Online vixens may raise your flag but could be leaving you at half-mast with real-life ladies.
Many men in their 20s who started watching porn at a young age (as early as 14) and currently consume porn daily have a low libido or even inability to get an erection, according to a wire report on an Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine survey of 28,000 men.
According to the Italian wire service ANSA, researchers have even given a name to the condition: sexual anorexia.
This comes as no surprise to Marnia Robinson and her Husband Gary Wilson, authors of Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habits to Harmony in Sexual Relationships.
The couple noticed the trend when guys suffering from low libidos keep showing up on a website they ran for addiction. Wilson soon created the website yourbrainonporn.com and has seen “hundreds and hundreds” of forum threads from 25 different counties where guys were all suffering the same symptoms.
“There are young guys who have grown up wired to high-speed Internet porn,” says Robinson. “Now this survey matches up with what we have be seeing for years—that that these guys are having addiction symptoms. The experts were telling them, ‘Take a Viagra’ and ‘You just have performance anxiety.’ Well you obviously don’t have performance anxiety with your own hand.”
Though anecdotal, their evidence is backed up by the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s new definition of addiction, published in April. It states that all behaviors that are rewarding, not just substances, can become addicting including “sexual activities.”
“That is what’s called a process addiction,” says David Smith, M.D., past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and coauthor of Unchain Your Brain. “Evidence shows that you can become addicted to dopamine and because behaviors like porn, eating, and gambling release squirts of dopamine they can lead to addiction. That’s why they were included in the new definition”
The Internet allows for immediate access to porn, which wires the brain for that type of constant visual stimuli, argues Wilson. New or novel porn jacks up the release of dopamine but can eventually leads to an inability to masturbate without it, he says.
“So once they get in the bedroom with a real girl and the lights are off they can’t get the visual stimuli they need and can’t get it up,” says Robinson.
Don’t worry though, our experts stress. Even though 87 percent of men watched porn within the past year, only a small percentage of people cross the line into addiction. As with any activity, just be wary if you have trouble stopping despite negative consequences.
If you know you’re a bona fide sexual anorexic, quit cold turkey, Wilson recommends. “For older guys we are seeing that it takes about 8 weeks to recover,” says Wilson. “But for younger guys, guys in their 20s who grew up with high-speed Internet, it takes around 3 to 4 months because they didn’t wire to real girls and real touch when they were young.”