Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a pioneer in the field of sexology, uncovered a truth in the late 1940s that shook up the world: people masturbate! What Kinsey could not have researched was what happens to young men from masturbating too much, specifically to online pornography (y’know, because it didn’t exist during his lifetime). Fast forward to today, the age of the internet, and the the new question we are posed with: Does porn addiction impede young men’s physical and mental capability to perform sexually?

A lot of articles and research across the spectrum of reputability have sprouted up in the midst of this contemporary issue. David J. Ley, Ph.D wrote a 2007 article attempting to discredit the connection between the interplay of porn addiction and erectile dysfunction, citing research pieces in PubMed that claimed the correlation between the two are minimal. Ley even updated his article with updated research backing his argument in 2015. While this is notable, it fails to address in an outright manner how masturbating operates within this equation.

Buzzfeed News recently published a story that highlights masturbation into this phenomenon titled “This Is How Therapists Treat Young Men With ‘Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction’”, in which the author pulls from Australian health journals as well as interviews of  both sufferers and therapists that counter Ley’s compilation of materials. Most notably, the Buzzfeed article mentions how young men suffering from porn-induced erectile dysfunction have created a transnational support group via a thread on Reddit called NoFap. While Buzzfeed’s article centers on Australia, the NoFap thread exposes how this could potentially be considered a global epidemic in young men. While the global research may be in its adolescence currently, I can’t help but imagine that this is a field worth exploring further as we propel ourselves into an increasingly internet-based future.

— MM

MM is currently a student in WMST 595, Sexing the Body. Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section!