Time To Deal With Erection Problems? Part 1

Time To Deal With Erection Problems?

1) Do you have a problem that can be addressed by sexual therapy? Is it a problem so profound that you need a course of sexual psychotherapy before you can begin to deal with your erectile challenges? 

2) Do you have a partner who is ready and willing to help you overcome your erectile dysfunction?

3) You need to be in a relationship that works and is likely to be strong enough to sustain you both through all the challenges that will come up as you work on the erectile dysfunction. 

There’s no point tacking erectile dysfunction at home with self-help treatment methods if – several months down the line – you realize that the cause of it is rooted in sexual abuse that took place when you were five years old.  Happily, there are several ways you can assess whether or not your problems can be cured in this way.

As a rule of thumb, the more conscious you are of the cause of the problem, the easier it will be to solve. Needless to say, resolving erectile difficulties will take longer if you:

  • are extremely anxious about not being able to get an erection
  • are sexually immature or inexperienced
  • are uncomfortable about masturbation
  • are from a very religious background
  • have other difficulties present, such as premature ejaculation or general sexual inexperience
  • have a history of long term erection problems with occasional periods of sexual functioning
  • really have a lack of desire for his sexual partner rather than erectile dysfunction
  • have low sexual drive or libido

If you have deep seated emotional issues about love, sex and intimacy, then you may need to seek the help of a professional therapist first. For example:

You are sexually inexperienced just because you “missed out”

As long as you are relaxed about sex and have a willing partner who is happy to engage in sexual play, you shouldn’t have a problem resolving this issue.

Your inexperience is rooted in problems stemming from childhood

You might want to start with an experienced sexual psychotherapist. On the other hand, if you have a loving and tolerant partner, one who does not send you into a vulnerable childhood regression when you get intimate, then you can still benefit from work at home on your erectile dysfunction.

You have sexual aversion to women

This is more challenging, and although you can work on it yourself, I’d advise seeing a sexual therapist. You need to be sexually competent. For example, find out how to make a woman come, how to brig her to orgasm. It isn’t difficult! Orgasms do matter! The good news is that if you take responsibility for your own sexual health, it may help the woman in your life to face up to any issues she has and start to work on them.

Your partner must be willing to help you work on erection problems 

What this means in practice is that your partner needs to have a good relationship with you and you must be willing to work on the problem with her. If your relationship is having problems that are non-sexual, you may choose to work on those problems before you start dealing with your erectile dysfunction. If you’re just not interested in solving your erection problems, then you won’t have the motivation and willingness to engage with your partner.

Reasons why you might not work on your erection problems:

You might not care. This could be because you have lost interest in sex, or because you have lost interest in your partner, or because you have some issue that seems more urgent than the sexual problem (like a health problem).

You might not think you really have a problem. If you genuinely don’t see that you have a problem, then you won’t feel very motivated to work on it. And oddly enough, if a man’s libido diminishes in mid-life, he may lose interest in sex so much that his lack of erections doesn’t bother him. One way to deal with this is to take testosterone replacement therapy, which restores libido and erections (if necessary, in conjunction with Viagra).

You believe your erectile dysfunction will disappear by itself. Well, it might – but then again, it might not.  However if you are under stress from your job, from your finances, and from other sources, like family illness, then you might find that when the stress is reduced, the erection problem resolves spontaneously.

You might not want to work on erection problems with your partner because you’re not committed to the relationship. This is more complicated, but if you don’t feel intimate or emotionally close enough to you partner, then you may not wish to open up the issue and all that lies behind it with your current partner. (This is so if you have no erection problems with anyone but your current partner.)

Regrettably it is also possible that you find your partner unattractive because of her weight or appearance. The male sex drive is a powerful thing, but it can’t always overcome aversion caused by appearance issues. 

You might suspect that your erectile dysfunction is related to the sexual behaviour that you and your partner engage in. If so, you may need to confront her about what it is that you  like and what it is that you don’t like. If you think this may bring bigger problems into awareness, then those are the problems that perhaps need to be addressed before you start working on your erection.

You don’t want to see a therapist. This might be because you see it as too embarrassing, or because you think the problem may not be solvable even if you do start to work on it. Rest assured that in the vast majority of cases, erectile dysfunction is completely curable and that any trained sexual therapist will be relaxed and comfortable to work with – no matter how embarrassed you might be.

You want to know how I feel, I’ll tell you. I feel like an absolute nothing. I know I can satisfy her in other ways and I do, but that’s not the point. I feel like the masculine center has been taken out of me – Man, 51

I’m the one who feels impotent. I feel unattractive and undesirable because I can’t arouse the man I love. If this isn’t fixed soon, I’m the one who’s going to need pills … maybe Prozac. – Woman, 55

I feel like a new man, better than I have in years. Being able to function again sexually has given me a new outlook on life and made my marriage 100 percent better. – Man, 46

If you have difficulties with erections, you belong to a very large group of men. It is estimated that twenty million to thirty million Americans suffer from some kind of erection difficulty. Although erection problems are found at all ages, they become more common with age.

A recent study found that 52 percent of men between the ages of forty and seventy had some degree of erectile dysfunction. Knowing these statistics won’t fix your problem, but you may feel better knowing you have lots of company.

While any problem with sex is upsetting to a man, nothing generates as much concern, anxiety, shame, and despair as an inability to get or maintain erections. Nothing except the loss of his job can make a man feel less of a man.

A man in therapy said it like this: “I’ve never felt like this before. I just don’t feel like a whole person, and certainly not like a man.” Other men have used terms such as “useless” “hopeless,” “fraud” “lost my manhood,” and “can’t cut it anymore” to describe how they felt when their penises weren’t functioning.

His partner may be sympathetic and supportive, but he may be so consumed with self-criticism that he can’t accept what she offers. Many men distance themselves from their partners after such “failures” and engage in much self-reproach. The result is usually a miserable time for all concerned.

Given all the feelings men with erection problems have, clear thinking becomes difficult. Yet such thinking is exactly what’s necessary, because you have to make some decisions about how to deal with your situation. It may help you to feel better to realize that given the various treatment options available, there is almost certainly a solution for you.

There are a number of ways in which your penis may disappoint you. Almost all men have had at least a few experiences when they wanted an erection and didn’t get one or when they lost an erection at some embarrassing point. Some men have problems with getting or maintaining erections at the beginning of a relationship.

Then, after they become more comfortable with their new partners, erections become more reliable. Because these kinds of difficulties are common and transient, it’s best to view them as a part of life rather than as problems. And some men are now taking Viagra to help break the ice with a new partner.

There are also more chronic difficulties.. Some men usually have difficulty attaining erections, while others have trouble maintaining them.

For still other men, the problem is that their erections aren’t as hard as they would like. And there are men who don’t get erections at all, regardless of the kind of stimulation.

There are basically three ways to resolve erection problems. One consists of various medical, pharmaceutical, or mechanical interventions, the most recent and best-known of which is Viagra. The second is sex therapy, the third is a combination of the first two.

Before getting to these options, however, you need to know more about the nature of the problem.

Some erection problems are primarily physical or drug-related in nature, some are primarily psychological, and a majority have both physical and emotional components.

The cause does not necessarily dictate the treatment – you can try any treatment you want but this information can be very helpful. For instance, if your problem is due to a medicine you’re taking or to not having enough testosterone, going through sex therapy could be a waste of time. 


This includes any and all chemicals, including prescription and recreational drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. There are a host of drugs that contribute to erection problems.

If you are taking any of the suspected drugs, adjusting the dose or switching to another drug is possible. If you’re taking a recreational drug on the list, you should consider getting off it and at the same time look at the available medical and therapy interventions.

Don’t forget to consider your intake of alcohol. Social drinking or having “just a few drinks to relax” may inflame desire but kill erections.

Smoking tobacco is another risk factor to consider. Studies show that smoking contributes to the hardening and clogging of arteries, including the ones that supply blood to the penis. Smokers have far more potency problems than nonsmokers.


If your appetite for sex is intact, your hormones are probably in working order and there is no need to get tested.

But if your desire is low or nonexistent – if you don’t notice attractive women, don’t fantasize about sex, don’t want to masturbate or have sex with a partner – it may well be that your testosterone level is deficient. Testosterone is the desire hormone in both men and women.

When its level goes below normal, as it can for a number of reasons, desire significantly decreases or disappears. It’s difficult to have a functioning penis in the absence of desire.

If your desire and penis are both in the doldrums, you should schedule an appointment with your regular doctor or a urologist to get a blood test to determine your testosterone level. You need to talk openly with your doctor about the test results; if you think you’re getting a runaround, seek a second opinion. Supplemental testosterone is given by injection or gel or patches. Note: Although hormonal deficiencies account for only about 5 percent of erection problems, they are often overlooked, especially in young people.

When hormone injections or patches are used, the results are often quick and dramatic. “The difference between day and night” was how the wife of a client who previously had no interest or erections put it after his first testosterone injection. “In the past I couldn’t get him to have sex no matter what I did,” she continued. “Now he’s the one who says we can be late to work because we have better things to do first. I love it.”

A relative lack of desire and trouble with erections can also be the result of depression. By depression I mean a definite sense over a period of at least several weeks that life isn’t worth living and things aren’t going to get any better. (Other possible signs are increased irritability, diminished pleasure in activities that once were fun, increased or decreased appetite, decreased ability to concentrate on what you are doing, and any kind of sleep problem).

One of the signature attributes of depression is a loss of interest in sex and usually other things as well. If you or your partner think you are depressed, you should get yourself to a physician or therapist as quickly as possible. When the depression is treated with therapy or drugs, chance, are good your sexual desire and erections will return.


If you have erections (firm enough for vaginal insertion but not necessarily hard as a rock) by yourself but not with a long term sexual partner, or with one partner but not another, or on vacation but not at home, this strongly suggests that the problem is not primarily physical in nature but instead has more to do with your feelings about one or all partners or your level of stress. This means you can choose any treatment option that you, your partner, your physician or therapist agree on.


If you don’t get erections at all – while you sleep or on awakening, with your own or a partner’s stimulation – this strongly suggests a physical cause or medication side effect. 

As soon as possible, set up an appointment for you and your partner with your regular physician or a urologist.


This could mean the problem is either psychological or physical. One of my clients started losing erections in his early sixties. No matter what the activity, he would get an erection and lose it within a few moments. He and his wife of thirty-five years were both puzzled because nothing else had changed in their relationship or sex life. Medical tests demonstrated that although blood was getting into his penis – hence the erections – it was leaking out faster than it could be replaced. He needed Viagra.

Another client had a different situation. With masturbation or hand or mouth stimulation from his girlfriend, maintaining an erection was easy. It was only when they attempted vaginal insertion that his erection would disappear.

This clearly was not a physical or drug-related problem. The real issue, it turned out, was that Larry had serious concerns about commitment, and for him intercourse was the defining act.

So what is the answer for most men? Viagra and its later derivatives have proved to be very successful for most men. You can read more about Viagra here.