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.

"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."
Most men know their penis is not likely to hit a grand slam every time it steps to the plate. According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, 85 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 39 say they “always” or “almost always” can get and maintain an erection, which means 15 percent of men in the prime of their life have a hard time getting hard at least occasionally. The same study found that of men between the ages of 40-59, only 20 percent said they could get a healthy enough erection for sex most of the time. In other words, solid wood is far from a foregone conclusion.
This simple five-question quiz asks you to rank your erections in various situations (during the past 6 months) on a scale from 1-5. It’s not a perfect tool, but it’s simple, short, and gets you thinking about the difference between just getting an erection and being hard enough for penetration and a healthy sex life (because those are two different things).
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.

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.

"Diseases and illnesses can hamper one's ability to achieve an erection," he explains. "Cancer, diabetes and heart disease is the cause in many cases. Low testosterone count caused by genetics, inactivity or unusual level of estrogen in the body can limit penile function as well." High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also be detrimental to erections.


Now, it may be that all you need to do is tackle some of the issues outlined in these key tools. However, yes, that advice may also come in the form of a small magic blue pill. Sildenafil (Viagra) is a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor, designed to promote blood flow to your penis and achieve a sustainable erection. It can sometimes be a short-term option to help you "get back on the horse" or a longer-term method (if there is an irreversible dysfunction) to help you enjoy a healthy intimate relationship.
Now that he no longer has ED, Mher attributed the surgery to helping drastically improve his life. He told Mic that when he was dealing with the condition, most of his partners would eventually break up with him "because they couldn't understand" why he couldn't sustain an erection — a complaint that's common among younger men who struggle with erectile dysfunction. 

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!
And be aware that the vast majority of physical or psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are temporary. They may go away as quickly as they occurred. But if anything is bothering you or your partner, you should seek out confidential, professional advice. There is no point in worrying and not doing anything about it. It may just make the situation worse.
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.
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.

Getting hard is also an overwhelmingly mental task. "Yes, men are saddled with the scheduled 'morning boner' and may experience an occasional random erection but by and large an erection needs to be achieved through mental stimulation," says Backe. "If you aren't turned on, your body isn't going to send more blood to the penis — bottom line. So, ultimately, you need a clean and clear mind for healthy and clear erections. Keeping the mind healthy will allow proper mental stimulation to occur at the right time."


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.

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