from the world's big
While this has been a popular debate, the evidence suggests there isn't a strong link between pornography use and erectile dysfunction (ED).
- According to UW Health, around 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction. That number increases to about 15 percent by age 70.
- While there are many things that can cause or contribute to ED (such as high blood pressure, smoking, the use of drugs or alcohol, depression, and anxiety), there has been wide debate over the impacts of pornography use.
- Several studies outlined in this article look at the supposed link between ED and pornography use.
Can pornography really cause erectile dysfunction?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUyMjIxMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODc3NDE0MH0.YIoVjpvc1V2X6viFQ0q62Bfr37dzWZGDb_JdfzpOlv8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C104&height=700" id="aeea4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cbb4798850bfefec88f62c3538741ba0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="naked man hiding behind a pillow" />
Is there really any evidence proving porn causes ED?
Photo by PrinceOfLove on Shutterstock<p>Over the years, there have been multiple studies with conflicting results when it comes to this controversial question.</p><p><strong>A 2012 study links porn and erectile dysfunction in men ages 20-40 but says it is only "one piece of the puzzle."</strong></p><p>According to a <a href="https://www.webmd.com/sex/news/20170512/study-sees-link-between-porn-and-sexual-dysfunction#1" target="_blank">HealthDay News study</a>, porn-addicted men are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and are less likely to be satisfied with sexual intercourse. This was determined based on a survey of 312 men between the ages of 20-40. Of men surveyed, 3.4 percent said they preferred masturbating to pornography over sexual intercourse, but the researchers found a statistical relationship between porn addiction and sexual dysfunction.</p><p>According to lead researcher Dr. Matthew Christman (staff urologist with the Naval Medical Center in San Diego), the rates of organic causes of ED in this age cohort are extremely low, so the increase in erectile dysfunction needs to be explained. "We believe that pornography may be one piece to that puzzle. Our data does not suggest it is the only explanation, however."</p><p><strong>A 2016 study has also been cited as proof that pornography use causes ED, however the study itself explains that more research is needed to prove this theory.</strong> </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039517/#B9-behavsci-06-00017" target="_blank">According to this study</a>, 1 in 4 participants who sought help for new-onset ED were younger than 40, which was highly unusual. The conclusion of this study was that traditional factors that once explained sexual difficulties in men appear insufficient to account for the sharp rise in sexual dysfunctions and low sexual desire in these men."Both the literature and our clinical reports underscore the need for extensive investigation of Internet pornography's potential effects on users, ideally by having subjects remove the variable of internet pornography in order to demonstrate potential effects of behavioral modification," the authors wrote.</p><p><strong>An Italian study suggests men could suffer from "sexual anorexia" after pornography use. </strong></p><p>A survey of 28,000 users suggests many Italian males started an "excessive consumption" of porn sites as early as 14 years of age. The study uses the term "sexual anorexia," which is referred to in this case as a pathological loss of appetite for romantic-sexual interactions. </p><p>This particular study has been cited in multiple articles that claim ED is directly linked to pornography use. However, the study, listed in ANSA, outlines "daily use" for people in their early-mid 20s, and how individuals <em>may </em>become "inured to even the most violent images" in porn. </p><p>"It starts with lower reactions to porn sites, then there is a general drop in libido and in the end it becomes impossible to get an erection," <a href="https://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2011/02/24/visualizza_new.html_1583160579.html" target="_blank">explains Carlo Foresta</a>, head of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine (SIAMS). </p><p><strong>A 2019 study that analyzed porn watching and ED risk suggested there isn't likely to be a link. </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.seksuologen-vlaanderen.be/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Grubbs-Gola-2019-J-SEX-MED-no-causal-link-pornography-and-ED-2.pdf" target="_blank">According to this study</a>, which sampled 877 American men between the ages of 18-60, porn-watching and ED were not likely to be linked. While it was true that some porn-watching men in the study did report ED, researchers found "very little evidence that mere pornography use is associated with changes in erection function."</p><p><strong>While porn may have some impact on ED, that impact isn't always negative.</strong></p><p>"ED is a biopsychosocial phenomenon, meaning there are many factors that can contribute to it," Christene Lorenzo, a therapist specializing in sexual health and relationships, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/experts-debunk-new-survey-claiming-watching-adult-videos-causes-ed#What-sexual-health-experts-think" target="_blank">explains to HealthLine</a>. </p><p>There are many possible physiological, psychological, and relationship factors that impact ED that most surveys arguing the impacts of pornography of erectile function don't take into account. <span></span></p><p>Additionally, while porn-induced erectile dysfunction is possible, porn may also actually help with ED in some cases. Erectile dysfunction is a complex health issue that has both physical and mental health components, according to <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317117" target="_blank">Medical News Today</a>. </p><p>"A <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/sm2.58" target="_blank" style="">2015 study</a> found that men who reported more time spent viewing pornography had greater sexual responsiveness to a partner in a laboratory setting. This suggests that pornography might help prime the brain or body for sex, potentially improving intercourse with a partner." </p>
There are many reasons why this could be true.
- A new study explains the differences in libido and sexual satisfaction between vegetarians and meat-eaters, with vegetarians coming out on top.
- According to this survey, 57 percent of vegetarians claim to have sex 3-4 times per week compared to 49 percent of meat-eaters. Also, 58 percent of vegetarians (compared to 35 percent of meat-eaters) claim to be "givers" rather than "takers" in the bedroom.
- There are many reasons why vegetarians may be having better sex, from a healthier, easier-to-digest diet, to actually appearing physically more attractive due to the benefits of the vitamins in their food.
Vegetarians really could be having better sex...and here's why<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwMDgyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjIyMTI0M30.umHTs11jjuHgg63IR_8BK7gyvDk_oPIoxF2TO0eUDD4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C79%2C0%2C79&height=700" id="9f258" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="16a2a3ae512b5e421a94d33f8972d5ec" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="illustration of burger fighting broccoli" />
There are many reasons why vegetarians may be having more satisfying sex...
Image by svtdesign on Shutterstock<p><strong>Vegetarian or vegan diets can promote optimal body function</strong></p><p><em></em>"Never underestimate the power of a plant-based diet," writes Delfina Ure in <a href="https://www.muscleandfitness.com/features/active-lifestyle/7-reasons-why-vegetarians-are-better-sex/" target="_blank">Muscle and Fitness</a>. "Every plant, seed, herb, nut, and fruit has a powerful chemical makeup and nutrient profile that promotes optimal body function for a healthy libido…" </p><p>Along with packing a punch with nutrients, eating less meat may also mean you have more energy to burn doing other things (like having sex). "Vegetarians have the one up on digestion with plants being easier on the body than a flank of meat," that same article explains. Plants tend to be easier to break down into nutrients which can give your body a quick energy boost without a heavy feeling. </p><p><strong>Erectile dysfunction may be more common in meat-eaters </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.muscleandfitness.com/features/active-lifestyle/7-reasons-why-vegetarians-are-better-sex/" target="_blank">Studies show around 75 percent</a> of men who suffer from heart disease also suffer from erectile dysfunction. And <a href="https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/does-eating-meat-really-cause-impotence/#:~:text=Medical%20evidence%20indicates%20that%20meat,disease%2C%20cancer%2C%20and%20stroke." target="_blank">medical evidence indicates</a> meat-eating can cause impotence because the meat clogs up the arteries going to all the organs, not just the heart. </p><p><strong>Diet and digestion can interrupt sleep, which can impact your sex life </strong></p><p>A good night's sleep naturally regulates athletic performance, according to <a href="https://www.muscleandfitness.com/features/active-lifestyle/7-reasons-why-vegetarians-are-better-sex/" target="_blank">Muscle and Fitness</a>. Not only that, but sleep can impact hormone production, mood regulation, memory, and mental functions, and all of those can impact your sex drive. According to research, 1 in 3 Americans struggle with a sleep disorder and among those, the biggest culprit is diet and digestion.</p><p>"If you're a heavy meat-eater overloading your body with protein you can't break down, toxins you're not removing and nutrients your body can't get to, over time your body's natural biorhythms will pay the toll…" </p><p><strong>Vegetarians may be "more attractive"</strong></p><p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16891352/" target="_blank">According to a 2006 study</a> from Charles University (in the Czech Republic), women may prefer the scent of a man who is vegetarian over the scent of a man who is a meat-eater. This makes sense, considering unprocessed toxins from meat can be released into the bloodstream and large intestines, and then get pushed out of the pores of the skin, causing meat-eaters to have a harsher body odor than vegetarians or those on a plant-based diet. </p><p>Someone on a vegetarian or vegan diet may also have better skin. Typical vegetarian diets consist of a lot of vitamins A and C, chlorophyll, and other vitamins/antioxidants that naturally work to clean, detox and revitalize the body (including our skin). </p>
This is what happens when the fringe becomes mainstream.
- New research finds that YouTube is the worst disseminator of coronavirus misinformation.
- People that rely on social media for their news are more likely to believe coronavirus conspiracy beliefs.
- With only 50 percent of Americans willing to get a vaccination, conspiracy theories are fueling a public health crisis.
Coronavirus: Conspiracy Theories: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5188224279cc959c6a112713437d500"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0b_eHBZLM6U?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Allington's team used data collected from partnerships with CitizenMe (Study 1) and Ipsos-MORI (Studies 2 and 3). In the first study, respondents had to identify the truth behind three conspiracy beliefs:</p><ul><li>The virus that causes COVID-19 was probably created in a laboratory</li><li>The symptoms of COVID-19 seem to be connected to 5G mobile network radiation</li><li>The COVID-19 pandemic was planned by certain pharmaceutical corporations and government agencies</li></ul><p>Among their findings, younger people tend to buy into one or more conspiracy belief, while older respondents are more likely to engage in protective behaviors. Women listen to public health guidance more than men, though there is no gender distinction in those that believe in conspiracy theories. </p><p>Study 2 also asked about the possibility of the novel coronavirus being created in a laboratory, while Study 3 looked more deeply into the respondents' usage of social media. In each case, the results were clear: people that rely on social media for news are more likely to peddle in conspiracy theories. </p><p>YouTube appears to be the most problematic source of misinformation. Slickly produced shows, such as London Real, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2y5v6vJCso" target="_blank">feature</a> prominent anti-vaxxers like Del Bigtree. The anti-vaxx propaganda film, "<a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/the-plandemic" target="_self">Plandemic</a>," was viewed over eight million times on YouTube before it was removed; the producer, Mikki Willis, is <a href="https://www.facebook.com/mikki.willis/posts/2875973472513592" target="_blank">using this spotlight</a> to raise funds for Part 2. These are only two examples in a deluge of anti-vaxx videos driving a dangerous narrative. </p><p>The danger is especially prevalent as a coronavirus vaccine becomes a possibility. Oxford University researchers have <a href="https://apnews.com/fdd8be1fafa10b71d4de0dabbcd74bdf?fbclid=IwAR1djL-pXBBxsImTlYIwnlYvJG2lHvtMVAZCfojI1MS_iVZFwNj-IAnypnI" target="_blank">just discovered</a> a strong candidate. Still, a June poll found that <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/just-50-americans-plan-get-covid-19-vaccine-here-s-how-win-over-rest" target="_blank">only 50 percent of Americans</a> plan on getting a coronavirus vaccine. If anti-vaxx organizations continue to influence the public, less than half of this country could receive a vaccination. </p><p>In America, conspiracy beliefs are not only spread on social media. A <a href="https://www.mediamatters.org/coronavirus-covid-19/fox-news-pushed-coronavirus-misinformation-253-times-just-five-days" target="_blank">recent study</a> found Fox News pushing coronavirus misinformation 253 times over a five-day period. The going narrative is that vaccination is a question of "individual liberty," and if you're vaccinated you shouldn't worry about the unvaccinated. As with other misinformation, this is false, exposing the real danger of coronavirus misinformation. </p>
People participate in a Reopen New Jersey protest on May 25, 2020 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images<p>In her book, "<a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/1555977200?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">On Immunity</a>," writer Eula Biss asks readers to imagine vaccination "as a kind of banking of immunity." When getting vaccinated, you contribute to a collective bank, ensuring those who cannot or will not get vaccinated are protected. Herd immunity only occurs when a population reaches a certain threshold; that threshold is well over 50 percent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The unvaccinated person is protected by the bodies around her, bodies through which disease is not circulating," writes Biss. "But a vaccinated person is surrounded by bodies that host disease is left vulnerable to vaccine failure or fading immunity. We are protected not so much by our own skin, but by what is beyond it. The boundaries between our bodies begin to dissolve here." </p><p>The prevalence of immunosuppressed individuals unable to get vaccinated is left out of this conversation. This is a growing concern in countries like America, where obesity has led to increasing numbers of immunosuppressed citizens. </p><p>While the myth that children are protected against the ravages of the coronavirus persists, the <a href="https://apple.news/AiPKQDP1BTEuNtlRaVJ-6bg" target="_blank">long-term complications</a> of this multi-system disease are still becoming known, making anti-vaxx parents accountable for potential harm that may come. </p><p>Every citizen should be wary of a rushed vaccine. Researchers are attempting to create a vaccine faster than ever. There are inherent dangers in such a pursuit. But costs associated with rejecting any vaccine on the grounds of perceived "sovereignty" is even more dangerous. The price we'll pay for this misinformation is higher than any society can bear. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.
- 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
- Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
- Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.
The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.
In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.
That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.
70 data points and machine learning
Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash
Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:
"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."
The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.
Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."
Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.
Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.
On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.
Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash
Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."
"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.
The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.