Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men?

J Sex Med. 2015 May;12(5):1136-9. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12853. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


Introduction: Recent epidemiological studies reported high prevalence rates of erectile dysfunction (ED) among younger heterosexual men (≤40). It has been suggested that this "epidemic" of ED is related to increased pornography use. However, empirical evidence for such association is currently lacking.

Aim: This study analyzes associations between pornography use and sexual health disturbances among younger heterosexual men using four large-scale online samples from three European countries.

Methods: The analyses were carried out using a 2011 cross-sectional online study of Croatian, Norwegian, and Portuguese men (Study 1; N = 2,737) and a 2014 cross-sectional online study of Croatian men (Study 2; N = 1,211). Chi-square test and multivariate logistic regression were used to explore the associations between pornography use and sexual difficulties.

Main outcome measures: In Study 1, erectile difficulties, inability to reach orgasm, and a lack of sexual desire were measured using the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behavior indicators. In Study 2, ED was measured with the abridged International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5). Delayed ejaculation and a decrease of sexual desire were assessed with one-item indicators.

Results: In Study 1, only the relationship between pornography use and ED among Croatian men was statistically significant (χ(2) [2] = 18.76, P < 0.01). The association was small and inconsistent. Compared with infrequent use of pornography, moderate but not high frequency of pornography use increased the odds of reporting ED (adjusted odds ratio = 0.53, P < 0.01). In Study 2, no significant associations both between either the frequency or the recent dynamics of pornography use and male sexual dysfunctions were observed.

Conclusion: We found little evidence of the association between pornography use and male sexual health disturbances. Contrary to raising public concerns, pornography does not seem to be a significant risk factor for younger men's desire, erectile, or orgasmic difficulties.

Keywords: Erectile Dysfunction; Hypoactive Sexual Desire; Men; Pornography; Pornography Addiction; Sexual Difficulties; Sexual Dysfunctions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology*
  • Erotica / psychology*
  • Heterosexuality
  • Humans
  • Libido
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Penile Erection / psychology*
  • Risk Factors