Before we get into this, I have to state a very loud legal point. This post in no way is meant to be a diagnosis, treatment or cure for erectile dysfunction! If you’re concerned about any of the content in this post, please contact a relevant health care practitioner.
Some Sexual Content Coming Up.
A touchy subject for a lot of men, but I’ll guarantee you it’s a lot more common than you think. And it’s happening in younger and younger men. According to an article in the independent https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/erectile-dysfunction-impotence-rates-viagra-causes-heart-disease-research-a8985216.html. Unfortunately, I cannot find the actual research articles the doctor in the piece was referring to. Here are the main points that highlighted in the interview.
- Up to 50% of men under 50 are suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction
- Erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of heart related issues
- Its estimated by 2025, 322million men will be affected, 152million me were reported in 1995
- Around 11.7 million men in the UK said they struggled with sex, with one in eight experiencing problems every time, according to the research
Erectile dysfunction (ED from now on) is an issue which is two pronged. There is the mental health side of things and putting pressure on yourself. Then there is the actual physical of things not happening for you.
I’ve been doing a lot of research into the subject so that I can provide you guys with a lot of detail in this post. I’m going to tell you how you actually get an erection. But don’t worry I won’t make it all sciencey. I’ll make it easy to understand, I’ll explore the physical things that could be going wrong. Then we’ll look at the mental side of ED and then what we can start doing about it. Let’s face it, we love getting boners, we love having sex and we love a good masturbation session. So let’s get into it.
How you get a stonker on.
This detail if you want to read every single nuance of the cellular interactions. The nervous system stimuli and physical ways in which it happens along with diagrams. Then head to this link. I warn you though, it’s heavy reading… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/ If not keep reading below and I’ll summarise what they’ve found.
I’ll keep this to the waking state of erections for when we feel horny and actually want to get busy or knock one out (masturabte). There is also the morning wood that we should still be having every single morning! If you’re not waking up with a boner every day. It should be an indication that something isn’t right either hormonally or emotionally.
It all starts with the stimulation, whether you’re going down the fantasy route if you’re on your own. Or if you have a partner and either decide you’re horny and start things off. Once your brain receives the message of “hello, hello I fancy a bit of that” the stimulation as it’s known. Your body then release nitric oxide. Then acetylcholine is released from parasympathetic (rest and digest side of the nervous system) cholinergic fibres.
Next there is the release of cyclic GMP which causes smooth muscle in your veins and arteries to relax. Once they’re relaxed blood fills into cavities in your knob, known as lacunar spaces or cavities. As the blood fills these cavities, it blocks off the return of blood out of the penis. Venus return as it’s known, is when blood comes back to the heart via the veins. And that is the physical way your body gets a hard on.
It’s easier to see in the chart below to understand.
Your cock won’t be able to get hard if any of these processes gets interrupted. Like I said this is just the physical side of getting a hard on. Let me explain a little about the nervous system and then things will make a little more sense.
The Nervous System Basics.
What you see here is the CNS, central nervous system breaking down into the periphery nervous system. Then what we’re interested in is the autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Parasympathetic is your slowing down, rest and digest state, this is the state you want to be in to those raging hard on’s. The sympathetic state is your fight or flight or stress state of the nervous system. If you’re predominately in this state, your body is receiving the message that we’re in survival mode.
Survival mode can be triggered by lots of things, here are a few examples.
- Emails from your boss saying they need to see you
- The car not starting one morning
- Being physically threatened by somebody
- Not eating enough calories
- Any competitive sporting scenario (watching or playing)
- Public transport being late
- Training in the gym
Like I said these are just a few, the kicker here is that just the perception of a mental stressor. Can and set your body off to react in the same way as a physical stressor. Just like you were being chased by a lion. The more time you’re feeding a sympathetic state of your nervous system. The more body is getting the message of survival which means your body isn’t interested in reproduction or digestion. Which also means you won’t be digesting or absorbing nutrients effectively and you definitely will not getting that hard on.
I hope that you’re starting to see how tightly linked the mental state. And the physical state are when it comes to being sexually active and able. And when I mean able what I mean is that you might still be able to get an erection but might not be shooting your load. There is a super complex relationship and balancing act between the para and sympathetic branches that leads to ejaculation. Even I’m not fully up to speed on it, but you need to be relaxed and destressed enough to get that good quality erection. But you need to be able to switch to and from fight and flight and rest and digest to eventually release the fluid. Then there is the prostate function and just enjoying the moment to consider as well.
The Mental Side Of Erectile Dysfunction
We’re blokes, we know when things aren’t working and it doesn’t help when a partner tells you to just relax and enjoy. You’re already nervous and anxious that you won’t be able to get it up. If you can get it up you’re worried about not being able to shoot your load. Then you’ve got your partner trying to soften the blow by saying it’s all good and that they’re ready and willing when you are. Which in turn puts more pressure on you to perform and then you’ve got what’s known as a negative feedback loop. You’ve got an issue, that’s causing you stress, that stress is forcing you into a sympathetic state. That increased sympathetic activity means you’re gearing up for a fight or to run from a predator. Not get your end away.
You end up putting more pressure into yourself to able to perform and as a result, that little voice in your head tells you. “There is literally no point in even trying this!” or “oh fuck it they’re horny, maybe if I just go down on them and tell them I’m tired it’ll be ok”. These are things that feel like they add pressure to you. That pressure just compounds and you end up in a vicious cycle dreading and doing your best to avoid any sexual encounter. The sad thing is, this is happening to younger and younger men. I remember in my early 20’s I was doing everything I could to get laid! I loved the chase, I didn’t always score, but I loved it when I did. Then I got into the corporate world, I took my work far too seriously and ended up experiencing all of the above that I mentioned. For a bit more detail have a look at my other blog https://coachingformen.net/sex-hormones-what-you-need-to-know-as-a-man/ or https://coachingformen.net/sex-hormones-what-you-need-to-know-as-a-man/
Things To Combat Ereticle Dysfunction
Testosterone replacement therapy could well be a legitimate path to go down here. There have been numerous studies conducted that have proven increased testosterone equated to reduces signs and symptoms of depression. As well as an increase in libido, activity and improved ejaculation. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2712976
This list could be huge! What I’ll do here is summarise the ways you can get the most bang for buck when it comes to improve both mental and physical health. Which in turn will help with the ED. Obviously I’m not a qualified doctor, all I’ve done is interpret the findings of various studies. I’ve combined that with my 15 years’ experience as a personal trainer and study into the human body to come up with these suggestions.
- Lose body fat. I’ve put this top of the list because the benefits to losing body fat are so far reaching it’s unreal. Losing body fat means you decrease the amount of testosterone into oestrogen. Yes your body will over convert testosterone into oestrogen if you have too much body fat. It’s an enzyme called aromatase that does it. Aromatase tends to live in fat stored in the body. Less body fat = less aromatase = increased testosterone available in the body.
- Get a counsellor and sleep more! Working with a good mental health professional is invaluable when it comes to combatting the mental side of ED. They will help you discover methods of how to relax, how to get over your anxiety, nerves or stress. Sleep is the best natural booster of testosterone you can give your body. Do it! 7-9 hours of good sleep per night and nap! Nothing wrong with naps!
- Stop watching porn! I cannot emphasise this point enough!!! Porn even if you’re watching amateur porn isn’t helping your mental state. Your androgen (male sex hormone) production actually increases through fantasy over visual stimulus. This means, stop watching unrealistic porn that won’t happen to you. Shut your eyes and use your imagination and get into fantasy land. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5027992/ reference 70
- Manage your stress! Again another thing that sounds simple to do but can be difficult. If you’re struggling here. Head over to rahaman.academy and pick up a copy of my eBook all about how to manage stress. Another point here that I can’t stress the importance of enough. By managing your stress and spending more time in the rest and digest or parasympathetic state. The better your sexual health is going to be and the better your boner is going to be. Having a lower blood pressure is also going to be a benefit here. The lower you get your BP the better your heart is performing and the better your hard on’s are going to be.
- Eat a clean diet! Whole grains, veggies, fruits, clean meats are all going to be your friends, eat a lot of them. Avoid full fat dairy, high sugar, excessive red meat intake and high salt. By doing all these things with diet, you’ll improve your fat levels, thus increasing testosterone production and helping with all things ED.
Summing It All Up
ED is not something that you should feel less of a man about. That’s the road I ended up going down and trust me it’s a rabbit hole that you dont want to fall in. At the end of the day, it’s a bodily function. Like other functions in the body it can go wrong. There are factors that I’ve highlighted above that should hopefully put some detail and shed some light on potential causes.
I appreciate there is a lot of detail here. If you’d like more then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
This is something I really want to shed the stigma of. There could be several reasons for your ED, and none of them you need to be embarrassed about.
Thanks for reading fellas. I hope this helped.