The night is going great. Each second that passes, the temperature seems to increase. You suggest to move the date to another place, somewhere more, let’s say, intimate and romantic, and she agrees. Nothing could be more perfect. You two take a cab and right in the back seat you can sense the heat increasing. The mere touch of her hand slightly going through your thighs feels like an explosion of sensations. You share a couple of kisses willing to arrive at your place as fast as possible. You rush to your place and rapidly embrace her, kiss her, and touch her. She takes off your shirt and, blinded by passion, you respond in the same way and strip away her pants. It’s the moment you’ve been anxiously waiting for. You’re finally there, but just when you’re about to start, nothing happens. Your body doesn’t respond correctly, and you start freaking out. She looks at you, confused, but still with her eyes tries to encourage you to continue. Perhaps you’re not that focused. You continue the foreplay, praying for the excitement to return, but nothing. This is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to you, and you feel quite embarrassed. It’s all so confusing…
Not many like to accept this is quite a common scene. But when it happens during your first sexual encounter, it can be uncomfortable for both parties, since there's a lot of expectation. However, this is something that's probably happened to most men at some point in their life, and yes, it can be quite embarrassing and confusing, especially when it’s the first time happening to you or when it happens with someone you like and you’re about to engage in sexual intercourse. So, what's with that? To start with, let’s be clear about something: there’s a huge difference between experiencing it on a regular basis (in other words, having a condition related to erectile dysfunction) and just a one-time event. The latter can actually happen for many different reasons. You had one too many drinks. You ate something that interfered with the proper functioning of your reproductive system. You’re stressed about something and your body reacts that way. You name it. The reasons are several, but that doesn’t mean there's something wrong with you.
Despite the idea that this is a very rare condition, especially in men under fifty, the number of cases of younger men experiencing erectile dysfunction is increasing as we speak. Well, maybe not that fast, but it’s considerable higher than a couple years ago. So, what’s causing it? There are two different types of ED: physical and psychological. When the condition is chronic, it's most likely that it has a biological and physical basis. But, according to Dr. Irwin Goldstein (director of the San Diego Sexual Medicine Center), there can also be many psychological cases in which a man, for instance, can’t perform sexually with a determined partner.
In regular cases of ED in older men, the causes can be commonly attributed to chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or even a cardiovascular disorder. But in younger men, the most common causes are traumas like sports injuries or even a sexual incident. Now, these are not the only causes. Just as it can happen only once, there can be other factors, like the consumption of alcohol and certain drugs in a consistent manner, which have proved to increase the number of cases of ED in younger men.
Now, that’s for the causes of ED, but the way it’s socially perceived can be more stressing than actually going through it. Somehow, we still base a man’s virility and masculinity on the mere act of sexual penetration, and not being able to fulfill that task can be extremely traumatic for a man, especially one who’s socially and physically at the peak of his sexual life. They might feel useless because they can't perform their main task or what's expected from them. The worst part, as Dr. Goldstein states, most doctors won't even treat younger men because they think it's nothing more than a mental issue derived from stress or anxiety. So, the fact that most of them aren’t taken that seriously makes them feel even more uncomfortable and helpless.
The good news is that there are several possible ways of treating ED if it’s caused by a physical injury. There is medication and even surgeries that can help solve the problem. Now, if the condition belongs to the realm of psychology, there are therapies specialized in dealing with this issue. The issue, however, doesn’t really lie on the existence of a treatment, but on the social taboos linked to it. We need to remember that this is a medical condition, that may or may not require treatment, not something to be embarrassed about.
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Cover photo by @filthymouthcreative
Images by @bobbymandrup