Do Pornography Use and Masturbation Play a Role in Erectile Dysfunction and Relationship Satisfaction in Men?

Faculty Sponsor

David Rowland

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Arts and Sciences


Psychology, Human Sexuality

ORCID Identifier(s)

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-28-2022


The current study investigated the relationships among masturbation frequency, pornography use, and erectile functioning and dysfunction in 3586 men within a multivariate context that assessed sexual dysfunctions. Results indicated that frequency of pornography use was unrelated to either erectile functioning or erectile dysfunction (ED) severity in samples that included ED men with and without various sexual comorbidities or in a subset of men 30 years or younger. In contrast, variables long known to affect erectile response emerged as the most consistent and salient predictors of erectile functioning and/or ED severity, including age, anxiety/depression, chronic medical conditions known to affect erectile functioning, low sexual interest, and low relationship satisfaction. Masturbation frequency was only weakly and inconsistently related to erectile functioning. Regarding sexual and relationship satisfaction, poorer erectile functioning, lower sexual interest, anxiety/depression, and higher frequency of masturbation were associated with lower sexual and lower overall relationship satisfaction. Frequency of pornography use did not predict either sexual or relationship satisfaction. Findings of this study reiterate the relevance of long-known risk factors for understanding diminished erectile functioning while concomitantly indicating that masturbation frequency and pornography use show weak or no association with erectile functioning during partnered sex. We do not dismiss the idea that heavy reliance on pornography use coupled with high frequency of masturbation may represent a risk factor for diminished sexual performance during partnered sex and/or relationship satisfaction in subsets of particularly vulnerable men.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Joe Castleman, Chemistry and Psychology double major

Katelyn Bacys, Actuarial Science major

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