Erectile dysfunction (ED) is commonly thought of as an old man’s problem. While it’s likely more prevalent among those beyond a certain age, many young men are affected by the condition to varying degrees. In one 2013 study, one-quarter of men under 40 met criteria for the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. Older men often suffer poor penis health and performance issues due to underlying physical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, which affect the circulatory and nerve systems of the body, inhibiting erections. While young men may experience physical health problems that impact performance in the bedroom, often the cause is found elsewhere. Below, young men can learn more about erectile dysfunction and some common culprits behind the condition.

What is it?

Erectile dysfunction manifests in a few different ways:

- The inability to achieve erections

- Erections that are too weak for sex

- Erections that don’t last long enough for sex

Some men may experience one symptom, while others may have several. In some men, symptoms are chronic, whereas for others, they only occur now and then.

Common causes of ED in the young are:

1) Alcohol: If a man is ready to go most of the time, but not after a few drinks, then alcohol is the likely culprit. Alcohol impacts the body in a number of ways, none of which are conducive to a strong stiffy.

One system affected by alcohol intake is the nervous system. Alcohol depresses nerves’ ability to pick up on sensations. It’s hard to get hard when a guy isn’t sensitive downstairs.

Alcohol also causes blood vessels to open throughout the body. This means that the blood rushing into the penis to cause an erection is susceptible to running right back out, leaving a man deflated.

Chronic heavy drinkers may have more consistent ED symptoms. On top of the above effects, alcohol can, over time, mess with a man’s testosterone levels, which are needed in abundance to maintain a healthy sex drive and erectile ability.

2) Psychological issues: Any psychological issue associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety, depression or shame, can hamper a man’s ability to get it up. On a physical level, these conditions can interfere with hormonal balance; an increase in the stress hormone cortisol is correlated with a decrease in testosterone. Also, it’s simply difficult to experience attraction and focus during sex when a man’s mind is distracted by the negative thoughts and feelings associated with his condition.

3) Bad training: Men who masturbate frequently are essentially training their penises to respond to a certain form of stimuli. For most men, this is not a problem. But some men masturbate in such a way that their penises can’t respond sexually in situations with an actual partner, and that’s a problem.

Two main problematic tendencies here are viewing very hardcore porn and using a death grip on the penis. Reliance on any method of self-pleasuring that is not likely to be mimicked in a real-life encounter can cause erectile dysfunction when with a partner. If a man has full performance ability on his own but can’t perform with a partner, he should consider whether his self-pleasuring habits may be involved.

4) Relationship problems: Another cause of ED that only manifests with a partner is a problem with the relationship. If there is a lack of trust between partners, or if unresolved issues are looming, it can be difficult to have a healthy sex life with one another.

Along with addressing all potential culprits of ED, young men would do well to take the best care of their penises possible. This requires proper hygiene and attention to any skin issues that may crop up. The penis experiences no shortage of friction throughout the day, and men should keep apprised of their skin condition. If dryness is an issue, men can boost both penis health and confidence by making use of a quality penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). A crème with Shea butter, vitamin E and vitamin C will make the skin smooth, soft and radiant. A man with such a tool is more likely to want to present it and use it with a partner.