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 "What Exactly is Erectile Dysfunction?"

Men's Health > Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction

erectile dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as a persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection adequate enough for satisfying sexual intercourse.

Now perceived to be pejorative and demeaning, the term "impotence" is no longer used.

How Erectile Dysfunction can manifest itself

Erectile dysfunction (abbreviated as ED) can manifest itself in the following ways:

  • difficulty attaining or inability to achieve an erection.
  • erections that are too soft for penetration.
  • inability to maintain the erection after penetration.
  • inability to maintain the erection long enough to achieve orgasm.

How Common is ED?

The problem of erectile dysfunction is very common: according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, 52% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience ED. In fact, young men can also suffer from it though the occurrence is less frequent and few statistics are available. Of course, erectile dysfunction is a chronic problem and the occasional case (brought on, for example by a hard day at the office) should be treated as an isolated incident and not a case of male erectile dysfunction.

Clinical guidelines indicate that the problem must last at least three months before erectile dysfunction can be diagnosed. However, a man does not have to wait that long before he consults a doctor. As soon as it begins to worry you...get your twig and berries looked at.

Erection dysfunction and your mind

Erectile dysfunction affects the mind as much as body. A man's emotional health and self-perception can impact his physical condition and his sexual performance.

Let me explain...

When a problem occurs - for physical, psychological, or a combination of the two reasons - a vicious circle can be created. The fear of no longer being able to have 'normal' erections can lead to performance anxiety (where a man has doubts about his virility and capacity as a lover), which only aggravates the situation. As a result, a lot of men just withdraw.

Widowers and single men, for example, sometimes stop going out in order to avoid running the risk of meeting someone and having to face their problems in bed. These problems can also have an impact on a couple's relationship. The man's partner may feel less attractive to him and even suspect infidelity.

There's still a lot left to learn about erectile dysfunction, but we do know that, for the most part, it does not happen all of a sudden. Usually it's something that grows more pronounced over time.

Is erectile dysfunction linked to age?

As a man ages, sexual desire may decrease while the amount of stimulation necessary to achieve orgasm increases. This is simply because the body is getting older and slowing down. It is perfectly normal and doesn't stop a couple from having mutually satisfying sexual relations.

In other words...not being as frisky at 70 as you were at 20 doesn't mean you're suffering from erectile dysfunction...it just means you're 70.

Erectile dysfunction is not inevitable. It does not occur in all men of a certain age.

If erectile dysfunction is more common in older men, it is because these men are more likely to have underlying health conditions that can cause the problem.

Jim Shaw

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