Performance jitters. For some young men, the desire to perform well in bed can be so overwhelming that, in turn, it causes them to not perform at all. “When a younger man experiences ED, it often is associated with significant performance anxiety, which in turn increases the problem, sometimes turning a temporary situation (i.e., too much to drink that night) into a permanent problem,” says Jerome Hoeksema, MD, assistant professor of urology at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “The more they worry about it, the worse it gets. Young men need to recognize this cycle and try to reduce the ‘stress’ surrounding sex.”
"Erectile dysfunction medication interferes with the process that allows blood to leave the penis," adds Reitano. "Men with erectile dysfunction would benefit from having the chemicals leading to the erection outweigh the actions of the chemicals that cause the penis to lose its firmness, to have the systems that cause the inflow outweigh the chemicals that cause the outflow."
How do you please a man with ED?
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Gray-haired men soaking in Jacuzzis overlooking canyons, thumbing through the morning newspaper in their thick reading glasses, cuddling their wives on gently swaying hammocks while drinking sensible glasses of cabernet...the classic erectile-dysfunction commercials of the past 20 years were pretty clear about who they wanted to reach. Ever since, those iconic images have defined who we as a society assume are in need of penis pills: men of retirement age.
Erectile dysfunction, often referred to as ED, is characterized by a persistent and recurring inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Psychological, physical and lifestyle issues can all cause ED, as can trauma to nerves and arteries. The incidence of erectile dysfunction increases with age, but young men can also experience it.
A “cycle”, as you put it, can certainly become established after a man experiences a number of erectile failures and begins to lose confidence. Once the idea of attempting intercourse produces anxiety rather than excitement, it becomes less and less likely he will successfully produce a reliable erection. Pharmaceutical agents can bypass this cycle, but it can also be extremely important to learn to be less fixated on erectile ability and instead focus on pleasure. Learning it is possible to give and receive enormous pleasure without an erection can be a vital aspect of a return to sexual health. This knowledge can lead to a reduction of the pressure you mentioned, as well as to a lifetime of sexual confidence and enjoyment.
Depression. The profound sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness that characterize depression may also cause ED among younger men. “The biggest effect of depression is on a man’s desire for sexual relations, or libido,” says Drogo Montague, MD, director of the Center for Genitourinary Reconstruction in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “To some extent, depression can affect a man’s ability to maintain an erection. It can be a chicken-and-egg situation. However, reduced libido is a common indicator of depression.”
This simple five-question quiz asks you to rank your erections in various situations (during the past 6 months) on a scale from 1-5. It’s not a perfect tool, but it’s simple, short, and gets you thinking about the difference between just getting an erection and being hard enough for penetration and a healthy sex life (because those are two different things).
Evaluate surgical options. If the other treatments have not proven successful, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure that will involve an inflatable penile prosthesis being implanted into your penis. Typically a pair of inflatable cylinders are inserted into the penis, which can be pumped up and deflated using a connected device that is inserted into the scrotal sac.
Relationship problems often complicate erectile dysfunction. Improving your relationship may be part of the solution. It may be a good idea to get counseling together from a sex therapist, marriage counselor, or a medical specialist. "I almost always see couples together to discuss erectile dysfunction. It often turns out that both partners have issues regarding the sexual relationship and once they are out in the open, couples can work together on a more satisfying sexual experience," says Feloney.
Does aspirin work like Viagra?
Sit down with your partner and talk honestly about your sex together. Is it good? Do you both like it? This is important, because feeling discontent can cause you to lose an erection frequently. So open up. Maybe one or both of you isn’t enjoying the sex anymore. You can definitely improve the quality of sex that you have, but it’s start with honesty. Frequency, intensity, and a number of other things from scents to bad breath can dramatically impact sex.
Even if your relationship isn't the source of it, depression can keep you from getting an erection. "Erectile dysfunction can affect someone with depression even when he is in a stable and loving relationship," says Dr. Reitano. "Unfortunately, the drugs used to treat depression can cause erectile dysfunction, as well. The good news is that erectile dysfunction medications work whether the difficulty is from the depression itself or from the medications."
If the problem is physical, there are numerous treatments available, such as penile injections or penile revascularization surgery, which increases blood flow to the cavernosal artery of the penis. There are also medications like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but Lehmiller cautioned men with erectile difficulties not to self-medicate without seeing a doctor beforehand due to the potential negative side effects associated with such medications (such as chest pain or shortness of breath).
What causes erectile dysfunction in older males?
The vascular processes that produce an erection are controlled by the nervous system and certain prescription medications may have the side effect of interfering with necessary nerve signals. Among the possible culprits are a variety of stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, antihistamines, and drugs to treat high blood pressure, cancer, or depression. But never stop a medication unless your doctor tells you to. In addition, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, may contribute to the dysfunction.
As recently as two decades ago, doctors tended to blame erectile dysfunction on psychological problems or, with older men, on the normal aging process. Today, the pendulum of medical opinion has swung away from both notions. While arousal takes longer as a man ages, chronic erectile dysfunction warrants medical attention. Moreover, the difficulty is often not psychological in origin. Today, urologists believe that physical factors underlie the majority of cases of persistent erectile dysfunction in men over age 50.
Stiffy Solution: The good news is, almost all of these conditions can be successfully treated if you catch them early on. And since erectile problems may be the first side effect your dude has experienced, seeking medical treatment for his erectile problems may be the thing to get him into a doctor's office. So if your dude is a well-rested, non-drinking, non-smoking, paragon of relaxation who suddenly can't get wood, urge him to talk to his doctor — his misbehaving penis may actually be communicating something way more important than "Not tonight, honey."