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The internet makes porn more easily accessible than ever before, with thousands of explicit images and videos readily available at the click of a mouse.

Around half of 11 to 16-year-olds have seen pornographic material online, according to one study, and most of them have watched it before the age of 14.

This is all the more worrying given new research from the US that shows the damaging effects of porn on men’s sexual health.

The study found excessive pornography viewing is associated with a risk of sexual dysfunction in men.

The report claims that men who frequently watch internet porn are more likely to become disinterested in sex with a real-life partner, and less able to connect with a partner in the bedroom.

By contrast, watching pornography seems to have little effect on women’s sex lives.

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The study was based on two surveys of more than 300 men and women aged 20 to 40, who were all patients at a military urology clinic.

Roughly 20 per cent of men reported using porn three to five times every week, while 4 per cent admitted they preferred masturbating to porn rather than having sex with a partner.

The researchers noticed a strong correlation between those who watched porn frequently and those who reported a lack of sexual desire, as well as erectile dysfunction.

The study, led by Dr. Matthew Christman, a staff urologist at the Naval Medical Centre of San Diego, was presented at the American Urological Association's annual meeting in Boston on Friday.

The rates of organic causes of erectile dysfunction in this age cohort are extremely low, so the increase in erectile dysfunction that we have seen over time for this group needs to be explained...We believe that pornography use may be one piece to that puzzle.

According to Dr. Joseph Alukal, director of male reproductive health at New York University, pornography could be setting up unrealistic expectations in young men, causing libido-sapping anxiety when real-life sex doesn't measure up to filmed fantasies. He explained:

They believe they're supposed to be able to do what goes on in these movies, and when they can't it causes a great deal of anxiety.

So if you’re finding the only time you’re able to get hot is in front of a screen, it may be time to switch off the laptop.

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