What is porn induced erectile dysfunction, and can it be treated?

What is porn induced erectile dysfunction, and can it be treated?

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Explaining what porn induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) is is quite simple: it’s when men experience erectile dysfunction after watching too much porn. The psychological and physiological reasons behind it, however, are not so straightforward.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as a man not being able to get an erection or sustain one long enough for satisfactory sexual activity. There are both physical and mental causes of ED, which is most common among men over 40.

However, there has been a noted rise in men under 40 experiencing ED which has been largely unexplained. It’s been suggested that the reason behind this discrepancy is down to poor lifestyle choices, most notably smoking, drinking, and taking recreational drugs. However, over recent years, it’s also been attributed to the rise in online pornography.


There’s been a recent rise in erectile dysfunction among young men, although there’s no one specific cause.


Before getting too deep into the discussion, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are groups of people who object to pornography from a religious or moral standpoint. A lot of the information online, and the studies conducted into PIED, are given momentum by these groups, which may mean the information in them is biased.

One such source is campaign group Fight The New Drug. They host a blog with accounts of how porn has affected relationships, but the majority of their blogs are subjective, being from personal experience, making them less scientific. However, anecdotal evidence shouldn’t be overlooked, as this is often where scientific research begins.


There’s evidence to suggest that watching a lot of porn may lead to changes in brain structure.


In 2014, a study was published which indicated a link between porn consumption and changes in the structure of the brain. They found that those who watched a lot of porn had more grey matter in the area of the brain which processes rewards and motivation, and less in the area that usually responds to sexual images. Those who watched more porn also had a weaker connection to the area of the brain which handles decision making.

However, this study was only a snapshot, and doesn’t indicate if porn consumption lead to this alternated brain structure, or if people with this brain structure were more likely to watch high levels of porn.


A tolerance to porn

It’s been hypothesised that heavy porn consumption is addictive in the same way that use of drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines is, as it appeals to brain’s reward centre. On this logic, it’s also possible to develop a tolerance to porn, especially among those consuming particularly graphic or extreme material. This, in turn, can lead to porn induced erectile dysfunction when with a partner. But there’s no evidence to suggest how much porn is too much porn.

Porn is sometimes attributed to erectile dysfunction because of the pressure it puts on men to perform for fear of otherwise not living up to their partner’s expectations. This stress is generally known as performance anxiety, but may be known as PIED.


What treatment is available for PIED?

As erectile dysfunction caused by porn is a psychological condition, the best method of treatment is to speak to your doctor about seeking therapy. Addiction of any kind can require both help from a doctor and from a support group. There’s also anecdotal evidence to suggest that abstaining from watching porn and masturbating can reverse the effects of PIED over time.


PIED is a subject with very little research into it, especially reliable, long term clinical research. This article is not a holistic and conclusive investigation into the topic, and should only be seen as a brief overview of the subject.


Eddie is a service that delivers Viagra Connect discreetly to your door. Treatment is available as a monthly subscription or one off purchase, starting from £19.99. Simply answer some questions from our pharmacist and you can purchase Viagra Connect in as little as 60 seconds.

Viagra Connect won’t give you an instant erection. You need to be sexually aroused for it to work and won’t help you if you don’t have ED symptoms.

Content Marketing Officer
Content Marketing Officer
Libby Mayfield

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