It is common to link erectile dysfunction (ED) and ageing together but research shows that it is more prevalent in men under 40 years than you probably realise. Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a common health problem affecting men of all ages; it is a challenging problem that negatively affects the quality of lives of those affected.
ED doesn’t necessarily last forever and usually resolves itself with little or no treatment. However, it is important to consult your doctor because ED can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes or mental health problems. It is worth checking your overall health.
Is ED Psychological?
Men often report that the only have trouble with getting or maintaining an erection in certain situations. For example they may have no issue with their erection when masturbating or when watching porn, they may have nocturnal erections but they are unable to get an erection with their partner. In these examples the probability is that it is psychological and usually linked to stress.
You may not realise it but stress can have huge impact on erectile function. It is because stress increases the production of our stress hormones like adrenalin which causes the restriction on blood vessels and reduces blood flow, and an erection is based on blood vessels being engorged in the penis. Being under stress no matter the source (money, workplace stress, illness, grief, and the list goes on) can impact your sexual relationship no matter your gender or sexual orientation, which in turn can make you feel even more stressed and making our sexual function issues worse and reducing our desire to have sex.
Signs of stress to watch out for.
Stress can show in different ways for different people. Here are some;
Eating more or less and changes in weight. Weight gain can cause erection problems.
Insomnia or poor sleep patterns can impact sexual function and sexual desire.
Increased blood pressure and cholesterol can both cause ED
Alcohol consumption can affect sexual function and performance.
Smoking is not only bad for your overall health but because it negatively impacts cardiac function and blood flow it can cause erection problems.
Depression can affect sexual desire and performance.
Not being active impacts overall health and health blood flow through the body so a sedentary lifestyle can impact erectile function.
Relationships and ED
Sexual functions issues not only have an impact on the individual but also on their partner. Partners can feel rejected or unattractive to the person with the sexual function issues. This in turn can put more stress on the relationship. This is why communication is important. Sharing concerns and fears can help ease feelings of anxiety and make seeking help easier.
Communicating through issues such as ED can help couples reconnect with forms of intimacy and sexual activity that does not include intercourse. Good communication is important in the recovery from sexual function issue. Working together gives treatment the best chance of being successful and ensures that all parties views on sexual intimacy, and that expectations of treatment outcomes are managed. The best treatment outcomes are usually achieved where couples have good communication or where counselling is used in as a part of holistic treatment to help facilitate good communication.
Simple steps to help.
Identify the root problem - ED is often a symptoms of other things and working with your medical professional to identify the root issue particularly when it is related to stress can help not only your sexual function but also your mental health.
Lifestyle changes - According to research at the University of Adelaide in Australia, men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) can successfully reverse the effects of their problem by making lifestyle changes and avoid the need for medication. Treatment options include counselling with a sex therapist, psychological counselling, weight management, regular exercise, reduced alcohol consumption and stopping smoking.
Medical intervention – prescription medication is commonly used such as penile injections, MHRT, penis pumps, implants and other surgical interventions. These are not suitable for everyone and for some who have tried them they are not long-term solutions because of the side effects. There is innovative sextech being developed for ED and erectile performance issues so watch this space. Until then penis pumps (in combination with a cock ring or not) are the less invasive and cheaper option which also work well for many with ED but can also help maintain penis health and help men avoid ED.
Sex toys for ED
Sex toys for men go beyond cock rings, they can vibrate and stimulate as well. Vibrating toys can trigger arousal such as F1S'" V2 by Lelo, Cobra Libre 2 Mastubator by Fun Factory, Pulse Duo Lux Storm Grey by Hot Octopuss. There are also products to help with performance issues such as MYHIXEL TR, MYHIXEL MED are more designed for premature ejaculation and use gamification to help improve performance.
Vibrating cock rings are great to use with a partner as they not only make your stay erect for longer but also offer clitoral stimulation too. The Atom Plus by Hot Octopuss is incredibly stretchy so will fit a penis of any size and the deep rumbling vibration feel incredible.
If you think you have Erectile Dyysfunction see your health professional. It is important to check for any underlying health concerns, physical or psychological. There is help and ways to start enjoying a satisfying sex life again.
Do you have a question about sex, sexuality, toys or anything related? write to me Jodie at email@example.com
Jodie West our CEO and Resident Sexologist at Bliss. Jodie is known for initiating Taboo conversations about women's health & sexuality. Her own health challenges & the changes they brought about in general life & sex life were the catalysts for taboo smashing projects that have made & continue to make changes in the landscape of women's health in Australia.