Tuesday 28 March 2017

How internet porn may have left one in ten men with erection problems

Rachel Hosie

A masculinity expert says he fears heavy internet porn usage may have left up to one in 10 young men with erection problems.

Dr Andrew Smiler said that easy access to endless streaming porn is leaving healthy young men with the sexual problem.

He told The Independent: “The guys I see, most of them are between 13 and 25. The vast majority are, for the most part, the picture of physical health.

“So if I’m masturbating to porn once a day for 15 minutes but I do that every day for five years, I’m pretty well on my way to being an expert to having an orgasm to porn.”

He warned that because many heavy users are young, the habit becomes even more concerning.

“If I’m 17 and that is 90pc of my sexual orgasmic experience, then I’ve put a lot of effort into that particular variety/flavour of sexual development but I’ve put in very little time developing my sexuality with another person, so it makes it more challenging to become aroused to another person and you find yourself in this other direction which is often very different to sex with a person.”

A 2014 study found that one third of men watch porn every day, and given that porn consumption has been increasing over the past few years - largely due to the advent of the smartphones and super-fast data connections - it’s likely that number is now even higher.

Dr Angela Gregory, psychosexual therapist at Nottingham University Hospital, said: “Men are becoming both physically and psychologically desensitised to normal sexual stimulation and arousal with a sexual partner.”

For some men, however, they develop hypersexuality and are constantly aroused. “It’s like an itch they can’t scratch and is always on their minds,” Dr Gregory said.

Despite the prevalence of porn-consumption, as of yet there is no official diagnosis for “porn addiction” so Dr Smiler, author of Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy, doesn’t like to use the term. Gregory, on the other hand, believes some men do develop very real addictions to porn.

She frequently sees young men with erection problems but often they don’t make the link to porn as it’s deemed so normal to watch it.

Fortunately, porn-induced erectile dysfunction is fixable, most easily if you’re a healthy young male: “If you can stop [masturbating], you can reboot your system to normal arousal,” Gregory explains.

She recommends going cold turkey for 90 days - some men find it easy, others really struggle. And Dr Smiler points out that you have to retrain both your body and your mind, so he talks to a lot of his clients about what they find attractive.

Whilst porn-induced erectile dysfunction is a huge problem for men who regularly masturbate to porn, simply watching it is also creating an unrealistic idea of sex in their minds.

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