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Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED): What it Is and How to Fix It

“I masturbate to porn every day. Is this normal?” As a sexologist, I hear these questions on a regular basis. Some of my clients worry that they may be addicted to porn. Others link their erectile dysfunction to regular watching of adult films.

Is Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED) to blame for a rise in ED cases among young men? And how can you enjoy erotic films without harming your intimacy with a partner?

What is PIED?

Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction has made headlines in the media in the last decade. Social movements were created to encourage young men to quit watching adult films altogether.

Those who claim PIED is real, say that guys who watch a lot of erotic material and pleasure themselves while doing it, gradually become insensitive to other types of stimulation and cannot achieve an erection with a partner.

Controversies in the PIED Debate

Experts have criticized the results of studies confirming the existence of PIED, pointing out multiple inaccuracies and scientific bias.

For example, a 2016 report blamed porn consumption on growing ED rates among American soldiers. At the same time, it completely omitted other possible factors contributing to erection problems, such as combat-related stress.

Man sitting on a couch with a laptop on his lap.

Porn critics say it makes men insensitive to other types of stimulation

More rigorous and representative studies conducted so far, have found very weak or no links between porn consumption and ED. Leading expert organizations, such as the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists have spoken out against the application of the term “sex addiction” as a clinical diagnosis.

The jury is still out, and we need more research to understand the possible links between ED and pornography. The current consensus is that watching adult films alone does not cause ED. But if mixed with other factors, such as cardiovascular problems or feelings of guilt and shame, your erections may become problematic.

What to Do if You Suspect Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction?

If you feel that watching adult content has made it more difficult for you to get a hard-on, try to identify other potential causes and get adequate help. Your first steps should be to:

  1. Make an appointment with your doctor. He or she will be able to tell if there is a medical reason. Your ED could be caused by an illness, for example diabetes, or unhealthy lifestyle choices. Taking certain medication may also be the culprit here.
  2. Talk to a mental health professional. Find someone who uses the “sex-positive approach.” This person can identify psychological causes of ED, such as performance anxiety or guilt about watching adult movies.
Man sitting on a couch with a therapist across from him.

Talk to a psychologist about your concerns

Should You Quit Watching Porn if You Have ED?

If you are concerned about how often you watch erotic films, if you argue about it with your partner or notice you are getting interested in more extreme sexual scenes, talk to a sexologist or therapist.

In most cases changing your habits connected to pornography should help. For example, you may need to start masturbating without the help of sexy films from time to time. Some professionals recommend taking a break from erotic videos for a while. Your counselor will then help you build a healthier relationship with pornography.

If you are in a relationship, another thing to address is what your partner thinks of porn. If he or she doesn’t like this kind of entertainment, decide on some ground rules and stick to them.

Man and woman standing outside having a discussion.

Talk to your partner about porn use and agree on ground rules

New Paths to Pleasure

The main thing in dealing with porn-ED link is to understand that adult films are but one of many options to become aroused. Look for new ways to find pleasure. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Share fantasies with your partner
  • Talk dirty
  • Try masturbating in a new way, for example slowly and with deep breathing.

You also need to become aware how pornography affects your thoughts and emotions. If it’s making you feel guilty, ashamed or not good enough, these are the topics to work on with a psychotherapist.

Since psychological counselling takes some time to bring lasting effects, getting a prescription from you doctor for ED medication, such as Viagra, may be a good idea. This way you will regain your confidence when having sex with a partner. Click here to learn more.

Anka Grzywacz is a sexologist, reproductive health expert and Certified Sex Coach™. In her online practice she helps busy parents solve their intimate problems.