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Temporary Erectile Dysfunction

Temporary Erectile Dysfunction

Are erection problems temporary?

Temporary episodes of erectile dysfunction (ED) are common in all men and usually resolve on their own. They are usually due to the effects of recent stress or anxiety. Anxiety over your ability to sustain an erection is itself a powerful cause of ED, so it's easy for a vicious circle to develop.

In addition to this so-called 'performance anxiety', other sources of psychological impotence can include loss of interest in sex either as a result of a relationship problem, boredom, disinterest or just being out of love.

Talk to your partner about any inner feelings you have, and recruit your partner's help in overcoming the problem. Take things one at a time, and practice the sexual activities and positions that help you to keep the erection for as long as possible.

If necessary, refrain from penetrative sex completely for two to three weeks and concentrate only on foreplay with the aim of maintaining the erection. This kind of DIY 'sensate focus therapy' usually results in a gradual restoration of confidence leading to completely satisfactory intercourse thereafter. Once you have discovered how to overcome performance anxiety, it rapidly disappears.

It's important to note that physical causes of ED, such as those from hardening of the arteries or diabetes can lead to other serious health consequences as well as causing long-term ED unless adequately investigated and treated.

Causes of Short-Term ED

There are many potential causes of situational ED. "Occasional erectile dysfunction is common in younger men who still have lots of anxiety about first encounters,” notes Montague. And older men “may find that fatigue affects their ability to have an erection more than when they were young," he continues.

Situational factors that can hamper sexual performance include:

Stress. Stress causes the release of brain chemicals that can keep an erection from even getting started. The classic example is performance anxiety. "One erection failure can lead to fear and anxiety that can produce a temporary problem with erectile dysfunction," says Montague.        

Fatigue. Sometimes you may just be too tired to tango. "Fatigue can decrease the desire for sex, and trying to have sex when you are fatigued is a common cause of ED," Montague notes. This may be especially true if you usually have sex in the evening.

Alcohol. Alcohol is a common culprit in cases of short-term ED. Although a drink or two may dispel stress and anxiety, too much alcohol depresses your sexual response. "Older men may find that alcohol interferes with sex more than it did when they were younger, but any man who is inebriated is unlikely to have a good experience," warns Wheeler.

Drugs. Many common medications, including over-the-counter medications, can cause short-term ED. Cold medications with antihistamines, some blood pressure drugs, prescription pain relievers, sleep aids, and pills for depression or anxiety are all possible triggers. "A common drug given for prostate enlargement called tamsulosin (Flomax) may also cause erectile dysfunction," notes Wheeler.

Condom problems. Unfamiliarity with how to use a condom, or having to interrupt the flow of sex to put on a condom, can cause an erection deflation and temporary erectile dysfunction, especially for younger men. "For older men, condoms can be a cause of erectile dysfunction because they cut down on the stimulation needed to maintain an erection, or to achieve orgasm," says Montague.

Relationship troubles. "Relationships change over time, and it takes two people interested in sex to have a good sexual experience," notes Montague. Poor communication, unresolved anger, and other relationship issues can result in situational erectile dysfunction.

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