The Dual Control Model - The Role Of Sexual Inhibition & Excitation In Sexual Arousal And Behavior (2007)

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COMMENTS: A recent re-discovery. The first paper to report porn-induced ED and porn-induced low libido. In an experiment employing video porn, 50% of the young men couldn't become aroused or achieve erections with porn (average age was 29). The shocked researchers discovered that the men's erectile dysfunction was "related to high levels of exposure to and experience with sexually explicit materials." The limp men had spent a whole of lot of time in bars and bathhouses where porn was "omnipresent," and continuously playing. The men explained that "high exposure to erotica seemed to have resulted in a lower responsivity to "vanilla sex" erotica and an increased need for novelty and variation.

The men were desensitized and needed stronger visual stimulation in order to become aroused. That's evidence of tolerance, which is a key indication of addiction. Think about it: most young men with porn-induced ED can still achieve an erection WITH porn. However, 50% of these men couldn't become aroused even with porn.

So the researchers re-did the experiment, this time allowing the men to choose their own porn, and providing many more varieties of "kinkier" porn. The men were even allowed to sample the choices to predict which might do the trick. Nonetheless, 25% of men in the new experiment still couldn't become aroused to kinky porn of their choice. Barely any erectile response - lab-tested and confirmed by the Kinsey Institute.

For more research on the issue of porn-induced sexual dysfunctions see:  Unprecedented rates of sexual dysfunctions in young men.

The following excerpt is taken from the book "The Psychophysiology of Sex., Chapter: The Dual-Control Model: The role of sexual inhibition & excitation in sexual arousal and behavior". Publisher: Indiana University Press, Editors: Erick Janssen, pp.197-222. LINK TO THE CHAPTER


As part of our research on sexual risk taking, presented earlier in this paper, we invited our questionnaire and interview subjects to also participate in a psychophysiological study (Janssen, Goodrich, Petrocelli, & Bancroft, 2006). In view of the complexity of the preliminary findings of the shock-threat study, we instead decided to use the design of our first laboratory study on the dual control model (Janssen et al., 2002b).

When we applied this design (with the two types of sexual film, distraction and performance demand) to this new sample, however, we encountered another unanticipated, yet intriguing, phenomenon. Twelve men, or almost 50% of the first 25 subjects (mean age = 29 years), did not respond to the sexual stimuli (i.e., penile rigidity of less than 5% to the noncoercive film clips; 8 men had 0% rigidity). This is, to our knowledge, one of the few psychophysiological studies in which men participated who were recruited from the community--in our case, from bath houses, STD clinics, bars, and so on.

In some of these venues, sexual stimuli (including video screens) are omnipresent, and this, in combination with comments from participants about the lack of more interesting, specialized ("niche"), or more extreme or "kinky" stimuli, made us consider the possibility that the unusually high rate of nonresponders could be related to high levels of exposure to and experience with sexually explicit materials. Conversations with the subjects reinforced our idea that in some of them a high exposure to erotica seemed to have resulted in a lower responsivity to "vanilla sex" erotica and an increased need for novelty and variation, in some cases combined with a need for very specific types of stimuli in order to get aroused.

We redesigned the study and decided to eliminate the distraction and performance demand manipulations and to include newer, more varied clips, as well as some longer film clips. Also, instead of presenting subjects with a set of preselected ("researcher-selected") videos only, we let them choose two clips themselves from a set of 10, of which 10-second previews were shown and that included a wider range of sexual behaviors (e.g., group sex, interracial sex, S & M, etc.). We recruited an additional 51 subjects and found that with the improved design still 20 men, or approximately 25%, did not respond well to the sexual video clips (penile rigidity of less than 10% in response to the long self-selected film).

We conducted a logistic regression analysis to determine if high responders could be differentiated from low responders using age, sexual orientation, SES, SIS1, SIS2, experience with erotic videos, self-reported erectile difficulties, and sexual risk taking as predictor variables. The regression model significantly discriminated between the two groups (÷2(8) = 22.26, p < .01; see Table 2), explaining 39% of the variance. In total 78% of the participants were correctly classified (z = 4.61, p < .001), with hit rates of 82% for high and 59% for low responders (ps < .01). The results indicate that a participant was more likely to be classified as a high responder as his age decreased and his SES and sexual risk taking scores increased. Homosexual participants were more likely to be classified as low responders than heterosexual participants. Finally, the analyses suggested that as the number of erotic films seen within the past year increased a participant was more likely to be classified as a low responder.