No, having erectile dysfunction (ED) doesn’t mean you’re less manly – it’s linked to specific physical and psychological causes. Every man has erection problems at some point in his life, but if the problem persists over a longer period of time then it may be a sign that you have erection troubles.
Watch out for these signs:
- You can’t get a hard-on
It’s not unusual for a man’s penis to not function from time to time, but a frequent inability to get an erection could be a sign of ED, or other more serious medical problems. If you get an erection in some situations (while you’re masturbating, for example) but not in others (when naked in front of your partner), then the problem is probably psychological. If you are unable to get an erection under any circumstances, then it’s likely the result of a physical issue.
- The inability to maintain an erection
Okay, say you can get an erection during foreplay with your partner, and your performance is great for the first half of the game, but as you go along, your erection begins to deflate. We’re not talking about coming too soon – that’s an ejaculation problem. We’re talking about being unable to keep an erect penis until you orgasm. If you can’t, then something is going wrong during the process of your penis filling up with blood and hardening. Bad news – you may have ED.
- Painful hard-on for over four hours
These erections, called a “priapism,” are usually painful and can happen even when you don’t want to have sex. Priapisms happen when too much blood flows into the penis, or the blood in the penis is not able to effectively drain out. Such unwanted erections could result in you not having erections in the future because of permanent tissue damage. So get medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Curved or painful erection that makes sex difficult
Of course, penises come in different shapes and sizes and it’s not uncommon to have a curved erection. But some men get erections so bent that it causes them pain or makes sex impossible. Such a curved erection may be a sign of Peyronie's disease, which is caused by scar tissue forming along the length of the penis and results in warped, painful erections. Although the condition usually goes away on its own, if it is causing you anxiety or preventing successful sexual intercourse, you should see a doctor.
Watch out for next week’s article about what you could do to treat erectile dysfunction. However, please make sure that you use the signs mentioned above as a guide to seek medical attention. Only a trained doctor can provide clarity about the best steps ahead.
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