Almost all men indulge in this entertainment at some time. And a little bit of it is no problem.
But a study just presented at the European Association of Urology Congress reveals that doing it a lot will destroy your love life and cause ED.
It is difficult to talk about porn without sounding either like a prudish schoolmarm or a manic marketer, which shows just how necessary scientific research is on this awkward topic.
Digital technology has caused an explosion in the easy accessibility, affordability, and anonymity of porn, which makes it all the more important to discover whether porn consumption and ED are related in any way.
Researchers from Belgium, Denmark, and the UK published an anonymous online questionnaire that was mostly advertised to men in Belgium and Denmark.
A total of 3,267 men replied to the 118-question survey about their porn consumption, the frequency and enjoyment of masturbation, their sexual activity with partners, and their level of sexual function, enjoyment, and health.
The study deliberately recruited men who had had sex in the past four weeks so they could compare masturbation with “normal” sex.
Approximately 28.4 percent of the participants were single and 1.3 percent were divorced or widowed; 5.7 percent were in a new relationship and the remaining 65 percent were either in long-term relationships or married.
Being an online survey, it is unsurprising that the majority of participants were young: around 38 percent were between ages 18 and 25 and a small minority were over age 45 (10.4 percent); 29 percent were between 26 and 35, and 22.5 percent between 36 and 45.
On average, the men watched 70 minutes of porn per week, with some watching hardly at all, and others watching a spectacular 26.25 hours. 2.2 percent of them reported watching more than seven hours per week.
While the majority watched between five and 15 minutes at a time, 3.1 percent watched for more than an hour per session.
The findings were alarming.
Predictably, the occurrence of ED increased with the amount of porn consumed.
Sadly, 23 percent of men below age 35 reported some level of ED when trying to have sex with a partner. In fact, only 65 percent of the men reported feeling more satisfied after sex with a partner compared with how they feel after watching porn.
Why is this the case? The answers may lie somewhere in the findings, too.
First, 20 percent of the participants reported having to watch more extreme porn to get the same level of arousal as they did before. Second, 90 percent of the men reported fast-forwarding past the slow bits to get to the most arousing scenes.
The authors speculated that their participants’ ED while having sex with a partner resulted precisely from their lack of arousal during sex that is not as extreme or with partners that cannot keep up with that endless process of becoming more and more stimulating.
In fact, if this study had included men who had basically given up on sex, rather than those who had had sex in the past four weeks, they would probably have found a substantially higher prevalence of ED for the same reason.