Erectile Disorder (ED) is the term used to describe problems getting or maintaining an erection. Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many people with penises experience ED during times of stress or after drinking alcohol.
Frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need medical treatment, such as heart disease or diabetes, so a GP check is always the starting point for ED treatment. Tests for underlying conditions might include:
Your GP might prescribe a PDE5 Inhibitor like Viagra to help you gain you to recover your erections. It is important to note that PDE5 inhibitors don’t work like magic. You need to be tuned in to the sexual stimulus and turned on for an erection to occur.
When a person with a penis becomes sexually aroused, hormones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels all work with one another to create an erection. Nerve signals, sent from the brain to the penis, stimulate muscles to relax. This, in turn, allows blood to flow to the tissue in the penis.
Once the blood fills the penis and an erection is achieved, the blood vessels to the penis close off so that the erection is maintained. Following sexual arousal, the blood vessels to the penis open up again, allowing the blood to leave and the erection subsides.
With all of these complex processes being required to achieve an erection, it is not at all surprising that sometimes ED occurs. Many things can interrupt the erection process and once ED starts it can set off a self-maintaining cycle of performance anxiety. That’s where sex therapy comes in.
If your medical tests have been completed and no medical cause for your ED has been identified, then sex therapy would be your next step. ED can be caused by performance anxiety, relationship problems and arousal issues. All of these factors can be addressed with specialist sex therapy. Following a detailed assessment, your sex therapist will work with you to re-establish confidence in your erections, using a combination of cognitive and behavioural approaches.
Remember, sex therapists are specialist trained counsellors and we talk about sex and sexual issues all day long. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from getting the help that you need and that works.