pornography can cause erectile dysfunction

Can Pornography Cause Erectile Dysfunction And Libido Issues?

By Johnathan P Cumberwell

Watching pornography and masturbating can cause erectile dysfunction. In fact, it often will. There is a term for this: It’s called porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

And this can also make your libido disappear.


Because your brain was not designed to handle porn. 

A never-ending flow of naked, perfect and willing partners (even if on your computer screen), exhausts and numbs your brain.

pornography numbs the brain to sex

And when numbed enough, it will almost be impossible for you to get and maintain an erection when you are with a real partner.

At that stage, you struggle with erectile dysfunction. Porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

Sounds strange? Yeah, I was confused as well..

Pornography Made Me Utterly Confused About Sex

One thing that made zero sense to me while I was struggling with erectile dysfunction and an almost non-existent libido, was that it was always easy to get and keep erections while masturbating and watching porn.

But it would normally be impossible to get hard and stay hard, while having (or attempting to have) sex.

porn masturbation erectile dysfunction

I couldn’t understand why the ‘real thing’ was less exciting to my penis, than naked women on a 14-inch computer screen.

After all it was the ‘real thing’ – shouldn’t it be better than anything else? It just made no sense to me..

I sometimes even watched a little bit of porn right before having sex, just to test that I was able to get an erection. And yup, this normally always produced an erection.

But when it was time for the ‘real thing’, I normally couldn’t get it up. Well, sometimes I got it up, but then it often went limp during sex.

Why on earth was this happening? What was going on?

There is an answer. I will explain in a minute. But let’s first understand why porn is so dangerous.

pornography erectile dysfunction

The Dangers Of Pornography

Most guys watch porn and masturbate. So did I. I loved pornography because it was so easy and fun, and it produced these ridiculously pleasurable sensations in me.

With a click of a mouse, I had at my disposal, a never-ending stream of ridiculously attractive and available females.

I could choose exactly what I wanted, who I wanted and when I wanted it. It was absolutely great. It was so great it almost became addictive.

So if pornography can be so easy, fun and pleasurable, how can it also be so dangerous?

Because it can cause the following complications:

excessive porn erectile dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of libido
  • A distorted view of women (and men)
  • Addiction to pornography

But why? Why does porn cause these problems?

There are four main reasons:

  • It is available anywhere and anytime
  • The quality is so high, it seems almost real
  • It provides you with unlimited novel sexual experiences
  • It offers you ultimate control
man surfing porn on mobile

One key reason why porn can be so dangerous, is because it is so incredibly accessible.

It is basically available anywhere and anytime. All you need is a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and an internet connection.

As a result, anyone can have ‘virtual sex’ at any given time, wherever they may be.

A second reason why pornography can be very harmful, is that it has become extremely realistic.

Image, video and sound quality is now superb, and therefore the lines between virtual reality and real life, have become blurred.

Virtual sex is already available, with the help of goggles, sensors, etc. At some point in the future, it will probably be close to impossible to distinguish between real and virtual sex. 🙄

virtual reality sex

As a consequence, pornography is able to provide the user with an experience that is so real, it can become a competitive substitute for sex.

Thirdly, pornography can be very dangerous because it offers extreme novelty. Internet porn offers access to millions and millions of novel partners and novel experiences.

You can have ‘sex’ with one person, then switch to another, then another, then another. You can have ‘sex’ in doggystyle with one, then missionary with another, then a threesome.

You can have ‘sex’ with a young person, mature, old, white, black, Asian, an orgie – there are no limitations to the novel experiences you can have.

This is extremely satisfying for your brain. Because your brain is programmed to want to pass on your genes to a large number of people. Hence, your brain wants you to have sex with lots of different partners.

shutterstock 272263412 min 1 2048x1535 1

Yet another reason why pornography can be harmful is control.

When you watch pornography, you are in total control. All the women (and men) are there at your disposal, and you can choose among an almost infinite variety.

Most men love control. 💪

You can choose a white woman in an office chair, then switch to a threesome with two Asian women, then go make a coffee. When you come back, the two Asian women are waiting for you, both in doggystyle.

You can have sex with whomever you want, whichever race or age you want, in what position you want, and when you want. It all happens at your premises.

You can then masturbate and fantasize however you want. King of the castle.

man watching pornography in bed

Pornography gives you the ultimate level of control. Sex with a real person doesn’t offer anywhere close to this level of control.

These factors: 1) accessible anywhere, 2) super realistic, 3) extreme novelty, and 4) total control, make pornography potentially very dangerous because they plays tricks with your brain.

Pornography turns the sexual experience into something completely unrealistic. With porn, you are a king getting anything you want, whenever you want it.

It’s like choosing any woman in the village for your sexual pleasures.

Sex wasn’t like that in the past, and it’s not supposed to be like that either. Back in the days, you had to fight other men for the privilege of having sex.

The result of porn? Our poor brains simply can’t handle this new abundance of sexual adventures.

brain cannot handle porn


Because your brain gets overloaded with a rainstorm of happy dopamine. It gets so intense that your brain can’t process all the happiness, and instead become numb and desensitized.

And when your brain gets overloaded with dopamine, strange things happen..

Let’s understand dopamine.

Dopamine Overload And Erectile Dysfunction

When you see an attractive female, what happens? Your brain starts producing dopamine. This dopamine then fires up the desire and reward center of your brain.

libido brain on fire

Now you desire the attractive woman. You want to have sex with her. That’s how dopamine works. 😊

This way, dopamine motivates you to have sex. This is evolution’s mechanism to increase the probability that you will pass on your genes to a new generation.

The bigger the flush of dopamine, the more you want it. No dopamine and you will just ignore it.

The problem?

The problem is that the dopamine reward system in your brain was not designed to handle a never-ending flow of novel, naked and gorgeous cyber females (and males) available on a silver platter.

And today, a single online search is all that stands between your desires and millions of dopamine-releasing available, flawless, smiling and welcoming sex-partners.

dopamine erection

It is simply too much for your brain to handle!

When subjected to this sexual excess, your brain gets saturated with dopamine and goes numb.

Let’s understand the mechanics of this.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or a messenger between nerve cells in your brain (among other functions). Hence it carries messages.

In order for the dopamine that floats around in your brain to communicate these messages, it needs to connect to a dopamine receptor. When connected, the receptor reads the message. Then this message can be acted upon.

The problem is that when you watch porn and masturbate, your brain produces an incredibly large amount of dopamine.

dopamine reward system

Now your dopamine receptors have to work overtime to process this ridiculous amount of dopamine.

If you continue to watch porn and masturbate every day, or frequently, your dopamine receptors will start to get exhausted. They are not made for overtime work!

As your receptors get exhausted, they start working slower. Now you can’t process as much dopamine as before.

If the dopamine keeps coming, your receptors may temporarily stop working. And then if you continue the porn and masturbation binge, your receptors can start to die. Yeah, they may be so tired they die..

At this point, it doesn’t matter how much dopamine you produce. Your dopamine receptors are dead and can’t process the dopamine. You can’t use all the dopamine that is floating around your brain.

And why is this numbing of the dopamine reward system so dangerous?

dopamine receptors break down

Because it is very likely to cause erectile dysfunction. As mentioned earlier, the specific term for this is porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

If you arrive at this point, your brain is so saturated with dopamine that only very extreme forms of sexual stimulation will excite you.

This sexual stimulation will often need to be extreme, completely novel and provide ultimate control.

Real sex, and particularly real sex with a partner that is not novel, will often simply not work.

Strange but true – pornography and masturbation has at this point become more desirable than actual sex with a real person. 🙄

Absurd no? Information coming from a computer in symphony with masturbation, being preferred to the real thing.

young naked man is watching pornography on laptop and masturbating

Also, when real sex becomes difficult and disappointing, but masturbation and porn works like a charm, it’s no wonder why many men choose masturbation over sex. Then porn often becomes a substitute for sex.

Another negative consequence from watching porn and masturbating too frequently, is a loss of libido.

Because it costs sexual energy to get erections. Therefore, by having frequent (and long lasting) erections, your libido reserves are being tapped.

But even worse is if you have frequent orgasms. Because every time you have an orgasm, you drain your sexual energy even further, and this can even cause your testosterone levels to drop.

So not only can porn and masturbation cause erectile dysfunction, it can also cause your libido to plummet.

man tired low libido

Another negative consequence brought about by pornography is how it can alter your view women (or other men).

When you are total king and surfing waves of dopamine, you get high. The women on your screen are nothing but objects of your sexual desires.

The problem begins when you start to view women in real life this way. And when you start forgetting that women can actually be lovely, warm and amazing human beings. 🤔

One more potential downside of pornography:

Sex is such a strong drift, it can make you seek gratification with little concern for the rest of the world. 

Taken to the extreme, this can cause addiction.

man caught watching pornography

When you enter the territory of addiction, you often seek out porn despite adverse consequences such as neglecting friends and family, eating poorer, and paying less attention to work or other things in life.

And activities that used to interest you, such as playing sports, cooking food, and watching TV shows, may no longer spark much interest in you.

In fact, it has been shown that consumption of porn may weaken the region of the brain known as the cingulate cortex – the region that is responsible for moral and ethical decision making and willpower.

Let me share my personal experience with pornography.

My Story With Pornography

I certainly indulged in porn. I could at times watch porn and masturbate several times a week. 

man masturbating to porn

But I didn’t see the link between numbing my brain with a constant flow of virtual, naked, novel and attractive women — and erectile dysfunction. It just didn’t occur to me at all.

In fact, I was thoroughly and utterly confused. Why did I ‘get it up’ with porn, but not with the real thing?

The connection dawned on me when I read an online article that addressed this topic. It explained what happens in the brain of people that watch pornography and masturbate.

It explained the dopamine link. And there was substantial scientific evidence behind it.

My initial skepticism quickly dissipated when I put two and two together. It then made total sense.

When a person exercises very hard, the body gets used to the increased exercise and can subsequently handle more exercise.

tolerance to pornography

When a person takes a drug over a long period of time, the body will often build tolerance to the drug, and the dosage will have to be increased to produce the same effect as before.

My body was getting used to, and building tolerance towards, a continuous stream of naked, novel and virtual women. It all of a sudden made complete sense!

As soon as I learned this, I immediately stopped watching porn and stopped masturbating. I did not do the two combined, and neither did I do either separately. I quit cold turkey. 

And it didn’t take very long until I started noticing changes. 

After about a little over a week, my libido slowly started coming back.

I started thinking more about sex. Sex became something I started craving again.

stop watching porn to cure erectile dysfunction

And then sometimes when I thought about sex, I started getting semi-flaccid erections. This was highly unusual!

So by exposing myself to less sexual stimulation, I wanted more of it. By not touching myself anymore, I became more sensitive to touch.

By reducing the exposure to sexual stimulation, it became much easier for me to get erections when I was with a woman. And my erections didn’t fade away as easily anymore.

And I found it more rewarding to spend time with my partner than before.

Erectile dysfunction happened less and less. It was amazing, I could hardly believe it!

This one change, which was a relatively easy and quick change to make, had a huge positive impact on my sexual ability and libido.

success solving erectile dysfunction

By making this change, I started to re-wire my brain. I was slowly undoing neuroplastic changes that had occurred in my brain. My brain was getting back to normal. I became more receptive to sex.

And all it took was the right knowledge of how I was forcing my brain into sexual exhaustion, and then implementing the change to correct this.

One more ‘thing’:

These problems don’t necessarily only apply to pornography and masturbation.

They can also apply to sex. Actual and real sex.

In other words, by having too frequent sex, you can also develop erectile dysfunction and a general disinterest in sex. It may sound strange, but the process is in fact the same as for porn.

couple in bed strong sex drive

If your dopamine reward system is worn out by too much of something, you will normally start losing interest in the ‘thing’ that causes the dopamine release.

This can happen to porn actors and people that have excessive sex (often with the help of pharmaceutical drugs).

Imagine if you had sex for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Soon, you would probably not want to see a naked person ever again.

But there are good news. Really good news. 😊

The Good News

The good news is that erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and neuroplastic brain changes that are caused by pornography and masturbation, don’t have to be permanent.

good news erectile dysfunction

They can be reversed. 

By stopping watching porn and masturbating, the body will normally start to reverse the damages. 

The body is amazing!

Bit by bit, new dopamine receptors can be built.

Damaged receptors can be fixed.

Normal dopamine function can be restored. 

A real and naked woman in your bed can again make you go crazy. 😊

dopamine receptor decline e1588496307715

Your ED can go away. And you libido can come back.

However, if the damage is severe, be aware that it can take some time to rewire the brain.

But it’s never too late to start repairing the most important organ we have. Our brain. 👍

If you want to learn more about how to cure ED naturally, you can read this guide.

Research Studies

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Bocher M, Chisin R, Parag Y, Freedman N, Meir Weil Y, et al. (2001) Cerebral activation associated with sexual arousal in response to a pornographic clip: A 15O-H2O PET study in heterosexual men. Neuroimage 14: 105–117. DOI: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0794.

pornography can cause brain damage e1588499160516

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porn can cause neuroplastic brain changes

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pornography brain scan

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pornography and masturbation can cause brain damage

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