How to solve erection problems

erection problems

Nearly every man can have trouble getting a full erection sometimes. The erection is not firm enough for penetration, or it becomes limp halfway through penetration – and before an orgasm. Generally, this goes away by itself. However, if the disorder lasts longer or occurs more frequently, we are talking about erectile dysfunction or impotence. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by both psychological and physical problems. Erectile dysfunction can be quite annoying, and it can have a large impact on your self-confidence, your relationship, and your sex life.

While many men experience erection problems in the course of their lives, it’s not often discussed. As a result, men often don’t know how to solve these problems. In this article, we’ll discuss several possible causes of erection problems and outline some solutions to resolve them.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can have both psychological and physical causes. In about a third of men with an erection problem, psychological problems are the reason. The same number of men have a physical cause for their problem. The rest often have to deal with both factors. When you are able to have an erection at night or in the morning but not during sexual intercourse, the issues are almost always psychological in nature.

Psychological problems

Depression, stress, and fear of failure are examples of psychological problems. Stress, for example, can occur at work or in relationships. Your mind is just not really there, which means that the arousal required for a good erection can sometimes be lacking.

Everyone can find it difficult to achieve an erection at times – for example, due to fatigue or some other temporary reason. Some men feel very guilty about this, as they feel like they’re disappointing their partner. They may be afraid that it’ll happen again and, in the worst case, they develop a fear of failure. It can also happen that a man feels less attracted to his partner, which results in not enough sexual stimulation to achieve an erection.

erection problems

Unhealthy lifestyle

An unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to an erection problem. Bad habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol and drug consumption can affect the blood flow to the penis and make it less hard and less likely to last. Alcohol and drugs can also cause fatigue, making it impossible for a man to achieve a firm erection.

The same applies to poor diet and insufficient exercise. In the long term, this can lead to problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Long-term high cholesterol and high blood pressure can then contribute to clogging of the blood vessels. This makes it more difficult for the penis to fill up with blood, which is necessary for a strong erection.

Chronic illness

A number of chronic diseases can also contribute to poor circulation and therefore to erection problems. Examples include cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, and problems with the urinary tract or prostate. Research has shown that about 70% of men with diabetes will experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives.


Some medications can cause significant hormonal imbalance. A disturbance in the male sex hormone (testosterone) often results in low libido and can lead to erectile dysfunction. Beta blockers, which reduce blood pressure, and various antidepressants also have side effects that have a negative influence on getting an erection.

Pelvic floor

Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by a tense pelvic floor. When there is too much tension on the pelvic floor muscles, men may have more difficulty achieving a good erection.

Prostate surgery

Prostate surgery can also be one of the reasons why you cannot get an erection. The nerves on both sides of the prostate affect whether or not you’re able to get it up. With some prostate operations, the nerves are affected to such an extent that it’s no longer possible to achieve a good erection.

Determining the cause of erectile dysfunction

The first step in determining the causes of erectile dysfunction is a visit to your GP. A physical examination and a number of questions will help determine whether there’s a medical or psychological problem at play. Questions may include medication use, the quality of your relationship, and whether or not you have erections in the morning or at night.

To determine the state of blood supply in your body, the doctor can look at the beating of the blood vessels in the groin or knee area. If this doesn’t feel right, there’s a good chance that the blood circulation in the pelvis is not optimal either. The nerves can also be checked by testing the reflexes. If any physical abnormalities are found, a referral to a urologist or other specialist usually follows. Someone with erection problems resulting from a psychological cause is often referred to a sexologist or psychologist.

erection problems

Solving erection problems

Looking at psychological issues

During the consultation with the GP, several questions will be asked when it’s suspected that the problems stem from stress, relational problems, or other psychological factors. The GP can conduct these interviews, but some men may also be referred to a sexologist. When the doctor or sexologist has determined which psychological factors are causing your erection problem, you’ll often be given a number of exercises to practise with, along with a set of goals you’ll want to work towards.

Some examples of exercises:

  • Learning to communicate better about your erection problem with your partner.
  • Caressing exercises to learn which sexual stimuli excite you.
  • Exercises to learn how to better deal with uncertainties.

In addition, cognitive therapy can be used to try to eliminate certain fears. Cognitive therapy attempts to get rid of some types of negative thoughts. Often, we are the ones who constantly reinforce certain assumptions and beliefs. In cognitive therapy, the sex therapist and the client examine together whether these negative thoughts are true. In this way, the client is often encouraged to talk to their partner, and they’ll discover that some of these thoughts turn out not to be true at all. These conversations can relieve a lot of tension and uncertainty.

Medication helps

Certain medications can help men with erection problems. If there’s a physical cause, an erection aid is often prescribed. These improve the blood flow in the penis, which makes it easier to achieve an erection. However, in order to achieve an erection with erection medication, the man needs to be able to get aroused.

Still, erection drugs do not eliminate the cause of erectile dysfunction and may also have negative side effects. Men with heart problems are advised not to use them. Various erection products are also offered on the Internet. The side effects and ingredients of these are often not well known, so it’s advisable to get a prescription for them from your GP.

Penis pump


A penis pump, also called a vacuum pump, is a cylinder that you slide over your penis. With the help of a pump, the cylinder creates a vacuum. This causes the blood vessels in the shaft of the penis to widen so that more blood can flow to it, resulting in a larger and firmer erection. By subsequently putting on a penis ring, the erection can be maintained for a longer period of time.

Cock ring

cockringA cock ring (or penis ring) is a ring which is slid around the shaft of the penis, and sometimes also around the balls. As the ring is quite tight, it retains the blood in the corpora cavernosa. This ensures a firm erection that lasts longer. Just like erection pills, a cock ring can be a solution to erection problems. To prevent constriction, a cock ring should not be worn for longer than 30 minutes.

Pelvic floor exercises

Training the pelvic floor muscles has many advantages. These are particularly noticeable over the long term. For example, it can prevent incontinence in later life.
Pelvic floor training (also known as Kegel exercises after Dr Arnold Kegel who first developed the exercises) also helps if a man suffers from erection problems due to poor circulation.

When you regularly train the pelvic floor, your muscles will gradually require more blood supply from the body. The veins supplying the pelvic floor with blood continue through the penis. Therefore, pelvic floor exercises – also called Kegel exercises – can improve the blood flow in the penis. In many cases, this can resolve erection problems either partially or completely.

Did our tips help you or do you have any questions after reading the article? Share it with us in a comment!

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