Erection difficulties are often referred to as 'erectile dysfunction (ED)', 'impotency' or 'erection problems'. It is a reoccurring situation when a man cannot get or maintain an erection. It is a common concern for men of all ages but more likely to occur in men as they get older.
Erection difficulties can be related to circulation problems. The penis needs good blood flow to keep and maintain an erection. Physical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, obesity, etc., can all impact a man's ability to have an erection. Therefore it is a good idea to first consult you GP for a medical check to ensure you do not have any underlying health problems.
Lifestyle factors should also be considered, such as heavy drinking, smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise. All these factors have an impact on healthy blood circulation and therefore a man's ability to sustain an erection.
If you are physically healthy and have good circulation yet still have erection difficulties, there are other factors to consider. Stress, anxiety, depression and performance anxiety are common psychological causes of erectile difficulties.
Unfortunately we are often over focused on men having firm erections. This is highly beneficial for pharmaceutical companies but does little for sexual satisfaction and pleasure. Sex does not have to be all about sexual intercourse. Taking the focus off the importance of the state of your erection and becoming more sexually creative can do a lot to minimise performance anxiety and improve your sex life.
As a sex therapist I can help you explore emotional concerns around erection problems It is a good idea to involve your partner in the process. Often partners blame themselves or struggle to understand the complexities of the problem. Sex is always a relational experience so it is often better to work together as a couple when working with solutions for sexual concerns.