How to function with erectile dysfunction

No matter what your persuasion, an empty erection is scary. In a, er, nutshell, erectile dysfunction means a man can’t maintain an erect enough penis for satisfactory sex.

It can feel as if you’re failing at the main thing you were put on this earth to do: reproduce.

The male sex drive continues into a man’s 70s. Until we die, our genes almost never stop urging us to sow our seed, which means if you’re struggling to get it up, you’ll feel like you’re letting everyone down.

The three worst things that may result from erectile dysfunction are:
• Depression
• Relationship problems
• The remote chance that you may have prostate cancer

But don’t panic. Erectile dysfunction isn’t a problem in itself. Seriously – it’s usually just a symptom of something easily solvable. If you’re at half-mast, something short term is usually stopping your stiff.

Thanks Health Navigator for a lot of this advice – the online guide is full of advice for men about what might potentially be happening and if you need a doctor or not.

Let’s steer you in the right erection. 

Some stiff stats
• It is estimated that 25% of men over 65, and 45% of men over 75 experience erection dysfunction
• Testosterone levels fall 1% a year after the age of 40. But that doesn’t make testosterone solely responsible for the problem. In fact, testosterone levels remain in the normal range in at least 75% of senior citizens.

Can’t consummate? Here’s what might be blocking your cock
The prostate helps make some of the fluid in semen, which carries sperm from your testicles when you ejaculate. It’s essential for fertility but not for erections.
• In the words of leading Australian sex therapist Dr Rosie King, “The more you smoke, the less you poke.” Yep – smoking stifles your stiff as it can harden the arteries so blood can’t get in. Yes, even smoking shisha.
• 90% of men with erectile dysfunction have at least one underlying physical cause for their problem, according to urologist Dr Kamran Zargar of Auckland’s Ormiston Hospital.
• Of the 90% who have a physical cause, Zargar reckons the main contributors are Cardiovascular disease (40%), Diabetes (33%) hormone problems (high prolactin or low testosterone levels) and drugs (antihypertensives, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, heroin, cocaine, methadone).

Other potential softcock causes
• Neurological disorders, pelvic surgery, trauma to the pelvic area, thyroid disease, nerve damage to the area, Parkinson’s disease.
Prolonged cycling. Yup, you read that right. Prolonged cycling can potentially damage the pudendal nerve.
Obesity – That’s a massive one. Poor self-image plus a poor diet can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Prescription meds which might be harming your hardon include SSRI antidepressants, opioids, antipsychotics and heart meds.

Tell us the solution – my wife’s waiting!
Mens Health Week expert advisor Associate Professor Kamran Zargar recommends this:
• Firstly, discuss concerns with your GP. An initial family physician assessment may unmask an important underlying medical condition which can be easily managed or referred to a specialist. Got that, readers? In The Dogbox recommends – if you suspect a health condition – go see your doctor!!
• Your GP should also recommend improved lifestyle choices and reducing stress (assuming you don’t need to be referred to secondary care).
• Your doc will recommend you cut down on alcohol, smoking and stress.
• Your doc will also tell you that narcotics, stimulants and hallucinogens hinder sexual function.
• Also, alcohol reduces performance and delays orgasm and ejaculation. We’re not trying to say you shouldn’t have a drink on your date – just expect it to impact your, er, impact.

Dick Drugs And How They Work
• Sildenafil (Viagra, Silvasta, Vedafil) increases blood flow to the penis. Sildenafil needs to be taken 30 minutes or more before sex.
• Same for tadalfil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra).
• Prostaglandin injections such as Caverject actually work. Apparently, these injections – in the base of the shaft – are painless.
• Vacuum penis pumps are all good and not harmful.  
• Constriction bands at the base of the penis can work. Your doctor can potentially ask for a referral for these.

What about boner pills? Don’t you guys sell these?
For sure – and on each pill bottle’s small print we remind you that half the battle is psychological. You need a calm mind and healthy body to make love.  

In the end, boys, so long as your doctor has cleared you of prostate cancer, it’s honestly all good if your cock’s blocked. Remember,
• It is up to each man to decide whether his erection is adequate.
• Consider with your partner how important sexual intercourse is to your relationship.
• Note not all couples require an active sex life to have a fulfilling relationship.

Good luck out there, boys.


Erectile dysfunction isn’t a problem in itself. It’s usually just a symptom of something easily solvable.

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