Erectile problems are not just a consequence of aging; there are many factors that affect a man’s sexual function. The good news is that many of these factors concern men’s personal choices about their health and lifestyle, and therefore, men can choose to make changes that can help to overcome erectile dysfunction. Taking on this frustrating problem starts with understanding the underlying issues, as well as what men can do to improve their own sexual health.

Stress – Physical and emotional stress can have a tremendous effect on a man’s general health, not to mention his ability to function in the bedroom. Stress, whether it is caused by work, relationship problems, financial issues, or health-related concerns, affects the body in a multitude of ways. Heart function, mental health and the ability to perform with a partner are all at risk when a man is under too much pressure.

Anxiety – Anxiety is closely related to stress, and the physiological effects are similar. However, it is worth mentioning separately to illustrate the potential causes. Performance anxiety, low self-esteem, and even feeling of guilt related to sex can affect a man’s ability to be ready for a sexual encounter. Dealing with anxiety can mean addressing the source, including past trauma or other unhealthy events that may be contributing to the anxious mental state.

Obesity – Men who are severely overweight are especially at risk for erectile problems, because too much body fat affects so many physiological functions. For instance, the heart has to work much harder just to maintain normal circulation, so little is left over when it comes to flooding the erectile chambers of the penis with blood. Stamina is also affected, and men with excess body fat may have difficulty in getting up the energy to perform.

In addition, obese men are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes. This autoimmune disorder creates the risk of diabetic neuropathy, a breakdown in the nerve tissue that is needed for communication between the brain and body. Men with this condition may experience mild to severe loss of sensation in the penis, leaving them immune to pleasurable sensation.

Substance use

Aside from any illicit substances, cigarette smoking and alcohol use can spell trouble when it comes to sexual health. Tobacco and nicotine have a highly negative effect on nerve and circulatory function and can stop an erection in its tracks; and alcohol is known as a “downer” not only for its effects on brain function.