“Although having sex at 70 is not the same as having sex at 20, erectile dysfunction is not a normal part of aging,” according to Michael Feloney, MD, urologic surgeon and expert on sexual dysfunction issues at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “You should still be able to have a satisfying sex life as you age." If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, these 10 dos and don'ts may help.

While the end product is the same, the journeys take three very different routes. The most common erection is your reflexogenic erection, caused by physical contact. The second is your psychogenic erection, caused by audiovisual arousal or imagination (but no contact). The third and final is your nocturnal erection that comes when you are in the deep REM stage of sleep – and which, in fact, has very little do to with sexual stimulation.


Smoking and a diet high in animal fat (sausage at breakfast, pizza for lunch, burgers for dinner) are hell on the cardiovascular system. They fill the bloodstream with oxygen ions (“free radicals”) that injure the artery walls and spur formation of fatty, cholesterol-rich deposits, “plaques.” Over time, plaques grow and narrow the arteries, restricting blood flow. When plaques affect the arteries in the heart, the result is heart disease, in the genitals, erection impairment. Studies show that compared with the general population, smokers suffer much more erectile dysfunction (ED). Other studies show that as cholesterol levels increase, so does risk of ED.

Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.
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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If this scenario sounds familiar, you're in good company. "In an ideal world, strong erections would come simply and naturally," says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics. "However, due to a myriad of reasons, erectile dysfunction can set it at any given time or for a prolonged period of time for a large part of the male population. It is estimated that as many as 30 million men in the United States alone suffer from ED."
As the nervous system of autonomic response, the erection can result in different stimuli that include the sexual arousal and stimulation which is not even under the control of the conscious mind. The absence of the nocturnal erection is also used commonly for distinguishing between the psychological and physical cause of impotence and erectile dysfunction.
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.

Failure to achieve an erection is not uncommon for most men and may be considered normal even if it happens as often as 20 percent of the time. There is a wide range of normal when it comes to sexual functioning and sexual relationships. "Generally if a couple feels comfortable with their sex life and they enjoy intimacy together, erectile dysfunction may not be much of an issue. But if erectile dysfunction is causing stress in a relationship, then help is available," says Feloney.
The blood vessels in your penis are smaller than the larger veins and arteries in other parts of your body. What that means is the first sign of hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, and clogged arteries may not be a stroke or a heart attack. It will often be erectile dysfunction. Regular physical activity reduces your risks for cardiovascular disease (which is awesome), but it also lowers your risk for ED. If there’s a better reason to sweat through a spin class, I can’t think of one.

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