Erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with aging, though it is very common in younger men. ED is an umbrella term which includes any number of conditions wherein a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection for long enough to have sexual intercourse or adequately enjoy a majority of sexual encounters. The definition of erectile dysfunction is variable based on subjective factors. For example, a man may or may not consider himself to be a premature ejaculator depending on whether he feels satisfied with the length of his sexual encounters or not.
There are a number of possible causes of erectile dysfunction in young men. It is rare for a physiological problem to be the underlying cause, though still possible and worth checking out if there doesn’t seem to be a simpler explanation. Lifestyle choices can also affect a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Psychological causes are the most likely however in someone young.
Physical and Chemical Causes
There are several health conditions which have been implicated in erectile dysfunction, though this is more common in older men. Heart disease, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes may all cause erectile dysfunction. If your problem began suddenly and you cannot think of a psychological or chemical explanation, it may be worth taking the effort to check out physical causes to rule them out. This is particularly the case if you think you may be predisposed to one of these conditions even at a younger age—for example if you are obese and sedentary. This could put you at an increased risk for any of these diseases.
If you’re under 40 and you’re healthy, the causes of your erectile dysfunction are most likely psychological. There are numerous psychological causes for impotence and premature ejaculation; even if you’re older than 40, if you’re healthy there’s still a very good chance that psychological factors are to blame for your woes. Psychological issues may range from serious to relatively minor and short term in nature. Most men will experience premature ejaculation at some point in their lives. For some this is a problem which resolves quickly while for others it may take a longer time to get to the root of the issue and resolve it.
Relationship problems, if present, may be the source of erectile dysfunction. So can unrelated stress which may have to do with completely different areas of life. Money or work problems or other challenges can make it difficult to perform sexually. Working on resolving these problems can often help to resolve erectile dysfunction. Oftentimes once other issues are fixed, things go more smoothly in the bedroom. Issues involving sexual orientation can also impact performance; if a man isn’t really attracted to his partner, even if he thinks it is someone who he should be with, he’s not going to have an easy time getting or maintaining an erection.
Serious psychological problems are sometimes the cause of erectile dysfunction as well. Depression, anxiety disorder, and PTSD can also cause impotence or premature ejaculation. In particular PTSD relating to a past sexual encounter, for example rape, can cause ongoing sexual dysfunction. If serious mental issues are present, it is important to address those issues not just to overcome sexual issues, but also to overcome those deeper problems. Depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorder can have much graver consequences if they are not addressed and worked through.
Getting Perspective Can Help
If you’ve ruled out physical causes, odds are your problem is psychological. If you can learn to understand what may be causing your erectile dysfunction, you can start on the path toward overcoming your problems and experiencing normal sexual performance. In some cases it’s something simple like social conditioning to hurry, or performance anxiety from previous experiences, which you can overcome with a little confidence. In other cases you may need to treat a more serious underlying cause like depression or anxiety disorder. Regardless, you are empowered by your knowledge to fix the problem and perhaps improve other areas of your life in the process.
It’s also helpful to realize that nearly all men ejaculate within two minutes or less of penetration during sexual intercourse (about 75 percent). Do the majority of men have erectile dysfunction? You can see how this is a matter of perspective. Of these men, the majority can also improve and last longer in bed with practice. So you should feel encouraged by this—if you work at identifying and solving your problem, odds are you’re going to have an easier time achieving and maintaining an erection soon.
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