Does Porn Make You Impotent?

GUEST POST by Jonathan McKee. Jonathan is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.

Are there any real consequences to browsing porn? That’s the question I just asked in Part 1 of this two-part post. I mean… seriously. The world seems to think that porn is no big deal. Is there really anything wrong with porn?

Our teenagers need to hear the uncensored truth from us on this subject. I promise you, they’re hearing lies on almost every other front. In Part 1, I talked about how porn is a ripoff of what God created. “Thanks for the gift, God, but I wanted to try make it better!”

Sadly… porn only makes it worse, as you’ll soon discover in Part II about “fleeing” porn.

Two Huge Reasons to “Flee” the lure of porn: God… and Impotence.

2. Impotence. Am I being overdramatic? You decide, because research is emerging on this topic as I type—something that wasn’t being addressed even 10 years ago. The fact is, impotence is on the rise, and many men are not satisfied with their sexual partner (I’d love to say “spouse” there, but unfortunately, for many it’s just “sexual partner”) because they’re truly becoming addicted to the never ending stream of dopamine spikes they get from watching different girls do different things at the click of a button.

The more porn they watch, the more difficult it is to become turned on. This is becoming a huge problem with young men, Psychology Today explains: “Desperate young men from various cultures, with different levels of education, religiosity, attitudes, values, diets, marijuana use, and personalities are seeking help. They have only two things in common: heavy use of today’s Internet porn and an increasing need for more extreme material.”

But porn was available when I was a kid, right? Wouldn’t too much Playboy hurt sexual performance in the same way? Not even close. The static images of Playboy can’t compete with the readily available high speed connection to the biggest database of porn in the world—the world wide web. Men are literally “numbing their brain’s normal response to pleasure,” and they can’t “get it up” for their sexual partner anymore (more on that here, in lurid detail).

That’s scary! And my wife is way too hot to start losing my desire for her. Call me “over the top,” criticize me for being too explicit if you will, but I don’t want to fail in the bedroom because of an “affair” with virtual women on the screens in my house. Impotence is a natural consequence that I’d rather avoid. I think most teenagers would agree.

Maybe this is a conversation we need to have with our kids.

A couple weeks ago I met a teen mom in a church where I taught a parent workshop. After talking with her and listening to her story, I asked her a rather direct question. I asked, “As you look back on your decision to sneak out of the house and have sex as a teenager, what do you think your mom and dad could have done differently to help you not go down that road?”

Without hesitation she replied, “They could have talked with me about it more. I remember maybe one talk—the sex talk. That’s it. They were basically quiet about it, and so I looked for answers elsewhere.”

If we don’t talk with our kids about it… someone else will.

Question: What do you think? Is Jonathon taking this to an extreme? Is it a scare tactic? Do teenagers even care about impotence? Share your thoughts here.

If you like Jonathan’s candid approach to this topic, then you’ll really enjoy his practical and transparent approach to parenting in his book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent.


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  • Brandon Weldy

    I read this article and then I read the more in lurid detail. I just keep thinking “wow” over and over. The only argument against porn I could ever come up with was that it is against God’s will. It does not please Him, which SHOULD be enough. But this brings a whole new light. I think that teens do care about impotence. I can just imagine the boys in the youth group reacting to that statement. I guess if they really wanted to be defiant they could go and buy some little blue pills. This is still boggling my mind. I’m trying to wrap my mind around it. 

    • Jonathan McKee

      I’m with ya Brandon. That’s the cool thing about God’s truth. It’s so.. true! Funny, but when we go outside of God’s plan, stuff tends to break down. If we let our eating get out of hand– diabetes and a host of other problems, if we drink too much– drunkenness, liver failure, death, if we can’t control our lust— well… consequences arise… or don’t rise… er…well…you get the picture. Funny how God’s plan actually makes sense.

      • Brandon Weldy

        That’s so true about God’s truth!… um, yes that makes sense. Thanks so much for sharing this. It has been so helpful!

  • Anonymous

    Another great post!  Thanks for the honesty and transparency that most, if not all, men can relate to.  Do you think enough emphasis is being put on passages like 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 to help address the role that spouses play in protecting each other from sexual immorality?

  • Tidbitsoftorah

    You Have Been Warned

    The prophet has already warned us that we should be careful not to think that God has any form or likeness, saying: “Watch yourselves most carefully, since you saw no image” (Devarim 4:15); “But you saw no image – there was only a voice” (ibid. 4:12). “Watch yourselves…..carefully” means: be careful – in your thinking and imagination – not to represent the Creator by any shape, nor to conceive of Him in any image or likeness, for your eyes beheld neither image nor form when He spoke to you, as it says: “To whom, then, will you liken the Almighty? What likeness will you compare to Him?” (Yeshayahu 40:18); “To whom, then, will you liken Me, that I should compare to?’ says the Holy One” (ibid. 40:25); For who in the skies can be compared to God? Who is like God among the heavenly beings?” (Tehillim 89:7); “There is none like You among the gods, HaShem, nor are there works like Yours” (ibid. 86:8); and there are many similar passages. (source pg. 133 Duties of the heart) The Divine attributes of action are those that are ascribed to the Creator as a result of His actions. It is possible that in attributing these qualities to Him, He is made an associate of some of His creatures [to whom they are also attributed]. Nevertheless, we are permitted to ascribe these qualities to Him, because of our urgent need to know Him and recognize His existence, so that we may assume His service. We find extensive use of this kind of Divine attribute in the Torah and the books of the prophets, as well as in the praises offered by the prophets and the pious. Such attributes are used in two ways:
    1) Attributes are ascribed which indicate image and bodily form, as in the following examples for Scripture: “And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him” (Bereshis 1:27); for in God’s image did He make man” (ibid. 9:6); “By the mouth of God” (Bamidbar 9:18); “My hands alone stretched out the heavens” (Yeshayahu 45:12); “in God’s ears” (Bemidbar 11:1); “and under His feet” (Shemos 24:10); “O arm of God!” (Yeshayahu 51:9); who has not sworn falsely by My Name” (Tehillim 24:4); “in the eys of God” (Bereshis 6:8); “and God said in His heart” (ibid. 8:21) and there are other similar attributions of bodily organs to God.2) Attributes are ascribed to God which indicate movements and bodily actions, as it says: “God smelled [the pleasing fragrance]” (ibid. 8:21); “God saw…regretted…and He was saddened at heart” (ibid. 6:5-6); “God came down” (ibid. 11:5); “God remembered” (ibid. 8:1); “God heard” (Bemidbar 11:1); Then God awoke as one that had slept” (Tehillim 78:65); and there are many other similar attributes to Him of human actions.The foolish and ignorant person will conceive of the Creator, may He be exalted, according to the literal sense of the Scriptural phrase.

  • princessofgod

    As the victim of the terrible effects of pornography I can attest to the fact that it does harm. When I met my X-husband, it was no secret that he was “into” porn. As the years progressed and three kids later….our twenty year marriage was over. The major conflict in the twenty years was his addiction to porn. He still states that I am the one with the problem. Well, I do have a problem with it. Over the years, I lost all respect for my husban. He is a father of three girls, deacon in our church, Sunday School teacher of youth men, leader in our community…the list goes on. His addiction was hid from everyone, I felt like I was leading a lie. I ended our 20 year marriage. I am not dealing with the effects of “not being good enough” for him. My self esteem suffered greatly. Porn does harm. Just like alcohol and drugs.

    • dougfields

      wow! thanks for your honest input… I’m so sorry for your pain, maybe God will use your hurt to help bring healing to others.

  • Charlie

    I really appreciate Jonathan’s honesty and openness on this issue that few people talk about. While looking for information on a another topic, I ran across a discussion board where young men in their early teens were saying they could not have a sexual experience without porn. I also wonder how much today’s immodest culture plays into this where flesh is everywhere. A young man once told me that he really didn’t notice how some girls dressed immodestly and I wondered if he was desensitized by the overwhelming amount of lust in our culture and how that might affect his marriage. Thankfully, there is hope and healing in Christ even for this tragic problem and God can give back the normal desire for your wife (Prov. 5)

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