Dealing With Erectile Dysfunction Before 40

Few moments are as debilitating for a man as feeling his erection fade mid-coitus. Possibly worse is not being able to get hard enough to get started. A succession of disbelief, desperation, and disappointment overwhelm. The humiliation that follows might be enough to displace all of that. Maybe the worst part is realizing that the sting will last until the next opportunity for sex. Given the present failure, the next opportunity might not be a certainty. Even if it is, uncertainty about the outcome can be nerve-racking.

Before continuing, I’ll make the obligatory confession: I have erectile dysfunction. I noticed difficulty getting and staying hard during my mid-20s. Yes, that early. Thank you, life. A few years after acknowledging the issue, my ED became a legitimate problem. I couldn’t stay hard in a condom. Sometimes, I’d lose my erection while putting on a condom, thus rendering penetration impossible. Even without condoms, I struggled to make it work for more than a few minutes. The only contact that seemed to keep me hard was oral sex or masturbation. Eventually, these weren’t enough.

My ED may have been a problem earlier than my mid-20s, but I hadn’t noticed because I only started having sex around then. Not long after starting, I found myself trying to resuscitate dying erections under the scowl of impatient partners. Within a year of the first few letdowns, I no longer could tell if I was hard during sex. I really couldn’t feel what was happening. My partners could. They weren’t happy about it.

Arousal wasn’t the issue. I got excited whenever I actually had an opportunity for sex. My body simply wouldn’t cooperate. Focusing on getting hard probably made a bad situation worse. I’m sure performance pressure contributed. Initially, I still could get hard by myself while watching porn or fantasizing. When my solo efforts started to fail, I conceded that my issue was physiological and not psychological. I sought medical help.

Since then, I’ve taken the little yellow ED pill (this article isn’t a product endorsement). Allegedly, it lasts longer and takes effect faster than other popular ED medications. The benefits aren’t without price. It hurts my eyes. It gives me headaches. My insurance doesn’t cover it. The price has increased dramatically since my first prescription. As of this writing, I pay close to $50 per pill.

While I wish the issue were in my head, experience has reinforced the need to pop a pill before sex. Without it, sex isn’t going to work. This requires some sexual clairvoyance, which isn’t exactly reliable. Spontaneity isn’t an option for me. Every aspect of my sexuality suffers. I won’t pay $50 to masturbate. Consequently, I sometimes lose my erection while stroking, resulting in pathetic, whimpering orgasms.

Such has been my life for over a decade. I’m 38. I have a real fear that my penis will stop working at all sometime during my 40s. I’m trying to delay this. I’ve adjusted my diet. I’ve kept up an exercise regimen. I’ve not used cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs (I never have, actually). Out of frustration, I’ve tried using sketchy supplements. To be thorough, I’ve changed my masturbation habits and porn consumption. My efforts have yielded some improvements, but these haven’t been consistent. As I’ve aged, my failures have become more frequent and more profound. The little yellow pills have begun failing me despite my care with how and when I use them. Sigh.

Looking back, I curse my youth. I masturbated in middle and high school as many as 10 times per day. I had sex with sofa cushions, pillows, and anything else relatively soft and yielding. With constant horniness and no chance of getting laid, masturbation was my salvation. I don’t know if this is why I can’t get hard now, but I’m sure I did some kind of irreparable damage. The irony is biting. My lack of adolescent sex may have ruined my adult sexuality.

I’ve maintained perspective through it all. Other than my pathetic penis, I’m healthy. My life is relatively easy. I really haven’t known any kind of dire struggle. Sexually speaking, I’ve managed a few pleasant moments for which I should be grateful. No one has abused, assaulted, or oppressed me. Although this might be a curse, I still feel horny, which is a struggle for many. My body just fails me and anyone interested in having sex with me. I suppose everything could be worse.

Perspective doesn’t always help. Knowing that I’m scarcely capable of pleasing a woman with my equipment is depressing. I can please in other ways, but if a partner craves intercourse, I have to pump myself full of medication. I hold my breath each time hoping the pills will get me there. When they do, my erection isn’t impressive. I’ve lost a full inch since high school. For some reason, it’s crooked now, too. If I reduce my worth to sexual potency, I’m wholly inadequate. This is really disappointing to others and to me.

I face something grim. My penis might soon give up. My libido might not die until years after this. Barring some kind of bizarre surgical intervention or future medical breakthrough, I might be left totally impotent while I still should be healthy enough for sex. Wonderful. How can I not be bitter about this? Life will trudge forward and I’ll learn to do without. The best I’ll be able to do is remind myself of ways life could be harder (excuse the pun). That’s the reality of dealing with it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog