The outlook for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) has improved enormously in this century – so much so that almost all ED men nowadays can be assured of a return to fairly successful intercourse.
Many of these males feel that the new treatments for erection difficulty (formerly known as ‘impotence’ or ‘impotency’) have transformed their lives.
What is erectile dysfunction?
First, let’s define the problem. ED means an inability to get a good enough erection to achieve satisfactory intercourse.
Some sufferers can’t get a ‘hard-on’ at all. Others get one, but it isn’t firm enough to penetrate the partner. And others can manage penetration for a bit, but then they lose it.
Why does ED occur?
ED is very common, and it occurs for a variety of reasons and at different ages.
Teenagers and young men
In younger males, the most frequent cause is anxiety – particularly nervousness about having sex, about causing a pregnancy or about using a protection like a condom.
A lot of men in this age group complain that they ‘can’t get on with a condom’ because as soon as they try to put it on, they lose their ‘stiffy’. We have termed this ‘condom collapse syndrome’.
Common causes in this age group are overwork, guitl, stresst and loss of a loved-one (ED often happens when a widowed man tries to form a new sexual relationship). A few cases are due to diabetes. Alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs can be factors, as can obesity.
In this group of men, ED gets commoner with increasing age. Nonetheless, large percentage of all 70-year-olds are sexually potent.
It is now clear that in a high proportion of cases, the problem is due to narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood into the penis.
Some research suggests that in some older men who have erection difficulties, there may also be deterioration in the arteries of the brain or the heart.
But older men with ED should take care to protect themselves against strokes and heart attacks – for example by getting an adequate amount of exercise. Also, at all costs they should avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol.
What is an erection?
An erection occurs when blood is pumped into the penis and stays there, making it hard. It generally happens because a guy is thinking about sex or because his penis is being stimulated – or both.
The result is that signals go down the nerves that lead from his spinal cord to his genitals. They tell the blood vessels which supply the penis to open up. Blood flows in and the organ ‘blows up’ like a balloon. A valve mechanism near the base of the penis keeps the blood from flowing out again – a least, until sex is over.
As you can see, ‘getting an erection’ is a complex process. It’s awfully easy for various factors to interfere with it – for instance, worry, tiredness, too much alcohol or in later life, narrowing of the blood vessels.
Nicotine is now known to narrow those vital blood vessels – which is why ED is much commoner in smokers. But often, there is nothing physically wrong with men who develop ED.
Are many cases due to psychological causes?
Yes, particularly in the young. In general, erectile dysfunction is quite likely to be psychological rather than physical if the man:
- is still waking with morning erections
- can still get a good erection by masturbation
Common psychological causes of erection difficulties include:
- nerves – especially about performing
- guilt – notably if you’re trying to have sex with somebody else’s wife
- relationship problems – especially if you’re no longer keen on your partner
- latent gayness – for instance, if you’re a basically gay guy, trying to have sex with a woman
In a lot of cases, ED turns out to be due to a mixture of psychological and physical causes.
What physical causes are there?
Common physical causes include:
- deterioration of the arteries – this is a physical change which is common in older men, including those with high blood pressure
- smoking cigarettes or pot
- excessive drinking (hence the phrase ‘Brewer’s droop’)
- being out of shape, over weight
- side-effects of certain drugs prescription or recreational drugs
- major surgery in the abdomen – particularly on the prostate gland.
Less common physical causes include:
- excessive drainage of blood from the veins of the penis (‘venous leak’)
- diseases of the nervous system
- injury to the spinal cord or brain
- hormone problems.
What should I do if I’m having potency problems?
If you have difficulty getting an erection, seek help. Don’t suffer in silence – as so many men do!
Also, don’t hide it from your partner. A lot of guys behave like this, and very often the result is that the other person decides that she is being scorned, or that ‘he doesn’t love me any more’.
Your first move should be to talk to your Doctor or try some Sex Toys which are Novelty but they can be fun in trying.
Oral drugs, which help produce an erection in response to sexual stimulation, have revolutionised the treatment of ED over the last 15 years.
They don’t work for everybody, but they do work for the great majority – even in diabetes. They can also sometimes help people with neurological and spinal problems.
Also, the choice of available drugs means that if one particular drug doesn’t suit you, it’s well worth trying one of the others.
For a few men, it’s not safe to use these drugs. Also, some medications interact dangerously with them. Therefore, before going on any of these pills you should always see a doctor, talk things over with him or her, and have a physical check-up.
Do not buy erection drugs by mail-order or from chaps you meet in pubs! They may not be the right thing. In fact, there have been several recent cases of cruel scams, in which men were sold fake Viagra.
For the selection of these drugs are via a Doctor and a prescription.
Novelties and Sex Toys
There are a number of devices that can help men to achieve a better erection and to have successful sex.
A pump is a cylinder that you put over your penis. You then pump out the air. That should ‘suck’ your penis into an erection.
Quite a lot of men do use vacuum pumps, as shown by the fact that there are currently lots of different vacuum devices available at Sex Shops from basic pricing to very expensive – start with a reasonable priced unit to see if you like it and it works for you.
Specially-designed rings that fit round the base of the male organ are often used with vacuum pumps. However, they can be tried on their own. The idea is that the ring helps stop the blood from flowing out of the penis.
These Cock Rings are available at Sex Shops and start with the reasonable cost and stretchy units before investing in the more expensive and complicated rings. You don’t know until you try.
Erectile dysfunction is usually treatable these days. However, it’s important to first establish what the cause is, very often, there are several causes, including both physical and psychological factors, but a positive attitude and trying some Novelties and speaking to your Doctor can help.