Condom-ED study + Kinsey Institute Spin

US News reported that “Condoms Don’t Prevent Erection, Study Says: New Research puts to rest an old, out-dated theory.” The spin and misinformation are strong in this one! We can hear the condom manufacturers now, talking with the Kinsey folk (who did the study) saying, “Men think condoms cause ED. How can we get something into the press to convince them otherwise?”

Keep in mind that Kinsey’s Herbenick already worked with Trojan to create the illusion that women’s use of vibrators doesn’t cause desensitization during partnered sex…without ever asking her subjects the critical question: Women, Vibrators, and Shaky Sex Research.

Back to the new Kinsey condom study. Here, 18-32% of men who participated and reported condom problems had ED according to the IIEF. But instead of talking about that alarming problem directly, the researchers focus on the fact that it wasn’t the condom. We’ve been telling sexologists that for years. The underlying problem is that young men are wiring their arousal to visuals on screens instead of to real sex (not to mention wiring to watching condomless penises squirting semen). Notice the Kinsey researchers don’t say what’s causing such high rates – because they will never admit it’s the internet porn.

More spin

The first paragraph of the US News report, “noted that prior studies of American men under the age of 40 showed that about 16 percent complained of some sort of occasional difficulty in maintaining an erection.” The study the researchers actually cite, namely the 1999 JAMA cross-section on ED (based on 1992 data, gathered PRE-INTERNET PORN VIDEOS), does not say “16%” of men under 40 had difficulties. In fact, the overall ED rate for all men in the study, ages 18-59, was a mere 5% in those who were sexually active, that is, in potential condom users (and likely lower for those under 40). 

In all men under 40, including the non-sexually active ones, the JAMA study rates were 7% (18-29) and 9% (30-39). It appears that the Kinsey scientists ‘accidentally’ added these rates together in error to create the impression that 16% were reporting ED. This is just plain wrong and very misleading.

Historically, ED rates are higher in those who are not sexually active. However, this new Kinsey study was on sexually active men, so the these all-men rates are not the relevant rates for comparison purposes. The only relevant figure is 5% – and that was for all sexually active subjects in 1992. Again, the rates for younger men had to be even lower, 2-4% according to meta-studies from around 2000.

If anyone else had published this, Kinsey alum Nicole Prause would be screaming for a retraction. Instead her tweet about it is congratulating the Kinsey researchers: “Stephanie strikes with data again!” Yes, Stephanie certainly struck…with misuse of data.

Also note that the Kinsey researchers reported ED rates of “30% in a Swiss sample of men aged 18–25 years,” without pointing out that the Swiss study came out in 2012, well after the advent of streaming internet porn videos. The Swiss study data is 20 years newer than the JAMA study‘s data showing very low rates of ED in sexually active men pre-internet streaming porn.

In short, this study (and apparently its related press release) paints the false picture that ED rates were always high in young men, when they weren’t! This distorts understanding of human sexuality and how it is deteriorating under the influence of chronic overstimulation. See Research confirms sharp rise in youthful ED.

The word for this kind of intentional misinformation is “agnotology”: the deliberate production of misleading misinformation for public consumption.