Saturday, 10 Jun 2023

What to Know About Erectile Dysfunction & Popping the Top in the New Year

What’s more fun than popping the cork? And what’s more frustrating than trying to pop the top and not being able to? To be very clear, let’s talk about erectile dysfunction.

A person with erectile dysfunction may be unable to achieve erection at any time or they may not be able to achieve an erection that lasts long enough for penetrative intercourse. Having erectile dysfunction can weigh on the psyche of a person where people often report feeling shame, frustration, embarrassment, and performance anxiety. This can be so dire that it can lead to depression, anxiety, and problems with self-esteem overtime.

There are a lot of understandings of erectile dysfunction and a lot of misnomers too. Erectile dysfunction does not include having occasional difficulty achieving an erection, having less interest in sex, having problems with ejaculation which include premature ejaculation or delayed ejaculation Additionally, studies have not supported the use of pornography affecting erectile functioning. In a recent study it was found that among folks who consumed pornography in small, medium and large amounts, the people who consume pornography in medium amounts were more likely to report erectile dysfunction than those who consumed the media in small or large amount.

Despite the perceived ideas of what erectile dysfunction is and isn’t, the effects on individuals and relationships are very real. In 2021 Sheng found 75 percent of those with ED were sexually dissatisfied, with a majority of participants reporting that ED was a problem. In that same study 82 percent of ED sufferers partners also reported sexual dissatisfaction. Further, it has been found that folks with ED can score higher on depression scales and have lower self-esteem. It’s estimated that almost 30 million have ED, which points to a need to restructure treatment and sexual pleasure is achieved. 

Treatment for ED 

There are variety of methods that are used to treat ED. The most popular of these methods may be a drug based treatment which would include pills called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors. These pills are known as Cialis, Levitra, Viagra, and Stendra. Typically, they are taken 30-60 minutes before intercourse and help create and sustain an erection. They are prescription only and work in 43-83 percent of the patients who take them. For those who do not want to take a drug, there is an external treatment method like an erection vacuum. 

Vacuum devices are pumps that create a seal around the base of a penis and draws blood into the shaft. With the addition of a band to trap the blood flow in the shaft and glans, the penis remains erect. Vacuum devices are available across a variety of stores and websites and need to be researched for mechanical quality and use over time. Although both mechanical and drug treatments have the potential to solve ED, there are instances when surgical intervention is necessary. 

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Surgical interventions for ED include vascular surgery or a penis implant. Vascular surgery is extensive and does not necessarily guarantee an operational penis. A penis implant involves insertion of an inflatable or malleable device into the penis to sustain an erection. Surgical interventions are specifically used for those in which drug or external treatments did not work. This also includes the treatment of therapy. 

The social effects of erectile dysfunction cannot be discounted. With performance anxiety, depression, and other psychosocial factors. Talk therapy can also help with decreasing anxiety and increasing confidence. Sex therapy specifically can help decenter penile pleasure and ensure that individuals and their lovers are sexually satisfied in their sexual relationship. 

A new way to look at sexual pleasure

A common phrase I utter in session is Sex doesn’t begin and end with a hard penis. Unfortunately, sexual pleasure has come to be so reliant on a hard penis and its performance that folks forget that there are other- and typically more powerful and larger- sexual organs. The brain is the most powerful sexual organ and can be seduced when one truly knows their lover. Furthermore, the skin is the largest sexual organ and capable of immense amounts of pleasure. And these are only a few of the pleasure centers on the body.  

For people with penises who have not had their prostate removed, there is also stimulation of the prostate gland and other parts of the body that can result in orgasmic feelings. For those with a prostate, milking and prostate play can take place with sexual assistive devices and use of other body parts.

It is often misunderstood that ejaculations, erections, and orgasms are simultaneous happenings, when in fact each can be had individually. This means that an erection can exist without orgasm or ejaculation. An ejaculation can happen without orgasmic feelings, or an erection and an orgasm can happen without ejaculation or an erection. With each being able to happen individually, sometimes it takes practice and body consciousness to be able to tell the difference and experience pleasure. As far as partner satisfaction mentioned above, 70% of people with vaginas do not orgasm from penetration alone, meaning that being able to insert an erect penis into the vaginal opening is not the primary way to bring ultimate pleasure to a partner with a vagina. Working with a sexuality professional can help support this learning to gain more access to pleasure. 

Erectile dysfunction can be a harrowing experience and can take a physical, psycho, emotional and social toll on a person and their relationships. However, with help, and support ED does not have to stop you from celebrating pleasure. 

Before you go, check out the 69 sex positions we’d recommend you try before you die:

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