MEN'S HEALTH: Get advice on dealing with the common problem of erectile dysfunction.
MEN'S HEALTH: Get advice on dealing with the common problem of erectile dysfunction. bowdenimages

Men, is your sex life satisfying?

HUMAN sexuality is complex and varied and can be influenced by any number of factors.

These include but are not limited to your age, your physical and emotional health, medications you may be taking, substance use and abuse, lack of sleep and work stresses to name a few.

Sometimes one person's sex drive doesn't match his or her partner's sex drive. The simple truth is that everyone is different and there is no norm for sexual behaviour.

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition where men have difficulty getting and maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual activity. Often men joke about it, but when it happens over and over, it's not only distressing but can mean something is wrong.

We take getting an erection for granted, and think it will come up whenever we demand. However the mechanism is complicated, requiring the mood and healthy nerves and arteries to make it happen.

Most men will have occasions where things don't work out - that's normal and shouldn't cause concern. However when it persists this can be very distressing to both the man and his partner.

The longer it is left untreated, the more the relationship may suffer.

Unfortunately many men start to avoid sexual activity rather than seeking help.

For men in middle age, the blood flow to the penis may be impaired because of smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

When this is associated with ED it can mean the circulation to the heart may also be impaired.

Checking out a man with ED often picks up these problems in a timely way, allowing the underlying conditions to be treated before more serious problems arise. Mental health problems also frequently affect sexual function.

For most men with ED, treatment is available which will allow an erection to be achieved and sexual activity restored. The local GP is in a position to guide men about these treatments, as well as assessing the important associated factors.

Other sexual dysfunctions are not so common but also need to be addressed. These include loss of interest in sex, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation and inability to climax. Again the local GP can help with these conditions or recommend an expert who can help.

If you are having problems in this area talk about it with your partner. Sometimes they feel rejected as they don't understand what is going on. They may feel they are to blame, or you no longer find them desirable, or you may be getting sex elsewhere.

If talking to your partner about your sexual needs and concerns is too difficult, seek professional assistance from a third party you trust, like a GP or sex therapist.

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