Why Can't He Perform? Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

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wilted flower
Men experience erectile dysfunction for a host of psychological and physical reasons.

Picture this: You're in the middle of a fierce makeout session and reach down to grab what you expect will be a hard, throbbing erection. Instead, your hand is met with a disappointingly soft penis. Or maybe he's got an erection now, but loses it before you can actually get busy. Sure, what goes up must—eventually—come down, but so soon? Your first thought is probably, "Why can't he get it up? Isn't he attracted to me?"

But it's not that simple. As I discuss in my new book, A Woman's Guide to Men and Their Penis Problems, erectile issues are actually incredibly common. According to the results of the Global Better Sex Survey, published in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 65 percent of men aren't satisfied with the quality of their erections (and neither are 63 percent of women).

It's no wonder erection issues are so widespread: They can have any number of causes—and very few of them have anything to do with your attractiveness. So before you start taking it personally, take a look at some of the reasons why he may have trouble getting hard: 

  • Physical causes. Most cases of erectile problems are caused or influenced by physical issues, particularly those that limit blood flow to the penis or damage the nerves in that organ. Study Links Erectile Dysfunction To Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Psychological causes. The brain plays an important role in sexual arousal—it is, after all, our biggest sex organ! What's going on outside the bedroom—whether at work or at home, and issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue and relationship issues—all influence a man's ability to get or keep an erection.

Want to know if the cause of his erectile problem is physical or psychological? Work with him to understand how his body responds in various situations by trying these tricks:

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