How do I know if my ED is porn-related? (TEST)

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A lot of guys don't notice that their performance problems are becoming more serious. Logically, they (and their doctors) assume that if they can get off to porn, they don't have sexual dysfunction. They assume that any problem lies with drug or alcohol use, or their choice of partner. Perhaps she's not hot enough, not their type, reminds them of their ex, or is too sexually aggressive.

Most have to fail repeatedly with different partners before they start looking for answers. If they were masturbating without porn most would quickly realize that neither intoxication nor performance anxiety can fully account for their problem (although performance anxiety can certainly contribute to the problem once the performance problems begin).

Wondering if your problem is porn-related?

The first bit of advice is to see a good urologist and rule out any medical abnormality. Once you have ruled out organic causes, try this simple test to isolate porn-induced ED from performance anxiety-induced ED.

  1. On one occasion masturbate to your favorite porn (or simply recall it).
  2. On another masturbate with no porn/porn fantasy. That is, no recalling of porn.

Compare the quality of your erection and the time it took to climax (if you can). A healthy young man should have no trouble attaining a full erection and masturbating to orgasm without porn or porn fantasy.

  • If you have a strong erection in #1, but erectile dysfunction in #2, then you have porn-induced ED. 
  • If #2 is strong and solid, but you have trouble with a real partner, then you have anxiety-induced ED.
  • If you have problems during both 1 and 2, you may have severe porn-induced ED, or an organic problem. When in doubt, see a good urologist.

The above test is helpful to differentiate porn-induced ED from performance anxiety because you cannot have anxiety about performance with your own hand. (You've known each other for a long time.)

What this test cannot do:

  1. It cannot necessarily help you differentiate between organic ED (hormonal, vascular) and severe porn-induced ED, as many men with porn-induced ED cannot maintain an erection even with porn. This is why you need to see a doctor.
  2. It also cannot assess if your ED arises from severe psychological issues such as clinical depression.
  3. It is not meant to assess whether you have recovered from porn-induced ED or not. Only time with a real partner can answer that question. (see How do I know when I'm back to normal?).

Other symptoms that may be associated with porn-induced brain changes:

  • Difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner (delayed ejaculation)
  • Experiencing greater sexual excitement with porn than with a partner
  • Decreasing sensitivity of penis
  • Ejaculating when you are only partly erect, or getting totally erect only as you come
  • Needing to fantasize to maintain erection or interest with sexual partner
  • Earlier genres of porn are no longer "exciting"
  • Declining sexual arousal with a sexual partner(s)
  • Losing erection while attempting penetration
  • Can't maintain erection or ejaculate with oral sex

"masturbate all you want, that is not the problem" said the therapist....(May, 2015)

One of the first questions he asked me was about my porn consumption. I immediately got defensive and asked why he was asking that, and he said that it is a standard question he asks, because it has become such a problem. For some reason I felt comfortable with the guy and I just opened up and started telling him everything.

I asked him what he could do to help, if he knew any methods etc.... and his response has always stuck with me. He said something like "Do you think it's your body that needs release or your brain that needs entertainment?" I had never thought about it in those terms, but after a pause, I replied it was my mostly my body.

He then said "My professional opinion is that you should masturbate all you want between now and our next appointment. I only give you one condition. Do it ONLY thinking about how good it feels. NO visualization or stimulation. Doesn't matter if it's triple X hardcore or the Victoria's Secret catalog that came in the mail; don't close your eyes and imagine anything, past experiences or fantasies etc.... When you have an itch, you simply scratch it. You don't need to watch videos of others itching, or close your eyes and think about itching."

It was amazing how right he was. I could not do it! I soon discovered that my masturbation was an excuse to look at porn or dip in to my fantasy world, more than the other way around. Every time I tried to just clear my mind I started to lose the desire and my mind would race for some simulation.

That talk was several years ago and since then I have continued to struggle. What I can absolutely share is that we are not fulfilling a physical need when we fap. I used to think 'I need to get a nut' and 'it's just natural' but those are both wrong. I don't need to get a nut, if I did then I could do so easily without any porn.

I am not encouraging anyone who has gone hard mode to relapse, but if you are still doing it, try it next time with your computer turned off, and your eyes open. Don't think about your favorite fantasy. You will soon really feel an almost uncontrollable 'need' to fantasize.

From a forum post (September, 2012)

Yeah, I have had a talk w/ my urologist about this bc I was being tested for lowish testosterone.  He mentioned that more and more young men were coming in talking about having ED and that he estimated that over the past year about 50% of his patients for ED were probably younger than 35.  So either we are just having huge effects from increasing toxins that are in our world that affect men (which may play a part and is possible) or (more likely) this porn stuff is REALLY screwing with us.  He also mentioned that although a lot of these patients have lower than normal T levels, they aren't low enough that they should be seriously complaining about ED.