Understanding Male Impotence
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Understanding Male Impotence

Impotence doesn't necessarily imply sterility. Impotence is the inability to take a proper part in sexual intercourse. Any form of anxiety can interfere with the complex reflex of an erection and prevent it from occurring.

An erection cannot be willed consciously but occurs as a nervous reflex which is outside the voluntary control of the man. The factors that are necessary for an erection to occur are adequate levels of testosterone (male hormone), healthy arteries to the penis (they may be blocked in men with diabetes or hardening of the arteries), and normal anatomy of the penis. Impotence, the failure of a male to obtain or sustain an erection, occurs for many reasons.

Far from being a sexual stimulant, as is often thought, alcohol actually suppresses the ability to perform sexually. An alcoholic with liver damage may ultimately become totally impotent, since it is the liver that controls the balance between male and female hormones in the body.

Athletes and body builders who use anabolic steroids to enhance their performance and physique can also become impotent, sometimes permanently, because of the effect these drugs have on the testes. Some types of treatment for high blood pressure can also affect a man's ability to have an erection, and he should discuss the side effects of any medication with his doctor. A prostate operation has no direct effect on sexuality, unless it is a total prostatectomy.

A very common sense of fear is to be found in the inaccurate idea that masturbation causes impotence. Extreme fatigue, whether physical, mental or emotional, may cause partial or temporary impotence, which may take the form of lessened desire or of lessened capacity; but in such conditions, common sense suggests that intercourse should not be attempted.

The main reason for a failed erection is psychological pressure to perform. If a man is anxious about sex because of a new partner, conditions that are not ideal, or other stress and worries, there is a good chance that these nervous signals will override the stimulating signals and the penis will not become erect. If he has failed previously, then there is even more anxiety, and every successive failure makes him more anxious to perform and therefore less likely to succeed. The way to overcome this is not to plan sex, but to relax and wait until it occurs spontaneously.

A couple should find a private and relaxed place and time, engage in mutual heavy petting and erotic stimulation, but without the expectation that sex will occur. The man should not worry about whether or not an erection occurs, or how hard it is if one does arise, but should relax and enjoy the stimulation his partner is giving his body. In this less tense situation, an erection may arise, but should not be used for intercourse on the first occasion. Once spontaneous erections develop, sex may start again.

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