Pornography Can Cause Impotence, Study Says

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

Pornography Can Cause Impotence, Study Says

The science behind porn-induced erectile dysfunction.

Thanks to the Internet, free pornography can be accessed 24/7. With an estimated 40 million Americans visiting adult themed websites regularly, porn addiction poses serious dangers.

A new German study highlights those dangers, showing men who watch a lot of pornography tend to have less volume and brain activity in areas linked to reward and motivation. Many of those men also experience sexual impotence.

What is Porn Addiction?

Pornography addiction is characterized by the compulsive and repeated use of pornographic material, causing negative consequences to the viewer’s physical, mental, social and/or financial wellbeing. So, when does “regular” use of porn escalate to a full-blown addiction? Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling powerless to resist the urge to view porn
  • Spending more time/money on porn than initially intended
  • Inability to limit/stop viewing porn

Porn Addiction Leads to Brain Changes and Impotence

A new German study in JAMA Psychiatry found men who watch an excessive amount of pornography tend to have less volume and brain activity in regions linked to reward and motivation. Their data also showed porn addiction weakened the area of the brain associated with behavior and decision making.

“We found that the volume of the so-called striatum, a brain region that has been associated with reward processing and motivated behavior was smaller the more pornography consumption the participants reported,” said Simone Kühn, the study’s lead author.

One of the most disturbing effects of porn addiction is porn-induced erectile dysfunction, or PIED. This form of erectile dysfunction prevents men from engaging in ordinary sexual relations.

As men continually watch porn to feel stimulated, their ability to become naturally stimulated is severely hampered. One of the most disturbing effects of porn addiction is porn-induced erectile dysfunction, or PIED. This form of erectile dysfunction prevents men from engaging in ordinary sexual relations. An Italian study revealed up to 70 percent of young men with erectile dysfunction began habitually watching porn in their mid-teens.

Relationship Issues

A study conducted for a UK television series, Campaign for Real Sex, Porn on the Brain, researched the effects of porn among young men. Many had lost jobs, suffered breakups, and racked up serious debt thanks to porn use. Eight percent of participants felt they could not stop watching porn, while 10 percent admitted the sexual content they watch has become more extreme.

Women Addicted to Porn

Men are not alone in their addiction to porn. An increasing number of women are becoming hooked on online adult content. According to data gathered by Brigham Young University’s Women’s Services and Resources:

  • Of those addicted to porn, 17 percent are women
  • 1 out of every 3 adult website visitors are women
  • 9.4 million women access adult websites each month


If you or someone you know is struggling with pornography addiction, consider looking for porn addiction treatment options in your area.

2 minute read 

Addiction can cost up to $200 per day.

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