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I’m Not Impotent: the Reality of Erectile Dysfunction

The word impotence has gone out of mode in the sexual health jargon. It is a bombastic word that implies that something has gone wrong beyond the erection, that there is some sort of malfunction in the manhood. The term “erectile dysfunction” is a better way of describing a range of hitches and glitches that lead to difficulties with erections. Medically the difference between these terms is that impotence refers to complete shut-down of the system, whereas erectile dysfunction (ED) means partial loss of function. In reality, it is very rare to come across a man who is never able to get even a mild hard-on, so ED is the general complaint.

ED has become quite a phenomenon. Like so many other once “embarrassing secrets”, it is much more common that previously known and it very often happens from time to time in normally functioning men. There may not have been any real change in incidence over the last years, but certainly since Viagra and other well published treatments showed up, more and more men have begun speaking up about having problems, and this is a really positive development.

Today, some experts claim that after age 40, about half of all men have some form of erectile dysfunction at some time. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t sexually active, but that sexual response is affecting the frequency, conditions or satisfaction of sex with their partner. This might seem astounding, but it may also help to ease you into thinking that having a perfect sexual performance chart over time, is something that is not the norm, so you can feel comfortable speaking to your lover about it, or approaching a doctor to discuss and work on it.

In order to understand what constitutes different levels of erectile dysfunction, a guy should ask himself the following questions:

  • Have you lost interest in initiating sex because of performance difficulties?
  • Are you sometimes aroused and interested in sex, but do not achieve erection?
  • When you have an erection, are you always hard enough for penetration?
  • Do you remain hard during penetration, or sometimes loose the erection before orgasm?
  • How often are you fully satisfied after sex?

Before delving into the world of treatments and therapies, let’s just clarify that penetration is not necessary for satisfying and thrilling sex. Cancelling all forms of intimacy and touch are unnecessary and harmful to a relationship, which can otherwise continue to be exciting for both partners, with many other forms of enjoyment of each others’ bodies. Refresh your knowledge on Female Sexuality to understand how a downer period can actually aid a couple by giving you a chance to de-emphasize penetration as the central force around which all sexuality rotates. Remember that as long as your hands, lips, tongue and especially your brain are still working, you are not impotent.

But you don’t have to ignore that your body is telling you that something isn’t working right. ED plays itself out on the penis, but the source of the problem is either psychological or in some other physical system. In the past, ED was seen as mostly psychological, and often incurable. There is now a greater understanding of the physical roots of ED; studies show that three quarters of all cases are due to physical causes. This is good news, not because psychological causes are really there to stay, but they tend to be more complex to treat than physical causes.

Men who have constant problems with erection, almost always will have the root of the problem being in their body and not in their head. It is often all too convenient to blame an erectile problem on a man’s psychological state instead of doing a full physical to try to identify physiological explanations first.

More on the physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

The basics of Deciding on Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction


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