Erectile dysfunction

This is usually due to stress, tiredness or having one too many sherries! Unfortunately though, around 10% of the male population in this country (that’s nearly 3 million men!) suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), which means a more persistent, long-term erection problem.

There are a number of reasons for ED, but generally the problem could be down to either of the following two categories:


  • Ageing
  • Long-term smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Peyronies disease
  • Non-legal drug use
  • Hormone deficiency
  • Some surgical procedures
  • Some prescribed drugs


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Performance anxiety

Of course your problem may be both physical and psychological, but if you can achieve an erection when you’re wanking or sometimes get a ‘morning glory’, the likelihood is that your problem’s a psychological one. If the problem is physical, there are a number of ways that it can be treated such as drugs (Viagra, Cialis), injections (Viridal, Caverjet), surgery or vacuum devices.

However, if the problem is more psychological, whilst drugs like Viagra may give immediate relief, counselling and psychosexual therapy may be needed for a more permanent solution.

If you are suffering from an erection problem, make an appointment with your GP or your local sexual health clinic (details at the end of this booklet) and they will be able to let you know what can be done. However, if you think your problem may be psychological, there are some things you can do to help yourself:


The more you tense up, the less likely it is that you will be able to get an erection. Contrary to popular belief, the muscles down there are in an active state when it’s not erect and it’s only when they are relaxed that blood can flow and cause an erection.

Avoid 'Dutch Courage'

Having too much alcohol is a sure fire way to stop an erection.

Don't focus on it

Sex is about so much more than having an erection. It’s about being intimate and sensual, so focus on other things such as massage and kissing. This will make sure you are enjoying the whole experience rather than concentrating purely on your erection.

Ups and downs

While you're at it you constantly change in hardness throughout sex and becoming softer does not mean there is a problem. Recognise that sometimes you just aren’t horny – contrary to common belief, men do not always want nor are they ready to have sex.

Sex is not a performance

You do not always have to be the best shag ever. Just enjoy it and remember, the mind is very powerful. So you can easily sabotage your erection just by worrying about your ability to perform.