Don’t panic. That will only make it worse. Erectile dysfunction is common. In younger age groups it is more likely to be a psychogenic issue around performance anxiety (don’t seek to be like a porn star is a top tip). In men between the ages of 40 and 70, it is estimated that 50 per cent will have some degree of erectile dysfunction. In this age group, there may be a more of a physical issue around blood flow. In either case, consult your doctor and they will be able to give you some more advice. An erectile litmus test is, if you are getting nighttime or early morning erections, it is likely a psychological not a physical vascular issue.
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."
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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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.
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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So not only are erectile problems common, they're nothing for you or your special friend to be freaked out about. Check out the nine most common reasons that dudes sometimes can't get it up, and get ready to become the soothing voice of reason the next time the guy you're with has a hard time pitching his tent in your happy valley. Everything (and every penis) is gonna be fine!