• "I suffer from erectile dysfunction at the age of 47 but I am in perfect health. What can I do?"

    Question:

    I’m 47 and suffer from erectile dysfunction. I’ve read widely about it and looked on the internet but I am not prepared to accept that it’s something I should be struggling with at my age. There doesn’t appear to be any obvious physical problem as my doctor says I am in perfect health.

    Can you recommend a book that will give me the latest information and research on it, that’s not just full of generalizations?


    Answer:

    Sleeping with ED, by Victoria Lehmann and Michael Kirby is excellent and dispels many of the myths, giving you a good, no-nonsense rundown on the latest research and what solutions there are to help you.

    This is a brief rundown of what I’ve found out about it: erectile dysfunction (ED) is not being able to get or maintain an erection sufficient to have intercourse. Global ED is not being able to get an erection at all, under any circumstances, and Situational ED is not being able to get one with a partner.

    Don’t confuse impotence with low desire. If sex hasn’t been great for a while, chances are your erections aren’t as hard as they used to be. It’s common in this situation for men to subconsciously ‘close’ themselves to sex, which can lead to impotence. Other men find they can get an erection without any problems but it goes down the minute they penetrate. Performance anxiety is often the cause of this type of ED – or an untoned vagina. As a sex therapist friend of mine says, ‘A hand is much firmer than a middle-aged vagina’.

    Having sex late at night with a belly full of food and alcohol can also affect erections: sex in the morning nearly always produces a harder penis. The first step if you have ED (the most common) is to check if you get an early morning erection or can achieve one with masturbation. If you can’t, the next step, is to see your GP for a full check-up – as you have done - and ask for a referral to a urologist.

    If you’re able to get erections, it’s likely your erection isn’t caused by physical problems though an unhealthy lifestyle (too many cigs, alcohol, certain medications) can have an affect.

    It’s common then to tackle it by challenging psychological issues, which are often the cause of temporary impotence. This could be as simple as deciding to stop worrying about it! To starting having sex without penetration and try NOT to get an erection. If it does happen, ignore it initially (even if you both feel like cracking open champagne) until it’s a common occurrence. Once it is, experiment with brief penetration (get her to climb on top, then lift herself off after one or two thrusts), before attempting full intercourse. It’s usual to try these non-drug methods, before succumbing to the little blue Viagra pill or vacuum pumps.

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