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Intimacy Issues: Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

Intimacy Issues                                                  Volume One: Chapter 3

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction: The Effects of Age and Health-Related Behaviors  

Intimacy Issues: Understanding Erectile Dysfunction: The Effects of Age and Health-Related Behaviors

Intimacy Issues: Understanding Erectile Dysfunction: The Effects of Age and Health-Related Behaviors

There is a self-perpetuating conundrum among men known as erectile dysfunction (ED). It is rarely discussed in public, yet grappled with more than most who suffer from it would like to admit. Frequently when asked “how are you” — a guy struggling with problems in bed might mumble “oh .. well … you know — I had a bad night.” Often times this ambiguous answer indicates that a potentially exhilarating sexual episode was dampened or even shut down by the inability to develop or maintain an erection during sexual activity. In a recent posting, The University of Wisconsin Health Men’s Program reports that a man’s age is a direct correlation to what percentage of his peers are experiencing ED — 30% of men in their 30s, 40% of men in their 40s, 50% of men in their 50s and so on.

A Complicated Intimacy Issue

Age notwithstanding, there are a variety of other circumstances that can also lead to erectile dysfunction, some are minor and easy to identify and others are more involved. These include stress, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, bad diet, frustration with work, lack of exercise, relationship struggles as well as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease and more. One of the perpetuating factors of the problem is this: when a man “has a bad night,” the experience can be profoundly paralyzing from a psychological standpoint. So much in fact, that the next time a situation turns intimate, the memory of his previous failure to participate in sex can cause such a flood of anxiety that the dreaded scenario happens all over again. Poor communication between partners can lead to the woman mistaking the man’s trouble as an indication that he does not find her attractive and the spiral goes from there. Chronic ED can stem from an isolated incident such as this, but more often it is caused by a more complex physical condition and sometimes the two are intertwined.    

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