Let’s talk about erections
Obviously, as guys, we think about our penis a lot. We’re constantly touching it, adjusting it, jacking it, and finding ways and means to get off and shoot a load of cum.
However, most guys generally don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how their penis actually works. How does the penis go from soft to hard? If everything is working properly, it all just seems to magically happen when you need it – and frequently when you don’t.
When you turn your mind to it, erections are fairly fascinating things. When a guy is sexually aroused, blood flows into the chambers within his penis, engorging it, making it hard.
When you’re in the mood, ready for action, the clothes have come off, and it’s go-time, getting an erection shouldn’t really be something you’re consciously thinking about – your body knows what to do.
How does my penis go from soft to hard?
An erection is the stiffening and rising of the penis. This occurs during sexual arousal, although it can also happen in non-sexual situations. Spontaneous or non-sexual erections can occur due to friction with clothing, a full bladder, or nervousness. It’s also normal for guys to get erections while sleeping and upon waking.
The physiological mechanism that creates an erection is the dilation of the arteries that supply blood to the penis. This dilation allows additional blood to fill the three spongy tissue chambers in the penis, causing it to lengthen and stiffen. The now-engorged erectile tissue presses against and constricts the veins that carry blood away from the penis. More blood enters than leaves the penis until an equilibrium is reached – you now have an equal volume of blood flowing into the dilated arteries and out of the constricted veins. This is what gets your penis hard and keeps it hard until the additional blood is released from the erectile tissue chambers.
If your penis isn’t getting hard when you need it, this can be a source of major anxiety. If you’re not confident that you’re going to be able to sustain an erection, this can have a huge impact on your sex life, your social life, and your mental health.
Why can’t I get an erection?
If you’re having problems getting or sustaining an erection, it’s important to remember that this is actually really common – most guys will experience some form of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.
One of the complexities about erectile dysfunction is that there’s lots of factors that might be at play – it could be physical factors, psychological factors, lifestyle factors, or a combination of all three.
Physical factors that could be impacting your erections could include weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer, low testosterone levels, or side-effects from medication.
Psychological factors that could be impacting your erections could include stress, anxiety, or depression.
Lifestyle factors that could be impacting your erections could include smoking, alcohol, drugs, or fatigue.
If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction only occasionally, then you might be able to figure out the likely issues – maybe you were really tired, maybe you’d had too much to drink – but if it’s happening regularly then you need to see a doctor to try and get to the bottom of the problem and make sure that there’s nothing more serious going on.
“About one in ten men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction…” explains medical adviser Dr Hilary Jones. “As there’s both a psychological and a physical element to getting an erection, the specific reason why a man is having difficulty either achieving or maintaining an erection may be fairly complex and not always immediately apparent.”
Erectile dysfunction can strike at any age, but becomes significantly more prevalent as you get older. The National Health Service in the UK estimates that around 40 percent of men who are over 40 experience erectile dysfunction some of the time – and the older you get, the more likely you are to have problems in the erection department.
Health professionals generally talk about erections in degrees of hardness. There’s usually four categories – from soft to hard – Tofu, Peeled Banana, Banana, or Cucumber. An incredibly simple but effective system, it’s an easy way to visualise and articulate what’s going on with your body.
“While some erection problems are health-related, quite often lifestyle plays an important part…” advises health professional Matthew Hodson. “We know that smoking, recreational drugs, and alcohol can all have an impact on sexual performance, but also so can stress and anxiety. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle – the more you worry about your erection, the less likely you are to be able to get one.”
Make sure that you’re getting regular check-ups from a doctor. Regular health-checks will help to monitor things such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol – all of which can be factors that could impact your erections. Having a health check once a year will help identify any changes that your body may be experiencing as you get older.
Should I change my diet to improve my erections?
There’s a fair bit of a debate about the role that diet plays in your sexual performance. There are some studies have shown that embracing a vegan diet improves the quality of a guy’s erection, but this is probably just part of a broader picture between our physical and mental health and how that translates into sexual performance.
If you’ve got health issues such as diabetes, vascular problems, or obesity, then it’s fairly clear that this is going to have a direct and negative effect on your erections.
If you’d like to improve the quality of your erections, taking a look at your diet is a good starting point – there’s no down-side to eating a bit healthier.
Getting some exercise is also going to be a win-win. Even if it’s just going for a bit of a walk each day – the better you feel then the more your body is going to respond to the cues of sexual arousal.
Also, take a look at your relationships with alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs.
Get your head in the game to improve your erections
Your mental health plays a key role in your sex life. If you’re feeling stressed, or if you’re battling with anxiety or depression, get some help to get things back on track before it starts to impact the functioning of your erections.
Should I be taking medication for erectile dysfunction?
There’s lots of different erectile dysfunction medications out there – products such as Viagra and Cialis are the most common.
If you’re thinking about taking something like Viagra or Cialis, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about it – they can make sure that you don’t have any underlying conditions or other medication that might be incompatible with erectile dysfunction medication.
If you can’t get access to a doctor, or you’re too embarrassed to discuss it, there’s likely to be an online prescription service that will be able to deliver the medication to you.
It can be good fun to experiment with products such as Viagra and Cialis. Ideally, you wouldn’t be dependent on them, but they can give you a different kind of erection experience. Especially if you’re wanting an extended session of sexual fun, boosting your erection with some pharmaceutical assistance can help you maintain your erection for longer and delay ejaculation.
A lot of our issues with getting and maintaining erections are more psychological than physical. Particularly if you’re a bit anxious about getting it on with someone new, that anxiety can translate directly into a disappointing erection. Giving yourself a bit of a boost with a product such as Viagra or Cialis can help you head into a hook-up with confidence.
Are there any side-effects to taking Erectile Dysfunction medication?
One of the most common treatments for erectile dysfunction is Sildenafil – a pharmaceutical medication which is sold as Viagra. Other variations of this medication are sold as Levitra, or Cialis.
This type of medication is described as a PDE5 inhibitor. The medication works by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 as well as boosting a chemical in your body called nitric oxide. The effect of the medication encourages the muscles in your penis to relax, allowing blood to flow freely so that you can achieve and sustain an erection.
This is a medication that is taken orally – as a pill.
Like any medication, you may experience some side-effects from taking Sildenafil or related products. This could include nausea, dizziness, an upset stomach, headaches, or muscle aches.
Most guys are able to take Erectile Dysfunction medication without experiencing any side-effects.
If you are experiencing side-effects, speak with your doctor to adjust your medication.