Continuing with Men’s Sexual Health, I want to talk about something that men never talk about and very seldom admit to. I can feel your testicles starting to crawl up as I say ‘Erectile Dysfunction’.
We often have women come into the store to spice up their sex lives and when we delve deeper we find out that their partner is suffering from ED. What really blows my mind is that they think it is their fault. Sometimes for good reason, more often than not their partner has laid the blame at her door.
So let’s start there Erectile Dysfunction – ED – is NOT your fault! In fact it is nobody’s fault. It is a problem and can and must be be dealt with.
ED or Impotence is defined as the inability to get and/or keep an erection firm enough for sex. Now if this has happened to you once or twice do not panic, there is probably no cause for concern. It can happen if you have had too much to drink, are under pressure to perform or just having an off day. Studies say that virtually every man will have an ED incident at some stage during his life.
But if it continues and is an ongoing issue, it’s time to man up and see your doctor. My sex positive doctor says that ED also stands for Early Death, because it can be a sign of an underlying health condition, which if caught early enough can save your life.
In most cases ED is caused by something physical. The big one’s are: Heart Disease, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Hyper tension. These are all treatable.
On a scarier note it can also be an indicator of Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. It can also be caused by certain prescription medication, tobacco use, alcoholism, sleep disorders, treatments for Prostate Cancer or an enlarged prostate and spinal injuries.
Additional risk factors that can contribute to ED include the medical conditions we have already talked about, restricted blood flow to the veins and arteries often caused by smoking, being overweight or obese, medical treatments and for all those cyclists out there – prolonged cycling which can compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis which may lead to temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction.
The penis contains two cylindrical, sponge like structures (corpora cavernosa) and when he becomes aroused, nerve impulses increase blood flow to both cylinders. This influx of blood causes an erection by expanding, straightening and stiffening the penis.
One visit to the doctor, a blood test, a second of embarrassment and your problem is well on the way to being sorted. If you have a sex positive doctor there should not be any embarrassment either! You are taking charge of your health, congratulations.
If it is not a physical problem it can also be psychological, which whilst not life threatening may be a bit more difficult to deal with. The brain is the most important sexual organ and a number of things can interfere: Depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, your attitude to sex, poor communication or other mental health concerns. But before you start diagnosing yourself – Please SEE A DOCTOR.
What are the symptoms of ED? It is defined as having trouble getting an erection, trouble maintaining an erection and wait for it … a loss of libido.
We often refer to the 5 finger erection indicator. Hold out your hand with the thumb pointing up. Stretch your fingers out as wide as possible. The thumb indicates the virile, young erection. The one you can hang a towel off (you know you have). If your erection is at the angle of your small finger, it’s time to see your doctor.
By not attending to ED you will eventually have an unsatisfactory sex life including mounting frustration for your partner, increased stress or anxiety, embarrassment or low self esteem, relationship problems and the inability to get your partner pregnant. Not seeing your doctor seems a small price to play.
When we encourage the women who come to see us to get their partner to a doctor, more often than not they tell us that it’s not going to happen. Our advise then whilst tongue in cheek, is closer to the truth than we like to admit. Take out life insurance, lots of it, so that you can at least be a wealthy widow!