"It definitely was a blow to my masculinity," Francis told Mic. "It didn't help that my wife at the time would say that I must be gay if I couldn't keep it up for her." Compounding the issue, if an erection doesn't happen during a given sexual encounter, the man can obsess over it, inevitably creating pressure and making it difficult for him to become fully aroused during future encounters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To avoid such conflicts, Hartzell said she usually meets with both the ED patient and their partner, to emphasize that "it's not his problem, it's their problem," which means they both need to be part of the solution. She says this can be a "mind trip" for those who view erections as the sole measure of a partner's desire for them, as Francis' partner clearly did.
"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."
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."
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.
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.
What causes erectile dysfunction in 20s?
"Primarily because people tend to get anxious around introducing these things. Also, introducing these things too early can perpetuate a myth that it's low desire that is leading to the erectile issue. Low sexual desire is often not the cause of the problem. There can be other factors, such as depression, anxiety, poor self-image or esteem, etc. Without proper processing, adding sexual aids can add to a sense of shame if they don't work."
If the problem is physiological, that is, if a man cannot maintain an erection due to illness, it is best to go to the doctor or specialist and treat the problem accordingly. Sometimes treating this problem with medication is enough to solve the problem; other times, however, a doctor might recommend the use of Viagra in order to achieve full erection.
Andrew McCullough, MD, associate professor of clinical urology and director, male sexual health program, New York University Langone Medical Center. Lecturer: Auxillium. Research grant: Pfizer. Data safety monitoring board: Pfizer. Consultant: Slate Pharmaceuticals. Clinical trials: Warner Chilcott, Vivus, Lilly, Bayer-GSK, ICOS, Timm, Schering Plough, Aeterna.
You may be unsurprised to learn that little has changed over the years when it comes to erections. In fact, this is probably only matched the pursuit of erectile greatness (judging by the growing column inches on the subject). But there too is a new kid on the sexual performance block: the volume of your semen – likely born out of the explosion of easily accessible online pornography and its warped portrayal of “what’s normal” in sex. Divided into two parts (one: your erection; two: your semen), here’s what you need to know about these two bedfellows...
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.