Dear Dr. G,

I am in my late twenties and have massive shortcomings in my love life and hope to get some help. As you can imagine as a millennial coming of age in this era, I am venturing into adulthood and sexual relationships. I have been in several sexual relationships and am facing the obstacle of compromised rigidity in the pants.

In the past year, I noticed my erection is less rigid during sex, compared to the past. On many occasions, the hardness is sub-optimal throughout the penetrative sex. I imagine I am way too young to get erectile dysfunction (ED).

I consulted Dr Google, and found out about a condition termed porn-induced ED. I am worried this may be due to my shameful past. I confess, I am not proud of my over-indulgence in digital technologies gaining access to pornographic material. However, I do not consider my viewing excessive to the extent that it could cause ED. I am hoping to put Dr G on the spot on the issue of porn-induced ED.

Is this condition real? Is it widely accepted by the medical community? Is the condition curable?

I am really worried I will be affected for the rest of my life.

Help me!

Yours truly,
Remorseful Raymond

Pornography, better known as porn, is a portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. In the past, pornography was presented in writings, books, magazine, postcards, drawings and sculptures. In modern days, such material is delivered via phone calls, recordings, videos, videogames and many imaginable modalities. The primary depictions of present-day porn are the performers and the acts of sex itself.

Various societies and cultures consider the depiction of porn immoral, obscene and noxious. As a result, the attempted suppression with legal channel and censorship gain various degree of success. As the access to porn becomes increasingly effortless, many societies have become more tolerant and accepting. Perhaps, this is also paving the way for the exponential expansion of the porn industry and its consumption in the 21st century.

As the financial worth of the industry is estimated to be nearly US$100bil (RM419bil) in revenue for 2006, the landscape of the porn industry has evolved beyond control and recognition. Two common sexual problems associated with modern day consumption of porn are porn-addiction and porn-related ED. The theory behind porn-induced ED is controversial, as the proponents of the notion argue the regular consumption of pornographic material can desensitise physiological sexual responses.

A 2016 article consolidated the reviews of scientific data suggesting pornography decreases men’s self-bodily satisfaction, and triggers anxiety during sex. The other argument is the progressive increase for men to feel stimulated and aroused has a “numbing” effect on regular sexual stimulation. Apparently, pornography may change the way the brain reacts to arousal, making it less likely to feel arousal by a real life partner. Of course, these are all theoretical arguments.

On the other hand, another 2015 analysis of two large-scale studies demonstrated a very weak link between pornography and ED. These highlighted that ED in men is multi-factorial, and the initial trigger for regular consumption may already indicate pre-existing relationship difficulties that may be responsible for the ED. Therefore, the incrimination of porn is baseless.

The American Association of Sexual Educators, Counsellors and Therapists (AASECT) concluded there is no specific need to pathologise porn-induced ED. The treatment of the ED should be both physical and psychological, regardless of the degree of exposure to pornography. The psychological treatment of men facing performance anxiety during “real” sex may require relaxation exercises or medications, such as those little blue pills.

Ironically, some therapist may even incorporate pornography to stoke arousal during intimacy, for couples that face obstacles of porn-induced ED. The Irish novelist and poet George A Moore once said: “Remorse is beholding heaven and feeling hell.”

The marvel of modern technology has developed a scenario where up to 35% of all Internet downloads are related to pornography and 28,258 users are watching the material online every second. As society comes to grips with how such exposure is affecting the morality of mankind, many individuals are haunted by guilt of “wrong-doing”, undoubtedly having a feeling of remorse that is killing the hardness in the pants.

When Dr G is put on the spot by young chaps with porn-induced ED due to over-indulgence, his response is: “Moderation is the answer that will ensure feeling the heaven without the remorse of hell!”

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