The legend of Pied Piper of Hamelin is a fairy tale without a happily-ever-after. The diabolical character of Pied Piper is remembered for using the magic tune of his pipe to take away 130 children who are never seen again.
Could this 14th-century character be on any significance in the 21st century? Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction i.e. PIED is a modern-day revival of Pied Piper. In this new version of the legend, the role of the magical pipe is played by pornography and the children are individuals who develop erectile dysfunction or other sexual dysfunctions because of consuming porn.
Porn addiction is a serious issue that affects 5-8% of the adult population.
In a 2016 study, 28% of male participants’ interaction with porn showed that they had hyper-sexuality disorder. As the internet grows, the consumption of porn also increases with ¼ of online searches being dedicated to porn. But isn’t porn just normal visual media that stimulates brain activity? Can it be harmful? It’s just an online video that we use for personal satisfaction.
It is partially because it is an online video that porn can have disturbing effects on its watchers. A psychosexual and relationship therapist, Clare Faulkner, discusses that porn offers a dissociated experience, which makes the sexual activity feel like an out of body experience. This lone experience of stimulating sexual responses does not prepare us how to appropriately handle sexual activity with a real-life partner. To counter the effects of porn, movements like NoFap have begun, and the founder of this movement, Alexander Rhodes, accepted that due to high-speed internet porn he was unable to take part in sexual activity without imagining porn.
This becomes a bigger issue for married couples when one partner uses porn and the other doesn’t. For adult men who are in relationships, married or otherwise, porn consumption usually leads to less intimacy and susceptibility to depression. Women in heterosexual relationships often experience self-esteem issues and bouts of body dysmorphia when their partner shows more interest in watching porn. But more than anything, using porn has a direct relation to Erectile Dysfunction – a psychosexual/biological manifestation of what porn does to you.
Back in 2002, only a meager percentage of 2-3% of men younger than 40 reported having erectile dysfunction. By 2013, the number had risen to 26% and it continues to increase now.Clinicians, sex therapists, and doctors are reporting that 80% of the cases relating to sexual disorders are porn-related.
An ad campaign started by Viagra has begun to address the issues caused by PIED. The rising number of men with ED means drug companies have found the perfect opportunity to market and sell their drugs.
However, the problem with PIED is that it is a matter of psychosexuality. The drug cannot solve the root of the problem which can be connected to several things. Consulting a therapist is your best bet in this case since an increasing number of therapists recommend abstaining from porn is the solution. There is strong evidence to suggest that when we stop consuming porn, most of our sexual problems begin to disappear. Norman Doidge, the author of the book The Brain That Changes Itself, states that after 8 months of no exposure to porn, people with ED could begin to orgasm and ejaculate successfully without much stress.
The thing is one of the ways porn ED is connected to how it exacerbates performance anxiety. It is quite normal for a person to compare themselves to the actors in porn and develop insecurities which heighten anxiety and lead to ED.
The point of this discussion is not to demonize porn but to begin talking about some of its very tangible, very profound impacts on altering human sexual interactions. Let’s start thinking about porn. Is it the Pied Piper from the old legend? If so, how is it able to control us and where is it taking us?