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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Pornography: "As Porn Use Goes Up, Performance Goes Down."

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 10th 2011

Pornography: According to psychiatrist Norman Doidge, "a heavy porn user is not unlike a drug addict who can no longer get high on the images that once turned him on. And the danger is that this tolerance will carry over into relationships."

Author Marnia Robinson, together with her husband, Gary Wilson, have a blog at Psychology Today named, Pornography: "As Porn Use Goes Up, Performance Goes Down." They wrote an article on their blog, "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow." The URL for the article is:

A book by the same title is available and is called, "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships.

Similar to drug addiction, users become desensitized and in need of higher doses to regain the pleasurable feelings experienced during initial stages of use. Those who view pornography on a regular basis become numb to the same images and find that they require more stimulating images and videos in order to masturbate. For some, pornography becomes a substitute for sexual relations. For others who are married or in committed relationship, it becomes an additional sexual activity to what happens with their partner. As Marnia Robinson points out, sooner or later, heavy users of pornography lose their sensitivity to real partners. This demonstrates itself through erectile dysfunction and inability to ejaculate.

Large numbers of wives and girlfriends use the pornography blog on this website to comment and complain about how pornography is impacting on their sexual and interpersonal relationships with their men. Their complaints range from feeling hurt that their partners do not find them sexually attractive to feeling angry that their partners have great difficulty performing when this never before happened.

Of course, before anyone is blamed for causing their erectile dysfunction caused by pornography, it is important to know that many health problems can be the cause. For example, illnesses such as cardio vascular disease and diabetes are major contributors to sexual impotence. Sexuality is a casualty of alcohol and drug abuse and can also be affected by certain medications. That is why it is also important to consult a physician if sexual performance is experienced in an ongoing basis.

Robinson points out that erectile dysfunction can be reversed by ending both pornography use and masturbation. The process is not easy after many years of exposure to this. However, the brain rewires itself in the absence of pornography. It begins to look around for the types of sexual pleasure that nature intended. It does not happen immediately but does end in success. Part of what makes withdrawal so difficult is that the loss of the ability to get and sustain an erection causes great anxiety and worry. The brain will regain its balance so that all becomes well again in the area of sexuality.

By the way, if you react to this article by thinking that because it hasn't happened to me yet and is not likely to happen at all, think again. Eventually, the continued chronic use of pornography will catch up with you.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD


Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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