Sexual Wellness

Why Can't I Stay Hard During Sex?

Fact Checked

Having a difficult time staying hard during sex? Find out what may be causing the issue.

Last Updated: 04/12/2022

Written by

Eric Ridenour

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Paul Thompson

It's not unusual to have trouble maintaining an erection during sex. If you've ever been in this situation, you probably feel embarrassed, frustrated, and confused even though most people experience erection problems at some point in their life. You may even feel like you're doing something wrong. If you've been having problems with sexual desire or an inability to stay erect during sexual activity, you may be wondering whether it's a psychological problem or a physical one. Or maybe you're wondering if it could be caused by another condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or a neurological disorder. Often times, there are physical causes to ED that can be cured through lifestyle changes such as drinking less alcohol, other times, it may be a sign of a more severe underlying health condition in which you should seek professional medical advice.

What is the cause of erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the occurrence of men having difficulty gaining or maintaining an erect penis for longer than required. Almost all males will have problems getting erections throughout their life. For ED sufferers, the problems remain but can negatively affect their quality of life. Although it's frustrating for people even though it's very common. This is the most widespread male sexual disorder, which affects those with pre-existing conditions or older. About 70 % of men aged over 50 say they experience problems.

In addition, there are several medical causes of ED, including:

  • Kidney disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Hormonal issues

  • Diabetes

  • Depression or other psychological causes

  • Blood pressure medications

  • Beta Blockers

Can medication help increase blood flow?

It is possible for someone with ED to develop an ability to maintain erections by undergoing some medical treatments that will work well. A doctor can prescribe PDE-5 inhibitors in the ED treatment if the medicine is effective. 

These ED medications include Sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil, and avanafil are oral drugs that treat ED by increasing the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes penile muscles.

ED medication is about 60% likely to aid in helping you get an erection. If you are on a current medication that is not working, consider trying something different. They work for many different conditions which could prevent you from getting an erection. When purchasing PDE-5 inhibitor drugs such as sildenafil, you have to consult with the physician for a thorough diagnosis. If you are suffering from health related problems from a medication, it is important to look for a different treatment with fewer side effects.

Can you treat erectile dysfunction without pills?

Pills to help with achieving and staying strong can help many people in this regard. They may not be the best option. All the above options have been proven in some cases to enhance erection for people that have tried them. This method can be used with erectile dysfunction medicines to increase your chances to get better. ED medication is effective if your physician approves them. 

Other things you can try if you can’t stay hard during sex include lifestyle changes such as:

Other ways to treat erectile dysfunction

There are many ways to treat ED, but the one to go with depends on your situation. If you've tried all the above methods and are still having trouble, then it's time to look at the other ways to treat erectile dysfunction. There are many things that can be done to treat ED. If you want to find out how to treat ED without medication, talk to a doctor about what ED treatment would work best for you.

Is erectile dysfunction a psychological problem?

ED is usually caused by a physical problem, but it can also be a psychological problem. The fact that you can still have an erection but can’t stay hard, even if you're attracted to your partner, means that you still have a functioning penis. In other words, your body is not completely unable to have an erection. In addition, younger men in particular can have anxiety about sexual activity. The stress a limited sex life, low self esteem, and lack of experience in maintaining a physical relationship can all be psychological causes for younger people that are typical for most men.

How Lifestyle choices can affect sexual dysfunction

The lifestyle choices that we make can have a big impact on our sexual health. This is especially true for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Here are some of the lifestyle choices that can affect your sexual health: 

Poor diet. There is a strong link between obesity and ED. Obesity is one of the most common reasons for erectile dysfunction. The reason is that obesity is a medical condition that puts a lot of stress on the body, especially the reproductive system. If you are obese, your chances of getting erectile dysfunction are higher. In this case, you should consider a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. 

Smoking. Smoking can cause you to lose erections. This is because smoking can decrease blood flow to the penis, which can cause an inability to stay hard. In addition, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction because it decreases your chances of getting a good erection. 

Sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause ED. When you don't get enough sleep, you can experience a decrease in your testosterone levels, which can make you more prone to erectile dysfunction. In addition, lack of sleep can cause your body to produce too much cortisol, which can also lead to not being able to stay hard. 

Lack of exercise. In addition to lack of sleep, lack of exercise can also cause erectile dysfunction. Exercise increases blood flow to the penis, which can help you achieve an erection. You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy sexual life.

Is erectile dysfunction a problem that can be cured? 

Erectile dysfunction can be cured. It is not usually a permanent condition. If you want to cure ED, you should work on improving your lifestyle. In addition, you should take your health seriously. There are many physical causes of erection problems, but the best way is to take your health seriously. If you want to know more about how to cure erectile dysfunction, you should seek professional medical advice for ways to increase blood flow during sexual activity.

When to see a doctor

If you have been suffering from erectile issues for a long time, you should talk to a doctor about potential physical causes. In addition, you should see a medical expert if you have experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • You have had trouble achieving an erection.

  • You have experienced a sudden loss of erections.

  • You have been having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.

  • You have been having painful erections.

  • You have experienced a decrease in your sexual drive.

  • You have experienced a decrease in your desire to have sex.

  • You have experienced a decrease in your sexual pleasure.

  • You have experienced a decrease in your ability to have an orgasm.

  • You have experienced a decrease in your ability to have an erection.

FAQs

Is there anything I can use other than medications for increased blood flow?

Yes! Several devices including a penis pump, a cock ring and Li-ESWT (acoustic wave therapy) all work well for helping blood vessels increase blood flow and help solve penis erection issues without medications. 

Isn’t Li-ESWT expensive?

It is a popular belief that Li-ESWT is an expensive treatment only performed in a doctor's office or other health clinic, but there are now devices that can be used at home at a fraction of the cost to help you stay erect.

Should I talk to my partner before talking to a doctor?

That is entirely up to you. If you feel you may be having performance anxiety or other stress regarding intercourse, you should certainly speak to your partner first about your concerns before seeking out a doctor for some other health care treatment.