As any man knows, losing an erection during sex can be immensely frustrating and oftentimes embarrassing.
But what many men don’t realize is that losing an erection is completely normal. It’s quite common for adult men to have erectile issues every now and then. In fact, the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) has been estimated to be about 18% to 47% in the US alone, depending on age and other variables.
While erectile problems are often thought of as an inevitable part of aging, there are a variety of other factors at play. In some cases, losing erections during sex is a one-and-done issue, and people can have satisfying sex beyond that single odd encounter. For some people, bouts of erectile dysfunction might be more consistent, causing relationship problems.
Read on to learn about the possible reasons for erection problems and how to treat them.
How Are Erections Formed
First, it’s important to know how erections are formed in the first place.
For an erection to form, the person should be in a mental state of arousal. They also may be roused through stimulation in erogenous regions such as the penis.
An erection is a process that involves various parts of the body. During this heightened state of arousal, chemical messengers in the brain are sent through various blood vessels to the pelvic region. These impulses stimulate the relaxation of the corpora cavernosa, which allows the flow of blood to enter its chambers—resulting in an expansion that ultimately leads to an erect penis.
As the corpora cavernosa expands to let blood fill the chamber, a tough fibrous layer of tissue called the tunica albuginea acts as a barrier of sorts, helping support the shape of the penis and prevent the blood from flowing back out too quickly.
The tunica albuginea also has other important roles in erections, namely:
- Promoting penile rigidity
- Protecting erectile tissue
Erections are reliant on good blood flow, and anything that impairs circulation can lead to difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection. If achieving an erection is difficult, it may result in erectile dysfunction (ED) and should be addressed by a doctor for further evaluation.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Male sexuality is a complex web of desires, emotions, and physical reactions, all of which can be affected by a variety of bodily processes.
When any one of these components is disrupted, it can cause erectile dysfunction (ED).
If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you may have erectile dysfunction:
- Trouble achieving an erection
- Trouble maintaining an erection
- Distress and guilt from loss of erection
- Low libido or absence of sex drive
- Low self-esteem
Contact an ED doctor if you feel that your erectile dysfunction symptoms are causing problems in your romantic relationship.
Reasons One Might Lose Their Erection
You may think that losing an erection is synonymous with losing interest in sex with your partner. But in reality, it’s not that black and white.
Here are some of the most common reasons why people lose an erection in the middle of sex.
1. Chronic Diseases Affect Your Erectile Quality
Chronic diseases can contribute to erectile dysfunction. This is because, over time, these diseases may limit or sever the organs and nerves that are necessary for allowing erections to form.
Some diseases that have been proven by research to affect erectile quality include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Peyronie’s disease
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nervous system disorders
The good news is that these diseases are often manageable with medication and lifestyle changes. Getting to the bottom of these health diseases is one of the most important things to do when treating erectile dysfunction.
If you’re struggling with erectile quality, talk to your doctor about underlying health conditions that may be contributing to the problem.
2. Mental Disorders
While it’s not as common as physical symptoms, mental disorders can also lead to sexual dysfunction.
According to one study, 10% of cases of ED have primarily psychological underpinnings. These mental disorders include:
- Fear of intimacy
- Performance anxiety
As gaining an erection requires chemical signals from the brain, the process is heavily reliant on one’s mental state. If the patient suffers from mental conditions, it can translate over to erectile quality.
For example, depression can alter brain chemicals in the brain and suppress the production of necessary hormones to achieve an erection. This can cause a loss of interest in sex and make it difficult to reach an orgasm.
Performance anxiety—or the feeling of stress due to shame and lack of self-confidence in pleasing your partner sexually—can also lead to erectile issues. When someone’s anxious, this can ramp up the production of the stress hormone known as cortisol, which consequently reduces the production of sex and mood hormones.
3. Poor Lifestyle Habits
If you frequently partake in binge eating and recreational drugs, having erectile problems won’t be a matter of if, but when.
And while doing these activities can be pleasurable at the moment, putting a stop to them is necessary to keep your health in order.
Here are some positive habits to consider that can help you live a better sex life.
- Sleep regularly (at least 7 hours a day is optimal)
- Manage stress well
- Eat a healthy diet (preferably, a libido-boosting diet)
- Exercise regularly (at least 150 minutes a week)
- Cut down the vices
- Watch your weight
Medication meant for other conditions may also affect sexual function—and not always in a good way.
For instance, antidepressants like paroxetine can alter brain chemistry to the extent that it becomes difficult to get and maintain an erection. Blood pressure medicines may also negatively impact sex drive as a nasty side effect.
If you’re taking antidepressants and having trouble with erections, it’s important to talk to your doctor about possible medical treatments. In some cases, the dosage can be adjusted to help alleviate the problem. In others, a different medication may be prescribed.
Contact Cleveland’s Leading Men’s Clinic for an Erectile Dysfunction Consultation
Losing your erection during sex can be frustrating.
By being aware of the possible causes of it, you can take the first steps toward managing your symptoms and eventually overcoming them.
Want professional medical advice? The medical professionals at Precise Men’s Medical Center in Cleveland specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Premature Ejaculation, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.