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J Sex Med. 2019 Jan;16(1):111-125. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.11.004.

Is Pornography Use Related to Erectile Functioning? Results From Cross-Sectional and Latent Growth Curve Analyses.

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Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA. Electronic address:
Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory, Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland; Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, Institute for Neural Computations, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.



Despite evidence to the contrary, a number of advocacy and self-help groups persist in claiming that internet pornography use is driving an epidemic of erectile dysfunction (ED).


The present work sought to explore whether mere pornography use itself and self-reported problematic use of pornography are related to ED, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.


A series of 3 samples of sexually active men who also used pornography were collected: a cross-sectional sample of undergraduate men in the United States (n = 147), an online sample of men derived from a larger sample that was matched to U.S. nationally representative norms (n = 297), and a 1-year, 4-wave longitudinal sample of adult men derived from an online convenience sample (Mechanical Turk: time 1, n = 433; time 2, n = 223; time 3, n = 202; time 4, n = 196). Pearson correlations and cross-sectional structural equation models were conducted in each sample. Latent growth curve analyses were conducted in the longitudinal sample.


The primary outcomes of interest were cross-sectional and longitudinal reports of erectile functioning as measured by the International Index of Erectile Functioning 5.


Across all 3 samples, there was evidence of a positive, cross-sectional association between self-reported problematic use and ED, but no consistent association between mere use itself and ED. In our longitudinal sample, there were correlations among baseline pornography use, baseline self-reported problematic use, and prospective ED at times 2-4; however, latent growth curve analyses demonstrated no significant relationships between any pornography-related variables and trajectories of ED.


These results suggest that among non-treatment-seeking pornography users, self-reported problematic use likely is associated with concurrent reports of ED, but that the links between these variables are not directional or causal in nature.


This work is the first work to systematically examine the links between self-reported problematic use of pornography and ED, and it did so in a variety of samples, using both cross-sectional and longitudinal methods. Even so, the work relied exclusively on self-report methods, and did not control for medical covariates that may be related to the experience of ED.


In conjunction with prior literature, we conclude that there is little or no evidence of an association between mere pornography use and ED, consistent evidence of an association between self-reported problematic use and ED cross-sectionally, and no evidence of causal links between any pornography variables and ED. Grubbs JB, Gola M. Is Pornography Use Related to Erectile Functioning? Results From Cross-Sectional and Latent Growth Curve Analyses. J Sex Med 2019;16:111-125.


Addiction; Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder; Erectile Dysfunction; Hypersexual Behavior; Moral Incongruence; Pornography


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