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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 21.3 > How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood

How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood

FINDING A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK WOULD BE EASIER than finding an adolescent male who hasn’t seen online porn. Surveys indicate the average boy watches roughly two hours of porn every week with porn viewing becoming common by age 15.1

The most popular porn site—PornHub—reported that the average Millennial porn session lasts 9 minutes,2 while the average age young people have sex for the first time is 17 years old.3 This means the average boy has had about 1,400 porn sessions prior to having real life sex. So why aren’t more people asking what kind of effects porn is having on these young viewers?

Almost all people can recall the first erotic image they saw; like a flashbulb memory it is forever emblazoned in our minds. There appears to be a special window of time when visual sexual interests form most readily: adolescence.4 When this critical period gets hijacked by watching copious amounts of online porn,5 it seems some men can suffer from what one Italian urology survey called “sexual anorexia,” or difficulty having sex with a real partner.6 Many of the young Italians in the 28,000-person survey started “excessive consumption” of porn sites as early as 14 years old and later, when in their mid-20s, they became inured to “even the most violent images.” Professor Carlo Foresta, head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS), explained that the problem worsens when young men’s sexuality develops independently from real life sexual relationships. First, he said, viewers become less responsive to porn sites, then their libido drops, and finally it becomes difficult to get an erection.

In a 2014 study, Dr. Foresta found that 16 percent of high school seniors who used online porn more than once a week reported abnormally low sexual desire, while none of those who didn’t use it reported abnormally low sexual desire.7 Could the advent of high speed Internet porn, especially porn-tube sites at the end of 2006, explain the tremendous increase in erectile dysfunction (ED) and low sexual desire in men under 40? Studies published in the last 6 years report erectile dysfunction rates ranging from 27 to 33 percent, while rates for low libido (hypo-sexuality) ranged from 16 to 37 percent. The lower ranges are taken from studies involving teens and men 25 and under, while the higher ranges are from studies involving men 40 and under.8 Traditionally, ED rates have been negligible in young men, usually around 2 to 3 percent.9

In the first comprehensive study of male sexual behavior in the US, which was conducted by Alfred Kinsey in 1948 and published in the book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, just 1 percent of men under 30 years old and 3 percent of men between 30 and 45 years old, reported impotence.10 What variable has changed in this time that could possible explain a 1000 percent increase in youthful ED? Unlimited access to high-speed, streaming Internet porn.

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About Skeptic

INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY SPECIAL SECTION: IS PORNOGRAPHY BAD FOR YOU?; How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood; Skeptical of Porn Skeptics; Hazards of Herbal Medicine: Lessons from Aristolochia; What is Sexual Orientation?; Did a Teenager Discover an Ancient Mayan City on Google Earth?; Paleo Diets and Utopian Dreams; Does AA Work? Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs, and What We Really Know About Substance Abuse Treatment; The Clash of Eschatologies: The Role of End-Times Thinking in World History; Nightmares from the Id: The Neurophysiology of Anomalous Psychological Experiences; Terror Attacks that Never Were; Electromagnetic Fields and Parental Panics: A Case Study in How Science Can Bring Comfort; REVIEWS: Who Invented Science?; Science and the Creation of the Modern Mind; Heaven Is Not For Real; When Scientific American Put Psychics to the Test; JUNIOR SKEPTIC: MammothMysteries! Part One. The Hidden History of Mammoths and Mastodons
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