One of the questions I get asked all the time is why are there so many guys out there interested in quitting their porn habit. In today’s culture, it’s pretty much expected that men will watch porn. But several years ago, GQ magazine ran a thought-provoking article about a community on Reddit.com called NoFap, which is a online community of mostly men who’re challenging each other to put away porn and masturbation from their lives.
What’s interesting about this subreddit is that this group wasn’t originally formed because these guys had a moral problem with porn, but because they had a biological problem with it. A lot of these guys had developed what doctors call “Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction,” which basically means they can get physically aroused by porn and only porn. They might be with their wife or girlfriend, trying to get an erection or trying to climax, but they can’t do it. As of making this video, the subreddit now has over 170,000 members in it.
Consider the stats. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health¹, about 30% of young guys have E.D. The Journal of Sexual Medicine² says one in four guys who are seeking medical help for E.D. are now under 40 years old. Urologists are saying this is a major shift compared to a generation ago, because not only are these generally healthy men too young to be seeing E.D. problem, but also these patients aren’t responding to E.D. medications.
What’s interesting, though, is that quitting porn and masturbation helps these guys. Why? Because the problem isn’t in the penis, but in the brain.
Now, I did a whole video about how porn impacts the brain, so I won’t repeat everything I said in that video, but we now know from neuroscientific studies that porn does impact the brain in a big way, which can lead to sexual health problems.
One study from Cambridge University³ found that among guys who are porn addicted, “as a result of excessive use of sexually explicit materials [subjects] experienced diminished libido or erectile function.” Even among guys who aren’t verifiably addicted there are negative impacts. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry4, researchers actually measured how the amount of porn used correlated to changes in brain structures and how different regions of the brain responded to sexual images. Basically, they found that the more years of porn you watch and the more hours per week you watch, the lower your brain activation is. Researchers said the more intense your porn exposure, the more your brain has a down regulation response: a.k.a. the more porn you watch, the less sexual arousal you have.
The good news is that a lot of guys are getting over their E.D. by quitting porn and masturbation. I had the pleasure of talking to the founder of the subreddit group NoFap a while back. His name is Alexander Rhodes, and he told me that he has now spoken to thousands of guys who simply believe they are better off without porn. They don’t want to train their brains to be turned on by only porn. He said, “I like to compare pornography to cigarettes. For the consumer, it is always a harmful thing to consume.”
Learn more about how porn can cause E.D. and how to reverse the process in our free e-book, The Porn Circuit.
1. Mialon A, Berchtold A, Michaud PA, Gmel G, Suris JC. “Sexual dysfunctions among young men: prevalence and associated factors,” Journal of Adolescent Health, (2012) 25-31, doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.01.008.
2. Capogrosso P. “One patient out of four with newly diagnosed erectile dysfunction is a young man–worrisome picture from the everyday clinical practice,” Journal of Sexual Medicine, (2013) 1833-41, doi: 10.1111/jsm.12179.
3. Voon V, Mole TB, Banca P, Porter L, Morris L, Mitchell S. “Neural Correlates of Sexual Cue Reactivity in Individuals With and Without Compulsive Sexual Behaviours,” PLoS ONE, (2014) 9, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102419.
4. Kühn S, Gallinat J. “Brain Structure and Functional Connectivity Associated With Pornography Consumption The Brain on Porn,” Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, (2014) 827-834, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.93.