When a man cannot get or stay erect due to the influence of pornography consumption, we call this Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED). It’s a really hot issue right now and it’s affecting men from all walks of life. Porn-induced erectile dysfunction has become an epidemic due to the incredibly high rates of men addicted to internet pornography (some stats show up to 70% of men are watching porn regularly).
PIED occurs when the consumption of pornography causes physiological damage to the brain and psychological damage to the mind. This results in things like atrophied dopamine receptors deteriorated grey matter of the brain and skewed beliefs about masculinity and sex.
How does watching porn cause erectile dysfunction?
Porn is what we call a supernormal stimulus. It creates unnatural doses of chemicals that flood the brain’s reward center each time you consume it. This isn’t shocking news to most people. However, it is shocking when they find out how this over-flooded reward system in the brain is causing issues like erectile dysfunction. To better understand what’s happening in the brain, let’s look at 3 reasons why watching porn causes PIED
Consuming Porn causes dopamine overload
Dopamine is a good thing, it’s the chemical in our brain that helps us enjoy things and fall in love. It’s really powerful and really important. However, there is a dark side to dopamine. The unfortunate thing about dopamine is that when you get too much, too quickly, and too often, your brain receptors get overloaded and they begin to “burn out”. It’s like fruit. It’s so healthy and so yummy but even too much fruit will give you diarrhea! But anyways, back to the dopamine overload.
When this happens, your brain receptors don’t function as they should, leading to less dopamine being detected from things that offer healthy and natural doses. Because watching porn offers so much dopamine, your atrophied receptors can still experience a hit. Sadly, a beautiful evening with your wife that leads to sex simply will not. This is the catch-22 that men find themselves in and this is why porn-induced erectile dysfunction drives marriages crazy.
Watching Porn bonds you to the screen
It’s not rocket science for us to understand that a mother is bonded to her child in a very special way. God made it so that the chemical called oxytocin would be released as a way to bond people together as they connect intimately. This sounds so beautiful when you think of a mother and a child, a husband and a wife, the list goes on. But what about when a man watches porn? The very essence of porn addiction is a longing for intimacy, connection, and love.
It would make sense that the very chemical that bonds a mother and child together would also bond a man and a screen together, right? The sad reality is that when this happens, most men are also masturbating. So let’s lay this out. Their dopamine receptors are shot, they’re bonding to a screen and in that bonding experience, they’re associating it with masturbation. Can you see why porn-induced erectile dysfunction happens? You’re literally programming yourself to get aroused by a screen and your hand, not a human being.
The porn industry showcases a false reality
Many men live in fantasy land. Their brains are so pornified that they are in constant wonder of “what if” scenarios that keep them stuck. A few examples I hear from men I work with would be, “what if that woman at the store wants me”; “what if my co-worker thinks I’m attractive”; “what if my neighbor knew I was home alone”.
Because watching porn causes us to forget what’s real, natural, and healthy, men often forget how to enjoy the simple beauty of their wives and the pleasure of sexual intimacy with them. Isn’t that scary? They forget “how to” as if their brains are dysfunctional. This can only lead to issues like erectile dysfunction because your frame for arousal and sex is completely warped.
How do I know if I have porn-induced erectile dysfunction?
There are some sure signs that will indicate if you have PIED. I want to dig into 3 main issues here that are the most common among the men that I work with. These issues are so tragic as they cause good-meaning men to feel so much shame. They get so fixated on their penis not working that it consumes them.
This leads to decreased confidence, mental health, and sex drive. This takes a huge toll on a man, and sadly, it takes a toll on his partner too.
Consistent erectile issues are a blaring indicator that you have PIED
When I struggled with PIED, I was having erectile issues 1-3 times per week. And when I say erectile issues, I am referring to the inability to get or stay erect. Typically I would struggle to get erect during foreplay and then give up on sex or I would go soft as we changed positions. Both of these issues on a consistent basis are clear indicators for someone who struggled with erectile dysfunction.
But here’s the real kicker. If you’re able to get erect and stay erect until ejaculation while watching porn but not with your wife, then you definitely have porn-induced erectile dysfunction.
Delayed ejaculation is a demoralizing indicator that you have PIED
When a man takes a longer than healthy duration to reach orgasm/ejaculation, it is called delayed ejaculation (DE for short). There’s also the inability to ejaculate is called anejaculation and the inability to reach a climax (orgasm) is called anorgasmia. For now, I am going to focus on delayed ejaculation as it can be very common in men who watch and masturbate to porn. This happens, mainly when men have spent hours watching porn before ejaculating.
They basically program the brain so that ejaculation takes a longer duration of time. This is sometimes also known as desensitization, where the brain develops a tolerance to pleasure and stimulation and requires more and more to be able to ejaculate.
Premature ejaculation is an embarrassing indicator that you have PIED
When a man takes a minute or less to reach orgasm/ejaculation, it is called premature ejaculation (PE for short). This is commonly seen as more embarrassing for men than delayed ejaculation simply because it seems to show a sign of weakness and lack of experience. Of course, that’s not true. It actually indicates that you’re watching porn, carry a lot of anxiety and have a very sensitive brain-penis reaction. Most men I know grew up watching porn and masturbating as quickly as possible.
They had to make sure mom and dad didn’t catch them or something along those lines. That was my story at least! Sadly, this fear-based and shame-driven protective nature continues into your adult life and you end up programming your brain to signal for a premature ejaculation simply because it’s trained to orgasm quickly. If you’re already worried about cumming early before sex even starts, you’re definitely in the trap of porn-induced erectile dysfunction and it’s being fueled by your anxiety more and more each time.
My 4-step treatment plan for erectile dysfunction?
There are a whole array of medical perspectives that you can find on google. I think there’s some merit in these, but honestly, I have not worked with anyone who didn’t benefit and heal from focusing on the mind, brain, and spirit. It’s been so rare to hear of someone who actually had a medical issue that was physical. It happens, I’m just saying it’s really rare.
Quick story: I worked with a 72-year-old who was told his issue was purely physical and he had been on pills for 10 years. After working with me, we worked to heal the deeper root issues of his ED and now he’s having great sex and thriving with his wife. If you want to learn more about my PIED coaching services, Erectile Dysfunction Life Coaching
Step one is to tell somebody that you struggle with PIED
There’s something so therapeutic about telling someone about a struggle. It allows you to get a load off your chest. The very load that has been keeping you from being able to relax and enjoy life. This person may be a friend, a pastor, or a mentor. Whoever it is, use wisdom, but you 100% need to tell someone and let them pray for and support you in this journey.
Step two is to quit porn and heal the brain
I am a big advocate of guys getting an initial 90 days of sobriety from watching porn and masturbation to recalibrate their brains. I say an initial 90 days not because it ends after, but because things will feel different. After 90 days, you’ll feel better and the journey of further sobriety actually does get easier.
The challenge for guys is the withdrawal symptoms. And because of this, I created a short e-book to help you know “what to expect” in these first 90 days of quitting porn. That way you’re prepared, equipped, and ready. Download the free PDF “The 4 stages of porn addiction withdrawal symptoms”
Step three is to heal the mind
Most men suck at thinking about what they think about. Even more, they suck at naming their emotions. Now, this is not a knock on men. I sucked at it too! Sometimes I still do. But it’s crucial to understand that men are not taught how to do these things. To really overcome PIED and the physiological aspect of ED, you must be intentional with the emotional and mental side of healing.
This includes renewing your thought life/belief system and learning how to regulate your big emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and shame. I go deeper into these concepts in an article I wrote about ED. Check it out here to learn more about how you can apply what I’m talking about (ex. journaling, self-awareness, and being emotionally healthy)
This is the type of work I love to do with guys with my 1 on 1 coaching. Check out our erectile dysfunction coaching page to learn more
Step four is to get on the same page as a couple
This one is tough because it now involves healing with your partner. That can feel scary, to say the least. However, it’s actually the most beautiful thing when it’s guided well. Now, I don’t expect you to be able to guide it alone. I hope that I can be that guide for you.
Regardless of that coming through reading my blog, or through hiring me as a coach, I want to make sure you understand that there is a framework that you can follow and get the results so many other men have gotten. This framework I am referring to is called the “sexual template”, so be on the lookout for that when you’re reading my blogs, listening to our podcast, or joining our free men’s porn addiction recovery group.
Porn-induced erectile dysfunction is certainly easy enough to pinpoint in one’s life. It’s also easy to see how it develops and overtakes. I hope that this article has helped you see the full picture and gives you a paradigm shift on the cause and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Everything I teach is from my own personal story of a 14-year porn addiction that led to PIED and many sexual struggles. My mantra is for you to “let my failures be your success” and I hope I have been able to do that in this article, God bless.