The Truth About Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the chronic inability for a man to achieve or maintain an erection. It may be impossible to achieve an erection at all, or it might be lost in the middle of sexual intercourse, before he is ready. Although this may be a difficult experience, it is almost certainly temporary and can be fixed after an evaluation of the sufferer’s lifestyle.

Experts estimate that nearly 98% of all men experience an erection problem at some point during adulthood. There are several different potential causes for erection problems, and in most cases, the effect is temporary. It is not considered erectile dysfunction until a man experiences difficulty in maintaining an erection at least 25% of the time.

Aside from physical implications, erectile dysfunction can destroy a man’s self esteem and cause problems between he and his partner. Treatment is available for men with erectile dysfunction, however, and it is almost always cured. It is usually a matter of identifying the problem and making lifestyle changes to correct that problem.

For years, erectile dysfunction was considered an emotional or mental problem. I had a patient several years ago whose wife was constantly badgering him about being “too tense in bed” and “not being attracted” to her. In reality, chronic erection problems are usually rooted in a physical cause, not an emotional or mental problem. Temporary dysfunction might be related to a psychological issue – such as an inability to concentrate or intense emotional trauma – but this is far from the norm.

Remember that infertility and premature ejaculation are not the same as erectile dysfunction, and both are rooted in separate physical or psychological causes.


Maintaining an erection requires the participation and cooperation of your brain, hormones, nerves and blood vessels, all at the same time, which means that problems with any one of those factors might cause erectile dysfunction. The problem doesn’t even have to be rooted in the sexual organs; in fact, it rarely is.

Heart and blood vessel disorders are often the culprit in erectile dysfunction because an erection requires the surging of blood to the penis. Likewise, medications for heart or blood pressure diseases can also cause the inability to maintain an erection.

Recreational drugs can play a large part in erectile dysfunction, as can any combination of nicotine, alcohol or prescription medication. Eliminating those factors from one’s life can often make all the difference; these substances inhibit the blood flow to the penis and can prevent a man from concentrating for any length of time.

It is also true that, even when erectile dysfunction is rooted in a physical problem, continued negativity about the problem can worsen the condition or prolong it. If you are angry, nervous, depressed or anxious about erectile dysfunction, or if you experience doubt or other negative emotions, this might only serve to intensify the problem.


If you are concerned about erectile dysfunction, or about any type of sexual affliction, there are certain aspects of your lifestyle that you can change to positive effect.

It is best to cut down or quite smoking and drinking when experiencing erection problems. You should also stop any use of illegal or recreational drugs. Lack of sleep can contribute to erectile problems, so make sure that you obtain a full night’s sleep and that you take time out of your day to rest and relax.

Exercise regularly to increase blood circulation in your body and to stay physically fit. Maintain a healthy diet with lots of protein, and try not to skip meals. If you do not have a steady partner, make sure that you practice safe sex so that you are not worried about contracting an STD.

The most important thing is to talk openly and honestly with your partner about the trouble you are having. If you don’t receive positive feedback, and if you don’t explain how you are feeling, the problem will only be compounded. If necessary, see a counselor or psychologist to help open the lines of communication.


If you decide to see a doctor about the problem, it is important to be honest and open with him about your issue. Your doctor will probably ask several probing questions, and if you are not honest and thorough, he will not be able to help you. Common questions might include:

Have you ever had difficulty achieving or maintaining erections in the past?
Are you depressed? Worried? Stressed? Angry?
Do you sleep well every night?
Have you had any strange or unpleasant sensations in your penis?
Do you have nighttime erections?
Is your difficulty in achieving an erection or in maintaining it?
Do you have any fear of sexual activity?

Your doctor’s questions will help you to discover the root of the problem, and to prescribe medication if any is required.

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