Impotence – the natural ‘curse’
Failing to achieve an erection that is strong enough or sustained enough to allow for normal lovemaking is known as impotence. It can happen once or many times and the majority of men (regardless of what they may tell one another) experience it at some time. As I pointed out to Philip, actually all men are meant to be impotent for much of the time. When we are in meetings at work, doing sports, reading a weather report, or wearing Speedos on the beach, nothaving an erection is a good thing.
When we’re under attack or feel threatened, sexual arousal is meant to switch off fast. It’s a myth that men are – and always should be – capable of instant sexual arousal (regardless of, say, problems in a relationship). But repeated failure to achieve erection during foreplay can start to feel like a real problem for many men; especially if it’s a problem that spans different relationships.
So what causes impotence? Well, impotence can be caused by physical or psychological factors or, of course, a combination of both. It’s good to know what’s been causing it.
1) Check whether there are physical causes for the impotence
Do you regularly wake up with an erection? If so, then it’s unlikely the cause of impotence is physical, as all seems to be working from a ‘mechanical’ point of view. Illnesses such as diabetes or conditions such as high blood pressure can cause impotence, as can injury or rapidly declining hormone levels. The blood needs to circulate well in order for erections to occur, so any condition which restricts circulation, such as smoking, may prevent erections. Additionally, overindulgence in alcohol may cause ‘brewers droop’ by interfering with testosterone levels.
Impotence can also result as a side effect from some medications, such as antidepressants, so if you suspect there may be some medical cause for impotence, consult your doctor. Also take a look at your lifestyle. Are you drinking too much? Not exercising? Getting too little rest? Smoking like a steam train? Sexual health is a by-product of living well.
2) Don’t think yourself into impotence
Robin Williams once reputedly said: “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
After laughing at this quote, I thought about it. (Don’t you just hate it when people think about something before laughing at it?) On the face of it, this remark seems disparaging toward men. And it’s often said that men give pet names to their penises because they “like to know who’s dictating their behaviour”. But actually women are led by their sex drives just as much as men sometimes and can also make “mistakes”, ending up in bed with “the wrong man”. We are all, to some extent, led by our desires.
I reckon the usefulness of Williams’s remark (apart from the humour : ) ) is to highlight that over-analysis of sex can spoil it completely. “Will I/won’t I achieve an erection?” is just too much pressure. The fact is that when enjoying sex, we really don’t need to be thinking too much. When you focus on physical closeness and the enjoyment of being together naked, an erection becomes a by-product of the experience, not the end in itself. Stop trying to get an erection and focus on physical closeness – if an erection happens, it happens. But this is easier said than done, so…
3) Use self-hypnosis to relax about your sexual performance
It’s easy for me to say: “Don’t worry about whether you get hard or not!” But, of course, much impotence is caused by worrying, and stress switches desire off pretty rapidly. Self-hypnosis is a wonderful way to help you change your mindset and help you experience sex beyond concern with penile mechanics. In ancient China, the eunuchs reputedly made the best lovers because (without the use of a penis) they used much more imagination during lovemaking. To get a feel for self–hypnosis, listen to this short and free hypnosis audio.