Sexual Health Friday December 12, 2014

Can A Lack Of Sex Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Research suggests that men who experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection have sex less often than men with no sexual difficulties. of course, if the erectile dysfunction came before the decrease in sexual activity, this makes sense. But what if the reverse is true? Can going without sex for long periods of time actually cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?

If this is the case, what would be the solution? Would the men affected need to increase their sexual activity, either through masturbation or having more sex to help treat the problem?

Research conclusions

In 2008, a group scientists from Europe made some ground-breaking claims when they issued results alleging to show that men with inactive or infrequent sex lives were experiencing ED. However, the majority of urologists remain unconvinced.

Published in the issue of the American Journal of Medicine, the study tracked a total of 989 men, aged between 50 and 70, for five years. Participants who had sex less than once a week were twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction. Those who had more regular sex had stronger, longer lasting erections.

The scientists never looked into whether masturbation helped to preserve sexual function in men. However, one of the authors, Juha Koskimaki, a urologist from Finland, said it’s likely to help. In other words, that frequent sexual activity preserves sexual function in a the same way consistent exercise preserves physical capacity.

On the other hand, Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine in Alvarado Hospital, argues that while masturbating and having regular sex is good, men who have ED should not be encouraged to treat their condition by having more sex.

Many urologists argue that the focus should be on whether men experience healthy erections, regardless of whether they follow it up with sexual intercourse. While there’s no disadvantage to having sex, it will not help a man’s odds of avoiding ED.

Psychological factors

There is another potential way in which lack of sex could contribute to the development of ED. For some men, if they have not had sex for months or even years, the thought of doing so may be quite daunting. Bearing in mind that psychological factors can play a huge part in ED, performance anxiety can certainly have a detrimental effect on a man’s ability to achieve an erection. And once a man experiences this for the first time, he may start to fear the worst, leading to a chronic situation.

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