Sexual Function: Erections aren't only about blood flow

An important topic to discuss with a male of any age after they have passed puberty is how erections work, and what can be done to ensure that there are no problems with them.

This can be quite a sensitive topic for many males that may, at one time, experience performance issues, or are concerned they may have erectile dysfunction. The most important thing is to never self-diagnose because there is a myriad of factors that go into how an erection works.

It starts with stimulation and blood flow

The main physical power behind the erection is the blood flow to the penis. Sexual stimulation which is combined with other psychological components forms what we call your libido.

When you become stimulated, blood is rushed to the arteries in your penis enlarging it, and there are several chemical reactions. These include the production of nitrous oxide and the release of guanosine monophosphate that will help relax the area that is being enlarged, so there's no strain to the penis. Your veins effectively block off the blood from retreating until orgasm occurs or the stimulation dies down.

The stimulation is due to a sensory and mental stimulus that occurs when you are aroused through the attractiveness of what you're seeing and foreplay being done to you.

This sexual stimulation will cause nerve notifications to happen that will start the pumping of the blood into your penis, where the erection goes from just a thought to a full-on physical representation of your arousal.

Other factors to consider

That first stage of sexual stimulation needs to be paired with a relaxed mental state. This means if you're stressed or anxious about the sexual act, or are stressed because of external issues around your life, this can harm your body physically which can, in turn, mean an obstacle for you in getting an erection.

Numerous things can hamper your ability with this. Your emotional state, how you perceive yourself, depression, guilt, and more all contribute to the limitation or disable the extra blood flow needed for an erection to form.

It can also greatly affect your hormone levels if you do not have a relaxed state of mind, or you may have a medical condition that is possibly reducing the main hormone levels required for an erection.

This is, of course, testosterone. It is something that can be easily measured and quickly ruled out if you feel there may be issues with getting an erection. You can find out if you have what is deemed below-average levels of testosterone, which would have adverse effects on you obtaining an erection. Keep in mind that if you have no erection issues and you increase your testosterone levels, there's a little additional effect in regards to your erections.

In the end, remember that you're not alone and that this is just a small list of all the possibilities that can cause underperformance or the ability to not get an erection. As always, if you feel you have an issue, you can always contact a specialist who will work with you to see where the issue is. 

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