Simply put, impotence is the failure to achieve an erection, ejaculation, or both. Men with sexual/erectile dysfunction may complain of one or more of the following: loss of sexual drive (libido), inability to initiate or maintain an erection, ejaculatory failure, premature ejaculation, or inability to achieve orgasm.
Transient periods of sexual problems and impotence are not considered erectile dysfunction and probably occur in one half of all adult males at some point in their life. It is estimated that nearly 30 million American men suffer from true erectile dysfunction. This means that one out of every ten men have some difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection on a regular basis.
There are many possible causes of erectile dysfunction (ED). It is estimated that 60% of ED is due to psychological issues, such as problems with self-esteem and sexual anxiety/performance anxiety, or problems with interpersonal relationships (feelings of guilt, fear, or prior traumatic experiences). Medical (organic) illnesses make up the other causes of ED (e.g., high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, hormonal problems, spinal cord/brain injury, depression, etc). A combination of both psychological and organic problems is quite common and is believed to be the case in a majority of patients.
Many medications used to treat other illness, including the medical problems listed above, themselves cause ED! Click here for a list of common drugs and medications that can cause sexual and erectile dysfunction.
There are a many of treatment options for erectile dysfunction. These include counseling and sex therapy, medications (e.g., Viagra), and medical (and non-medical) devices and apparati. Click here for a listing of common treatments for impotence and erectile dysfunction.