The answers to these questions, as well as physiological tests like an ultrasound or neurological assessment, can help determine the root cause of ED. Depending on the cause, different treatment options are available. Treatments range from medication, to hormone replacement therapy, to vascular surgery, to sex therapy and/or couples counseling. It sounds like you have ruled out many physical factors, in which case it may be useful to consider psychological factors. Often, couples counseling and/or sex therapy (as a couple or individual) can identify factors related to ED, help with communication, and improve sex for both partners. For a sex therapist, check out the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) web site and click on the "Locate a Professional" link.
Regular exercise and a diet rich in antioxidants is also the foundation of permanent weight control and diabetes prevention. Studies at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center show that weight loss is strongly associated with better sexual function. Other studies show that diabetes is a major risk factor for ED, and that a healthy lifestyle prevents the disease and can restore erection function.
There are many factors that can lead to ED. “Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction in young men can include performance anxiety, guilt about sex in general, guilt about having sex with a particular partner, feelings of anger or resentment towards a partner, or simply finding a partner undesirable,” said Carole Lieberman, MD, a psychiatrist on the clinical faculty of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles.

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But recently, slick, millennial-chic ads started popping up on social media from new men’s brands like Roman and Hims. Even though the (young) founders of these companies say they aren’t trying to market ED meds to your Tinder dates or male partners, clearly they are looping 20- and 30something guys into the deflated-D narrative for the first time ever.
Erectile dysfunction in older men. Because erections primarily involve the blood vessels, it is not surprising that the most common causes in older men are conditions that block blood flow to the penis, such as atherosclerosis or diabetes. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis. Other physical disorders, as well as hormonal imbalances and certain operations, may also result in erectile dysfunction.
"Erectile dysfunction medication interferes with the process that allows blood to leave the penis," adds Reitano. "Men with erectile dysfunction would benefit from having the chemicals leading to the erection outweigh the actions of the chemicals that cause the penis to lose its firmness, to have the systems that cause the inflow outweigh the chemicals that cause the outflow."
"This triggers the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, and it sends a chemical message from the brain to the penis, causing an increase of blood flow to the penis. The blood vessels leading to the reproductive system then relax and this allows increased circulation in the genital area. When you aren't aroused, the blood vessels in your penis are only partially open. But when your brain sends messages to your penis that you are ready for sex, the vessels open and allow more blood to enter the area. Because of the increased blood flow, blood gets trapped in the penis, which makes the penis expand and causes an erection."
The penis is the male sex organ, and the shaft of it is the longest part. The glans and head are located at the end of the shaft. The opening at the tip of the head when semen and urine come out is termed the meatus. Inside the shaft are two cylinder-shaped chambers called the corpora cavernosa and they run the length of the penis. They have blood vessels, maze, open pockets, tissue, and others. 

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Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for ED, according to the 2014 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General. Excess weight can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. A 2004 Italian study found that one-third of their 110 obese study subjects were able to eliminate their erectile dysfunction problems by losing fifteen percent of their weight through diet and exercise.
Not to give your already stressed-out dude one more thing to worry about, but stress is the cause of 20 percent of all erectile problems, from one-off boner blunders to a lingering inability to get and maintain an erection. Of course, sex difficulties are just the tip of the stress-induced health problem iceberg — sustained stress can also lead to insomnia, stomach troubles, chest pains, anxiety, and more severe health issues in the long term.
The most common diagnostic test for erectile dysfunction is called penile ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to look for abnormal penile blood supply. Another test that may be done is nocturnal penile tumescence testing, in which a type of computer is attached to the penis to see if nighttime erections are occurring. If a young man is having nighttime erections but can’t get an erection during sex, a psychological cause becomes more likely.
For many older men, issues like diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks are often contributing factors to erectile dysfunction. But Goldstein said that in younger men, ED is far more likely to stem from physical trauma. This could be the result of a sports injury, such as a misplaced karate kick, a surfboard hitting the wrong area or long-distance bike riding. It could also be a result of a sexual injury. (This is most common during heterosexual intercourse, especially in the woman-on-top position, the sex position dubbed "most dangerous" by a 2015 study.)

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Depending on the age of the man, the reason why he is experiencing deficiencies in maintaining an erection will be due to a cause or another. Among young men, it is often due to psychological factors, either due to the size of the penis, past experiences, depression, undervaluation or other reasons, but can be summarized as: fear of sexually disappointing the couple.
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.
Occasional ED is common in all men, including young and healthy men. But if you have a persistent or recurrent problem with initiating or maintaining an erection and it's causing you or your partner distress, talk to your doctor. “Lack of nighttime erections is another cause for concern, said Wang. These occurrences serve to nourish the penis with oxygen and keeping the blood supply healthy, he explained. "Young men should get four or five of these a night. If you are not getting these and you are having frequent problems with ED, you need to check in with your doctor,” he recommended.
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.

Performance anxiety: Perhaps the most common cause of erectile problems among younger guys is performance anxiety. Many cultures place pressure on men to be the "experts" when it comes to sex, which can make men feel like they have to be responsible for sex or know how to please their partner every time. This pressure can be stressful and make it more difficult to get or maintain an erection.

The most common diagnostic test for erectile dysfunction is called penile ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to look for abnormal penile blood supply. Another test that may be done is nocturnal penile tumescence testing, in which a type of computer is attached to the penis to see if nighttime erections are occurring. If a young man is having nighttime erections but can’t get an erection during sex, a psychological cause becomes more likely.
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.

The vascular processes that produce an erection are controlled by the nervous system and certain prescription medications may have the side effect of interfering with necessary nerve signals. Among the possible culprits are a variety of stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, antihistamines, and drugs to treat high blood pressure, cancer, or depression. But never stop a medication unless your doctor tells you to. In addition, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, may contribute to the dysfunction.
"Stress and anxiety can adversely affect sexual performance and are common causes of erectile dysfunction,” warns Feloney. “Feelings of stress and anxiety can also lead to depression and a loss of interest in sex." It's important to get these feelings out in the open where you can deal with them. Issues that can lead to erectile dysfunction include fear from previous bad experiences with sex, family or work related stress, poor communication with your partner, and unrealistic goals and expectations.
Where it comes from: When talking about erectile dysfunction, it's important to note that while there are many potential causes, they can essentially be divided into two discrete categories: physical and psychological. It's also important to note that there's a huge difference between chronic ED and the occasional (and very normal) inability to maintain an erection during sex.  

"When it's persistent and consistent, it's extremely likely to have biological factors" regardless of age, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and the director of San Diego Sexual Medicine, told Mic. But the cause of ED can also be psychological: For instance, if a man can get an erection on his own but not with a partner, then his ED is more likely to be rooted in performance anxiety or a deeper psychological issue. 
Defined as "the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse," ED affects nearly 30 million men in the United States (though a 2007 study put the figure at 18 million), according to data from the National Institutes of Health. Doctors have anecdotally reported an increasing number of young male patients; in a recent Vanity Fair piece on hookup culture, writer Nancy Jo Sales spoke with women who noted that many of their Tinder hookups struggle with the condition.
Depression. The profound sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness that characterize depression may also cause ED among younger men. “The biggest effect of depression is on a man’s desire for sexual relations, or libido,” says Drogo Montague, MD, director of the Center for Genitourinary Reconstruction in the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “To some extent, depression can affect a man’s ability to maintain an erection. It can be a chicken-and-egg situation. However, reduced libido is a common indicator of depression.”

If the problem is physical, there are numerous treatments available, such as penile injections or penile revascularization surgery, which increases blood flow to the cavernosal artery of the penis. There are also medications like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but Lehmiller cautioned men with erectile difficulties not to self-medicate without seeing a doctor beforehand due to the potential negative side effects associated with such medications (such as chest pain or shortness of breath).


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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“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.

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