That’s Never Happened to Me Before, I Swear!

Young Guys Get ED Too.
Because most men learn about genital function and male sexuality by trial and error, they generally don’t get the memo that explains, “Your penis is a reliable barometer of your physical and psychological health.”

Unruly as it seems, a penis is a delicate instrument. You know how quickly and accurately your penis measures heat and cold—both literally and metaphorically, and you surely know how well-calibrated “Mr. Happy” is to visual stimuli. The joy stick also responds to images from memory and other fantastic stimuli. In fact, most men learn they can depend on their penises for instant and durable response to almost all stimuli and encouragement.

In your 20s and 30s, you may tune-out the most revealing message in commercials for ED medications. The man with the big voice says a lot when he counsels, “Make sure you are healthy enough for sexual activity.” In fact, if your body and mind are not equal to the task, your penis definitely will deliver the message. Yet many men seem surprised when the equipment malfunctions. It’s almost Shakespearean. Millions of men have listened in shock and disbelief as they have heard the tragic refrain issue from their lips: “That’s never happened to me before!” they moan. “I swear! That has never happened!”

If you eat lots of fatty and fried foods, work at a desk, and would rather catch on fire than exercise, expect Mr. Happy’s imminent failure. The higher your cholesterol soars, the less your penis will. If you’re fat and out of shape, it’s only a matter of time before you go flaccid at the magic moment. The system does, after all, depend on veins and arteries for its thermonuclear power.

What the doctors say and what they mean.
Working in the nastiest of medical specialties, urologists gather tons of data about penile function and malfunction. They list five common causes of erectile disappointment and despair:

The doctors discuss, “performance anxiety.” They mean you choked, froze or panicked. Remember that premature ejaculation counts as erectile dysfunction, too; it suggests you have unreconciled emotional or psychological issues with sex. Sexual arousal activates most of your fight-or-flight mechanisms, and adrenalin powers your excitement. You can, however, over-amp and go into “flight” mode. Sometimes, the more eager and excited you become, the more you overload the system, compromising your ability to control your ejaculation or sustain your erection. Not surprisingly, young men complain most often about hyper-sensitivity and premature ejaculation, because they lack experience to control the anxiety that often accompanies sexual activity. Sexual proficiency develops in direct proportion to your ability, literally, to go with the flow. Some professional help would not hurt.

The doctors cite excessive alcohol or drug use as a cause of ED. They mean you drank or smoked or snorted yourself right out of the game. Many younger guys forget their favorite alcoholic and herbal refreshments not only diminish their inhibitions but also work as powerful anesthetics. Although your penis has more sensitive nerve-endings than any other part of your body, alcohol and drugs disconnect them from the system. Some experts strongly suggest, if you cannot feel the tip of your nose, you probably cannot feel Mr. Happy’s tip either. Then, they recommend you postpone sex until normal sensation returns.

The doctors caution about taking prescription medications. They mean that your feel-good mood controllers may chill you out so completely you cannot get excited enough to sustain your erection or achieve orgasm. The most common anti-depressants, those technically identified as “supplemental serotonin reuptake inhibitors,” warn vaguely of “sexual side-effects.” Because SSRIs work on your central nervous system much like a governor works on your car engine, they prevent your system from revving past the yellow line. Good for your psychological condition; bad for sex. If you cannot rev to the redline, you cannot orgasm. Many blood pressure and diabetes medications have similar effects. Remember the big voice warned you, “Make sure you are healthy enough…”

“Heart disease and cardio-pulmonary problems,” doctors list among ED’s causes. Not a great medical mystery: If your heart and lungs cannot pump and oxygenate as they should, your penis just does not work. The mighty magic requires a little jump-start from your central nervous system, but it runs on steady circulation. In fact, your doctor will agree with your penis: If you experience ED, you should have your heart, blood pressure, respiration and cholesterol tested, because you may be a candidate for conditions far worse than flaccid.

What’s a poor guy to do?
Approach sex as your favorite athletic event, training and conditioning for it like Rocky shaped-up for his epic fisticuffs. Half an hour of sexual activity requires the same stamina and endurance as half an hour of steady walking at nearly 4 mph. Face the cold, sadly soft facts: If you cannot do the walk, you probably cannot do the sex. If you plan to be good in the bedroom, you first should get good in the gym.

Cindy Swensen is a guest blogger for Apexrx where you can find tips on staying healthy and saving money.