Erectile dysfunction may seem like a condition reserved solely for pensioners, but it is actually very common among men between the ages of 18 and 25.
Cosmopolitan revealed information from the Sexual Advice Association that an astonishing 75% of British men aged 18-25 have experienced some form of erectile dysfunction. This not-so-coincidentally comes at a time where the availability of online pornography, especially the free stuff, is at its broadest.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan, neuroscientist Dr Nicola Ray says that porn can be like an addictive substance to the brain;
“The thing you’re addicted to takes hold of your neural circuitry and hijacks the pathways related to more natural rewards so that they become unresponsive. So porn becomes the only thing the brain understands in relation to sexual stimulation; basically real sex becomes increasingly less exciting.”
So, in turn, the most effective way to kick the problem is to, well, hold off on the pornography. You can even see your GP about it.
I know, I know. It might seem funny that an eighteen-year-old boy, after grafting all night to pull a girl, can’t get it up once he’s finally got her in his bed. But the reality of the condition can be distressing, especially in relationships.
I spoke to Steph, a 20-year-old student, who split up with her boyfriend a year ago.
Steph states the reason they split after six months together was, basically, because he couldn’t get an erection unless he watched porn first.
“It all started from the very first time we had sex with each other,” she said. “I noticed he wasn’t hard and after a bit of foreplay, he asked if we could watch porn together.”
She did not think much of it at first, she says.
“I genuinely just thought it was something he was into. It didn’t click for a long time that he needed it to get an erection.”
Steph described her ex-boyfriend’s struggle with the condition as ‘emotionally taxing’.
“It made me feel useless, not sexy enough, not good enough. It was awful.”
She claims he did not want any help with his condition.
“I don’t think he really thought it was a problem, since he could still get it up.”
“I would honestly tell absolutely anyone in a relationship who can’t get off without porn to get help for it. It can be seriously hurtful.”
Words by Niamh Duckers