Over 30 million men have erectile dysfunction. With so many men and their partners researching ED, a lot of myths are circulating about ED causes, symptoms and treatments. It’s important to discredit myths about erectile dysfunction as men take steps to improve their sexual health and wellness. Below are six common erectile dysfunction myths and the facts behind them.
Myth #1: You are solely responsible for your partner’s erections
It can be fun to imagine that you are the only thing that can turn your partner on, but that’s just a fantasy. In fact, even your partner isn’t completely in control of his erections. While your partner can absolutely be attracted and aroused by you, male bodies react to all sorts of stimuli in their minds or their physical surroundings. Erections are a physical response as much as an emotional one and there is only so much you as a partner can control.
Myth #2: Getting turned on happens by itself
It’s up to your partner to create the best circumstances for himself to be aroused, and it is his responsibility to communicate what his desires are. Likewise, it’s important for you to be open and interested in what your partner wants, and to share your own desires. No one is a mind reader, especially when it comes to pleasing someone sexually.
Myth #3: An erection is required for sexual enjoyment
The body experiences sexual enjoyment through all of the senses – not just the penis.
Often, arousal starts long before the messages even reach the genitals with:
- Visual stimuli - a peek at an upper thigh, a beautiful smile, bouncing breasts
- Scents - perfume, body musk, or leather
- Tastes - salty skin from fresh sweat or sweet fruit fed to you
- Sounds- heavy breathing, moaning, dirty talk
- Non-genital touch - a gentle scratch, deep massage, or a playful spank
The above are all stimuli apart of the sexual repertoire and should be indulged as preferred. Genital stimulation isn’t required for all sexual encounters and the more you expand your sensory palette, the greater your enjoyment will be.
Fact: Exercise is one of the best ways to treat the physical causes of ED.
Myth #4: Talking about sex kills the mood
It’s true that part of what makes sexual tension so thrilling is experiencing the taboo. Sexual excitement is what makes eroticism different than intimacy. However, silence and guesswork don’t necessarily fuel that sexual thrill as much as we might think.
Creating a safe space that allows you and your partner to openly talk about your sexual curiosities and interests can lead you down an exploratory path to a more fulfilling sex life. Especially if both partners actively listen to each other without judgment.
Myth #5: Erectile dysfunction is permanent
Most men are going to experience losing an erection at some point in their life. Staying active, eating healthy foods, and maintaining good overall physical health are the best ways to maintain penile health. Understanding the side effects of any prescribed or over the counter medications you take also plays a vital role in sexual health.
If the cause of ED is psychological then talking to a sex therapist can help you get to the root cause of any emotions or mental blocks that may be inhibiting you. It’s important to recognize your mental state – stress is an erection killer, as is depression. Again, most causes of ED are treatable and many are reversible. Experiencing ED doesn’t have to put an end to your sex life! Rather, it's a chance to slow down and evaluate your physical and mental health so you can get back on track.
Myth #6: Masturbation causes ED
Contrary to what you might have heard, masturbation does not cause erectile dysfunction. In many cases where ED is tied to psychological anxieties around performance, masturbation can actually help improve ED over time by improving performance confidence.