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Can having unlimited access to porn negatively affect you?




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Smartphones, tablets and televisions with internet access give us the ability to obtain any kind of information we seek almost instantaneously, but they also place a winding rabbit hole of content at our fingertips.

That includes a wide breadth of sites sharing pornography, which some men report has negatively affected their body and relationships. 

Belinda Luscombe, editor-at-large at Time, recently published “Porn and the Threat to Virility,” and she tells Take Two about a man named Noah who discovered porn online at 9 years old. By age 15, he was watching it almost constantly. When he was a senior in high school and had a girlfriend, he discovered he was unable to perform sexually when a person was directly in front of him.

“He at first thought it was nerves, but it continued for six years,” Luscombe said. “He came to believe that he had what’s called, “porn-induced erectile dysfunction,” which means that he’s watched so much pornography from a very young, and sort of impressionable age that his body responds to pornography rather than to real people.” 

While she said that “P.I.E.D.” is not a medically recognized condition, she said a large quantity of men report the same problem, and once they stop watching porn their functionality returns. She said there’s now a movement online of men advocating for others to “quit porn.” 

Luscombe also shared some other insights into how porn is impacting people.

On sex education: 

Often there’s a bit of a vacuum around sex ed, and so porn becomes this default form of sex ed because the kids are seeing it. They’re seeing it on the internet. They’re seeing it a lot. They often can come to believe that the way porn stars do sex, is the way that regular people do sex. 

Did you come across the effect porn has on women? 

I think it does affect women. Women are much less likely to watch porn. They are again, more unlikely to get “addicted” to porn — to find that they watch it all the time, although that does happen. The effect on women seems to be that guys expect a different sort of behavior in the bedroom.

Should parents be thinking about talking to their kids about porn even in their teens to let them know what to expect if they run into this? 

The young men who had these issues really urge parents to talk to their kids, and I think it would be wise too.