Some of you might have started the 90- Day Challenge to overcome issues with sexual dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is one of the worst fallouts of the compulsive use of porn. Quitting porn for 90-days does help to recover from it, but there’s no guarantee that after the challenge the problem will go away.
Erectile Dysfunction or ED depends on a lot of different factors.
Let’s first understand how an erection occurs and then the causes for Erectile Dysfunction
How does an erection occur?
An erection for penis owners is a complex process involving the brain, muscles, nerves, hormones, and blood vessels. During sexual arousal, blood flows into the penis, filling the tissues and stiffening the muscles, causing an erection.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
ED or Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to hold an erection during sex or other sexual activities for longer periods of time. This may affect one’s sex life and eventually cast a shadow on other aspects.
These are some of the common symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced libido/sexual desire
An ED may occur if the blood flow to the penis has been hindered or it could be more related to stress or other factors which we will discuss next.
Now what are the possible reasons/causes for ED
- Body image issues or sexual anxiety
- Relationship problems
- Early signs of heart diseases
- Neurological injuries are often the result of diabetes
- Problems with holding an erection could be related to stress.
- High blood pressure
- Spinal cord injury
- Surgical nerve injury
- Prostatitis and other prostate-related symptoms
If quitting porn has not led to your recovery from ED, the above reasons may be linked, please visit a urologist.
The Rise of Pornography and its Link with the Rise of Sexual Dysfunction
Until the last decade, the incidence of ED in sexually active men under the age of 40 was low. A large cross-sectional study in 1999 reported that 5% of sexually active men aged 18-59 years had erectile dysfunction and 5% had low sexual desire. (Is Internet Pornography Causing Sexual Dysfunctions? A Review with Clinical Reports)
This data was collected before online “porn sites” gained widespread access to sexually explicit videos without the need to download them. The first of these “tube pages” appeared in September 2006.
In contrast, recent studies on ED and low sexual desire show that a sharp increase in the occurrence of such dysfunctions was found in men under 40.
Based on the results of the historical studies cited above, older men are expected to have a much higher ED rate than the negligible rate of young men. But in just 10 years, things have changed radically.
In Europe from 2001 to 2002, the percentage of older men aged 40 to 80 was about 13%. By 2011, ED rates ranged from 14% to 28% among young Europeans aged 18-40. This shows that there is a significant rise in EDs among young men which before the age of porn was not to be seen.
This comes as quite a shock to most people. This indicates a potential link between watching pornography and erectile dysfunction.
Pornography and the Human Brain
Sex involves physical activity, but sexual arousal begins in the brain. In response to sexual stimulation, the brain must first release signals to cause an erection.
Researchers hypothesized that increased exposure to pornography would make people less responsive to sexual stimulation that may be to both virtual and real-life stimulation. This phenomenon is known as desensitization.
A numbed pleasure response is one of the many brain changes induced by watching porn excessively. The brain has been overstimulated countless times which can cause this lack of responsiveness.
In many cases, long-term porn use can lead to a state where the user does not feel the same excitement they once used to. Research indicates that desensitization could be the result of the reduction of the dopamine receptor. Dopamine is rewarded to give chemical substances, joy, and rewards present in our body.
Another study found that people who have watched pornography for years have less gray matter in the part of the brain that is associated with reward sensitivity. According to this theory, people who watch a lot of pornography are not sexually aroused by actual sexual encounters, which can lead to ED.
According to another study, men who use pornography may prefer masturbation when using pornography rather than wanting to have sex with their partner. Unrealistic portrayals of the male body and its abilities in pornography can contribute to performance anxiety and physical anxiety, which can make it difficult for a person to maintain an erection.
How can we define Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED)?
Porn-induced erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which a person is unable to maintain an erection during sexual activity due to excessive exposure to pornography.
Let’s discuss why some people have chosen the challenge as a solution to their sexual dysfunction.
The Benefits of the 90 Day-challenge
Many people might have started off the 90-Day Challenge for its benefits or for its supposed “superpowers”. Is it worth waiting 90 days for the benefits to kick in? Yes, it is!
Here are some of the benefits that people have experienced after the 90-Day Challenge:
- A sense of meaninglessness and emptiness completely disappears.
Before NoPMO, watching porn excessively can make people feel empty every moment. It didn’t matter, nothing at all can seem to matter. They may feel like they continue on for no purpose.
The benefits of meditation cannot be seen unless it is accompanied by NoPMO. After doing the 90 Day Challenge, you didn’t get feel empty or meaningless.
A meditative state can be reached, i.e., it gets easier to get into meditation. You start to find meaning in everything, even in the very little things.
- More sincere to people
People who have taken part in the 90-Day challenge note that after going NoPMO, they feel more ready to socialize. They are able to talk and connect in ways they weren’t able to before. It was noted that several individuals felt more in tune with their own emotions and others around them. Their interactions with the people around them were more sincere.
The body reaches a higher state. You feel your body and mind are very disciplined (an inner discipline) and that impulses and desires cannot take over your will.
This may be hard to accept for some of you but the challenge only shows its truest benefits when you quit these things in the process:
- Cutting down on social media use
- Eating junk food
- Increased Drive
You feel like you have more energy, more energy in all areas. This also includes a renewed interest in life. Before the challenge your enthusiasm for life might be on the lower side. But now you may have found a purpose in life (rediscovery).
- Sharp Attention
Your attention may feel extremely sensitive even heightened and many may even say that you are now a keen listener. People may feel that you listen attentively and they need to choose their words wisely. For you, conversations may rarely become boring and you don’t get easily distracted while talking to someone.
- Falling in Love
For years, you must have felt like you couldn’t feel the spark of love. But after the 90-Day Challenge, you might feel the sparks flying again. You start to feel like an innocent child, an innocence that cannot be contaminated.
But it is important that you stay careful and stick to your goals, falling down the dark pit of pornography may take away this feeling of love and innocence.
- Recovery from Erectile Dysfunction
ED that may be induced by pornography can be easily reversed. You can do this by quitting porn. But alongside, it is important to go to therapy and monitor your thoughts. You need to be able to balance thoughts about yourself, your relationships and performance anxiety.
You learn to embrace yourself and work on the parts where you might need a little improvement. Going to therapy can be an excellent option to work through these difficulties.
How to deal with the erection problem even after 90 Days of the challenge?
If you have porn-induced ED, the best remedy is to take a break from watching porn. Symptoms may disappear after only 3 weeks of pornographic abstinence.
However, some people need guidance on how to overcome porn-induced ED. If you continue to have symptoms after you stop watching pornography, it is advisable to consult a sexologist or counselor.
Other treatments for erectile dysfunction include lifestyle changes such as:
- Increase exercise- Exercise is number one out of all the healthy practices. Exercising has been linked with several health benefits like elevated moods, increased gut health and physical activity also helps control blood sugar levels and lowers your risk of heart disease and nerve damage. Caution- If you have a heart condition you should only exercise after consulting your doctor.
- Quit smoking
- Healthy eating
This is an important step to take as a healthy lifestyle can actually help with erectile dysfunction. The general state of your health, how fit you are, and how efficiently your heart works are important factors to consider if you are facing symptoms of ED even after quitting porn.
Let’s take the example of someone who’s moderately active but tending towards the lower activity level side. This person has something like the Standard American Diet as the daily go-to. This person is likely to have erectile dysfunction even after the 90 days are over.
Key differentiators are the hormones testosterone, and then dopamine. Without about 300 ng/dL, which is nanograms per deciliter of blood in the person’s body, erectile dysfunction will continue to be an issue.
If yours is above this level, which will likely be the case after completing the 90-day challenge. Then your erectile dysfunction issue won’t cause further problems. It is advised to meet a doctor in such a condition.
But if that’s not the case, and your testosterone levels hover around the lower side, then the problem will persist. Also, there won’t be much if at all, of a linear relationship between the number of days before the erection problems go away.
If you’ve been facing that, then patience and practice of good habits will make that process quicker. In case the problem doesn’t go away at all, then that’s the time when you should go to a urologist.
How does health relate to curing ED?
As long as you’re not interacting with porn in any way, and trying to have a healthy sexual relationship with your partner if you have one. Then you’re taking steps in the right direction, to allow your body and mind to recover. Continuing this, you’ll find that your erectile dysfunction problem will go away.
This is the reason why we recommended you have sex if you have the urge to. But steer clear of off masturbation, especially anything that involves porn. Your patience will see you through this as you work to recover from this problem.
Some other reasons for which you might continue to face the erection problem will be extreme lack of cardio-vascular exercise and lack of muscle strength. You might think that this is all well and good, but what can these have to do with erection problems from porn.
Well, the truth is that your cardiovascular health and your physical strength are direct indicators of your hormonal health. If you lack these two, then erection problems would have come your way sooner or later.
Your porn habit just played its part to speed things up.
Remember, how we recommended you to get serious about your physical health. This is another reason why we mentioned that. This is similar to your body’s immunity to fight of harmful pathogens, which is proving to be really important in the pandemic era.
So, in summary, if you’re healthy already, then seeing signs of recovery from erection problems will be a lot simpler. Otherwise, if the problems are still there, then this will be high time for you to become a lot healthier and fitter version of yourself.