Erectile dysfunction affects millions of men. The term "impotence" has traditionally been used to signify the inability of the male to attain and maintain erection of the penis sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse. However, this term has been superseded by the more precise term "erectile dysfunction", which is used to denote the inability of the male to achieve an erect penis as part of the overall multifaceted process of male sexual function; hence, impotence is a part of erectile dysfunction. For simplification, we will use the term "impotence" as though it were synonymous with erectile dysfunction.
There are two types of impotence: total and partial. Total impotence is where the man is unable to achieve an erection during any sexual activity. This is generally the result of damage to the sex organs by traumatic events at an early age. Partial impotence is where the man may have success infrequently, or may only achieve a partial erection, or may only be impotent in certain circumstances.
There is enormous pressure on a man to 'perform' during sexual intimacy, and the impotent male often feels as if he is a failure. A vicious cycle can be produced, since psychological stress will prevent an adequate erection, which in turn creates a great deal of anxiety. It is important to know that many men suffer from transient episodes of impotence at some point in their lives. This is normal. Unless the impotence is chronic or worsening in frequency or degree, don't worry. On the other hand, there is no need to suffer endlessly as treatment may be of help. Only you can tell, but if it is affecting your relationship on anything other than an occasional basis, then get help.
Impotence is not a disease in itself, but the result of some other malady. Men suffering from impotence can be separated into one of four groups: physical, psychological, physical & psychological, and unknown.
This form usually develops gradually over time and is strictly the cause of problems with how your body is functioning, or to chemicals you are ingesting (such as those experienced due to the Effects of Drugs & Alcohol). A normal erection requires the co-ordination of many events. If the nerves to the penis are disrupted, a man cannot start an erection. If there is not enough blood flowing to the penis, it will not be rigid. If blood leaves the penis too rapidly, the erection cannot be maintained.
Some physical conditions associated with impotence are:
Spinal cord or nerve damage
Low hormone levels
A side effect of some prescription drugs, narcotics, and sedatives
Psychological impotence usually has a very sudden onset and is the result of mental conditions where the man is unable to concentrate on sexual activities. Some things that can lead to this form of dysfunction are:
Excessive stress concerning finances, work, life, etc.
Anxiety about perceived inadequate sexual performance
Other psychiatric conditions
Physical & Psychological Factors
Just like it sounds, the man fitting into this category is suffering from a combination of both physical and psychological causes of erectile failure.
In the vast majority of cases, there is a cause of impotence that can be determined. Only a small percentage of men suffer impotence of which the cause cannot be determined.
Erectile dysfunction can usually be treated successfully, so there is no reason that most man suffering from this condition may not enjoy a fulfilling and intimate relationship with their partner.
Once a cause has been established, a treatment program can be initiated. Because there are often several reasons contributing to a man’s impotence, a combination of treatments is usually adopted. Treatments available are:
Changing prescription medication if it is determined to be the cause
External vacuum devices
Oral medications, (e.g. Viagra, Cialis, Yohimbine, etc.)
Psychotherapy and counselling
Penile prosthetic implants
Improving sleep and relaxation (most common cause in middle-aged men is tiredness)
If you believe you may be suffering from erectile dysfunction please contact a medical professional immediately. A physician will be able to properly inform & treat you with available options, or refer you for Sex Therapy where you can get a specialist diagnosis of your condition.