November is National Impotency Awareness Month. A month where men are encouraged to acknowledge they are not alone in experiencing a common affliction—erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, medical professionals at the Boston Medical Group state that 91% of men in the U.S. are affected by a sexual dysfunction.
That’s right, less than 10% of the American male population will never have to experience a flaccid penis. Which means that statistically, the guy standing next to you while pumping gas, picking up groceries, or jogging through your neighborhood has most likely found it difficult to get a hard-on at some point in their life.
What Is Male Impotence?
First things first, what is male impotence? Male impotence (a.k.a ED) is defined as a consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse, the inability to achieve ejaculation, the loss of libido (interest and desire for sexual activity), or all three.
Dr. Dan Williams with the UW Health Men’s Health program shared the following male impotence stats:
- Erectile dysfunction can occur at any age
- About 5% of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction
- 15% of men at age 70 have complete erectile dysfunction
- 10% of men per decade of life are affected by mild to moderate erectile dysfunction (i.e. 50% of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60s, etc.)
- Older men are more likely to have health conditions that require medication, which can interfere with erectile function
- Additionally, as men age, they may need more stimulation to get an erection and more time between erections
Now that we’ve gone over what male impotence is and who impotence can affect, it’s important to understand how one’s physical and mental health can impact a man’s sexual function and personal relationships.
What's at the Root of Erectile Problems?
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Lisa Thomas digs into the root causes of erectile problems in a November 2020 Psychology Today article. In the article, Thomas discusses how most men with ED are dealing with an anxiety issue, not a medical issue. Many men find that when they cannot perform sexually, their mood, confidence, or motivation can suffer, resulting in depression and anxiety. Further, sexual difficulties often strain intimate relationships.
Additionally, she comments that the only two ingredients necessary for a man (without vascular issues, a disability, or other medical circumstance) to have an erection are arousal and relaxation. And while prescriptions such as Viagra and the like may help to solve the problem of getting a hard-on, taking pills to dodge the root causes of ED will not resolve the core reasons resulting in erectile difficulties.
Thomas offers these three suggestions to achieve a healthy and functional sex life:
- Paying attention to your relationship. Do this by being open and honest about what sexual pleasure means to you and your partner, learning how to handle "natural failures" together, and how to be intimate in other ways.
- Masturbate in a way that can be duplicated with your sexual partner. Not doing so can negatively impact the arousal pattern you are trying to create in your relationship, setting yourself up for erectile and arousal problems.
- Slow down and take a moment to get yourself aroused and ready for sex.
Ultimately, achieving a satisfying sex life plays an integral role in one’s emotional wellbeing and overall quality of life.
Other health factors that can contribute to male impotence include undiagnosed diseases, smoking, use of alcohol/drugs, poor eating habits, excessive weight, and minimal exercise. If you are experiencing ED, it is within your best interest to speak with a doctor to help determine your best overall treatment options.
Male Impotence Treatment Options
There is no cookie-cutter treatment option for male impotence. However, there are several different ways that ED can be treated. For some, seeking medical assistance to understand and improve your mental and physical well-being is best. For others, making a few healthier lifestyle changes will bring about improvements.
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