Intimacy in the bedroom is an important part of most relationships, but sometimes a physical problem can become an obstacle for your or your partner. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by any number of physical and psychological issues that will need addressing before the situation can improve.
It's thought that around half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 will experience ED to some degree, so it's important to understand some of the reasons why this could be the case. Furthermore, most men will at some point be unable to achieve an erection, even if they do not have ED.
Below are five of the main lifestyle factors that can have an impact on a man's ability to get and maintain an erection.
Alcohol. We all enjoy a drink from time to time, but too many alcoholic beverages can have an impact on blood flow to the penis. Alcohol is a depressant and it suppresses the nervous system, potentially reducing levels of sexual arousal. Decreased blood flow to the genital region can mean your penis stays limp and therefore intercourse becomes more difficult to achieve. If you want to get an erection then make sure to cut back on the drink.
Nerves. Erection problems can occur because of nervousness. Anxiety also affects blood flow to the penis, making it more difficult to relax and enjoy lovemaking. A stressed nervous system can lead to feelings of fatigue, anxiety and even depression. These psychological problems can manifest as physical issues, such as the inability to get an erection.
Poor blood circulation. Erectile dysfunction is associated with cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries. High blood pressure and diabetes are also linked to ED and these conditions can have an additional impact on ejaculation and sexual desire. Improved circulation can make it easier to get an erection, so consider doing some exercise, losing weight or quitting smoking.
Psychological issues. Feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, guilt and low self-esteem can cause you distress, making it difficult to relax in intimate surroundings with your partner. Look at what's going on in your life; whether it's financial, family-related or problems with your partner, as these are worth addressing for your own peace of mind.
Drugs. Recreational drugs, and even some prescription medications, can affect the way the brain sends messages to the sexual organs. For example, increased dopamine can boost sexual function, increased serotonin can inhibit sexual function, while testosterone can have an impact on the blood vessels that produce an erection.
An erection requires blood vessels, hormones and nerves to work together in synergy, therefore problems can occur as a result of a combination of factors. If you or your partner are concerned about erectile dysfunction, speak to a doctor who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.