It has been reported that Porn makes up 30 percent of all the data transferred across the net” It is estimated that “every second 30,000 people are watching porn. To meet that vast demand, a new porn video is produced every 39 minutes. That’s according to YouTube channel All Time 10s, which has compiled 10 incredible facts about the porn industry. Among which are: “20 percent of men admit to accessing porn while at work. Also, 25 to 33 percent of the people who watch Internet porn are women… although only two percent of paying porn site subscribers are female”. (Miles, 2012)

While it is difficult to get an exact figure of the revenues generated by porn because so much of it is part of the underground economy, estimates of the annual take vary widely from close to $100 billion worldwide to $20-30 billion; however, sources estimate that the take is higher than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink. Porn’s annual take also exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (Women’s Services and Resources, Brigham Young University) (Media, 2013)

Pornography is increasingly mobile: “By 2015, mobile adult content and services are expected to reach $2.8 billion per year, mobile adult subscriptions will reach nearly $1 billion, and mobile adult video consumption on tablets will triple. We are already starting to see an increase in mobile adult content. One in five mobile searches are for pornography and 24% of smartphone owners admit to having pornographic material on their mobile handset.” (Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering, 2013)

Clearly, porn is a huge part of our cultural consciousness and it is creating problems with our sexual behaviors.

According to Carnes, “over 70% of sex addicts report having problematic on-line sexual behavior. Two-thirds of those engaged have such despair over their internet activities that they have had suicidal thoughts. Sexual acting out online has been shown to manifest in similar off-line behavior. People who already were sex addicts find the internet accelerates their problem. Those who start in the on-line behavior quickly start to act out in new ways off-line.” (Carnes) This becomes problematic for marriages, since “the majority of people struggling with sexual addictions and compulsivities involving the Internet are married, heterosexual males.” (Manning, 2006) Pornography Re-Wires the Brain Viewing pornography is often viewed as a harmless pastime, but it’s not. In her 2004 testimony before the U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, Dr. Judith Reisman said, thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alters the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail.

Pornography acts like a drug. Because of the neurological and biochemical changes porn produces, porn addiction is more likely to recidivate (going back to bad behaviors) than any other addiction. The endorphins and encephalins released while viewing porn (particularly internet porn) make it more addictive than cocaine. “One of the pioneering researchers of this problem, the late Dr. Al Cooper, described on-line sexual behavior as the ‘crack-cocaine’ of sexual compulsivity.” (Carnes)

Porn Is Also a Leading Cause of Erectile Dysfunction

As a result, young men in their 20s are now experiencing erectile dysfunction that is directly tied to their use of porn, particularly Internet porn. According to the Director of Dartmouth College’s Parton Health Center, Dr. Mark Peluso stated, in the last three years we have witnessed an upsurge in the number of male students reporting erectile dysfunction and other sex-related problems. “They can’t get an erection or maintain an erection with a female partner,” Dr. Peluso continued stating “In the majority of cases, the patients were habitual viewers of pornography, and had no difficulty with sexual performance when they were by themselves. The exact mechanism has yet to be determined, . . . but there may be neuroadaptive changes in the brain that impair sexual function in habitual pornography users.” (Schmidt, 2012)

So what accounts for the correlation between pornography and erectile dysfunction? There is a detrimental feedback loop that can emerge between the brain and the penis when men rely heavily on pornographic images to masturbate (particularly internet porn). Specifically, overstimulation brought on by viewing pornography can produce neurological changes—specifically, decreasing sensitivity to the pleasure seeking neurotransmitter dopamine—which can desensitize a person to actual sexual encounters with a partner. These neurochemical changes not only contribute to a person becoming “addicted” to pornography, but they can also make it incredibly difficult to abstain from viewing pornography entirely.

“Due to the pornography available on the Internet, we are finding out that this type of sex dysfunction is a real entity,” said David B. Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It is a problem in the brain, not the penis.”

Are You at Risk for Porn-Related Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

It’s not necessarily how much porn a person watches. The type can also play a role, Samadi said. Unlike the soft-core porn images seen in such magazines as Playboy or Penthouse, online pornography is generally more graphic and often depicts kinky, deviant, or even violent behavior. It’s also available 24/7.

Porn can lead to unrealistic expectations that increase a person’s tolerance for sex. Samadi likened the phenomenon to what occurs when someone consistently drinks more and more alcohol. Eventually, that person has a harder time feeling inebriated. The same happens with porn and sexual performance.

“You need more and more stimulation as you build up this tolerance, and then comes your reality with a wife or partner, and you may not be able to perform,” he said. Too much porn can desensitize a man to sex, and, eventually, he can be unable to get excited by ordinary sexual encounters, Samadi explained.

In short, chronic porn consumption can cause a shift in brain chemicals that may contribute to organic erectile dysfunction.