We've carefully trained ourselves to never equate a man's erection with the pitter patter of a man's heart. The two are separate entities, independent from one another, and often acting in inverse ways.
Nice try, science. But we're smarter than that.
But as we read more, we stumbled upon our foolish mistake. Not being able to get an erection spells trouble for a man's heart — physically, not emotionally. In fact, it could mean diabetes, heart problems or metabolic syndrome.
Gary Wittert, endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, says the blood vessels in the penis are identical to those in the heart. If the blood is having a hard time rushing to the penis, chances are it's having a hard time flowing elsewhere, too. Often times, this means the man may have subclinical coronary artery disease.
In a study conducted by Dr. Ian Thompson of the Texas Health Science Center, 19,000 men were rounded up and studied. The ones who reported having a tough time getting it up were just as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as smokers.
He also thinks it's a bunch of hooey that older men should assume erections cease with age. If Hugh Hefner can do it at 90, so can you.
"What I truly believe is it's not just age. It isn't inevitable that you lose your erections with age," he said. "You're starting to see with obesity a very high prevalence of erectile dysfunction in younger men and it's a warning sign."
Do you hear that, fellas? If you want to keep having sex through middle age, hop on the treadmill and cut down on the McDonald's.