12 tips to avoid erectile dysfunction

Prevention is better than a cure


The primary causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) are underlying physical conditions, psychological difficulties or medication side effects. You can reduce your chances of getting ED, by avoiding the factors that would lead to ED.

1. Eat healthily

ED can be related to conditions such as High Blood Pressure, which are influenced by your diet. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet should help you avoid some of the health problems that may lead to ED.

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2. Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is one of the contributory factors for ED. In addition, obesity can lead to diabetes and other health conditions which are connected to ED. Eating healthily and doing regular exercise, should help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your chances of getting ED.


3. Cycle responsibly

Cycling has been linked to ED. Some saddles can put pressure on the perineum (between scrotum and anus). The perineum contains nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis. An erection is dependent upon these nerves and blood vessels functioning correctly, so if these are damaged you could experience ED. If you cycle, get a saddle that avoids putting pressure on your perineum. When you are cycling, take a break if you notice any numbness or tingling sensations around your perineum.

4. Speak to your doctor about medication options

If you need to take any medications, with the side effect of erectile dysfunction, you should speak to your doctor about the likelihood of experiencing ED and if there are any alternative medications that you could take instead. When prescribing a medication, your doctor will have already assessed the risks of the side effects and how these weigh up against leaving your condition untreated. But if you feel strongly that you want to avoid ED, there may be other treatments available, that your doctor could prescribe.

5. Stay stress-free

Stress is a common cause of ED. Make time for yourself to relax and do things you enjoy. Taking up mindfulness, meditation or yoga can really help alleviate stress and reduce the likelihood of you experiencing stress-related ED.

6. Consider psychological therapies

ED is often caused by psychological issues, such as performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is a feeling of anxiety around sex. This can involve worries about body-image, sexual performance, satisfying your partner, sexual health and pregnancy. If you notice that you experience any anxieties around sex, you could speak to a counsellor, psychologist or sex therapist to help you overcome these issues.

7. Go porn free

The existence of porn-induced ED (PIED) is not yet fully confirmed, however, men report experiencing it. It is thought that when watching porn, your brain is overstimulated, so that over time, you will need to watch more extreme porn, to be aroused to the same levels as before. In addition, it is thought that watching extreme or unusual porn, can make you disappointed with real-life sex. So avoiding porn may help you avoid ED.

8. Avoid excessive masturbation

Generally, masturbation will not cause any harm, however, if you masturbate excessively, you may experience difficulties in obtaining an erection during sex. This is because you may become used to how you stimulate yourself with your hand. You can grip tighter with a hand and stimulate yourself in ways that a vagina can’t for example. Therefore, some men report that excessive masturbation can lead them to have difficulties maintaining an erection during sex.

9. Avoid masturbating before sex

After you orgasm, there is a lag time during which it is harder for you to get another erection. The longer the time between masturbation and sex, often the easier it is to get an erection. Masturbating close to the time when you have sex, could make it much harder for you to get an erection and you may experience temporary ED symptoms.

10. Say no to drugs

You’ve probably been told to avoid illicit drugs throughout your whole life. Drug abuse has been found to lead to ED. Injecting drugs such as heroin can damage the blood vessels required for an erection. But other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines have also been linked to ED.

11. Drink in moderation

Drinking too much alcohol can cause ED. These effects are usually only temporary and wear off when you are sober again, however, for heavy regular drinkers alcohol can result in more prolonged ED. Alcohol can reduce the blood flow to your penis, preventing you from getting an erection.

12. Don’t smoke

When you smoke, you inhale loads of toxins as well as the nicotine. These chemicals can damage the blood vessels that supply the penis. Good blood supply is important in getting and maintaining an erection. So if you want to avoid ED, don’t start smoking, or quit before you experience any problems.  

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