Erection problems and your body

Your overall physical health has an important part to play in your ability to get and keep erections hard enough for sex. After all, a healthy blood flow to the penis is what’s needed most for an erection. There are many different physical conditions and diseases that can affect the blood vessels, muscles and nerves you need to be working properly in order to get an erection. Let’s look at some of the most common of these causes of erection problems (EPs) – or causes of erectile dysfunction (ED), as your doctor might call it:

Modern life is stressful. Do you work long hours? Worry about money? When you’re stressed it’s hard to leave your worries at the bedroom door.

EPs are strongly linked to stress and anxiety. As many as 4 in 10 men with EPs identify stress as the reason for their problems.

Depression and anxiety are the main psychological risk factors for erection problems in young men. 

Depression can often lead to a reduced libido. 

Around 25% of men with depression might also suffer EPs.

If you suffer from low self-esteem you might have a negative view of yourself and your abilities, and might feel you aren’t capable of satisfying your partner. Low self-esteem can stem from EPs and can also cause more serious EPs.

Nervousness and anxiety about sex can lead to erection problems. This can trigger a vicious cycle of failure, the avoidance of sex, a negative impact on self-esteem, depression and increasing anxiety.

Instability within your relationship can be a cause of erection problems.

The anxiety generated by EPs can also result in uneasiness, increased remoteness and arguments within a relationship. Nearly a third of men have reported EPs putting a strain on their relationship.

In the case of single men, in one survey 25% of men reported a loss of confidence when dating due to EPs.

Find out how to discuss erection problems on the Talking To Your Partner About EPs page.

Things you can do

If you experience any of the these issues, consider the following options: