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At one point or another, almost all guys have trouble getting or keeping an erection. There's lots of reasons why it happens. Most of the time, it's just stress or nerves, or maybe you're just not in the mood. But it can also be a sign of other health problems too.

What causes Erectile Difficulties and what can I do?

If you are having some problems getting or keeping an erection, there are a few basic facts you should keep in mind.

  • Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that happens to many men.
  • As a man grows older, the number of erections he has, how quickly he gets them, how hard they are, and how long they last, gradually decreases.
  • Erectile dysfunction is when a man can't get or keep an erection hard enough to have sex and this is a problem that happens often/regularly.
  • If you do have erectile dysfunction, in most cases, your doctor can help you.

There are different reasons why a man may have temporary/occasional erectile difficulties or erectile dysfunction. These reasons can be divided into three categories: psychological, lifestyle, and medical.

Psychological Factors

Sometimes a man is able to get an erection when he is asleep, or is masturbating or thinking about sex but he is not able to get an erection when he is having sex with a partner. There are several reasons why this can happen.

  • Sometimes a man is nervous about having sex. This is more likely to happen when he is having sex with a new partner. Both partners may be feeling nervous and uncomfortable. The man may be worried that his penis will not be hard enough. Because he is worried and paying so much attention to wanting his penis to be hard he is not able to relax and enjoy himself and this can make it difficult to get an erection.
  • Sometimes men and their partners are uncomfortable about talking with each other about sex even if they have known each other for a long time. They do not know what each other likes and the man may not get as sexually aroused ("turned-on") as he used to when the relationship first started.
  • Sometimes if a man and his partner are not getting along well in other parts of their relationship, it is not as easy to get aroused and this can also make it difficult for a man to get an erection.

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Lifestyle Factors

There are many different lifestyle factors that can affect a man's ability to get an erection. In general, if you do not take care of your health, you are more likely, as you get older, to start to have problems getting an erection. For example, having a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, not smoking, and not drinking too much alcohol are all things you can do to help you be healthy. The healthier your body is, the more likely it is that you will be able to get and keep an erection.

Medical Factors

There are a large number of medical conditions and medicines that can affect a man's ability to have an erection. These include:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart conditions (heart disease)
  • thyroid conditions
  • poor circulation
  • depression
  • low testosterone
  • spinal cord injury
  • multiple sclerosis
  • nerve damage (e.g., from prostate surgery)
  • Parkinson's disease