There are two systems that work in tandem in order to achieve a firm and sustained erection. This might be common knowledge, but for those who don’t know, a combination of physiological and psychological factors are both at play at the time of sexual arousal.
Let’s start at the beginning.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction (sometimes referred to as erectile disorder) is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection despite being sexually arouses.
In some cases, the penis may become partially erect, but is not hard enough to have (or sustain) intercourse.
Physiologically, in order for a man to become fully firm, blood flows to the penis through the corpora cavernosa. Should the twin compartments (the corpora cavernosa) become inhibited or constricted, it becomes hard (excuse the pun) for a man to stiffen or become erect. I’ll explain more soon.
Psychologically, who knows what stimulates each individual man or titillates his fancy. But the basic principle is the same all around: a man becomes sexually aroused and his brain signals his body to stand tall and get to.
Once a man can’t perform that one time, anxiety about performance, feelings of embarrassment or shame, are all set into motion. This can then exacerbate an already anxiety-ridden moment, making it even more difficult to have or sustain an erection. This can have an effect on an intimate relationship as well, more on this in a moment.
The two factors go hand in hand, and it is my recommendation, more often than not, that erectile dysfunction be treated with more than one therapy (for example: oral medication in tandem with counselling), so that both the mind and body are being treated. Because, treating one set of symptoms would be to neglect the effect the mind has on the body, or vice versa.
How is an erection achieved, physiologically speaking?
When a man becomes aroused the brain releases a neurochemical that increases the size of blood vessels carrying blood to the penis and reduces the size carrying the blood out. The corpora cavernosa becomes flush with blood trapped in the shaft which causes the penis to become erect.
Should the vessels become clogged or fully constricted, an erection might be difficult to achieve or maintain. For men who reach middle age, the most common issue in ED is vasculogenic (constricted blood flow).
How do relationship issues factor in?
Anxiety about (under)performance, and concerning the intimacy aspect of a relationship can place more stress on a partnership. This can be what’s causing the brain/body disconnect.
Setting into motion a strain on the body, brain, and relationship, men who are inflicted with ED should know that in most cases, ED is a highly treatable condition. With a range of options out there, the first step is to speak to your doctor or urologist to rule out any serious medical issues that may be causing the “physical” part of things. Of equal value, is having the opportunity to speak about what’s going on to get to the root of the “psychological” part of things.
A number of treatments are available to help restore sexual performance. Whether it’s drugs (PDE inhibitors) or shockwave therapy (low-intensity shockwaves therapy), which both respond to and target the physiological constriction of blood flow, or counselling to help overcome the anxiety causing ED—or the impact ED is having on your libido which in turn is causing performance issues—it’s important to note that there are solutions. We even offer the innovative P-Shot, which boosts the blood flow to the penis using a man’s own blood to regenerate new cell growth in the area. Although the P-Shot is still in its experimental phase, it has seen great results.