Erectile Dysfunction:
Complete and Partial Loss of Erection

 The loss of erectile power is known as erectile dysfunction; there are two kinds of erectile dysfunction which afflict men: full erectile dysfunction and partial erectile dysfunction.

Full erectile dysfunction is when the man cannot get any sign of erection at all (also known as impotence.)

Partial erectile dysfunction is when the man can get a strong erection during sex-play, but loses it as he tries to penetrate his partner, or very shortly after getting his penis into the vagina and before he can bring either himself or his partner to orgasm - this is often termed loss of erection.

Let's take full erectile dysfunction first. The first point about erectile dysfunction is that half the cases it is caused by a psychological issue of some kind.

The other half of the cases are due to physical problems, some of which can be treated and corrected, some of which cannot.

Sometimes the psychological issues in erectile dysfunction are the result of the same kind of psychological or emotional issues which result in premature ejaculation, e.g. anxiety of one kind or another, feelings of acute sexual inadequacy, feelings of resentment towards the partner, or a desire to punish her.

Most often, however, it is fear of becoming impotent that produces the erectile dysfunction; in other words, a vicious circle of anxiety and its effects on the erectile mechanism loss of erection) producing more anxiety.

Men on the threshold of middle age represent most cases. This is because as a man grows older, not only does his sex drive lose some of its strength and frequency, but his ability to achieve and sustain a strong erection is weakened slightly.

It is when he notices this deterioration that he begins to fear the worst, though most of the time his fears are groundless.

Despite this, he fears he is going to fail to get an erection and, sure enough, his fear makes him fail; or he fails to get an erection on one occasion, panics, fears that he may be impotent next time, and then he is.

The point about this kind of fear-induced impotence is that the cause for the first failure may be very easily corrected. I will come to this presently, just as we discussed premature ejaculation in the previous section.

Before going on to consider psychologically induced erectile dysfunction, what about the fifty per cent of cases that do not have a psychological origins?

Physical Erectile Dysfunction

physical erectile dysfunction

These may be caused by diseases such as diabetes or hyperlipidemia, or accidental injury to the spinal column, which can cause erectile dysfunction by preventing the nerves which produce erection from receiving or sending nervous impulses.

Here is how that happens: erection is brought about initially by nerve centers in the brain.

 The messages from the brain to the penis travel down the spinal column to the erection centre in the spine, which is a kind of junction box located about four or five inches above the base of the spinal column.

From the erection centre nervous impulses travel along the sexual nervous system to the erectile tissue of the penis.

When these messages are received, the erectile tissue, which is a sponge-like material, fills with blood, which enters the tissue at a faster rate than it leaves it, and the penis becomes stiff and erect.

diagram of male penile anatomy

Any damage to the nerves along this very extensive route will result in the messages not reaching the erectile tissue, and the penis will remain soft and limp.

All sorts of disturbances can afflict this important nervous system including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and so on.

One of the main psychological causes of erectile dysfunction is exhaustion, which may affect the central nervous system and its associated systems. Exhaustion is less frequently found in young men, but is very common among middle-aged and older men.

In the 1970's, sexologists Masters and Johnson listed six main categories of causes of the impairment of sexual function in older men, and this list is still probably valid today:

  • boredom with sexual partner
  • preoccupation with career or making money
  • mental or physical fatigue
  • overeating and/or overdrinking of alcohol
  • physical and mental health issues either of the man himself or his partner
  • fear of failure of sexual performance, perhaps associated with or resulting from any of the other five categories...

Another possible cause is yeast infection. This common condition affects many people, some of whom may show no symptoms.

Boredom with the sexual partner is one of the most common causes of male erectile dysfunction, and one which need never happen. It is not good enough for men to blame their partners for this, by accusing them of lack of interest, refusal to experiment or to make love in any other position but the man on top.

Far too many men, despite all the assistance in the shape of books and the internet, are such lazy lovers that it just isn't true; and far too many men are singularly unimaginative when it comes to making love.

If a couple's sex life is varied and interesting from the word go, it will remain that way for as long as the relationship lasts.

It is unfortunate that a man tends to experience the mid-life crisis just as his sex drive and some of the physical-sexual functions are beginning to taper off a little.

He is eager to reach the top or, if at the top, to make himself more financially secure for retirement, and in doing so, he so fills his mind with career thoughts so much so that he has little time for other interests, including sex.

If he could shut business out the moment he crosses the threshold of his front door, and make sex one of his chief alternatives to business, he would be surprised how the mental and physical relaxation that inevitably flows from a good session of lovemaking, would equip him better for dealing with his business. Yet the fact is, sex in midlife can be great - it just needs some adaptation.

penis definitely not erect - maybe a man with erectile dysfunction

Sex, however, is strangely persistent in forcing its attentions on men of all ages. It does so even on the man who has stopped enjoying sex.

He hasn't the energy or desire to be sexually active, but he is nevertheless subconsciously aware of what he is missing and tries to compensate for his loss of sex by drinking too much alcohol, or eating too much, or both, or by some other noble pursuit of mid-life, such as getting a powerful motorbike and running off with his secretary.

He thus successfully launches himself on the treadmill of the vicious circle. He has given up sex because of his other preoccupations, yet by overdrinking and/or overeating he makes absolutely certain of undermining his sexual powers and establishing erectile dysfunction treatment even more.

The man who consumes too much booze and overeats needs to start his sexual rehabilitation by getting his diet and alcohol under control and then should restart his sexual activity.

He must not expect overnight miracles, however, and he must have the sympathetic and physically active partner to provide him with the sexual stimulation and the sexual stimulus which will persuade his penis to respond.

If a man has a partner who plays the active part in the lovemaking and the man just lies there and lets her have her way with him - so that he does not add to his mental or physical tiredness - he will experience intense orgasms which will make him so relaxed that the tiredness will quickly vanish, especially if he can sleep afterwards.

When all is said and done, it is fear of sexual failure that creates more erectile dysfunction and impotence than anything else.


Home ] Introduction ] Delayed Ejaculation Main Page ] Premature Ejaculation Main Page ] [ Erectile Dysfunction Main Page ] Sexual Techniques ] Manifestation & Sexual Health ] Manifestation - the gentle art of getting what you want ]

Erectile Dysfunction Part 2 ] Erection Problems (3) ] Erectile Dysfunction (4) ] Notes About Erectile Dysfunction ]