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Erectile Dysfunctions Essay, Research Paper


Erection problems are estimated to effect more than ten million American men. At some point in a males life, they are likely to have this problem, ranging from maybe one or two times, or as severe as impotence. Studies have shown that men 18-24 have a low percentage of erectional difficulties, but there is a high percentage of men 51-60 that have this problem. Yet age is not the only factor for this problem. Many factors contribute to erectile dysfunctions. These include things going on inside the body, hormonal imbalances, circulation problems, medications, severe stress or fatigue, or diseases, disorders, or damage to the spinal or pelvis area. Also, are many physiological factors that contribute to this problem. These include anticipatory anxiety, relationship problems, and life or job problems that all can take away from concentration of enjoyment, therefore creating an erectional problem. There is hope though; there are many solutions to this problem.

Many may think that an erectional dysfunction is simply something that an older man has, and they receive Viagra to help them. Although this is one area of erectional problems, it is a much wider spectrum. An erectional dysfunction is the concern of a man to get an erection, and maintain an erection, also the concern of the frequency of his erections. When this is a problem, it becomes an erectile dysfunction. After a man has been properly self stimulated, or stimulated manually or orally by a mate and no erection is achieved, this is an erectional dysfunction. An erectional problem is also identified by the male no longer being strongly visually stimulated; with a partner, magazines, etc., or an erection requires much more time to achieve than it once did, also to achieve an erection, some may require more exotic stimulation; wild fantasies, exotic behavior or acts (Westhiemer 1994,248).

There are many disorders that can cause or contribute to erectional dysfunction. Any circulation problems in one?s body will have a major impact on the penis. The penis itself may have circulation problems, such as increased blood flow out of the penis, and decreased blood flow into the penis. This will prevent or delay an erection. Another problem that can occur in the penis is an abnormal relaxation of muscles inside the penis(Westhiemer,148). Many health problems cause erectional dysfunction. Health problems such as Diabetes Mellitus, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as alcoholism. The link between Diabetes Mellitus and erectile dysfunction is not exactly known, but to have this disease does not mean one can not have an erection(Westheimer,149). Many man made stimulants that people practice such as smoking, nicotine use, alcohol in both low and high doses, heroin and other narcotics, all can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Smoking and nicotine use slows the circulation of the blood, causing an erectional dysfunction in some people. Snuff chewing tabacco causes the blood pressure to rise, creating not enough control of blood supply to the pelvic area. Alcohol in low doses heightens the desire for sexual activity, but alcohol in high doses can inhibit an erection, as well as decrease sexual desires. Narcotics can cause erectional dysfunction in many people, with decreased sexual desire (the desire is replaced by the high in the narcotics)(Hyde and DeLamater 2000,498-500).Medications also cause erectional dysfunction. Some medications such as antidepressants such as Prozac inhibit sexual desire and erectional function. In some men that have healthy sexual relations on Prozac, report elongated climaxing, if at all. Under medical supervision, the antidepressant Zoloft is much less damaging to erections and sexual activities(Playboy 1995,96). Other medications that a man may take may lower his testosterone levels, which under medical supervision can be balanced out by adding hormones, or lowering doses of the medication in which was causing the hormonal imbalance. Medical damages to the pelvis area also can cause erectile dysfunction. Injury to the lower part of the spinal cord, prostate surgery, trauma or surgery to the pelvic area, will all create nerve-related impotence or erectile dysfunction. When the nerves are damaged or even deadened in the area, this created restricted blood flow to the area, therefore not enough blood will travel into the penis for a satisfactory erection (Westhiemer,149).

Many men experience several physiological problems, set backs, or difficulties. Relationship problems have a great physiological effect on men. If they feel that nothing they can do in the relationship will make their mate happy, including all aspects of being intimate, an erection problem can occur. The stress of the relationship, or that he feels with or from the mate, will take his mind of intimacy. He will not want to be intimate if he knows that there is a major problem in the relationship (Goldberg 1987, 133-41). The same is to say with finances, job stresses, and general life problems. If the man feels that he is overly stressed, and can not focus on being intimate an erection problem can happen(Westhiemer,248). This is as well true as anticipatory anxiety, or better known as performance anxiety. If the man has an erection problem one or two times, he is going to be anticipating the next intimate moment, and because of that high anxiety level, he will have another erection problem. And again at the next sexual opportunity, he will remember the last time that he had an erection problem, and he will have so much anxiety built up inside that he again will have an erection problem. This is a continuous circle of fear of not being able to maintain an erection, or to please his partner, and it is that fear that actually causes him not to have an erection, and again the physiological fear sets in (Westhiemer,39).

With more and more research in the medical field in recent years, there are solutions for men with erection problems. Some methods for recovery or a functional penis are relatively easy to achieve, while others are more expensive and may require surgery. For medication and hormone imbalances, including medications that control high blood pressure, a doctor can balance or change the prescriptions(Westhiemer,150). The new wonder drug that has come onto the market, Viagra, will also help the impotent males under the supervision of a doctor(Hyde and DeLamater,511). A doctor or urologist can conquer any circulation problems in the pelvic region, of there is no permanent nerve damage to the area(Westhiemer,150). Erection problems caused by narcotic use, alcoholism, or high doses of alcohol, smoking and nicotine use, including snuff tabacco, should be avoided, or the user should completely quit. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can be lowered or controlled to help maintain a firm erection(Hyde and DeLamater,498-99).

Semi hard silicone penile implants and hydraulic penile implant devices for men with severe erectile dysfunctions are available. The silicone implants are also called a non-hydraulic penile implant. Solid cylinders are implanted in the corpora cavernosa, to act as main arteries. When the man gets aroused the implants maintain an erection(Hyde and DeLamater,513). A hydraulic penile implant also has silicone implants in the penis, as well as a pump inside the scrotum that is pumped to the reservoir near the prostate, the resivior then gives air to the silicone tubes to create a full erection. The device also has a release valve that is inside the pump activated by finger pressure, to release the erection(Westheimer,150).

Not so drastic, are two other known techniques for a man with erectile dysfunctions to have a healthy erection. One method if achieving an erection is with penile self-injection therapy. A diabetic type needle is inserted into the side of the penis to activate the nerve and blood supply to the area(Hyde and DeLamater,512). Another method is with a device called a vacuum constriction device, or simply a penis pump. A cylinder is placed over the penis, and air is sucked out of the cylinder, either manually or orally, and an erection occurs, from the blood being forced to the area. A rubber clamp-like object is placed at the base of the penis to prevent the blood supply from leaving the area(Westhiemer,150).

Many men may feel that an erectional dysfunction is the end of their sexual and personal relationships. But the erection problem can only be the beginning to a much greater beginning to men. It can give men the chance to see the problems in their relationships (intimate as well as social), a time for the change in their weaknesses. A counselor, pastor or clergy, can help talk out the issues surrounding the problems in ones life, as well as advice on how to solve things, and how the man can change for the better. With the conclusion of problems in his life, as well as growing to be emotionally stronger, the man will again be able to focus on the pleasure that sexual experiences one had given him(Goldgerg,142-43). Sometimes though, a vacation away from all of the everyday stresses of life, a getaway trip to relax, can do wonders for a man who has had an erection problem(Gray 1995,165). A solution for another physiological problem, performance anxiety, is to see a therapist. Or of one wanted to try things in the home, they could do so too. A recommended solution for a man with performance anxiety is to have the understanding of the partner. If the partner is making the man feel insecure about the erection problem, this will only further the mans anxiety. An understanding mate, will boost his ego to help him get his mind off the erection problem, and his mind off of worrying if is going to fully please her or not(Goldberg,143-45). A man might try to use fantasy with masturbation to regain his confidence, and erection maintenance. Doing this will make it easier to maintain an erection, and achieve an orgasm(Hyde and DeLamater,508-9). If the man successfully performs intercourse, achieving an orgasm with the fantasy he used with the masturbation, he will relieve the anxiety. It will slowly decrease, and the man will again be a successful performer.

Men with erectional problems are not alone, especially since there are so many factors that can cause an erectional problem. A man can have one cause, or many, and there is hope for the man and his partner to have a happy and successful intimate and sexual relationship. The partner needs to be understanding, and the man needs to learn things about what is causing the problem, and if possible avoid the elements that will cause the erection problem, and live a happy sexual life(Goldberg,143-5). It is important for a man to know that he is not alone, but though it is an embarrassing blow to the ego, the man will take comfort in they will be able to grow emotionally(Goldberg,139-142). Solutions are available to men with erectional dysfunctions, and it is not a permanent life-threatening event in most cases.


Golgberg, Herb Ph.D, The Inner Male. Nal, New York.


Gray, John Ph.D., Mars and Venus in the Bedroom. Haper-

Collins, New York. 1995.

Hyde, Janet Shibley and DeLamater, John D., Understand-

ing Human Sexuality. McGraw-Hill, Boston. 2000.

Playboy Magazine, Antidepressants and Impotence.

December, 1995.

Westheimer, Dr. Ruth, Dr. Ruth?s Encyclopedia of Sex.

Contuinum, New York. 1994.

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