The topic of pornography can be a polarising one, particularly from a relationship perspective. Over the years and as the internet has come increasingly to the fore, porn has become more accessible and more affordable, as well as more commonly used.

It has been associated with negative outcomes such as delayed ejaculation, greater acceptance of sexual aggression and negative body image… but it has also been linked with more positive outcomes, as well, including providing sex education and helping address issues associated with sexual dysfunction, PsyPost reports.

And it is sexual dysfunction that has been the focus of a new study, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, suggesting that the use of pornography doesn’t predicate problems with sexual satisfaction or erectile functioning.

Previous research has been conducted in the past, suggesting that pornography does in fact cause erectile dysfunction, but this study is exploring this issue once again because of methodological flaws in this previous body of work.

The results from this study of 3,586 participants revealed that risk factors of increased likelihood of erectile dysfunction included age, medical issues, anxiety, depression, decreased sexual and relationship satisfaction, lower importance of sex and less frequent sex. Erectile functioning problems were a predictor of decreased satisfaction.

The conclusion was drawn that: “This study [reiterates] the relevance of long-known risk factors such as age, anxiety and relationship satisfaction for understanding impaired erectile functioning during partnered sex, but they do not support the notion that pornography use is widely associated with poorer erectile functioning or increased erectile dysfunction severity during partnered sex.”

It was noted, however, that the frequency of masturbation does have a weak but discernable effect on erectile functioning during partnered sex. While further study will be necessary, relying on porn heavily and masturbating frequently may be a risk factor for poor relationship satisfaction and/or diminished sexual performance in some men.

Erectile dysfunction is characterised by the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to enjoy a satisfying sexual experience. It is a very common condition and millions of men suffer from it, with 25 per cent of cases manifesting in men under the age of 40.

It’s not necessarily a cause for serious medical concern, but it can be very difficult and distressing to experience the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and it can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being, as well as cause problems in your personal relationships.

Finding out what the root cause of the problem is will help you work out which course of treatment is best. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and following a healthy well-balanced diet can reduce the risk, but therapy and counselling can also prove beneficial.
In the meantime, medication like Viagra tablets can help address the immediate symptoms, a medication that has been used to treat erectile dysfunction for over 20 years.