Pornography Can Ruin Your Sex Life

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A couple years ago, I stumbled across some research and articles about the pornography and the negative effects it could be having on men and their sex lives. I found it interesting, but never gave it too much thought after that. Then some time last year I stumbled across this video:

It caught my attention because not only had I struggled with sexual anxiety and had bouts of inability to perform in the past, but being a dating coach, I had talked to a lot of men who struggled with the same issues, men often in their 20′s and 30′s. A recent survey by Esquire showed 43% of men reported difficulty getting or maintaining an erection at least some of the time, with 24% reporting that they had difficulty “more often than I’d like to admit.”

According to the science, porn trains our brains to release more endorphins than is natural in response to an overload of sexual stimuli. After a while, our brains become desensitized and develop a need for higher and higher stimuli in order to reach the same arousal and excitement. Thus begins the spiral into more hardcore porn and higher quantities of it. In some cases, men can develop a psychological addiction to pornography and it can begin to interfere with their sex and social lives. In rare cases it can be debilitating in both.

Chances are you’re not a porn addict, but if you’re a man under the age of 35, I imagine that the abundant access to porn has affected you more than you think. Think back to the first time you watched porn. The mere image of a beautiful naked woman was probably enough for you. But sadly, for many of us, over the years we devolve into darker and more twisted porn habits.

The result is that not only does it limit your ability to become aroused at all, but also can limit your dopamine receptors in general, causing you to become more anxious, less social, and possibly even depressed. Not to mention it completely skews your perception of what beauty is and gives you unreasonable standards for sex with the women you meet. If you’ve ever gotten an otherwise beautiful girl naked in your bed and been unable to ignore the tiny blemishes or asymmetries to the point where you have trouble getting turned on, then you know what I mean.

And worst of all, the younger you were when you began watching porn, the worse the effects generally are.

In my book on attracting women, I shared something I referred to as the “masturbation diet” in my chapter about motivation. It involved eliminating porn and limiting masturbation to 1-2 times per week. The goal of the “diet” was to revitalize and motivate guys who had trouble being motivated enough to pursue women in the face of their anxiety. I had done it on and off in the past whenever I needed a kick in the ass and it worked for me. Often within a week or two. But I had never considered keeping it or making it a permanent habit in my life.

Late last year, the “no more porn” stuff really caught fire on the forum here, and a number of guys (myself included), hopped on the bandwagon in this thread and agreed to not look at porn for 60 days. We all kept logs on the thread and it turned out to be a raging success. Most of us made it through the 60 days unscathed and true believers. Porn had been negatively affecting our sex lives.

For some it was a major shift and very difficult. For others, the changes were minor and simple. For everyone, the consensus seems to be we’re glad we did it. You can read the experiences of others on the thread. Personally, I have been watching porn since I was 13, and had been watching it almost daily for 8-10 years when I began this challenge.

  • I had somewhat intense cravings to watch porn in the first few weeks. The cravings would come and go, often along with my sex drive. Some mood swings. And a few nights where I dreamt about pornography — no, not dreams about having sex, dreams about pornography. Yeah, fucked up.
  • When I did masturbate, I made a point to only fantasize about girls I knew or had met. Other times I did not fantasize at all. I absolutely did NOT fantasize about porn I had seen.
  • My sex drive was very erratic the first few weeks. Some days I would be unbearably horny and then I would be completely disinterested in sex for a few days after that. I didn’t limit my masturbation (some guys chose to do this), so this usually meant that I’d go 4-5 days without masturbating, and then go nuts and do it 3-4 times in the span of 24 hours. Sometimes it felt like I was 16-years-old all over again.
  • At around three or four weeks, my sex drive was high and remained that way. My aggression with girls increased, as well as my confidence being sexual around them. I felt little shame or hesitation pushing things further with them, whereas I may have been in the past.
  • I began to find normal, every day girls to be more beautiful. Minor flaws and blemishes that used to bug me were now endearing and sometimes even sexy. I also noticed that my tastes changed a bit. I began to find the fake-titted, fake blonde, fake tan, tiny skirted, club-type girls less attractive and naturally beautiful girls to be more appealing to me. I started noticing things like skin, lips, eyes and hair more. And although I still love a nice pair of tits and ass, they’re no longer my sole criteria.
  • After one month, it was clear I was having better sex. I was performing better and enjoying it more and wanting it more often.
  • In the second month, I had no temptation and the benefits continued to increase.

It appears my addiction and “reboot” were milder than that of many guys. You can read more about porn withdrawal symptoms here and read about the benefits many men experience after giving up porn for 60 days here.

Relapse and Experimentation

I jokingly call it a “relapse,” but in early-February I was pulling 14-hour work days and not getting out much, so I hit up the good old YouPorn to blow off some… err, steam. Yeah, that’s it, blow off steam.

On my first return to porn post-reboot, a few things had changed:

  1. Porn I used to enjoy now felt excessive, dehumanizing and honestly, not very attractive. There were a few videos I saw where I couldn’t believe I used to watch stuff like that.
  2. I appreciated and was far more turned on by the beauty of each girl and less by them getting fucked or gagging by a giant cock or what have you. The actual sex itself seemed far less exciting than just having a ridiculously hot naked girl on my screen.
  3. I couldn’t help but notice how unhappy and inauthentic the girls in the videos often were. Not to say I haven’t noticed some of the actresses obviously faking their way through a scene in the past, but this was deeper. Like you could tell they just weren’t very happy people and didn’t have much self-respect. I know this both a) sounds weird to be thinking about while getting your fap on, and b) should not surprise anybody. But it actually became so apparent that it was hard for me to stay turned on in some cases.

I watched porn a couple times over the span of maybe three weeks with the above reactions. I noticed no change in my aggression, my sex drive or my comfort around women. A few weeks later, I began dating a girl here in Brazil pretty regularly and for the first time in about a year, I had a regular sexual partner who I saw frequently.

I decided to use the opportunity to test something out: I wanted to see how much porn was too much. I had watched it on a couple isolated occasions and nothing changed. But how much did I have to watch before it began to affect my sex life? My new Brasileira girlfriend offered a perfect control variable. Since I was having sex with her every few days, I could see and feel any changes in my sexual interest or ability to perform with her as soon as they happened.

It took about a week. I maybe masturbated to porn 4-5 times that week. But by the last time, I was back to my old habits of watching hardcore porn and watching 10-15 videos per session, usually skipping straight to the money shots. The second time my girlfriend came over after beginning my escapade, there was a noticeable drop in both my desire and my performance, to the point where I apologized to her for not being able to live up to my standards (no pun intended). The next week, I quit the pornography, and within a week, the old desire and performance came back and is still going strong.

So what does this mean? Is porn the devil? Should you never watch it? Is it ruining your sex life as we speak?

I can only answer for myself. For me, yes, porn had a noticeable impact on my sex life and I’m much better off not watching it. And I know there are a number of guys on the forum who had far more dramatic benefits than I did. I will never go back to watching it regularly. I imagine I will watch it occasionally, most likely when I’m drunk and get home after a night of striking out. But it’s clear that if I watch it on any consistent basis for more than a few days, it negatively affects my sex life. I honestly wish I had stopped watching it years ago, as it would have saved me a lot of struggle for motivation and embarrassment in the bedroom.

I recommend you experiment with quitting altogether as well. Our “No More Porn” thread on on the forum is on-going and everybody is invited to participate. We have some guys in the midst of their 60 day challenges right now who are posting about their progress. I invite you to join in and follow along. If anything, it’s worth the exercise in discipline. At the worst, you go without fap material for two months. At the best, you gain a newfound sexual confidence around women, and increase your performance in bed. Sounds worth it to me.

Also, if you believe you have a severe porn addiction — you watch porn for up to an hour per session, you have trouble getting an erection without porn, or you watch porn which does not match your sexual orientation — then I highly recommend you do a full reboot and read www.yourbrainonporn.com.

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184 Comments

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  • Reply

    amos

    11 weeks ago

    So what’s the best solution to stop watching such movies

  • Reply

    mandee

    10 weeks ago

    Unlike girls in real life,porn is easily available without any bullshit.

  • Reply

    Jake

    8 weeks ago

    What about the case of watching porn but no masturbation involve?

  • Reply

    VOXLEO

    8 weeks ago

    I am wondering if too much video game play can have similar deleterious effects. Maybe it is simply that I find my own partner less attractive since he is something of a poor sport and playing games seems to be bring out the least favorite qualities of his in abundance as he competes online with strangers around the world through the PS3 or PS4. By far the most notable mood swings are presented by the war game simulators like MW:COD3 which he would play at the expense of sleep and sexual intercourse, and after a while, I just quit trying for social intercourse of any kind when he plays that. I go into my own space and watch porn…. *sigh*

  • Reply

    Joe

    6 weeks ago

    This article makes so much sense; at least, to me it does. Before I met my wife, I was watching porn on a regular basis, and for a rather long time. When her and I first started dating, I had a difficult time with sex. My wife is quite attractive and very sweet, I will add. Some days the sex was good, and other days I couldn’t even maintain an erection. My relying on pornography for to help get me off for so many years was severely detrimental to my relationship. At the time, my wife was ready to call it quits with me. We sat down and had a long conversation about the whole issue and were able to work things out. I began cutting porn out of my life, and greatly limiting masturbation. After a month, our sex life had vastly improved. Now, however, my wife is pregnant, and sex with a pregnant woman isn’t always pleasant, for various reasons. My wife told me that she wasn’t too keen on sex while being pregnant, at least for a while. What do you think happened? I started breaking out the porn, and masturbating commenced. Just last week my wife wanted to have sex, and I just wasn’t feeling it. Two days later, the same thing. We got into a fight but later got over it. I’m back to cutting out the porn, again, and things are picking back up. For me, porn has been the worst addiction I ever had, even worse than smoking cigarettes. I don’t think I realized how debilitating it had been until it started affecting my relationship with my wife.

  • Reply

    Silly

    6 weeks ago

    I’ve been noticing how masturbation affects my sex drive.
    The few times when I have stopped masturbating for more that 2 or 3 weeks, I have noticed a complete switch off of sexual drive and desire. This is something that I
    dont want to happen, so I make a point of not letting things get that far. I use porn a lot but also like the author have tried to limit my use of it to just a few times a week.
    On the rare occasions I dont use porn and use my imagination of a real life fantasy perhaps with a girl I have seen, I have noticed the release is way more powerful and mind blowing. I might try switching off the porn for a few weeks to see what happens. It makes me laugh when I read articles saying that men think about sex every 10 minutes or so. This surely depends on when they last had sex. The day after having sex, I am totally not intersted in sex. Go 5 or 6 days without it however and I’m a sex craving maniac. I love this topic :)

  • Reply

    Samantha

    6 weeks ago

    This is a brilliant article which is very close to my heart right now. I recently broke up with my boyfriend because he wanted me to participate in more and more hardcore sexual acts. Porn really is the devil. I wish hardcore sites could be banned, because Men are needing more and more hardcore porn as the softer stuff doesn’t have the same effect. Maybe if sex education was better in schools, men wouldn’t be as addicted to porn.

  • Reply

    ganderson46

    2 months ago

    I have been on porn diets before for up to 60 days, and they have helped me. I believe that porn had adversely affected my sex drive, and contributed to the demise of my marriage of 20 years. The bottom line to me is that porn can be an escape from real relationships with real women, which are far more enriching and rewarding than porn.

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