Anxiety can lead to erection problems in young men – but taking Viagra isn’t always the answer

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<p>Many people think that erection problems are a condition that only affects older men.  But you don’t have to look far to find reports on the condition in men from <a href=their 20s and 30s.. Some research even estimates that half of men who report having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection are in your thirties.

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Yet, despite the frequency of erection problems – affecting almost half of men aged 18 to 60 – there is still a lot of stigma and shame around the disease. This can be especially true when you’re young, thanks to the sex scripts many have grown up hearing – for example that they should always be ready for sex, that they should be aroused in no time, and that they should be able to perform perfectly every time.

As a result, many won’t seek help or will try to fix the problem using “solutions” that only mask their problem. For example, reports indicate that many young men are turning to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, like viagrato cope.

These drugs have become much cheaper and more widely available via discreet online pharmacies in recent years. But while these products may help people with occasional unreliable erections, they won’t solve the core problem.

Quarter life, a series from The Conversation

This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our 20s and 30s. From the challenges of starting a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or simply making friends as adults. The articles in this series explore questions and provide answers as we navigate this turbulent time in life.

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There are a number of reasons why erection problems can occur, including certain health problems (such as hormonal imbalances or high blood pressure). But anxiety is one of the most common causes of erection problems, especially in young men.

Usually, when aroused, the brain sends signals to the penis and triggers it to fill with blood. But when a person is anxious, the body releases stress hormones (called cortisol), which activate the body flight or fight reaction. Because high levels of cortisol constrict blood vessels and blood flow, it can make it difficult to get (or keep) an erection.

There are a number of reasons why young men may experience anxiety, especially when it comes to sex. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • weak desire

  • feelings of guilt and shame

  • relationship problems

  • confusion about sexuality

  • religious beliefs

  • bad sex education

  • poor body image

  • fear of pregnancy and STIs.

Understanding the root cause of your anxiety is essential in treating erection problems.

Take for example if a person’s erection problems are caused by anxiety resulting from low libido. They may feel guilty for not being able to satisfy their partner and feel shame because of it. Without telling their partner or a medical professional, they can only continue in a cycle where their anxiety gets worse because of their erection problems, and their erection problems get worse because of their anxiety.

what you can do

With still so much stigma around sex, it’s understandable that many young men don’t know where to turn for help – and may seek a quick over-the-counter fix instead. However, as everyone is different, it is important that you consult a GP first to find out if this is right for you or not before trying. It is also important to note that Viagra is limited in what it can do and may not be the solution many are hoping for.

A man holds a viagra pill between his fingers.

Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor. It can help more blood flow to the penis when aroused – prolong an erection.

However, Viagra cannot produce instant, spontaneous erections without feeling excited. Heavy alcohol consumption can also make it less effective. This is because alcohol reduces blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to get and maintain erections. So while Viagra may work for some, it should not be relied upon, especially if your erection problems are caused by anxiety.

As such, it’s also important to take steps to manage your anxiety. This will help you get to the root and overcome your erection problems.

If you’re not sure where to start, the first and most important thing you should do is talk with your partner (if you’re in a relationship) about how you’re feeling so you can explore together to find different ways to get along. having sex and intimacy.

You can also try some simple techniques to relieve anxiety around sex, such as aiming to make sex less “goal-oriented” or practicing mindfulness. It can help calm you down by redirecting attention away from negative self-talk and towards the how you feel during sex.

But if you continue to have long-term problems, or when the symptoms are causing you (or your partner) significant distress, it may be time to seek professional help. See your GP first to rule out any organic causes (such as other health issues). They can also refer you to a psychosexual therapist. Psychosexual therapy can be particularly beneficial because it can help you better connect your mind and body, understand why you feel the way you do, and learn specific techniques for overcoming your anxiety.

Finally, it should be noted as a practicing sex and relationship therapist, that it is not uncommon to experience anxiety about sex. It is also normal to sometimes have problems getting or keeping an erection. Erection problems can often be treated – so there’s no need to suffer in silence if you need help.

This article is republished from The conversation under Creative Commons license. Read it original article.

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Chantal Gautier does not work for, consult, own stock or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond her academic appointment.

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