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Does porn cause premature ejaculation?

No, it doesn’t. But porn can get in the way of overcoming the problem. I explain why and what you can do about it.

TL;DR: It’s a myth that masturbating to porn will give you premature ejaculation.

But if you struggle with PE and want to do something about it, habitually jerking off to porn might not be helping.

I explain the link between porn and sexual difficulties, why NoFap probably doesn’t cure PE and what men can realistically do to last longer. This includes:

  • Switching up your masturbation routine
  • Learning how to soak up sensation instead of numbing it
  • Know where porn ends and real, unpredictable, messy sex begins
  • Get confident in your own body and appearance
  • Take charge of your own sexual fantasies instead of relying on PornTube’s algorithm

Andre’s story: has watching porn given me PE?

I’m 34 years old and been with my fiancé for almost two years. We try to enjoy sex, but to be honest we’re not doing great in that area. And it’s mostly my problem with premature ejaculation that’s the cause.

I’ve always had this problem, with all the girls I ever went with. I’ve read about this on forums and I’m worried that I’ve caused my PE. From the age of 15, I’ve masturbated to porn and still do it 2-3 times a week.

If I’m not with a girl, I use porn to help me get hard and turned on. Honestly I’m not addicted to the porn but I do get carried away and look at some strange shit sometimes. When I’m horny I kinda get carried away.

I’m reading nofap forums and my PE could be caused by all the porn. Have tried laying off once in a while but not sure it helped.

Should I stop masturbating? How long will it take to reverse the PE if possible? I’m worried that this problem will harm my future marriage or worse.

Thanks Andre for sharing your experience and asking such good questions.

Let’s begin with the obvious: most guys use porn to get off.

It’s 4K vivid, creative, endlessly accessible and free. Technology makes it easy for our attention to get carried away by porn.

Macaque monkeys like to use porn too. When explicit images of hot female macaques are put in front of them, males will pay to view for longer. There’s nothing weird or wrong about being attracted to pornography; it’s a natural instinct.

Macaque monkey

But macaques don’t have smartphones. Porn hasn’t become part of their arousal template. And as far as we can tell, they don’t worry too much about satisfying their partners.

What would happen if they did? Well, humans have been running this experiment on a grand scale since around 2005 when the first porn tube sites came online. The results are most definitely in.

We’ve seen seen a sharp rise in guys experiencing difficulties. More men under 40 are struggling to get aroused and sexually perform with their partners.

This is surely due to multiple factors: stress, relationship challenges and our expectations of how sex should be. But it’s impossible to ignore the seismic shift in the availability and quality of porn.

Men are reporting specific difficulties with erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire for their partners. It doesn’t take a sexology PhD to see how reliance on the endless stream of porn clips for stimulation could lead to such issues.

Porn imagery is intense and the tube site algorithms are clever. If we condition ourselves to get hard to it, we’re going to struggle without it. The more distracted we are by the thumbnails and novelty and sensual overload of porn, the less interest we have in partnered sex.

So what about premature ejaculation? Well, we know that this is a common difficulty. It’s estimated that 30% of men experience PE to some degree.

But research into the impact of porn tends not to mention PE so much. Quite the opposite, in fact, with delayed ejaculation reportedly more on the increase.

I believe that porn use is often part of the premature ejaculation problem. But it is more nuanced than simple cause and effect. Let’s consider how this works and what you can do about it.

The Quick Before I Get Caught theory

In your online searches, you’ve probably come across the rapid ejaculation conditioning theory of why guys experience PE.

It goes like this: we discover porn in our teens and, quite naturally, we jerk off to it at every conceivable opportunity. But this is accompanied by feelings of shame or confusion. So we masturbate super-fast to avoid getting caught in the act.

Over time, this furtive habit trains our neurology to rush the process from erection to orgasm. We program our brains to produce a flood of hormones and ejaculate before mum flings open our bedroom door.

According to the theory, this conditioning stays with us through adult life. We might be in the most secure relationship with a loving partner, but sexual intimacy still triggers subconscious feelings of unease. Our physiology reacts just like it always did, by getting the job done as quickly as possible.

Is all this confirmed by concrete research? Not that I’m aware of. Does it explain why men experience premature ejaculation? No it doesn’t. Plenty of men who experience PE didn’t access porn until adulthood.

But it is a plausible explanation for why masturbation the wrong way can create problems when we have sex with another person. If we’ve trained our bodies towards the immediate goal of our own release, enjoying extended intimacy and shared pleasure is quite a challenge.

The NoFap approach: make porn and masturbation the enemy

Even if the rapid ejaculation conditioning theory doesn’t explain why PE happens, a lot of guys can relate to that childhood experience. And a lot of guys struggle with porn and sexual difficulties.

The NoFap movement is an interesting response. Starting as a Reddit community in 2011, it presents a simple solution. NoFappers believe that completely abstaining from masturbation and porn can fix a range of health issues. These include tiredness, brain fog, erectile dysfunction and, of course, premature ejaculation.

In this community, porn is very much the enemy. There are stories of men ejaculating with barely any physical touch. The rush of sex chemicals is triggered solely by their eyeballs connecting with the images on the screen.

In the NoFap forums, guys give testimony to how abstinence helped them to last much longer in bed. If men get positive results from following this plan, I’m not going to knock that. Sometimes, aligning ourselves against a common enemy gives us a feeling of empowerment.

If your masturbation and porn use is compulsively out of control, cutting it out makes complete sense. I’m not convinced that NoFap works as a lifelong strategy, but it helps guys pull their heads out of the funk of addiction. It’s impossible to be an adept sexual partner in that disconnected state.

If porn doesn’t cause premature ejaculation, what does?

Some men naturally last longer before ejaculation than others. There is a biological and genetic component to this. Research has identified differences in serotonin activity, nervous system activation and penile sensitivity in guys who experience PE compared to those that don’t.

Then there are behavioural causes, and porn use and masturbation habits fall into this category. Many men don’t know how to move their bodies optimally during sex, missing skills that are never taught in sex education.

And there are psychological and relationship factors. Simply put, some guys get way too excited about sex and don’t know how to cool down their arousal. This combines with performance anxiety and fear of not being able to satisfy a partner.

All of these factors overlap. For example, if your nervous system naturally triggers the ejaculation reflex, anxiety will make this happen even sooner. It’s all very chicken and egg.

Every guy with PE will have his own mix of these factors. None of them – including his biological wiring – are insurmountable. With a bit of effort, any guy can improve his sexual confidence and last longer.

Porn doesn’t cause PE, but it can get in the way of overcoming it.

Porn as an escape route

When we find it difficult to get hard, stay hard or make intercourse last, it feels like we’re losing control. That’s stressful, and if it keeps happening, we’re likely to start avoiding sex.

Sex is unpredictable and frustrating at times. But clicking through porn thumbnails feels very much in control. We might feel a rush of empowerment and choice that we never get from sex with our partners. For guys who find themselves avoiding sex, porn offers an enticing alternative.

Porn tube sites are super-stimulating by design. So by way of distracting ourselves from the thing we struggle to do, we find ourselves watching clip after clip of people doing that very thing. We step back from ourselves as sexual participants and become passive observers, jerking from the stands.

Fact: male macaques will also pay to watch high-status male macaques in action. They will watch female macaques for longer, but the urge to observe males is strongest in low-status macaques.

Too much of this will reinforce our feelings of inadequacy and struggle. In terms of sexual expectation and performance, porn actors set the bar pretty high. We are going to make unhelpful comparisons to ourselves, even if it happens subconsciously.

What you can do

So Andre, I hope this rather long preamble clears up the question of causation. You didn’t give yourself PE by watching and masturbating to porn. But it has played a part, and jerking to porn could be inhibiting you from effectively addressing the problem.

This site offers lots of advice on building confidence and overcoming PE. But let’s look at some ways to take back control over porn without necessarily going down the NoFap total-abstinence route.

The YesFap approach for masturbatory enlightenment

Now here’s a thing. Some guys struggle with PE because they don’t masturbate enough. Perhaps they feel guilty or awkward about it, or just don’t get a window of private time. By going long periods without release, we store up tensions and our sexual excitement rockets when we have sex.

Masturbation can benefit our sexual performance and wellbeing. Every wank is an opportunity to tune into our bodies and learn how to balance our sexual arousal with physiological relaxation; that’s key to lasting longer.

But if we always masturbate to PornTube, we’re not making that connection.

Porn helps us get hard, I know. But try disengaging and get in touch with your sexual imagination. I speak with guys who can’t remember when they last masturbated without porn. That’s too much of a dependency.

We’re increasingly aware that the convenience of porn might be limiting our ability to find our own sexual fantasies and turn-ons. Why get creative when we can let an algorithm and a bunch of thumbnails dictate our desires?

Our capacity to imagine, daydream and fantasise is an essential part of being sexually alive. Some guys flinch when I suggest that they could fantasise about their own partner and all the things they could enjoy together. If that sounds lame or too much effort, there’s a cause of sexual difficulty right there.

Jerking off without porn, using your own touch and imagination, will feel different at first. But like most guys, you’ll probably find it easier than you think. And if you’re over 40, it’s reassuring to find that you can get hard easily without the visual stimulation of porn.

So continue to enjoy jerking off. Put your phone down and focus on the sensations, tensions and tingles in your lower body. Getting used to feeling relaxed and aroused at the same time is essential for overcoming PE.

Focus on sensation during sex

Something else to consider is how present you are during sex? If you always masturbate to porn scenes, are they replaying in your head? All that vivid shagging becomes part of your arousal template, even when there isn’t a screen in sight.

Screen showing porn hidden in duvet

This creates another layer of disconnect. Yes it feels exciting to have porn-fuelled fantasy accompany us during sex, but the intense rush of dopamine risks pushing us over the edge.

Connected sex is so much better for everyone involved on every level. Get into the habit of focusing on your body interacting with your partner’s body. Engage your senses and notice every physical sensation. Be in the here and now during sex.

Take it slower than the guys in porn

What comes to mind when we think about porn sex? Hot, hard, sweaty, relentless, breathless banging? It’s cliche, I know, but most clips still follow the old playbook.

A lot of guys try to emulate all that relentless banging in their own sex lives, and they expect their bodies to keep up. But real sex isn’t so frenetic, as they discover when they come quickly and their partners didn’t feel much.

For many of us, porn was our primary sexual education. So it’s essential to understand where porn ends and real world sex begins.

Learn how to enjoy the full experience of sex without fast-forwarding to the money shot. Communicate to understand your partner’s needs and remember that unlike porn and masturbation, sex doesn’t have to come to an abrupt end as soon as you’ve come.

Stop with the porn comparisons

Another porn cliche is the depiction of body types and penis sizes. Plastic surgery, ingenious camera angles and, in more recent times, video filters create a hypersexual aesthetic.

In the huge penis department, most of the male performers have been picked from the happy pool of genetic outliers. Pills and penile injections enable them to perform like machines. It’s a tough business to be in, and the lifestyle probably isn’t as enviable as it may seem.

When examining the relationship between porn viewing and sexual difficulties, researchers found that ‘male genital self-image issues’ are a factor. This isn’t surprising in a culture where porn featuring men with average sized dicks and body types is considered niche.

In case you are in any doubt, you can enjoy awesome sex with your partner whatever your penis size or shape. There is no correlation between penis size and how long we can last in the sack. Women tend to be more ambivalent about dick size than we realise.

Porn-fuelled fears about our own bodies get in the way of building confidence. Enjoy your body, and the amazing ways it can interact with your partners body.

Conclusion: get porn out of the way

So we arrive back at your question, Andre. Should you stop masturbating and how long will it take to address your PE?

I agree that taking a break from the porn is way to go. Continue to enjoy masturbation as an opportunity to reconnect with your sexual self.

Take your time and notice your breathing, muscle tensions and sensation throughout your whole body. Close your eyes and generate a vivid rehearsal of your own desires, and welcome your fiancé into the picture.

Overcoming premature ejaculation is an organic process, one of being rather than doing. Monitor how you feel and how your partner responds to this approach rather than how long it takes to change.

This is key to shifting focus from performance to activity, and letting go of the pressure and anxiety around sex.

I hope this is helpful Andre, and I wish you and your fiancé every success in marriage and beyond.

Final note: for those who feel addicted

I know that for some guys, cutting down on porn viewing feels difficult.

It’s more than an accompaniment to jerking off; it’s compulsive viewing. Some guys collect and hoard porn. Some resort to porn to distract themselves from other stresses in their lives.

Now we’re all grown-ups here and we can do what we like. But if you find it genuinely difficult to kick the habit, here’s a free resource that can help.

I wrote the book Porn Game Over quite a few years ago, but the advice remains relevant and useful. Some of the links and recommended resources will be obsolete, so I offer the full book as a free download for anyone who might benefit.

PGO book cover

If you’d like a copy, you don’t need to subscribe to an email list or anything like that. Just click this link to download the full PDF from my therapy site.

Another great resource that I recently came across is the EasyPeasy method. It’s free and looks genuinely helpful.

One reply on “Does porn cause premature ejaculation?”

Agree with this advice. From my experience, porn addiction DEFINITELY makes premature ejaculation more likely to happen. I hate what I did to myself with all that porn. Now I rarely watch porn and things are a little better. Still can’t last that long in bed but when I was porn addicted it was like, 20 seconds. Now more like 4 or 5 mins. Do yourselves a favour and ditch the porn.

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