Despite the fact that men are viewed as strong and big problem fixers, they do admit to some fears in life: relationship commitment, losing a partner or spouse, hair loss, aging body image, prostate and testicular exams, erectile dysfunction and sexual performance issues.
In fact, an MSN Health article notes that a men’s magazine poll found that the average man fears ED problems more than cancer and death! And a 2007 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study estimated 18 million American men face problems achieving or maintaining erections.
ED can occur at any age, during any circumstance and for a multitude of reasons, but there are various forms of help out there for sexual dysfunctions and performance issues.
The Johns Hopkins school also reports that it’s not just an “older man” problem and that 5 percent of 20 to 40 year-olds can experience ED.
According to the book Orgasms by certified sex educator Lou Paget, prevalence of ED is as follows:
- By age 55, 8 percent of healthy men
- Age 65, 25 percent of men
- Age 75, 55 percent of men
- And age 80, 75 percent of men
Let’s also recognize the difference between normal sexual changes and potential problems. In the book Men’s Sexual Health, certified sex therapists Barry McCarthy and Michael Metz list the following as just a few normal changes in men as they age:
- Slightly decreased number and frequency of morning erections
- Mildly decreased sexual desire
- Mild decrease in sensitivity during intimacy
Aside from these normal changes, ED and other sexual problems can develop anytime for a multitude of medical, psychological and relational reasons.
Non-sexual factors contributing to ED can include aging, injury or disease of the nervous or vascular system and certain conditions like high blood pressure. Illnesses like diabetes can lead to ED due to disturbances in metabolism which can lead to nerve damage. A prolapsed disk, hernia surgery or muscular problems in the back or pelvis can cause erectile difficulties as well as hormonal imbalances.
Non-sexual contributors, which can be modified by lifestyle and therapy, include being overweight, a lack of physical activity and emotional factors like guilt, depression or loss of self-esteem.
Performance issues can also contribute to ED and are largely attributed to a “thinking” problem. This can include feeling too rushed, annoyed, bored, preoccupied, ambivalent, guilty and not sufficiently satisfied. Some men are affected by a lack of desire towards their partner or feeling like an inadequate lover themselves. Lastly, a history of sexual abuse or compulsive sexual behaviors can contribute to performance problems.
Where can you go for help if you’re concerned about an erectile problem or performance issue?
- A medical exam by an urologist can rule out biological factors where as a pelvic floor physical therapist can address muscular problems.
- An appointment with a certified sex therapist can address psychological, emotional and relational issues.
Erection function is an important aspect of a man’s ego, self-esteem and sexuality. If you’re experiencing a problem, contact a specialist. Avoid being scammed by phony supplements and gadgets which will only delay a solution, increase frustration and waste money.