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love-2182061_1920It began when he was advised to use a “little” porn in the bedroom to bring excitement to his sex life. Just the thought of that idea made him interested. But the more he began to view porn, the more obsessed with it he became.

He found himself going to his computer on lunch breaks and winding down his evening with viewing. He started to crave the images and knew this was a problem. He couldn’t generate the same excitement with his partner that he could while masturbating to porn. But he couldn’t stop, even knowing this was beginning to control him. His sex life took a new turn. He found himself in the office of a local urologist complaining of erectile dysfunction. Porn had changed his sex life, but not in the way intended.

Matthew Christman, MD, a urologist at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, California can attest to the changes described above. Dr. Christman and colleague, Dr. Berger, surveyed active duty men and women to see if there was an association between  addiction to pornography and sexual dysfunction. What they found was that the incidence of erectile dysfunction increased in men who preferred intercourse with pornography (31%), and was highest among men who preferred masturbation with pornography (79%).

And Dr. Christman also attests to the reality than mental health clinicians see this correlation of porn and sexual dysfunction in their offices on a regular basis. Once the pornography addiction is treated, the sex life improves and the related erectile dysfunction is no longer present.

The clinical impact of pornography addiction is real. Porn on the brain activates the same circuitry as addictive substances do. And like all addictions, the fall out is destructive. In this case, the addiction can lead to sexual dysfunction.

Porn changes the brain. Viewing porn causes it to rewire and pump out chemicals to form new neural pathways. The more you use that neural pathway, the stronger it becomes. And that pathway is tied to the reward centers of the brain, providing you with pleasure. The pleasure is remembered and craved. But if you stop using porn, the pathway begins to lose traction and the brain can reboot.

So if you want to change your sex life, stop the porn and don’t listen to bad advice that a little porn can be helpful. It’s a bit like saying, “A little cocaine can help!”

Reference: American Urological Association (AUA) 2017 Annual Meeting: Abstracts PD44-11 and PD69-12, Presented in a briefing May 12, 2017.

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