A Private Problem
Dr. Brian Richardson
At any given second of the day over 30,000 men and women are watching pornography, at any given second of the day over $3,000 dollars is being spent on pornographic material, and believe it or not one third of porn viewing is performed by women. We have a not so PRIVATE- PROBLEM with PORN.
In the old days, magazine racks would have black covers over those risqué publications like Playboy and Hustler. Nudity and sexual content were closely guarded and the eyes of teens and children were closely protected. I can remember watching movies at home with my parents and if there was even the hint of something sexual being aired on our VHS rented movie, Mom and Dad would both shout out- “cover your eyes…. and no peaking!” We would giggle and in most circumstances at least one eye would stay covered! There is a natural curiosity about our bodies and sexuality.
Times have certainly changed. The access to hardcore pornography has become as easy as typing whatever particular fetish you may desire into your Google search-bar. Porn has become a multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to fulfill any weird fantasy or desire you can imagine. I was reading an article the other day about one of the particular fantasies that has become popular lately and it involved a landlord obtaining sexual favors from a young female tenant because she was late on rent. There are websites that focus on schoolgirls, schoolboys, multiple partners, picking up hijackers and the list goes on and on. Literally, if you can think of it, there is probably a website out there that provides it FREE of CHARGE. Men and/or women no longer need to wear sunglasses and a hat to hide their identity when they purchase sexual fantasy. There is no need to drive to that gas station or adult store across town so you won’t be recognized when you pick up that dirty magazine or video. The new era of porn is private, free and available to anyone who has a screen and an Internet connection.
So you may be reading this article and thinking, why would a urologist be writing about this social and moral issue? Well, there is a new medical diagnosis that has risen out of our society’s addiction to sex and pornography, and it is called Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED). I see men ranging from 20s and up to 80s who have real complaints about their sexual function with their wife or partner and really have no medical or physiological problems. Erectile dysfunction has been a problem as long as mankind has existed. Nowadays, we understand that most erectile dysfunction is related to a blood-flow issue. I commonly describe it as a heart attack of the genitals. It is related to high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and essentially any disease process that affects blood flow. This idea has been well established and proven over the past several decades.
However, doctors previously thought that a man who suffered from erectile dysfunction simply had a psychological problem. Instead of using high tech ultrasounds or injections or modern medical testing, when a man complained of erectile dysfunction he would be sent home with some postage stamps. Look it up if you don’t believe me! The patient would be instructed to place the stamps around his privates at night before going to bed and if by the morning time the stamps were broken at the perforated edge, well this meant that everything was A-OK. He would be told that he really didn’t have a problem and maybe he needed to go sit on a leather couch in a room full of books and oak and talk about his problems. Aren’t you glad that at least some of medicine has improved?
Now, lets get back to PIED. There is no doubt that filling our minds with fantasy and setting up our bedrooms for unrealistic expectations can affect the normal loving relationship between sexual partners. What you see on the Internet is simply not reality and when your mind craves fantasy, it will affect your reality. I see patients who come in with sexual problems and we check their testosterone levels and they are normal. We try medications like Cialis and Viagra and they don’t really work. When I delve into the personal questions about habits and activities, almost always the problem is uncovered. The diagnosis is made and the prescription involves putting away that computer or that phone and tablet and focusing back on the joy and pleasure of sex with their partner.
Before the women reading this article start pointing fingers and looking at Google search histories, please remind yourself of the first paragraph… 33% of all porn watching is done by women. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to realize that if the fantasy created by watching pornography can affect the male part of sexual function, it can certainly affect female desires, expectations and function.
Porn Induced Sexual Dysfunction is a real diagnosis and can be a real problem. Nearly 50% of marital problems are reported as being related to at least one partner watching pornography. There has been a lot of discussion about pornography being a victimless crime, but we all know that the pornography industry has been responsible for the abuse and exploitation of men, women and more importantly teens and children. We now know that another victim of pornography may be you and your spouse and your inability to perform in the bedroom.
Dr. Brian Richardson is a urologist and the Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Jackson Hospital.