Sexuality and U

Sexual Health

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Erectile Dysfunction


At one time or another, almost every man experiences erectile dysfunction. Defined as an inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough to have satisfying intercourse, erectile dysfunction has an impact on more than just a man’s self-esteem - it may also wreak havoc on a relationship. Some women buy into the myth that men are highly sexual and ready at any time. They may see their partner’s lack of an erection as a sign that he doesn’t love or desire her and she may blame herself for her partner’s lack of response.

Embarrassment, anxiety and a lack of information about erectile dysfunction can contribute to this sexual problem. Past sexual practices, including masturbation, do not cause erectile dysfunction, and an occasional problem does not mean that you will face serious or chronic difficulty. “Performance anxiety”, fatigue or excessive alcohol or drug use can be enough to sabotage an erection in an otherwise healthy man.

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart conditions and kidney and liver diseases, can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Some surgical procedures have also been associated with impotence, including cancer surgery of the colon, bladder or prostate gland. Certain medications can also affect a man’s ability to achieve erection. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, and those prescribed for depression or insomnia can cause the problem, but this side-effect can often be reversed with a change in medication or an alteration in dosage.

A man’s penis doesn’t wear out as he grows older - but he may find that it takes longer to reach an erection, and that it is slightly less firm than it was when he was younger. But if you are having increased difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection, it is important to examine other factors that might play a role - extreme fatigue, stress on the job or at home or excessive use of alcohol.

Talk to your doctor… nowadays, there are many treatment options available to you, though you may be required to rethink some expectations about your sexual response.

Talk to your partner… open and supportive communication on this often-sensitive topic can go a long way.