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An Experts Guide to Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED or impotence is a kind of sexual dysfunction in which a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection, or he experiences regular or repeated difficulty in doing so. The dysfunction may occur during any time during sexual activity and is not solely restricted to sexual intercourse between two or more people. Despite the social stigma that surrounds the condition, inability to get or maintain an erection is a common occurrence with many people experiencing temporary ED during times of anxiety, stress or tiredness. However, Erectile dysfunction is categorised by its prolonged effect and those who find a consistent difficulty or inability to have an erection during sexual activity should seek professional medical advice, as ED ultimately affects the use of the penis in sexual intercourse.

Reasons for ED 

There are a number of potential underlying reasons ED may occur. There are two elements that comprise the creation and continuation of an erection; the physical, which stems from sensory stimulation of the penis, and the psychological, which derives from emotional invigoration e.g. erotic enticement. Each may play a factor in a person's ability to get an erection and in many cases, it is understandably the case that sufferers of ED face increased anxiety and difficulties with self-esteem as the issue persists. This can then contribute towards psychological anxieties relating to ED, creating a negative feedback loop. Furthermore, it is important to note that ED cannot be solely attributed to a response to lack of erotic stimulation, as those who with a healthy libido can still suffer from the effects of ED. Generally speaking, if a patient never achieves an erection, the cause is likely to be physiological. If erections are sporadic in nature, it is likely (however not always) psychological. Although the reasons for ED vary from person to person, the following is a brief description of the various physical and emotional reasons a person may suffer from ED:

Physiological: A side effect of cardiovascular disease, A symptom of diabetes, Hormonal deficiency, Neurological disorder, Issues with penile blood supply, The result of spinal cord injury, A symptom of coronary artery disease, Long exposure to bright light, Side effects of drugs, Heavy consumption of alcohol. 

Psychological: Strain in your relationship with a partner, Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Issues with a person's sexual orientation, Sexual unfulfillment, Low self-esteem, Fatigue.  


There are a variety of treatment options for those suffering from ED. A number of medicinal treatments exist, with Sildenafil (Viagra) being the most well-known. Vacuum erection devices, also known as penis pumps can also be used to draw blood into the penis to get an erection and are used just before sexual intercourse. The most invasive form of treatment for long-lasting ED is through surgery. These procedures are known as penile prostheses or penile implants involve the fitting of rods into the penis shaft. Lifestyle changes have also been found to help with ED. Lifestyle changes that produce already positive benefits such as reducing alcohol intake, or adopting a plant-based diet have anecdotally improved erections.

Discussing ED with a partner 

The topic of dysfunction during sexual intercourse is a sensitive topic, and the feelings of all parties involved should be taken into account. Issues can arise regarding self-esteem and issues with mental health can stem from ED. Likewise, other parties may begin to feel issues of rejection, inadequacy and resentment. A conversation regarding any sexual dysfunction should be made outside of the bedroom, in a non-sexual situation and when all the parties involved are sober from any kind of alcohol or recreational drugs. Some people may find telling their partner of their feelings more approachable in the form of a hand-written note, rather than face to face. This allows time for the person to accurately address the problems they are facing, without fear of any emotional implications from the sensitivity of the topic. To effectively tackle ED, a sufferer requires a partner who is thoughtful and understanding of their dysfunction. A person is more likely to overcome any sexual dysfunction when given an open and safe space, that is free of judgement and potential derision. Likewise, a person who suffers from ED must understand any potential friction that may initially be caused.


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