Erectile dysfunction symptoms

Most men notice subtle but telling signs that their erection is not normal. They have more difficulty achieving an erection and it is not quite as hard. It doesn’t rise to as sharp an angle and it seems to have less girth. Sensitivity to touch, etc., is diminished. Any or all of these may be present and progress over time. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is not defined as the complete inability to achieve an erection only.

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the consistent or recurrent inability of a man to obtain and/or maintain a penile erection sufficient for sexual activity. (J Sex Med 2010;7:1598–1607) Clearly, from the definition it is clear a man needn’t experience the complete inability to achieve an erection to have Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Small changes that prevent a satisfactory sexual experience may be the initial symptoms.

What exactly are the symptoms of ED? Most men know what a fully erect penis is. It is firm or even hard to the touch, tends to point up to one degree or another (the degree depends on the individual), is sensitive to sexual contact, and may even pulse in rhythm as the heart beats. With aging or familiarity with a particular partner, that same robust erection may occur with less frequency, but erections remain fairly similar in strength and reliability through the years of a man’s youth. It is not abnormal to have periods when sex is of secondary interest as during stressful times at work, during disruptions to a comforting routine, or during periods of strain in relationships. Those same forces that make sex less of a priority may also affect erections. Sometimes, erections just don’t behave as men would like but the episodes are very infrequent, explainable, or insignificant. That is not Erectile Dysfunction.

However, should a change alter how much pleasure a person or partner experience from their sexual activity, whether related to stress medical conditions, and it persists, the possibility of ED must be considered. In fact, as Dr. Pepper Schwartz has noted in her dealings with women, it is not infrequent that the first indication of a man’s diminished capacity is noted by his companion. Sex just feels different. This is only logical, however, since a man might still derive pleasure when his penis is inserted in his partner, but the penis he is used to seeing is obviously hidden from view. His partner, however, is incredibly familiar with the status of a man’s penis when it is inserted and the subtle changes he may not identify, the partner senses.

If you or your partner have identified a persistent change that is affecting your sexual intimacy, ED is possible. Often, the problem underlying the change can be addressed, and the use of medications like Viagra, Sildenafil, Cialis, or Levitra, while very effective for most men, might be a temporary tool or one used only intermittently.