Takeesha Roland-Jenkins, MS – Brain Blogger http://brainblogger.com Health and Science Blog Covering Brain Topics Wed, 30 May 2018 15:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Excessive Porn Consumption Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction – Myth or Truth? http://brainblogger.com/2017/10/06/excessive-porn-consumption-can-cause-erectile-dysfunction-myth-or-truth/ http://brainblogger.com/2017/10/06/excessive-porn-consumption-can-cause-erectile-dysfunction-myth-or-truth/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:25:49 +0000 http://brainblogger.com/?p=22918 There’s a growing trend of healthy young men using medications like Viagra and Cialis, drugs intended for older men and those with health-related erectile dysfunction (ED).

Many of these young men (unknowingly?) use these drugs to treat a condition that is psychological rather than physiological: porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PEID).

Online social groups and websites such as Your Brain on Porn and Reddit’s “no fap” group (https://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/) were founded to help men with PIED.

At the same time, studies that checked for a connection between watching porn and erectile dysfunction found no evidence associating the two. If that’s the case, what explains the sharp rise in ED cases in young men in recent years?

In 2012, Swiss researchers used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5), finding an ED rate of 30% in a cross-section of Swiss men aged 18 to 24. A 2013 Italian study reported that one in four patients who sought help for new-onset ED were younger than 40, with rates of severe ED nearly 10% higher than in men over 40.

We asked Takeesha Roland-Jenkins (MS in psychology and MS in neurology) a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, to weigh in. Takeesha is an expert in both psychology and neurology, and she has a unique insight into both the psyche and the brain.

In your opinion, can excessive porn consumption really cause a man to experience erectile dysfunction?

Yes, watching hardcore porn excessively, especially pornography with deviant and violent behavior can cause mental changes that may result in erectile dysfunction.

What happens in a man’s brain when he is exposed to extreme sexual stimuli (such as hardcore pornography) and how does this relate to ED?

Hardcore pornography is often graphic and generally displays deviant, violent, and abnormally kinky behavior. This is not typical for the average sexual encounter and it can create unrealistic mental perceptions of how a man should engage in sexual activity. Furthermore, a man may initially get a thrill from watching what he believes is an exotic encounter, but over time excessive porn watching desensitizes men to intense sexual stimuli and even sexual violence which sometimes occurs in the porn that is being viewed, thereby lowering the ability to engage in true intimacy.

Pornography, in general, causes intense mental stimulation that changes the way the brain views sexual activity and sexual violence in pornography exaggerates the alterations in the brain.

This phenomenon is similar to becoming more tolerant to a certain drug after prolonged use; meaning you eventually need higher and higher doses to experience the same feelings of euphoria. Repeatedly watching hard-core porn can have a similar effect on sexual performance. In other words, watching excessive porn changes the way the brain processes sexual arousal and activity, often leading to desensitization that lowers libido and causes psychological erectile dysfunction.

Some say that men who watch too much porn can develop performance anxiety. Why does anxiety affect the ability to get and maintain an erection?

In addition, because a man’s brain has now become accustomed to getting stimulated at the sight of intense pornographic images, an ordinary encounter will cause the man to wonder if he will be able to perform at a similar level (e.g., for extended periods) as what has been observed in a pornographic video. Therefore, the performance anxiety is still related to the changes that occur in the brain and wondering if he can satisfy his partner in the manner that the brain has become used to. In other words, the anxiety is a direct result of worrying about being able to re-enact the sexual scenes in porn; this unrealistic goal can lead to performance anxiety. Subsequently, a man may get an erection, but after beginning to worry about whether he can perform like the actors in porn, the erection may soften or stop altogether.

So, other than performance anxiety, is there another reason why porn could cause men to experience ED?

The changes that occur in the brain’s ability to lead to an erection contributes more to PIED than performance anxiety. Over time the brain needs increasing levels of stimulation from the pornography in order to initiate an erection. Performance anxiety can unfortunately worsen erectile dysfunction.

Does porn-induced erectile dysfunction cure itself if the man stops watching porn?

Discontinuing pornographic viewing does not automatically cure PIED. Furthermore, drugs such as Viagra or Cialis target the physical aspect of erectile dysfunction, not the psychological aspect. This means that a man will become completely dependent upon such drugs until the brain restores its ability to initiate an erection under ordinary sexual circumstances. A healthy relationship (e.g., marriage) with a patient partner can help a man overcome PIED over time.

What form of treatment would you recommend a man who suffers from PIED?

Beneficial treatment would be in the form of individualized therapy, which may vary in time (e.g., weeks, months) depending on the individual and the degree of PIED. As PIED is often the result of an addiction to pornography, this form of treatment should be viewed as the first step to addiction recovery.

The purpose of therapy is to begin to desensitize the brain to the pornographic images and to address some of the reasons that the addiction to porn more than likely started. Men are also encouraged to reconnect intimately with their partners in order to help the brain restore its ability to initiate sexual arousal during ordinary sexual encounters. Overall, a man must be willing to give himself time to gradually overcome PIED.

*Originally published on www.betweenusclinic.com


Prause N and Pfaus J. (2015), Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction. Sexual Medicine, 3: 90–98. doi:10.1002/sm2.58.

Landripet I and Štulhofer A. (2015), Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men?. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12: 1136–1139. doi:10.1111/jsm.12853.

Park BY, Wilson G, Berger J, Berger J, Christman M, Reina B, Bishop F, Klam WP, Doan AP. Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports. Lane SD, ed. Behavioral Sciences. 2016;6(3):17. doi:10.3390/bs6030017.

Image via geralt/Pixabay.

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The Laws of Attraction: A Neurology and Psychology Expert Explains http://brainblogger.com/2017/09/04/the-laws-of-attraction-a-neurology-and-psychology-expert-explains/ http://brainblogger.com/2017/09/04/the-laws-of-attraction-a-neurology-and-psychology-expert-explains/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 15:25:10 +0000 http://brainblogger.com/?p=22849 Have you ever wondered why you could be crazy attracted to some people but not to others even if they are objectively very attractive?

Attraction is a multifaceted part of life that is both simple and complex. Certain aspects, such as becoming instantly attracted to a good-looking person are simple, while other aspects, such as sharing a stimulating conversation or enjoying the same types of interests, are much more complex. Interestingly, taking a closer look at biology provides several answers that can help us better understand the laws of attraction. There are a number of studies that explain how science is strongly related to attraction.

What does science have to say about the laws of attraction?

Clinical research shows that factors such as physical features, natural body scent, and sharing similar traits all help promote attraction. Research specifically shows that people tend to view more attractive (e.g., physically handsome or beautiful) individuals as more sociable, interesting, sensitive, kind, outgoing, and modest [Dion, Wang]. Therefore, physical appearance promotes attraction to a new partner in a lot of cases. However, body language also plays a role in attraction and approachability. One particular study showed that moderately attractive women who displayed bodily gestures such as smiling, flicking the hair, and quick glances to gain attention, were approached more often by potential partners than more attractive women who did not display any of these types of gestures [Moore].

In regards to natural body scent, research shows that women who breathe in a testosterone-like substance in male sweat, called androstadienone, feel more attracted to men they may not have otherwise been attracted to [Saxton]. After breathing in this substance for at least 15 minutes, a woman may feel more aroused, happy, and attentive to the man she is interacting with. This initial level of attraction can help facilitate a deeper conversation and connection that may lead to a new relationship.

In both men and women, pheromones create the body’s natural scent and also stimulate attraction. More specifically, there are genes that produce pheromones that give each individual a special scent. These particular genes also generally encourage individuals who are distinctly different to become attracted to each other’s scent in order to strengthen the DNA of future generations for partners who have children together [Chaix].

Partners who share similar interests experience positive and rewarding interactions that further encourage individuals to want to stay in a relationship [Byrne]. This means that even though factors such as attractiveness, body scent, and body language may stimulate the initial attraction between two people, persistent attraction also involves discovering that you share common interests with your new partner.

How should this come into play when looking for a partner?

Overall, the laws of attraction are a complex science that facilitates a wonderful and often lasting bond between two compatible individuals. For individuals who are ready to start a new relationship, it is important to remember to keep an open mind and try not to focus solely on a person’s physical appearance. There is nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful or handsome partner, but if that is the main factor you focus on when you are trying to meet someone new you may miss an opportunity to build a strong relationship with an extraordinary individual. In addition, presenting a kind, warm, amiable, and easy-going personality to people that you meet, helps potential partners find you more attractive. Research actually shows that having a positive, pleasant personality increases perceived facial attractiveness [Zhang].

Furthermore, if your first impression of someone is not exactly what you expected, consider giving yourself a little more time to get to know the person before you make a relationship decision. Sometimes nervousness can prevent individuals from being themselves, especially during first dates. Lastly, make sure that finding a new partner does not take up all of your private time. Focus on enjoying your favorite activities and spending time with your friends or loved ones. This will help you remain happy, healthy, and ready to meet that special someone.


Byrne, D., & Nelson, D. (1965). Attraction as a linear function of proportion of positive reinforcements. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1(6), 659-663. doi: 10.1037/h0022073.

Chaix R, Cao C, Donnelly P. (2008). Is mate choice in humans MHC-dependent? PLoS Genet, 12;4(9):e1000184. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000184.

Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 24(3), 285-290. doi: 10.1037/h0033731.

Moore MM. Nonverbal courtship patterns in women: Context and consequences. Ethology and Sociobiology. 1985;6(4):237-247. doi: 10.1016/0162-3095(85)90016-0.

Saxton TK, Lyndon A, Little AC, Roberts SC. (2008). Evidence that androstadienone, a putative human chemosignal, modulates women’s attributions of men’s attractiveness. Horm Behav, 54(5):597-601. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2008.06.001.

Wang J, Xia T, Xu L, Ru T, Mo C, Wang TT, Mo L. (2015). What is beautiful brings out what is good in you: The effect of facial attractiveness on individuals’ honesty. Int J Psychol. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12218.

Zhang Y, Kong F, Zhong Y, Kou H. (2014). Personality manipulations: Do they modulate facial attractiveness ratings? Personality and Individual Differences, 70:80-84. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.033.

Image via StockSnap/Pixabay.

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