Gray-haired men soaking in Jacuzzis overlooking canyons, thumbing through the morning newspaper in their thick reading glasses, cuddling their wives on gently swaying hammocks while drinking sensible glasses of cabernet...the classic erectile-dysfunction commercials of the past 20 years were pretty clear about who they wanted to reach. Ever since, those iconic images have defined who we as a society assume are in need of penis pills: men of retirement age.
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.
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.”
What vitamins help sexually?
Another way to keep your libido up is to act when you do get aroused. This might mean going home at lunchtime to have sex with your spouse, or leaving a party early with your date if you’re both aroused. Staving off an arousal trains your body to disassociate arousal with erections. You want the opposite. You want to get and keep a strong erection when you feel aroused so that you can have better sex. So this is a great excuse to tend to your sexual needs as they come, if you can.
UW Health urologists with advanced training offer medical and surgical treatment options for men and their partners affected by erectile dysfunction. There are several different ways that erectile dysfunction can be treated. For some men, making a few healthy lifestyle changes may solve the problem. Your urologist will help determine the most effective course of treatment for your condition.
A dating death sentence: How men perceive their ED issues also changes with age. With older men, "they've had a life of good erections to look back on," Rose Hartzell, Ph.D., EdS, an AASECT-certified sex therapist with San Diego Sexual Medicine, told Mic. But with some younger men who haven't had much opportunity to be sexually active, "they might feel cheated" out of having a good sex life.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Lifestyle changes: One of the first things a young man can do to potentially improve or eliminate ED is make positive choices that will also have an impact on the rest of his life. Some changes a man can consider include increasing exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol only in moderation. Where a man has relationship problems, seeking counseling may also be helpful.
A very stressful or intense situation, or performance anxiety, could definitely make a man lose his erection. The pressure to perform could be psychologically too intense to keep a strong one. Another, lesser talked about erection killer is difficulty penetrating a partner during sex. It’s related to performance anxiety and stress, but also fatigue. If sex becomes tiring, fatigue will bring a quick end to an otherwise great night.
Most of us are raised to believe that men are ravenous sex-beasts, eternally horny and only pretending to be a part of polite society so that they can find some new crevice to jam their Jeremy Irons into. So the first time we cross paths (and genitals) with a guy who can't get an erection, many of us immediately panic and assume that the problem must be us. We must be profoundly unsexy. After all, what could else possibly stop these hormone-addled maniacs from getting an erection?
Stiffy Solution: The good news is, almost all of these conditions can be successfully treated if you catch them early on. And since erectile problems may be the first side effect your dude has experienced, seeking medical treatment for his erectile problems may be the thing to get him into a doctor's office. So if your dude is a well-rested, non-drinking, non-smoking, paragon of relaxation who suddenly can't get wood, urge him to talk to his doctor — his misbehaving penis may actually be communicating something way more important than "Not tonight, honey."