No matter what kind of sex you like to have, as a guy, you know the one key element for a happy ending is a solid erection. Without that, you won’t orgasm, and you won’t be able to experience sexual pleasure with your partner in the way that you really want to.
The occasional oops of not being able to stay hard is no big deal, even if it feels like a major problem in the moment. That happens to everyone at some point. But long-lasting and chronic erectile dysfunction can be even worse, especially if you’re not sure why it’s happening. And it can happen to you at any age. It’s not just something that happens when you get old.
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t mean you’ll never have sex again, but it’s not something to ignore, either. Whether you’ve never lost an erection or you’re dealing with it on a daily basis, here’s what you need to know about this common sexual disorder.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes known as “impotence,” is the inability to get or keep an erection long enough for sexual activity -- penetration, oral, or masturbation. You may also experience a decrease in sexual desire at the same time. While every man experiences moments when they can’t get hard or your libido is low, erectile dysfunction is a longer term issue that occurs regularly.
ED can cause stress, frustration, and anxiety. It may also be symptomatic of an underlying health issue. Ongoing or long-term erectile dysfunction needs to be discussed with a medical professional. It’s not something to avoid or ignore. Not getting an erection could be a sign of bigger problems!
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by any number of physiological and psychological factors, but in many cases, ED is one of symptom of multiple physical ailments, illnesses, or disorders as well as emotional stress or mental illnesses.
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Some medications
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie's disease
- Substance abuse, including alcoholism
- Sleep disorders
- Enlarged prostate
While many men think of ED as a problem only older men have, you can experience impotence at any age. But yes, it’s true that as you get older, your chances of ED increase dramatically. With more than three million men diagnosed each year, ED is extremely common. A lot of men feel ashamed when they realize they can’t get or keep an erection, but it’s not something to be embarrassed by. It’s a health condition to be managed or, in some cases, cured.
Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
When you have erectile dysfunction, you have multiple treatment options. Part of your treatment may include dealing with other health issues that have caused your ED. You don’t have to give up on sex forever while you deal with your health. All you have to do is find what works for you -- and it’s not as difficult as you might imagine.
Depending on your situation, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you get it up and keep it there. Viagra and Cialis are two of the most well-known options. You may also try Levitra or Stendra. These are pills that you take to get an erection when you’re ready to engage in sex -- with yourself or a partner.
Other types of medication include penile injections of alprostadil. You inject yourself (in the penis with a needle!) when you’re ready for sexual activity. The medication gives you an erection that lasts about an hour. Another option is an alprostadil urethral suppository which you insert into your urethra. This gives you an erection that lasts 30 minutes to an hour. Testosterone replacement is another medication option some men use to help their erectile dysfunction.
Of course, we had to mention sex toys as a viable option for erectile dysfunction. Your doctor may not refer to them as toys, but that “penis ring” they recommended is no different than a cock ring you can buy online. Depending on the severity of your ED, some products may be a viable alternative to medication or they may be used as an aid to other medicinal options. Always talk to your doctor first. If you’re given the okay, you may want to try some of these products.
Cock rings serve a simple purpose, whether you have ED or not. These stretchy rings squeeze your penis or testicles and constrict the blood flow once you have an erection. For men without erectile dysfunction, cock rings increase stamina and the power of their orgasm. For guys with ED, though, once you get hard, it’s easier to stay that way. If this sounds good, then we recommend buying a cock ring.
Cock Ring Tips:
- Put your cock ring on before you become erect.
- Apply lube to your penis and cock ring to reduce painful friction.
- You can wear a cock ring around the base of your shaft or your testicles. Some rings allow you to do both for an extra squeeze.
- Check sizes before you buy. Too small, and the constriction will be painful. Too big, and it won’t work.
- Don’t wear a cock ring over night or for more than 30 minutes to an hour. You can damage your penile tissue if you do. Once you’re no longer erect, take it off.
- Combine your cock ring with other sex toys, especially if you struggle to get hard. Use one toy to get an erection, and then keep your erection with a cock ring.
For men who have problems getting hard in the first place, a penis pump may be exactly what you need. Whether you choose a manual pump or a motorized option, the effect is the same. The pump uses suction to draw blood into your penis. Some men report that they’re (temporarily) larger and thicker, too. Because penis pumps force the blood to flow into your shaft, many men also feel much more sensitive once they’re hard.
- Apply lube to the base of the pump or your shaft.
- Place the tube over your penis and begin pumping.
- Stop if you feel pain or discomfort.
- Once you’re hard, remove the pump. This is a great time to use a cock ring to maintain your erection.
- Do not use the pump for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
- Penis pumps are not recommended if you take blood thinners or have sickle cell anemia.
- Discontinue use if you feel numbness, tingling, pain, or bruising.
Because having an enlarged prostate can contribute to erectile dysfunction, prostate massage may be one way to combat ED and your prostate issue, all at the same time. If you’re not excited about probing a finger around in your anus, a prostate massager may be a better alternative. You can choose a manual or battery-powered toy and experience new sensations and, potentially, stronger orgasms.
Frequent and consistent ejaculation may help prevent an enlarged prostate as well as prostate cancer. If one of your underlying medical concerns is linked to your prostate health, a prostate massager can make this kind of sexual stimulation much easier.
Prostate Massager Tips:
- Always use lube. Apply it to your anus and your prostate massager. The material of your toy will determine whether you can use silicone or water-based lubricant.
- Start with a small prostate massager if you’re new to anal stimulation.
- Massaging your perineum, also known as the “taint” is a way to experience prostate massage without sticking anything up your butt.
- A vibrating prostate massager creates stronger sensations than a manual option but it may not be as discreet as you’d like if it makes a lot of noise.
- If inserting your prostate massager is painful, add other forms of stimulation like stroking your penis or scrotum to help your body relax.
- If you experience pain or discomfort, you either need more lube, to slow down, or a smaller prostate toy -- or all three.
Strokers, Sleeves, and Other Sex Toys
For some men, their erectile dysfunction is caused, in part, by not enough sexual pleasure or release. Many older men may believe that at a certain age sex isn’t “for them” anymore. Of course this isn’t true, and as long as you desire sex and can feel pleasure, you should enjoy it as much as your body will allow. But, for some men, their erections are in a use-it-or-lose-it situation.
If not having a willing partner has caused your sex life to plummet or the stress of ED has made it difficult for you to initiate sex or masturbation, a sex toy may help. Fleshlights, pocket pussies, and other masturbation strokers and sleeves provide a different kind of stimulation than your hand which may increase your desire, pleasure, and excitement. All you may need is to get back in the groove of pleasure, and orgasms to kick start regular erections.
At a certain age, erectile dysfunction might seem inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re in your 20s or 30s, remember, ED isn’t just an “old dude’s problem.” It can happen to you, too. Depending on your doctor’s recommendation and the severity of your condition, sex toys designed to enhance your pleasure might be exactly what you need to get hard, stay erect, and have the kind of sex you want to have -- alone or with a willing partner.