Did You Know Male Porn Performers Use Performance-Enhancing Drugs?

By KC

Become A Fighter

Fact or fiction: performing in porn is like being a professional athlete, in part because of their links to performance-enhancing drugs.

You might be surprised, but this comparison is actually more factual than not.

With athletes—see Alex Rodriguez, Lance Armstrong, Richard Sherman, and more—the drug of choice is human growth hormone, or HGH, a prohibited anabolic steroid that they use for muscle growth and athletic performance enhancement.

Related: The Latest Trend In Porn: Featuring Male Performers Who Look Like Pre-Teens

For male porn performers, it’s erectile dysfunction (ED) meds like Viagra and Cialis. Exactly as it sounds, these drugs often help many male performers “keep it up” for what can be 12 or more hours of shooting scenes in a day. Spoiler alert: this is not realistic.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Let’s look at the research.

2 ways male consumers feel inadequate when they watch porn

These feelings of inadequacy play out in a number of ways for male porn consumers, but the two we’ll focus on here are physical looks and sexual performance.

Physical Looks

The data is clear: consuming porn is correlated with higher than average levels of body dissatisfaction for both straight and gay men. For the latter, that exposure is most specifically correlated with social physique anxiety and a higher tendency of developing an eating disorder.

Another similar study performed on a group of college men who consumed porn showed comparable results. When asked about how they would rate their body satisfaction, they gave lower than average scores—which makes sense when you consider porn’s inaccurate portrayal of bodies and sexuality.

Sexual Performance

Research also finds that men who consume porn often have immense concerns regarding their own sexual performance. It’s no wonder, considering how sex scenes in porn can look like they last hours, or when male performers do things that seem sexually impossible, such as ejaculating and then having sex for a long time immediately following that. Spoiler alert, again: this isn’t the average male’s experience.

This is because these scenarios are sexually impossible according to Dr. Michael Ingber, a physician in urology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

Related: “No Harm In Looking, Right?” A Study Of Porn’s Impact On Self-Esteem

He says that such instances can’t happen because of what is known as the “resolution and refractory” period. Ingber points out that, after ejaculation, a man will lose his erection, as muscle tension fades, and he will undergo the refractory period. During this time, the man will be physically incapable of achieving another erection. In an 18-year-old, this may be less than 15 minutes, but in elderly men, it can be up to 20 hours. Regardless, the point remains that “getting it up” immediately after ejaculation is close to impossible—which also means that hours upon hours of straight sex is too.

“So then,” you might ask, “how come it looks like the performers are able to?”

There are two explanations for how male porn performers do what they do, and both exhibit the plain truth that the performer isn’t truly able to do what the porn video makes it look like he can do.

The first explanation deals with the way the porn video is edited. Basically, to the consumer, the porn video may look like the male performer is able to last for an inordinate period of time when in fact that performer has taken numerous breaks during his shoot. These breaks, as we’ve just learned from Dr. Ingber, allow the performer to wait out the refractory period and get back to the shoot.

Related: 5 Male Ex-Porn Performers Share Their Brutal Experiences Doing Porn

But, as veteran porn performer Peter North puts it, “…stay[ing] hard on the set…is not easy,” even with the breaks. The second explanation, then, exhibits that when getting hard after a break is not possible, performers will overload on ED meds to induce an erection unnaturally.

According to former porn performer Christopher Z., using such meds and being able to “keep it up” for long periods of time isn’t as safe or healthy as it seems.

Christopher Zieschegg’s story

Arousal naturally leads to an erection, but when that erection is pharmaceutically-induced by four times the recommended daily maximum amount of erectile dysfunction pill Cialis, the pill-popper might just end up with one that lasts for more than 12 hours straight.

In fall of 2013, Chris wound up in an emergency room with that exact problem. If it continued, he risked permanently damaging his penile tissue, or worse—losing his penis completely. Instead, the doctors turned to the only solution they had: use a large needle to drain the blood from his penis. (As you can imagine, this was not the most pleasant experience for Chris.)

Related: Porn Objectifies Women, But Does It Do The Same To Men?

That’s a relatively dramatic example and isn’t a frequent occurrence for male porn performers. However, there are a number of other side effects that are significantly more common when it comes to performers using medical aids to get and keep up erections.

Director of Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, Dr. Michael Krychman says that the “documented adverse effects of [ED] medications include: changes in vision or sudden vision loss, ringing in your ears, or sudden hearing loss, chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling, and irregular heartbeat.”

We don’t know about you, but none of those side effects sound fun, either. And yet, ED medications are as commonly found on porn sets as the male performers themselves.

Brain Heart World

Why this matters

Comparing an unrealistic fantasy to your normal self can make anyone feel inadequate, right? And that remains especially true for male consumption of porn and any guy’s view of his own physical looks and sexual performance.

Related: How Porn Objectifies Men And Harms Male Consumers

It’s important to remember that what these performers are doing is wildly unnatural and their overuse and abuse of ED meds prove that. No male (or female) can expect to measure up to what porn shows—the physically and sexually impossible. Consider those athletes we mentioned before—porn performers can only do what they do because of toxic drug abuse.

How is that truly sexy?

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