Our lives have changed dramatically over the past generation, and one area that has exploded is pornography, both in terms of the amount of pornography available and its accessibility.
Thirty years ago, this was mainly restricted to the top shelves of shops, in published magazines, with a few ‘seedy’ video shops, where the owners chose to remain anonymous. Some activists campaigned against pornography and the moral harm it did.
A fierce campaigner was Mary Whitehouse, an English-based Conservative MP, who was relentless in her quest to stop pornography and what she saw as an increasingly permissive society.
Whilst the activists are still around, they are very much in the background, and pornography has become increasingly accepted in society.
In most of the world, particularly in the West, pornography has become as accessible as turning on a bath tap.
Does pornography cause harm to young men?
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But does pornography do harm – especially in young men? As human beings, it is in our DNA to find other human beings attractive: how they look, how they walk, how they smell, and how they interact with us.
Falling in love or having a crush on someone at an early age, after we reach puberty, is a natural part of our progression. But today, falling in love or having a crush could be with a porn actress, via video on a phone or tablet, in the confines of a bedroom, rather than face to face, in the normal, natural way.
There is an increasing body of thought that believes pornography can be a contributory factor to Erectile Dysfunction and that young boys that watch it at an early age can become totally desensitized to normal, intimate relationships.
How long has pornography existed?
However, pornography is not just a modern phenomenon. Pornography, in different forms, has existed for at least 3000 years, dating back to ancient collections of carvings like the Kangjiashimenji Petroglyphs in China through to discoveries of precious papyrus in excavations of the Pyramids in Egypt.
In some cultures, pornography is considered taboo, whereas in others, like ancient Roman and Greek cultures, pornography and sex were intricately intertwined with religious beliefs.
But today, we are faced with a totally new age of pornography. An age where pornography of any type and fantasy is seconds away at the touch of a button on a phone or tablet, and shockingly, it is so easy for boys just reaching puberty to access pornography, meaning for many youngsters, their first exploration into sex doesn’t start with peering at a top shelf magazine, a fumbled kiss or holding a hand, but with hardcore pornography.
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Opinion is divided
The opinion is divided on whether pornography contributes to Erectile Dysfunction (add hyperlink) or not; some sex therapists actually advocate it to reinvigorate mature couple’s relationships.
But increasingly, clinical experience suggests there is a growing link, and it is not just Erectile Dysfunction, the ability to have satisfactory penetrative sex, but also a wider range of psychological and partner issues.
Mansmatters, a leading London-based clinic specializing in Erectile Dysfunction, claims to be seeing a far greater number of young men with sexual problems than in previous years and especially post-Covid, where social interaction became much more restricted.
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They are now seeing teenagers, who in previous times would be eager to get out of their homes and socialize and meet with others of their own age, preferring to stay in their bedrooms glued to their computer screens.
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Are there any studies linking pornography to ED?
A study that included over 3000 men across all age bands discovered there is a strong link between the quantity of pornography viewed and the onset of Erectile Dysfunction. This showed that there is a difference between an occasional watcher and a serial watcher.
A comparison can be drawn with alcohol. In moderate quantities, this doesn’t harm at all, but excess quantities can be extremely detrimental to both physical and mental health. Much more concerning was the increasing number of young men that were identifying with the problem and becoming addicted to porn as a way of life.
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Why is pornography causing ED?
The main reason for this is that young males are becoming desensitized to normal sexual stimuli and need more of an unusual stimulus to get aroused. The fantasy land of a dimly lit porn scene that has been carefully edited in a film studio bears little connection to normal one-to-one human sexual interaction. In years gone by, a young male may have got stimulus from the slight reveal of a woman’s breast or a shorter skirt.
But nowadays, with porn on tap, the normal stimulus for a boy going from puberty into his teens has all but disappeared. Pornography addiction is on the rise, and many boys become experts in watching porn and self-pleasure and do not even seek a relationship with a partner.
Also Read: What are the Differences Between Live Sex Broadcast and Other Forms Of Pornography
If I have a porn problem, what should I do?
If you have a porn problem, the first thing you need you to need to do is to keep an accurate diary of just how much porn you watch. Some young men who have undertaken this exercise have been staggered, and up to twenty hours a week is not uncommon.
This is not only affecting their natural erectile function ability, but it also makes them ‘too busy’ to see friends and meet new friends and relatives. It can also have a detrimental effect on their working life.
Some men who have a severe problem choose to see a sexual therapist, whilst others choose to wean themselves off it.
One way of doing this is to take the plunge and ask a local computer shop to make all your devices child friendly, where porn is not accessible. Another route is to restrict yourself to the amount you watch.
But whatever route you choose, you will have hours and hours of time to fill, so before you do it, consider taking up a hobby, going to the gym, and trying to interact with friends and colleagues again.
Pornography addiction, just like any other form of addiction, is very difficult to break, but if you do so and come out the other side, you may have not only a far better erectile function but also a more happy and more balanced life.