Facebook asking people how often they watch internet porn. The result for sure isn’t statistically representative but you can sense a trend with 81% watching porn at least once or twice a week and 12% watching internet porn even multiple times a day. Only 6% have never watched internet porn. (At this point a big thank you to everybody who was brave enough to take part in the poll on Facebook)

The bad news is, the younger you were when you started watching high-speed internet porn, the more frequent and the longer you have been engaged in it, the more your brain is desensitized and conditioned to be a voyeur and used to a certain style and rhythm of physical stimulation.

The good news is, it is reversible. In order to rewire your brain back to reality, or avoid this all together in the first place, you have to quit watching porn, especially in a habitualized combination with masturbating resulting in an orgasm. That’s what’s called a PMO (Porn-Masturbation-Orgasm) reboot. If you want to do one thing to boost the quality of your sex, stop watching and masturbating to porn. And that’s what we will do, but let’s start easy.

1st ASSIGNMENT:
For the next week, consciously observe when and how often you feel the urge to watch internet porn and masturbate and when and how often you give in to the urge.

I encourage you to use the comment section below and share with us your observations. Maybe you can even find a pattern. Make sure to jot it down, because we’ll work with that starting in a week.

As soon as you observed your urges and habits for a week, I encourage you to join The Great 120 Days Without Porn Challenge.