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US Navy Reports: Porn Is Sinking Sailors' Erections

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If you've been on the internet within the last few weeks, you've likely heard about Anthony Weiner's problems. However, there is another weiner problem that we need to talk about.

A growing number of urologists and psychiatrists are concerned about a drastic increase in young, otherwise healthy men, with erectile dysfunction stemming from chronic internet porn consumption. In a paper published in Behavioral Sciences last month, several US Navy doctors documented a near 1000% increase in youthful ED, pointing out that 15 years ago ED among men aged 18-40 was 2-5%, and all studies assessing youthful ED since 2010, shortly after the dawn of porn "tube-sites," report ED rates in the same age group around 30%.

The doctors include clinical reports on three servicemen whose porn use appears to have contributed to sexual dysfunctions and problematic low desire during partnered sex. Two showed improvement after giving up internet porn use. A third was unable to quit. These sailors aren't the only ones whose real world sex lives are sinking.

In a paper published online on August 16, 2016 in Sexologies, psychiatrist Robert Porto, MD, President of the European Federation of Sexology, notes that masturbation is generally harmless. However, when excessive and accompanied by cyber-pornography use, it "has been seen to play a role in the etiology of certain types of erectile dysfunction or coital anejaculation." The paper reports on 35 men with these dysfunctions, pointing out that 19 of them saw improvement after reconditioning their sexuality to real partners. According to Dr. Porto,

"The dysfunctions regressed and these patients were able to enjoy satisfactory sexual activity."

Now, you may be asking yourself, "How could you possibly know if porn is the cause?" Good news, the Navy docs provided a test that may help healthcare professionals rule out historical causes of ED. The test? Drumroll. See if you can masturbate without porn. That is, see if you can maintain an erection long enough to reach climax without being dependent on your laptop, phone, etc.

If a guy can't sustain an erection all by his lonesome, that rules out "performance anxiety" as no one is nervous about his ability to please his own hand. On the other hand (or no hands at all), if a guy is able to get it up easily using porn, that rules out organic causes, because simply looking at a screen wouldn't make those go away.

These recent medical warnings are in line with the claims of a growing number of doctors over the past couple years. Among those speaking up is urologist Tarek Pacha, who delivered a presentation to his fellow doctors at this years annual American Urological Association's conference in San Diego, CA, entitled "Pornography induced erectile dysfunction (PIED): Understanding the scope, science, and treatment." Dr. Pacha is seeing an increase in young men screwing themselves over by, well, screwing themselves over and over again with porn.

As Dr. Porto (from above) points out when speaking about good ol' masturbation:

"Harmless and even helpful in [its] usual form widely practiced, masturbation in its excessive and pre-eminent form, generally associated today to pornographic addiction, is too often overlooked in the clinical assessment of sexual dysfunction it can induce." (Emphasis mine.)

The Navy doctors suggest it's important to differentiate the two as well:

"It may be critical to distinguish pornography-free from pornography-assisted masturbation."

Those who are skeptical that porn is behind the increased rates of youthful dysfunction have suggested the real reason rates have gone up is because, with the introduction of drugs like Viagra, there is less shame around admitting you have erectile dysfunction. In other words, they claim rates haven't really gone up, but that more guys are willing to talk about it. However, these statistics are taken from anonymous surveys, not men willing to show their faces in a doctor's office.

Incidentally, ED is only one of the problems increasingly being reported from porn viewers. A March, 2016 European study reported that problematic porn use is associated with lower erectile function, higher cravings for porn, and reduced overall sexual satisfaction. Half of those surveyed had escalated to internet porn material that was previously uninteresting or "disgusting."

Taken together, these warnings and studies will hopefully lead to more awareness around porn's potential influence on my sexuality. As a guy myself who blindly set sail into the vast ocean of internet porn as a 12-year old back in 1999, I eventually became dependent on porn to get an erection too.

Let's keep the conversation going because knowing the potential risks can help others keep their sex lives afloat.