Online forums are filled with young men asking if they have ED (erectile dysfunction) when they are otherwise too young to have anything to worry about. In this article, we are going to dig into a couple of types of ED as well as performance anxiety to help guys figure out what might be wrong with them, and how they should go about addressing the issue.
ED vs Performance Anxiety
For the purposes of this article, we are going to define ED as the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. There are both mental and physical causes for ED. We are going to group performance anxiety into ED because the end result is the same, you either can not get or maintain a good erection.
Physical Causes of ED
One of the most common causes of ED is poor blood flow to the penis. This can be the result of underlying medical conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which all impair blood flow to the penis. In addition, certain medications, including some antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can also contribute to ED by interfering with blood flow to the penis.
Another common cause of ED is damage to the nerves that control erections. This can be the result of prostate surgery, pelvic surgery, or radiation treatment for cancer. In some cases, ED may also be the result of psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
Other common causes of ED include:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Low testosterone
- Deathgrip Syndrome – loss of sensation of the penis by poor masturbation techniques
So you can see, there are a few things on this list that are pretty common these days. Essentially, if you are not pretty darned healthy, you are at risk of ED and you really need to take care of the obvious ones first (not being overweight, not smoking, high blood pressure). As men age, one of the leading causes of ED is low testosterone. Once you hit about 40, you should be having a yearly checkup with a urologist to have your hormones and blood all checked out.
Mental Causes of ED
Let’s face it, getting an erection is most always caused by getting aroused, and getting aroused often requires a bit of mental foreplay as well as physical. If our brain is “just not in it”, we often can’t perform even if the body is willing.
Stress can come in many forms, be it from work, relationships, favorite football team loosing, and who knows what else. Anxiety is often common in younger men with less sexual experience and quite often in older men that are starting new relationships.
There are certainly things you can to help relive stress and depression, sometimes the drugs for these can actually make things worse, and seriously affect your sex drive, so be sure and consult with your doctor before taken them. Performance anxiety can actually be treated with standard ED medications such as Viaga (Sildenafil) and Cialis (Tadalafil). These drugs can help you get and maintain and erection, and thus help to train your body to get past performance anxiety.
Treatment for ED often begins with lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and eating a healthy diet. In some cases, medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra may be prescribed to help improve blood flow to the penis. In cases where the cause of ED is psychological, therapy may be recommended to help address the underlying issues.
In cases where ED is caused by underlying medical conditions, treating those conditions can often help improve erectile function. For example, controlling diabetes and high cholesterol can improve blood flow to the penis, while treating prostate or pelvic problems can help restore nerve function.
ALWAYS consult your doctor
ED is no joke and can cause many mental issues and even get you into a death spiral of ED + performance anxiety. So PLEASE, if you are concerned about possible ED, go see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will help you figure out the most probable causes and either try to fix it himself, or refer you to a specialist like a urologist. With the right treatment, most men with ED can experience improved erectile function and a better quality of life.
We hope that this has given you a glimpse into potential causes of erectile dysfunction and ways to make sure that you are as good as possible. We wish you a long, healthy, and happy sex life.
Come join the discussion on Reddit at r/SexyFunAdvice