Just as certain meds can make it difficult for men to have an orgasm, some can keep the flagpole from even getting raised in the first place. Anti-depressant medications like Prozac and Zoloft, anti-anxiety pills like Valium, high blood pressure medicine like Diuril, and even over-the-counter cold medicines like Sudafed and anti-heartburn pills like Zantac can inhibit erections.
In the long term, the best thing you can do for ED problems is “stay playful and keep the focus off getting your partner erect,” says Goldberg. Experiment with new erotic scenarios and situations, like having sex in a different room, wearing lingerie, or role-playing your fave fantasy. Oh, and don’t limit yourselves to just intercourse either (which applies to all couples, whether or not you’re dealing with ED). “The broader your definition of sex,” Goldberg says, “the more sex you can be having.”
When something isn't working the way it should be, understanding the science behind what is supposed to be happening is key to pinpointing the problem. As Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com explains, getting an erection is a full body and mind process. "Erections actually begin in the brain and they're promoted by thoughts related to sex and sexual desires," he says.
The penis is the male sex organ, and the shaft of it is the longest part. The glans and head are located at the end of the shaft. The opening at the tip of the head when semen and urine come out is termed the meatus. Inside the shaft are two cylinder-shaped chambers called the corpora cavernosa and they run the length of the penis. They have blood vessels, maze, open pockets, tissue, and others.

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Did you know that a cock ring can help you maintain an erection? This O-shaped toy fits around your penis and helps keep blood in the shaft, where you want it. A cock ring also helps prevent venous leakage, a form of erectile dysfunction where blood flows to your penis, but has trouble staying there. (Giddy, a new cock-ring-like gadget designed to treat ED, may also help guys with venous leakage maintain stronger erections.)

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Stiffy Solution: Luckily, alcohol-induced impotence (also known by the infinitely less classy alias "whiskey d*ck") is a totally temporary condition, one that should clear up as soon as your dude can once again walk a straight line and recite the alphabet backwards. If your dude has consistent erectile problems from consistently drinking too much, however, he should consider cutting down on the sauce, and possibly talking with a doctor.

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"Start by cutting out junk, processed and packaged foods. Instead, focus on eating high fiber foods, like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and foods that will help to improve blood flow, such as leafy green vegetables. It's also helpful to avoid drinking too much caffeine and alcohol. Next, make sure you are getting regular exercise. This will help you to balance your hormone levels, improve circulation and manage stress."
As it turns out, there are actually tons of things that can keep guys from getting an erection that have nothing to do with you (also, all that stuff you learned in middle school about how all guys are hump-crazed sex lunatics might have been slightly off). Between 20 and 30 million American men experience recurring erection difficulties, and almost all men have, at one time or another, had their top ramen refuse to boil. And while erectile issues are often seen as an older man's problem, in reality, one quarter of men seeking medical treatment for erectile difficulties are under 40.
...the root of the ground cover, Panax ginseng, which is the Asian species, and Panax quinquefolius, the American plant (grown mostly in Wisconsin). Ginseng is an "adaptogen," a medicinal herb that helps build and maintain body vitality, allowing users to better adapt to the stresses they face in life. Ginseng is available where herbal medicines are sold.
The penis is the male sex organ, and the shaft of it is the longest part. The glans and head are located at the end of the shaft. The opening at the tip of the head when semen and urine come out is termed the meatus. Inside the shaft are two cylinder-shaped chambers called the corpora cavernosa and they run the length of the penis. They have blood vessels, maze, open pockets, tissue, and others.

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“With the success of Viagra-type drugs, there has been a tendency to start all patients with ED on one of these drugs and not look much further for a medical cause. But we now know that ED may be an early warning for heart and blood vessel disease, so it is important to look for common risk factors. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, medications, smoking, drinking, and drugs,” said Dr. Wang.


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There is no evidence that mild or even moderate alcohol consumption is bad for erectile function, says Ira Sharlip, MD, a urology professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. But chronic heavy drinking can cause liver damage, nerve damage, and other conditions -- such as interfering with the normal balance of male sex hormone levels -- that can lead to ED.

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It can be difficult and frustrating for men and their partners to cope with erectile dysfunction, especially when the cause is unclear. At this point, it is important to be supportive and understanding of the situation and of one another. Erectile difficulties can cause feelings of inadequacy in both men and their partners. Each may internalize the situation, fearing that s/he is the one to blame. Therefore, open and honest communication with one another is an essential ingredient in strengthening your relationship as you work through this situation together.
Where it comes from: When talking about erectile dysfunction, it's important to note that while there are many potential causes, they can essentially be divided into two discrete categories: physical and psychological. It's also important to note that there's a huge difference between chronic ED and the occasional (and very normal) inability to maintain an erection during sex.  
If ED happens to a boyfriend or husband, ask (outside the bedroom) if he’s ever seen a doctor about it. Only 15 percent of men have, according to our survey—but a doc visit might be the simplest solution. For instance, if your guy’s ED seems like a psychological issue, his doctor may refer him to a therapist who can help him work through whatever’s getting him down. Or he may be given a temporary prescription for sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, which is safe and effective when used correctly.

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Men with a healthy lifestyle and no chronic disease had the lowest risk for erectile dysfunction; the greatest difference was seen for men aged 65-79. For instance, men who exercised at least three hours per week had a 30% lower risk for ED than those who exercised little. Obesity, smoking, and excessive TV watching were also associated with having a greater risk of erectile dysfunction.
While physical anatomy and chemical reaction are both important for getting and keeping an erection, the brain is one of the most vital parts of this puzzle. "An erection is controlled by multiple areas of your brain, including the hypothalamus, limbic system and cerebral cortex," notes Axe. "Stimulatory messages are sent to your spinal erection centers and this facilitates an erection. When there's an issue with your brain's ability to send these important messages, it can increase the smooth muscle tone in your penis and prevent the relaxation that is necessary to get an erection."
As it turns out, there are actually tons of things that can keep guys from getting an erection that have nothing to do with you (also, all that stuff you learned in middle school about how all guys are hump-crazed sex lunatics might have been slightly off). Between 20 and 30 million American men experience recurring erection difficulties, and almost all men have, at one time or another, had their top ramen refuse to boil. And while erectile issues are often seen as an older man's problem, in reality, one quarter of men seeking medical treatment for erectile difficulties are under 40.

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Stiffy Solution: Obviously, no one should ever go off a prescribed med without consulting with a doctor. But there are erection-friendly alternatives to nearly every daisy-wilting medicine listed above. And your dude shouldn't let embarrassment keep him from talking to his GP about this — doctors are well aware that erectile difficulties are a possible side effect for all of these medicines; they just don't know which patients will experience what side effects, so they're waiting for you, the patient, to bring it up.
Mention older men’s wilting erections, and people immediately think Viagra. Yes, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, can raise flags that have fallen to half staff. But fewer than half of men over 50 have tried them, and of those, fewer than half have renewed their prescriptions. Why? Because the drugs don’t work as well as advertised, and the side effects can be annoying.

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"Some physical problems that can lead to weak erections are the inability of your brain to send signals to your penis, which can be caused by neurological conditions like MS, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's," adds Axe. "Studies suggest that stress, anxiety and depression can produce major chemical changes in your brain, leading to the inability of smooth muscles to relax and allow for an erection. On top of this, researchers have also indicated that the failure to achieve an erection can aggravate a man's anxiety levels, leading to a vicious cycle."

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And be aware that the vast majority of physical or psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are temporary. They may go away as quickly as they occurred. But if anything is bothering you or your partner, you should seek out confidential, professional advice. There is no point in worrying and not doing anything about it. It may just make the situation worse.

Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for ED, according to the 2014 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General. Excess weight can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. A 2004 Italian study found that one-third of their 110 obese study subjects were able to eliminate their erectile dysfunction problems by losing fifteen percent of their weight through diet and exercise.
Improve your nutrition. Certain foods, such as those that are fatty, fried, sugary, and processed, can result in decreased blood flow throughout your body and can contribute to a vascular form of erectile dysfunction. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats to improve your blood circulation and increase the amount of time you’re able to maintain an erection.
Natural treatments: Although natural remedies are increasingly available for sale over the counter, there is little scientific evidence to support their claims of improving ED. These remedies may produce adverse side effects or react negatively with other medications a man is taking. Before trying any over-the-counter treatments, it is essential to consult a doctor.

When these mental hang-ups happen in the moment (aka in bed), they can trigger his brain’s fight-or-flight response, which sends a message to his penis to shut things down. In this way, performance anxiety–induced ED is actually pretty similar to what women experience when our thoughts during sex make it hard to stay turned on and/or orgasm—we just don’t have an appendage that shows the evidence.
Condom troubles. Can the simple act of putting on a condom cause so much stress that it actually leads to erectile dysfunction? Sure it can — in fact, one recent survey of 234 young men conducted by the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago found that 25 percent had lost an erection while putting on a condom. “Putting on a condom requires a break from stimulation, and when it is on, it can reduce sensation,” says Dr. Montague.
Remember those cultural messages we discussed earlier, about how men are wild sex aliens from the planet Weenus? Well, men are raised hearing those messages, too, and they can end up screwing with their sexual self-image —for instance, they can lead men to obsess over their own virility, and panic about impressing a new partner, until they've thought their boner into a corner and can't get an erection. Performance anxiety is one of the most common culprits behind lost erections, especially among younger, less experienced men.

Erectile dysfunction is no laughing matter. And although it is not an easy thing to talk about, there are trained professionals who can give you good advice about what may be the cause of your current predicament. Many men like to talk about sex, but like women, they may find it harder to talk about sex when it is not going well. You won’t be judged or talked about at BPAS. We are here to help you with some of the more private things in life.
Don't forget mental health, either! "If you are experiencing stress at work, in your relationships or at home, open up communication about these issues," notes Axe. "Try natural stress busters like spending time outdoors, taking some vacation time for yourself or seeing a therapist. You also need to make sure that you are getting enough rest every night — seven to nine hours of sleep per night."
"Some physical problems that can lead to weak erections are the inability of your brain to send signals to your penis, which can be caused by neurological conditions like MS, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's," adds Axe. "Studies suggest that stress, anxiety and depression can produce major chemical changes in your brain, leading to the inability of smooth muscles to relax and allow for an erection. On top of this, researchers have also indicated that the failure to achieve an erection can aggravate a man's anxiety levels, leading to a vicious cycle."
Stiffy Solution: Luckily, alcohol-induced impotence (also known by the infinitely less classy alias "whiskey d*ck") is a totally temporary condition, one that should clear up as soon as your dude can once again walk a straight line and recite the alphabet backwards. If your dude has consistent erectile problems from consistently drinking too much, however, he should consider cutting down on the sauce, and possibly talking with a doctor.
As a relatively young man, Mher was in the minority of patients with erectile dysfunction, who are predominantly over the age of 50. But he's far from the only young man who's struggled with the condition. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, an estimated one in four patients with new, onset ED are under the age of 40 — yet because we rarely hear about these men, they're left feeling embarrassed and alone.

So there you have it. Three relatively easy lifestyle changes that can improve erectile function. Eat better, exercise more, and keep the drinking to a minimum. Erectile dysfunction can signal a major health problem, so if you’re experiencing ED, get checked out. However, it’s worth looking into your diet and lifestyle before you start taking medication.
Obesity. Obesity itself is not a risk factor for ED — but there is a connection. “The bigger concern is that obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes or vascular diseases, which are risk factors for ED,” says Montague. Morbid obesity, a term used to classify individuals who are significantly overweight, can cause hormonal changes that are triggered by excess body fat. In addition, obesity can put physical limitations on sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction can be embarrassing and difficult to talk about for some men. Many men may feel like they need to hide their diagnosis from their partner. "Failure to communicate openly about erectile dysfunction can result in both partners drawing away from the relationship," warns Feloney. Remember that your partner is also affected by your problem; being open and honest is the best way to decrease fear and anxiety. Discuss options for achieving sexual satisfaction together, and be positive — most erectile dysfunction problems can be treated.
Most men know their penis is not likely to hit a grand slam every time it steps to the plate. According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, 85 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 39 say they “always” or “almost always” can get and maintain an erection, which means 15 percent of men in the prime of their life have a hard time getting hard at least occasionally. The same study found that of men between the ages of 40-59, only 20 percent said they could get a healthy enough erection for sex most of the time. In other words, solid wood is far from a foregone conclusion.
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Occasional ED is common in all men, including young and healthy men. But if you have a persistent or recurrent problem with initiating or maintaining an erection and it's causing you or your partner distress, talk to your doctor. “Lack of nighttime erections is another cause for concern, said Wang. These occurrences serve to nourish the penis with oxygen and keeping the blood supply healthy, he explained. "Young men should get four or five of these a night. If you are not getting these and you are having frequent problems with ED, you need to check in with your doctor,” he recommended.
Occasional ED is common in all men, including young and healthy men. But if you have a persistent or recurrent problem with initiating or maintaining an erection and it's causing you or your partner distress, talk to your doctor. “Lack of nighttime erections is another cause for concern, said Wang. These occurrences serve to nourish the penis with oxygen and keeping the blood supply healthy, he explained. "Young men should get four or five of these a night. If you are not getting these and you are having frequent problems with ED, you need to check in with your doctor,” he recommended.

We use cookies and similar technologies to improve your browsing experience, personalize content and offers, show targeted ads, analyze traffic, and better understand you. We may share your information with third-party partners for marketing purposes. To learn more and make choices about data use, visit our Advertising Policy and Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept and Continue” below, (1) you consent to these activities unless and until you withdraw your consent using our rights request form, and (2) you consent to allow your data to be transferred, processed, and stored in the United States.


It’s important not to take a bout of psychological ED personally. Still, when confronting a suddenly soft penis in the moment, “It’s not you” can be hard to believe. For instance, Erin, 22, tried—really tried—to make sex with Drew* happen. The first time his erection died right before they were about to have sex, she improvised and gave him “really long” oral instead. But the lack of a boner was confusing. “That had never happened to me with a sexual partner, so I was like, ‘Okay, he’s just not into me,’” Erin recalls.

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