(ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It is also sometimes also referred to as impotence.
Occasional ED is not uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. However, frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed by a professional.
Not all male sexual problems are caused by ED. Other types of male sexual dysfunction include:
delayed or absent ejaculation
lack of interest in sex
How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Up to 30 million American men are affected by ED, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The prevalence of ED increases with age. ED affects only four percent of men in their 50s, but nearly 17 percent of men in their 60s. Furthermore, almost half of all men over the age of 75 will suffer from ED.
Although the risk of ED increases with age, ED is not an inevitable consequence of getting older. It may be more difficult to get an erection as you age, but that does not necessarily you mean you will develop ED. In general, the healthier a man is, the better his sexual function.
How Does a Man Get an Erection?
An erection is the result of increased blood flow into the penis. Blood flow is usually stimulated by either sexual thoughts or direct contact with the penis.
When a man becomes sexually excited, muscles in the penis relax. This relaxation allows for increased blood flow through the penile arteries. This blood fills two chambers inside the penis called the corpora cavernosa. As the chambers fill with blood, the penis grows rigid. Erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood can flow out through the penile veins.
ED can occur because of problems at any stage of the erection process. For example, the penile arteries may be too damaged to open properly and allow blood in.
The potential causes of ED are numerous. They include:
damage from cancer or surgery
These factors can work singly or in combination.
Sexual performance is a touchy issue
excuse the bad pun — and it could be even touchier when hooked up with how much men drink. Guys who want to avoid taking erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Cialis or the blue pill might want to back off the alcohol. Drinking alcohol can cause lasting damage to men’s sexual performance even after abstaining from the booze, a 2013 study suggests.
Researchers said men can suffer “the droop” for more than a year after giving up heavy drinking. Academics from Santo Tomas University in Columbia and the University of Granada in Spain said their results show that, overall, all dimensions (pleasure, arousal, desire and orgasm) were moderately impaired. Pleasure and orgasm being the two most significantly impaired. After even two weeks of abstinence, there was no improvement.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine study noted: It does not seem to be just a temporary problem because erectile ability was still affected after a year, and according to the results, did not seem likely to improve by just reducing drinking rather than quitting all together. This 2013 study reverses long-standing myth that alcohol does not cause performance problems. In fact, studies show that men with the disease of alcoholism have a 60 to 70 percent chance of suffering from sexual problems. Alcohol users were found to have lower pleasure scores, which only backs up years of speculation about alcohol and how it changes male performance and overall reproductive health.
So the booze may make it easier to get a few digits at the club, but the depressant can kill the fun later that night… and possibly later in life if the drinking continues.
The researchers also found that heavy drinkers tended to enjoy sex less, and less often, than those who don’t drink anymore. Might have something to do with how alcohol impacts other areas of relationships, too.