The Limp Truth about Porn

Time Magazine porn coverThe most recent cover of Time Magazine had just one caption:

“Why young men who grew up with Internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off.”

The cover article was titled, Porn and the Threat to Virility (subscription required). The point was simple. Young men who regularly visit porn, are struggling to perform sexually in real life.

The research is fairly new… at least since high speed Internet has become commonplace. I cited similar studies in my chapters on porn in More Than Just the Talk (for parents) and Sex Matters (for young people). Guys are spending more time watching porn than ever before because it’s more readily available. The more they watch, the more the “same ol’ thing” just isn’t stimulating. So they pursue more extreme material. Pretty soon, this porn addict is used to piles of perfect looking women doing everything imaginable… and their real life sex partner isn’t enough to get the blood flowing… literally.

Many experts are calling it an addiction. Philip Zimbardo, emeritus professor of psychology at Stanford University says, “Porn embeds you in what I call present hedonistic time zone. You seek pleasure and novelty and live for the moment.” He explains that while porn isn’t chemically addictive, it has the same effect on behavior as a drug addiction does: some people stop doing much else in favor of pursuing it.

Sadly, this addiction has consequences. The more they watch… the more difficult it is to perform sexually in real life.

The Time article cited some notable studies revealing correlation between regular porn exposure and ED (erectile dysfunction). As porn is becoming more prominent, more men are experiencing ED:

  • One independent web-tracking co. tracked 58 million monthly U.S. visitors to adult sites in Feb. 2006
  • In 2015, just 10 years later, the number was up to 107 million.
  • A study in the Journal of Sex Research puts first exposure for boys at on average 12 years old.
  • In 1992 only about 5% of men experience ED at age 40 (according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health—NIH).
  • A study in July 2013 by Journal of Sexual Medicine discovered that 26% of men seeking help for ED were under 40.
  • In 2014 a study of US military personnel younger than 40 found that 1/3 were reporting ED.
  • A 2012 study out of Switzerland found the condition among 1/3 of men between the ages of 18 to 25.

In short: more young men can’t get it up now.

Why? Fast food? Country Music? The Kardashions? (Okay… maybe that last one isn’t too far off.)

The article interviews the founder of Internet sites like NoFap.com and Reboot Nation, helping men struggling with sexual dysfunction. NoFap has 200,000 members and draws a million visitors each month. Reboot Nation provides advice and support for young people who believe they’re addicted to pornography, have sexual dysfunctions and want to quit.

“The reason I quit porn was to have more sex,” says Gabe Deem, 28-year-old founder of Reboot Nation.

One online commenter on these sites said, “I just want to enjoy sex again and feel the desire for another person.”

The other prominent problem with porn is how degrading it is to women and how it normalizes sexual violence. Time backs up that latter fact with shocking numbers:

“In a study of behaviors in popular porn, nearly 90% of 304 random scenes contained physical aggression toward women, who nearly always responded neutrally or with pleasure. More insidiously, women would sometimes beg their partners to stop, then acquiesce and begin to enjoy the activity, regardless of how painful or debasing.”

Let that sink in for a moment. What is this teaching young men?

“I know she wants it!”

Does she?

Martin Daubney in his article, Porn is boring and mentally damaging. No wonder we’re turned off, reveals that girls are stressed out by porn because their partners expect perfection. As a result, they aren’t enjoying sex. Females tell him, “I think he wants porn sex, which I don’t particularly enjoy, but I go along with it.”

The question is… how many young people are really hearing this information?

How many teenagers have picked up that Time magazine article or books like Sex Matters and asked, “Is this true?”

Barna’s new study on porn reveals a growth in moral ambiguity about porn. Only half of adults and a third of teens think porn is wrong. Most are neutral, accepting or even encouraging it. They don’t see the long-term effect.

Isn’t that just like us?

The quick thrill wins over what we know is good for us in the long run.

Reboot Nation’s Gabe Deem wrapped up my thoughts on the matter well:

“I would tell my son, I’ll be straight up with you, all superstimulating things, like Internet porn, junk food and drugs, can be fun and pleasurable, temporarily. However, they also have the potential to desensitize you to normal, natural things and ultimately rob you of the one thing you thought they would give you, the ability to experience pleasure.”

MORE ON THIS SUBJECT:

Jonathan’s youth ministry SEX TALK

Jonathan’s book about sex to PARENTS

Jonathan’s book about sex to YOUNG PEOPLE

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to The Limp Truth about Porn

  1. Rick says:

    This article is timely. As you know, I’m in the middle of a teaching series on relationships and everything that comes with that. I’ll be sharing some of this with my group this coming weekend.
    Thanks for being a continued resource!

  2. Don Erehart says:

    I would set up a once a month date with each of my children starting when they began school and make scripture and prayer together part of that date so that by the time they were in high school it would be expected that our time together was a given. When I tried to start during their high school years it was really tough to break into their crazy schedules and routines to get time together – it wasn’t expected because the habit had not been started when they were earlier!