Questions on how to maintain an erection and erectile dysfunction meet at a very awkward moment—when a man is sexually aroused, either preparing for sex or in the middle of coitus and then bam—Erection power down 50 percent! Maybe even 75 percent. And you ask yourself how to maintain an erection when your penis has tapped out.
Your mind, and the rest of your body, is still going strong. If a man could talk to his penis, no doubt the conversation would be, “What’s up bro? You can’t just go home early because it’s Friday afternoon!”
Sadly, this does happen more often than many guys would like to admit. The soul is willing but the flesh, or more specifically, the genitals, are weak. The first time it happens it may even feel bizarre…like an out of body experience. You’re wondering now, “Is this old age? Is this low testosterone?”
This is fairly common, and contrary to popular belief, not just a problem of 40 and up, but even a recurring problem among teens and twenty-year-olds. The National Institutes of Health says that 30 million men a year suffering from erectile dysfunction and weak erections and that at least 5 percent are between the ages of 20 and 39.
While it’s true that by the age of 40, men commonly report weak erections more frequently than the younger generation, the facts suggest it’s more of a health and psychological issue than just a natural part of aging.
E.D. is not necessarily the same thing as impotence. A man may be able to get hard with little effort but still not be able to keep an erection after a certain point, or a certain number of strokes. The man may or may not be able to reach orgasm and ejaculation. According to a consensus among doctors, normal erections happen because of a hydraulic effect of blood flowing without obstruction throughout the testes and through the urethra and out the penis. Physically, obstructions occur because of blood flow problems and that relates back to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sometimes hormonal problems.
There can also be interference from brain signals to the nerves, or in the case of psychological E.D., subconscious resistance to the very idea of allowing yourself pleasure.
Psychological E.D. occurs because of negative feelings, outright or subconscious, hindering your curiosity and excitement. Unfortunately, E.D. can be very damaging to relationships and to male self-esteem, all the more so if the problems are psychological—and your partner interprets your anxiety as a personal rejection.
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How to Maintain an Erection by Changing Your Lifestyle
The problem is that low testosterone (as in slightly lower, as opposed to a deficiency) is not believed to cause E.D. on its own. Rather, it’s a series of related issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and other health issues, which have a negative effect on blood flow.
Therefore, a doctor’s first solution, if the situation isn’t yet dire or life-threatening, is to get in better shape by way of dieting and regular exercise. WebMD states that subscribing to the Mediterranean Diet, or really any diet that promotes eating more vegetables and fruits, can drastically improve sexual function.
Avoiding high cholesterol or high-fat foods can help you feel normal again, improving blood vessel function. High blood pressure and cholesterol interferes with blood flow, making you not only sexually drained but one step closer to potentially fatal heart disease. Sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs also contribute to poor physical health, which is why doctors will suggest taking up regular jogging, swimming and other aerobic exercises.
Avoiding substances that are damaging seems to be just as important as improving your diet with better ingredients. Anabolic steroids, cigarettes, overindulgence in alcohol, certain prescription drugs, and illegal street drugs have been also been shown to cause E.D. and in some cases, actually interfere with testosterone levels.
According to the Department of Health, men who drink more than eight units of alcohol a day are four times as likely to develop high blood pressure, which is where erection problems start. The very fact that alcohol is a depressant, and saps you of vitality and energy, should discourage you from even wanting to combine alcohol with sex. When you’re young, your penis works in spite of all the damage you do to your body. As you age, you do have to take better care of yourself to enjoy the same sexual prowess.
Nicotine makes blood vessels contract, which immediately creates blood flow problems—all the more so if you smoke several cigarettes a day. According to Time magazine, 30 percent of men who quit smoking by the end of the study reported stronger erections than they had at the start.
Mental Strategies for Maintaining an Erection
Psychological blocks to erections may be harder to treat, because there’s not really a pill or lifestyle change that can help you to resolve an issue in your head. What we do know is that most cases of psychological impotence or erectile dysfunction involve anxiety of some sort—either about the relationship, or fear of intimacy, or fear of sexually performing.
That’s why one of the first lessons you’ll get in psychological E.D. treatment is to focus on de-stressing and make sex a calmer, less goal-oriented activity.
Performance anxiety works in a similar way to “stage fright” in that it can cause physical symptoms, and it actually activates the “flight or fight” response in humans, which is definitely counterproductive to building an erection.
Of course, it’s difficult to tell your body to calm down when all you feel is dread and a desire to escape the uncomfortable scene. But according to WebMD, there are a few ways to focus on calming down before any stressful activity that may help:
- Limit caffeine and sugar
- Practice controlling your breathing and forcing yourself to stop taking in shallow breaths
- Meditate and dismiss negative thoughts
- Get more sleep
Besides that try to focus on being attentive to what your partner wants rather than worrying about erection strength, which is a mostly self-involved perspective. The penis is just one of many tools a man has. When he focuses on pleasing his partner and pushing her “buttons” sexually, he can rotate between his hands, his penis, his lips and tongue and fingers in order to have a fuller body experience of intimacy.
Chances are, a woman is interested in more foreplay, even if it’s at the expense of more penetration time. The mood has to be right and longer foreplay helps to increase a woman’s orgasmic potential for later penetration.
Just on science alone, from the fact that blood vessels contract under great stress, we see a problem with having sex while anxiety plagues your mind. Furthermore, when you feel stress you release cortisol in the body, which also depletes testosterone—the main ingredient in firing up your manhood. You start to worry about not being hard, and in turn the anxiety weakens your erection.
Logically then, if there’s a problem sexually or otherwise, talk it through with your partner. Ask for help or clarification if there’s any doubt or resentment left behind. Express yourself early on rather than holding onto anger. Avoid any situation or person in life that’s making you doubt yourself.
Maintain an Erection by Re-Focusing Your Mind
A lack of focus is often to blame for weak erections, whether it’s in the way of overstimulation or desensitization. For example, avoiding porn may also be a surprising, if disappointing, option for the “average man”.
If you’ve noticed that you’ve only recently developed erection problems, and coincidentally you look at a lot of porn, there is definitely an observed correlation there. According to Everyday Health, citing studies from the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine, pornography is so extreme in its visual and aural assaults on the senses that it desensitizes men and affects their libido, as well as their ability to maintain erections. According to a quoted Dr. Samadi, it creates unrealistic expectations about tolerance and creates a sort of “tolerance” for more extreme porn that can affect a man’s ability to become aroused at normal or low-volume stimuli.
Is there any other science to this belief? The theory behind this masturbation addiction is that porn activates a dopamine reward pathway—and we become “addicted” to pleasurable activities that boost dopamine.
The problem is that dopamine overload, which can be any obsessive and non-essential activity, weakens nerve signals because of the escalating tolerance. Therefore, our body becomes “confused” at the lack of extremes throughout the day, which can lead to weaker erections and the requirement of more aggressive penis stimulation—mimicking the masturbation habit.
Masturbating in an unusual way for years on end can even cause a condition caused “delayed ejaculation”, which sees difficulty in ejaculating and orgasming with a partner or even through traditional masturbation. While you certainly won’t hear about the porn-induced erectile dysfunction theory on PornHub or any of its sponsors, you might be surprised at how many doctors are coming out and warning patients about desensitization; if not for the risk of E.D. then for the very real risk of alienating a partner who can’t compete against such cartoonish sexual behaviors.
The final lesson in learning how to maintain an erection is learning how to deal with overstimulation, physically as well as mentally. It’s relatively easy to manage if the problem is habitual pornography. But if you become too excited when you’re with a partner, or even at the feeling of self-stimulation, then the main issue may be over-focusing on sensation.
Mental tricks have been suggested over the years, such as the classic “think of something unsexy” which is not actually as effective as grandpa once thought. Instead of focusing on something unattractive, which doesn’t even affect bodily sensation, a better solution is to divide your focus.
According to one college source, one of the best ways to maintain an erection is to learn “triangle breathing” and practicing it throughout the day. Not only do you focus on breathing through your belly but you also take deeper breaths followed by a long pause and then a release through the mouth. One hand should be on your chest and the other on your belly or “diaphragm” area. Feel your belly move while trying to keep your chest still.
As you breathe imagine a triangle shape. The first side of the triangle is a third of the shape so count to three as you visualize it, filling with a vibrant blue and calming fluid. Next, breathe out through your mouth while counting to six, imagining the both of the other sides of the triangle filling with the same peaceful color and feeling.
Repeat this breathing pattern as you either make love or masturbate. Focus on the sensation, and remaining calm, always paying attention to your breathing. Remove all other distractions. You can also add physical actions to these new breathing patterns, such as raising both hands as your breathe in and then release.
Now only is this calming your nerves through rhythmic breathing, but it’s also helping to divide your attention from too much stimulation on the penis itself. Instead, focus all your attention in the exercise, the visuals as well as the sensual process. This helps keep you immersed in the experience and awareness of sex and not just the urge to ejaculate, in the case of P.E., or maintain an erection during episodes of weak erections.
Learning how to maintain an erection is just a matter of knowing what kills libido, and learning what keeps your mind and body united for intensive sensual focus. Try some of these suggestions and practice consistently while alone and then with your partner. You may be surprised at how applying just a few of these suggestions will revitalize your sex life and make you feel younger, stronger and ready to rumble.
http://www.everydayhealth.com/erectile-dysfunction/young-men-get-erectile-dysfunction-too.aspx https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erectile_dysfunction http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/features/protect-your-erection-11-tips#2 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1290156/Binge-drinking-sends-high-blood-pressure-cases-soaring-74.html http://time.com/4408977/erectile-dysfunction-quit-smoking/ http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/stage-fright-performance-anxiety http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/erection-problems-this-habit-may-why/ https://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/TF-%20CBT/pages/4%20Emotion%20Regulation%20Skills/Client%20Handouts/Relaxation/Ways%20to%20Relax%20by%20Using%20breathing.pdf