Something James, 26, knows for sure about his penis is that it won’t get hard when he’s sleeping with a woman for the first time. No, it has nothing to do with how attracted he is to her. It’s just a classic case of performance anxiety, caused by his personal fears about how awkward and uncomfortable the experience could be—which, of course, turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Francis,*, 42, had ED for 11 years before he decided to seek treatment a few years ago. At first, he didn't even realize that he might have ED. "I thought I was either depressed or that I had lost interest in my girlfriend at the time," he said. But when the problem persisted, he realized it was preventing him from having sex with his partner, who often taunted him for struggling to maintain an erection.
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Getting hard is also an overwhelmingly mental task. "Yes, men are saddled with the scheduled 'morning boner' and may experience an occasional random erection but by and large an erection needs to be achieved through mental stimulation," says Backe. "If you aren't turned on, your body isn't going to send more blood to the penis — bottom line. So, ultimately, you need a clean and clear mind for healthy and clear erections. Keeping the mind healthy will allow proper mental stimulation to occur at the right time."
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."
Regardless of the reason, men spend a lot more time on their butts than they ever have before, shows data from the CDC. And all that sitting hurts your heart and your waistline, which saps your vigor below your belt, Dr. Köhler explains. You need a good 30 to 45 minutes of vigorous exercise at least 5 days a week to counteract all your chair time, experts say.
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Having these factors work in tandem all at once is key. "So many things have to go right for you to achieve a strong erection, which is why the strength of a man's erection is a great indicator for their overall health," explains Reitano. "For starters, your hormones must be released on demand, your arteries need to carry blood to the penis with perfect efficiency, your nervous system must transmit its signals without a hitch, and your mind must be working in perfect harmony with your body. That is a lot to ask of your body on demand."
"If any of these physiological factors don't work properly, a man can experience weak erections," says Axe. "Problems maintaining an erection can be due to a number of issues, from hormone imbalances, to neurological issues, cardiovascular conditions, stress and issues with your mental health. There is not one clear way to explain erectile dysfunction — it depends on the man and his specific health condition."
From a medical perspective, your semen packs a pretty incredible punch. Within the 2 to 5ml of semen (AKA your ejaculate) that you yield every time you ejaculate, there contains around 20 million spermatozoa (your moving sperm), each roughly 50 millionths of a metre long. If you can’t picture this, just think back to your childhood when you stared at the tadpoles in your garden pond. That’s about the gist of it – except much, much smaller. Of course, your spermatozoa are not alone in your semen, having for company complex enzymes and fructose sugars that help your swimmers, well, swim and survive for longer.
Fortunately, the harm free radicals cause can be prevented with antioxidant nutrients, notably vitamins A, C, and E, and the minerals, selenium and zinc. Antioxidant supplements can help, but nutritionists and public health officials agree that the best way to get antioxidants is from foods rich in them: fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. That's why health officials urge at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Many studies show that as fruit and vegetable consumption increases, risk of heart disease and every major cancer decreases. There have been no big studies of dietary antioxidants and sexual satisfaction, but the link is biologically irrefutable. As antioxidant intake increases, so does blood healthy flow around the body, including into the penis. If you smoke, quit. And eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables—fruit with breakfast, a salad and/or vegetable at lunch and dinner, and snack on fruit.
Additionally, financial struggles, issues at work, and issues at home with children or external family can impact the quality of sex you’re having. Remember that sex is a two person game. Both people need to be invested in it for it to be good. And good sex leads to longer, stronger, more powerful erections. It’s in both of your best interest to have better sex.
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.