There are many beliefs going on around what causes erectile dysfunctions — some are myths and some are not exactly mythical. So which is which? In this chapter, we’ll take a look at some of the most common beliefs about erectile dysfunction and their veracity.
Old = Erectile Dysfunction
Many men believe that one of the reasons for erectile dysfunctions is growing old. Now, it may be true that men‘s risk for erectile dysfunction increases with age — it is estimated that 4% of men in their 50s, 17% of men in their 60s and 47 of men in their 70s suffer from erectile dysfunction — but that doesn’t mean age is the cause of the medical condition. Rather, it’s the health problems related to aging that cause erectile dysfunctions such as diabetes, heart problems, testosterone levels and even inﬂammation.
Simply put, the healthier a man is generally, the higher his chances are of enjoying healthy erections. While men can‘t stay young forever, they can do something to make sure they stay as healthy — and as virile — as possible even in their golden years.
Another popular belief running around is that tight underwear can lead to erectile dysfunction. The verdict: it’s a myth!
The truth about tighty whities is that it can lead to lower sperm motility, which is a fertility issue and not a potency one. It’s because tighty whities or tight underwear can make it too warm for comfort in terms of the testes’ ability to produce sperm.
So next time you’re feeling scared to put on your Speedoes, just remember it won’t keep you from “standing attention”.
Too much (self) pleasure kills
Another wildly popular belief is that masturbation leads to erectile dysfunction over time. It doesn’t help that if you Google “erectile dysfunction”, your search will yield tons of feedback on how much men are worried about “going soft” with too much masturbation.
The verdict: it’s a myth! Experts say that to the contrary, masturbation is a sign of a healthy libido (essential for erections) and can potentially help alleviate some kinds of sexual dysfunctions. In fact, masturbation is an encouraged practice for men who are diagnosed with what is known as hypoactive sexual desire and arousal disorders, a,k.a., under-horniness syndrome. Now talk about myths, eh?
One possible reason for the prevalence of such myth is that when it’s related to addiction to pornography, which is a valid cause for erectile dysfunction. You’ll get to know more about why this is so in a later chapter. But other than that, masturbation can actually help you maintain healthy erections until old age.
Lately, riding bicycles have been a concern when it comes to erectile dysfunctions. It’s probably due to a study conducted by researches from the University of California that reported vital arteries and nerves may be affected by this hobby. In particular, hard bike seats can potentially squeeze the area between the scrotum and anus — also known as the perineum — which can lead to signiﬁcant compression of nerves and arteries necessary for achieving erections.
The verdict: none yet. While the above-mentioned concern is valid, it doesn’t take into consideration other biking factors that can cause erectile dysfunction such as the amount of time spent biking, riding style and bike fit. Chances are, the risk for erectile dysfunction is much higher for competitive cyclists who are known to spend more time on their bikes than with their wives.
Just bike in moderation. What is considered moderate? As long as you don’t feel pain, numbness and are still able to enjoy erections without difﬁculty, that’s a sign that you’re not biking too often and too hard.
Many times, it is believed that erectile dysfunction is psychological or emotional. It is true in some instances. However, a study showed that up to 82% of men with erectile dysfunction also experience depression—like symptoms.
Verdict: In some cases, it’s true. The medical community has acknowledged that there are cases wherein the causes of erectile dysfunction is psychological/emotional rather than physiological when it introduced the classiﬁcation “psychogenic erectile dysfunction” in 2001.