It’s no secret that men place quite a bit of value on their erections. Pharmaceutical companies have banked a pretty penny helping men out just in this area with medications targeted to help erectile dysfunction, like sildenafil and tadalafil to name a few. But the issue of erectile dysfunction affects many other areas of a man’s life and is not as simple as taking a little pill.
The PDE5 inhibitors address the physical issue with erection (not in all cases), but not the psychological or relationship issues that are part of the picture of a man’s sexuality. In fact, PDE5 inhibitors haven’t always been a positive addition to a man’s sex life or relationship. Some guys feel that meds are a reminder that they can’t get a good erection alone, while some partners feel that a man’s need for the medication to get an erection is confirmation that the guy doesn’t find them attractive, even though that may not be the case.
Recently, The Journal of Sexual Medicine reported on psycho-social factors associated with erectile dysfunction before and after treatment with PDE5 inhibitors. They highlighted the importance of addressing issues such as relationship satisfaction, confidence, depression, and self-esteem. They noted that both confidence and depression are not only affected by a man’s ability to get an erection, but may also contribute to erectile difficulties. This sets up a cycle of negative thinking and self-doubt.
Complicating matters further, especially for younger men, is the tendency to look at porn as a measure of both size of erection and ability to get and maintain an erection. This seems to be affecting younger men more since they are now “growing up” on porn so that a majority of visual information about sex is coming from porn. Although porn gives the impression of erections on demand that last for as long as you would like, it is not a realistic portrayal of how men’s bodies function, especially as men age. Men that hold themselves to this expectation will inevitably be disappointed with themselves and with sex.
The men most likely to suffer this disappointment are those that are led by their erections (not exactly what you think) in that they don’t recognize that they have sexual desire until they can see their erection. These men make a direct correlation between seeing their erections and feeling horny (usually in that order). But relying on the physical to direct the mental can backfire and lead to lots of disappointment. Better to recognize that your sexual thoughts and desires have value all on their own, and that by doing this, you may actually enhance the physical.